SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Deathstroke #32, by Christopher Priest, Carlo Pagulayan, Roberto Viacara, Larry Hama, Jason Paz, Jeromy Cox and Willie Schubert, on sale now.
Back in January, at the DC in D.C. convention, Batman writer Tom King teased a brand new project he was working on called Sanctuary, which was intended to be a DC Universe-sprawling initiative modeled after veterans’ crisis centers.
“Sanctuary’s the most obvious idea I think I’ve ever had,” King said. “I’m sure it’s what Geoff [Johns] must have felt like when he realized the [Lantern] rings could have different colors. The DCU has a bunch of superheroes and all they do is fight, every time, and that must have a psychological effect on them, right? You can’t live a life of violence and not feel that violence deep in your heart — and we also have a group of superheroes, the Trinity, who care about these other heroes. They sort of feel like parental figures, the foundation that stands beneath them. And they care about them for two reasons: one, because they’re good people, but two, if superheroes feel trauma and it drives them a little mad, that’s a danger. So, as both a practical and a compassionate matter, they’ve set up something called Sanctuary, which is a place that you can go, modelled on veterans’ crisis centers — which is an interesting name for them — and talk about this trauma and admit that this had an effect on you; where you can admit that being a superhero and seeing a life of violence and seeing people get hurt around you, that that has some sort of impact on you — and Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman can help you.”
Since that announcement, the Sanctuary concept has popped up a couple of times in recent issues of Batman. The first was in Issue #43 – the conclusion of “Everyone Loves Ivy” – which saw Bruce arrange for Poison Ivy to head to Sanctuary after the trauma she suffered from being manipulated by The Riddler, as well as the effects of having the voices of 7.5 billion people in her head. Then, it was strongly implied at the end of the recent “The Travelers” arc in Issue #47 that – after a blast to the past gone wrong -- Booster Gold was in need of some superhero counseling.
However, while the latest tease for Sanctuary does involve the Caped Crusader, it’s actually found in the pages of Deathstroke #32.