DC's eagerly anticipated Heroes in Crisis #1 arrived today and provided readers with not only the shock of the deaths of several fan-favorite characters, but a stunning twist as to who may have killed them.
Warning: spoilers beyond this point for Heroes in Crisis #1. If you haven't yet read the issue, you have been warned.
When the issue kicks off, whatever solace and help Sanctuary was supposed to offer the troubled heroes has already been shattered, but the issue takes a little bit of time to reveal that in full. Instead, we see Booster Gold sitting alone at a diner looking a bit worse for wear, followed by the arrival of Harley Quinn. She doesn't look too great herself and there is tension between the pair, eventually evolving into a fight.
While that's happening, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman discover along with the readers the chaos that has gone down at Sanctuary. Bodies of many heroes are found scattered on the grounds and in the house itself, including Arsenal (Roy Harper) and Flash (Wally West). It appears that Booster and Harley are the lone survivors, but as their fight unfolds survivor might not be the right term. As they fight, with Harley stabbing Booster in the chest, it's slowly revealed that they played a part in the murders at Sanctuary -- specifically, Harley reveals that it was Booster who murdered his fellow heroes.
Booster Gold, the person behind the mass shooting at Sanctuary? This may seem like a wild departure for the character, but if you've been reading comics in roughly the last year and specifically issues of Batman leading up to the wedding that wasn't you'll know that Booster's mental health has been a serious issue. You see, in an attempt to give Batman the ultimate wedding present, he decided to go back in time to give Batman back his parents by preventing their murder. However, that didn't go particularly well. Bruce Wayne becomes Batman because of his great loss and in a world where there is no Batman things are bad. Villains take over, Booster witnesses Green Lantern kill himself with his own power ring and goes to tell Bruce how things should actually be. It's a move that only makes things worse. Bruce's parents end up dead anyway and this version of Bruce takes Booster prisoner and tortures him.
Weak, broken, and only barely still sane, Booster and Bruce end up back at the time when the Waynes were originally supposed to have died which exposes Booster to even more trauma when this alternative Bruce kills himself as well. Booster makes it back to the present time, but is broken, trying to wipe away blood that has already been cleaned up. A shattered Booster is then taken off to Sanctuary clearly not in his right mind. It's that state of mind that Heroes in Crisis uses to establish that Booster is still not okay. Just before Harley reveals to him that he's the killer, he says that he saw her do it, prompting her to ask the question that Booster fans are sure to have themselves after this issue: "Oh Goldie...how deep did you crack?"
Of course, while it would make a certain amount of sense that a hallucinating Booster could be responsible for the deaths of his friends, there's also the possibility that this is very much a red herring. After all, Harley isn't exactly stable herself so it's not impossible that her take on the tragedy is entirely reliable. It's also possible that neither of them is the true killer. With this being the first issue revealing the killer this early would be a bit of a surprise but it's something that readers will just have to stay tuned to find out for sure.
You can find the description for Heroes in Crisis #1 below:
"There’s a new kind of crisis threatening the heroes of the DC Universe, ripped from real-world headlines by C.I.A.-operative-turned-comics-writer Tom King: How does a superhero handle PTSD?
Welcome to Sanctuary, an ultra-secret hospital for superheroes who’ve been traumatized by crime-fighting and cosmic combat. But something goes inexplicably wrong when many patients wind up dead, with two well-known operators as the prime suspects: Harley Quinn and Booster Gold! It’s up to the DC Trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman to investigate—but can they get the job done in the face of overwhelming opposition?"
Do you think Booster is really responsible for the murders at Sanctuary? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.