Heroes in Crisis #1 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image from Heroes in Crisis. Owned by DC Comics.

Image from Heroes in Crisis. Owned by DC Comics.

I picked up Heroes in Crisis because it spoke to me in a way that is difficult to communicate. The thought of heroes struggling with mental health is strangely encouraging to me: thinking about how superheroes can struggle with fear, anxiety, trauma, and other mental health issues means that we, normal-not-having-superpowers people are not less than because we struggle with mental health issues. I’m excited for where this Crisis is going to go, and think that this is a topic that needs to be discussed more than it is, and I’m encouraged that we are starting some of the conversations.

if superheroes can struggle with fear, anxiety, trauma, and other mental health issues means that we, normal-not-having-superpowers people are not less than because we struggle with mental health issues.

Here are some of my thoughts on Heroes in Crisis #1 

There are sections of the book that have a hero, or villain, sitting in a room in an interview setting. We later find out that the room is Sanctuary, a “robot super-reality therapist built with Kryptonian tech and infused with the will of Batman, the compassion of Wonder Woman, and the honor of Superman.” It appears to be that Sanctuary was created because there was a great need in the Superhero community for help, specific to the struggles of heroes, which I believe we will find out are not dissimilar to the struggles of “normal” people. Here are the interviews in this first story:

  • HARLEY QUINN seems to be struggling with trauma and denial of that trauma, she also pulls a very telling quote from Freud; “No one who, like me, conjures up the most evil of those half-tamed demons that inhabit the human beast and seeks to wrestle with them can expect to come through the struggle unscathed.” – from the book Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria, which was a highly controversial book at the time.

I think a lot of people’re scared... they just don’t say it ‘cause they’re trying to be something.
— Hot Spot
  • HOT SPOT is apparently wrestling with his fear and has a really great quote: “I think a lot of people’re scared… They just don’t say it, ‘cause they’re trying to be something. We’re all trying to be something. But it helps, right? Knowing you got something to say. Right? Even if you go out at least they’ll remember you.” He dies in the very next page, showing the bitter brutality of this crisis, especially considering that no one can remember the catch phrase that he is referring to in his interview, the one that he hopes people will remember. There is so much to this one part of the book that I could go on for a while, but don’t worry, I won’t. What I will say is that fear is such a common feeling, and it isn’t bad, though it is unarguably a hard feeling.

  • BLUE JAY seems to be experiencing dissociative episodes and wakes up small, drowning in sheets.

  • ARSENAL was a surprising presence in this book at first, even though it makes more sense than most other heroes. We are all well aware of the addiction problems that Arsenal struggles with, it is a defining aspect of his character. He talks, in his interview, about how he became addicted to drugs, and it is a very common story: he was in a lot of pain and his doctor prescribed him some medication, which turned into more and more pills.

Heroes in Crisis shows that even the strongest of heroes can struggle with their mental health. I hope that this Crisis sparks a conversation in the comic book world to be more open about our mental health struggles, and to support our friends who are wrestling with anxiety, fear, depression, or whatever it may be.
— Trever Shirin