By Will Henderson
Want to know what’s coming up in Tom King’s current Heroes in Crisis series? If you ask nicely – and I mean really nicely – he just may tell you.
Or not, as he made clear during his spotlight panel at NYCC on Saturday.
“Sh*t happens in it, and it’s sad,” King said, “but the art is beautiful.”
But seriously – King knows that not everyone will enjoy Heroes in Crisis, just like he knows that not everyone will enjoy his take on Batman. His work is so divisive that he began his panel by polling the audience, asking who was really mad and who liked the issue and still was really mad.
The hands of more than half of the packed room were in the air.
“To tell a story that has meaning, real consequences have to happen and real hurt has to happen,” said King. “My job is to create empathy, but if you think everyone’s safe, then I’m not doing my job.”
As he’s said before, and likely will again, Heroes in Crisis is a superhero story about therapy wrapped in a murder mystery. Every two issues, a bit more of what happened at Sanctuary before the murders will be revealed, while the main story finds Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman investigating the murders.
Expect Poison Ivy to play a role, said King, because when you have Harley Quinn (who plays a key role in the series), you have Ivy.
King talked about going to therapy as a child and not getting much out of it, but then returning to therapy as an adult and realizing the clear benefits of working through issues with someone.
Someone with issues – seems like a perfect place to shift gears to focus on Batman.
A bit more than halfway through King’s planned 100-issue run on Batman, and Batman has been left at the proverbial alter and watched his first (and favorite?) Robin shot in the head. King promised more from ex-Soviet assassin KGBeast, the Penguin, Professor Pyg, and Damian Wayne, as Batman tries to make do with “a life without love.”
“Bane broke Batman’s heart. He crushed him in a way he’s never been crushed,” said King. “While Bane is trying to get Batman to lean in to [his] trauma, the Bat-family will try to help him work through his trauma.”
He promised that there will be fun in Batman again, because he “love[s] writing humor,” but that his Batman will not go full Monty because “we don’t do dicks in Batman. That’s our policy.”
Of course, King was referring to the much-ballyhooed scene in the recently released Batman Damned that found a battered Bruce Wayne stripping out of his Bat-suit after returning to his home.
“Why does he take off his pants getting out of a car?” King quipped, to which artist Mitch Gerads, who joined King for the panel, responded, “I do.”
King also teased plans to show Catwoman’s bachelorette party, perhaps in a flashback scene drawn by Amanda Connor, who told King that she’d love to draw that party, to which he replied, I’d love to write it.
“What do you have against sidekicks,” a member of the audience asked King during the panel’s lengthy Q&A.
“Well, I’ve killed three,” joked King, who added that Nightwing fans can rest easy; Nightwing clearly isn’t dead. King even asked a neurologist about where in the head someone could be shot and survive. Still, King apologized to a fan dressed as Nightwing who also had a bloody bandage wrapped around his head.
At the Harvey Awards, which took place the night before King’s spotlight panel, Mister Miracle was named Best Series, leading King to quip that the book would now be known as the Harvey Award-winning and Eisner Award-Losing Mister Miracle, after the book lost the Best Series Eisner Award, despite his and Gerads winning Eisner Awards for Best Writer and Best Artist, respectively.
As The Beat previously reported, the upcoming twelfth issue of Mister Miracle finally reveals what Jack Kirby intended for the Fourth World and finishes what King and Gerads feel is their definitive take on the New Gods.
But not the last time they’re working together. Gerads is drawing the upcoming Professor Pyg story in Batman, and DC has already green-lit their next large project, which King said will be “the most ambitious project we’ve ever tried.”