Tom King Brings a Superhero Crisis Center to the DCU with Sanctuary


At the DC in D.C. convention this weekend, writer Tom King teased both a new project and a new initiative in his work that he's calling Sanctuary. Modelled after real-world veterans' crisis centers, Sanctuary will be a DC Universe-wide initiative designed as a place where superheroes can go to to receive the emotional support they might need to help process through whatever trauma they accumulate in their line of work.

According to King, Sanctuary will be a concept that will have the potential to appear in "every book across the line," but when asked if there was an actual series named Sanctuary, King said only "there's a big thing coming that I'm not allowed to talk about -- but if you follow my twitter I've been dropping some hints."

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He continued, "Sanctuary's the most obvious idea I think I've ever had," King went on, "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."

The word "Crisis" certainly has some substantial weight in the DC Universe, so it's impossible to ignore its use in the phrase "crisis centers." That, coupled with Tom King's recent twitter activity, certainly seems to imply that there is something big on the horizon for both King and the DCU.

However, Sanctuary itself doesn't sound like the title of a new book, but rather the name of a new initiative or project that will be either discovered or constructed -- potentially by the Trinity -- throughout the shared universe.

When asked if Sanctuary was an initiative to help build a sense of community back into the DCU, King responded, "To me, the ideal sort of vision of the DCU is Justice League Unlimited and the idea that there's like a club that they all go to and there's like, lunch on a tray, and they decide who's the best person to fight [whatever is happening]. And I know that doesn't currently exist but it kind of exists in all of our imaginations. And if I could do anything to the DCU, it would be to bring that back, to bring that sense of community of superheroes and people come in and come out, and they do all know each other."

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King wasn't able to tease any further details, including where the concept of Sanctuary might first show up, exactly how it will be officially introduced, or what other creators are involved with the initiative, meaning it's entirely possible that we may see the first inklings of Sanctuary in other current DCU events and crossovers that aren't currently being worked on by King himself, like Doomsday Clock or Metal -- both of which are "Crisis-level" stories that have specifically avoided using the word "Crisis" in their names.

So, the question becomes: Is Tom King working on the first official Crisis in the post-Rebirth DCU, and, if so, is Sanctuary the result or the catalyst?

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