This week, at Comic-Con International in San Diego creators Tom King, Clay Mann and Mitch Gerads treated the press to an immersive Heroes in Crisis experience with a "trip to Sanctuary," the super hero crisis crisis center that will feature prominently in the event. After a quick "guided meditation" session, Tom King then opened up, offering new details about the story and what fans should expect.
Fair warning, the content of Heroes in Crisis may be triggering for some fans sensitive to issues revolving around trauma and gun violence.
At the press event, King impressed upon the importance of Sanctuary for DC's heroes, as well as the personal origins of the story. He explained that the emphasis of the story will not just be on the trauma superheroes suffer in the line of duty, but the way that road to recovery is non-linear and full of pitfalls. The idea came from a panic attack Tom experienced during his first year writing Batman, which fell almost immediately before the death of a close relative, as well as his experience with war during his time at the CIA. "I didn't realize how brittle I was," King said about how he realized he needed help coping with his panic and anxiety.
Sanctuary itself will be located in rural Nebraska, with a front disguised as a small county home, but within the house itself there are holo-deck style chambers where therapy can take place. The staff of Sanctuary is an A.I. programmed by Batman, using Kryptonian technology and designed to emulate Wonder Woman's compassion. Admission to Sanctuary is anonymous, and patients are brought in specifically by the Trinity, wearing a mask to protect their identity. "And the Trinity always keeps their secrets," King said.
The holo-deck chambers are designed to allow personalized, bespoke treatments to teach patients. "If you're Batman and maybe you need to talk to the boys, rather than the men, if you need to talk to the boys again, you can do that. If you need to climb a mountain, or look at the ocean, walk in the desert, you can do that here."
In addition to Sanctuary's technology and therapy, Heroes in Crisis will be working to reestablish the shared universe continuity of the DC Universe reminiscent of stories like Infinite Crisis and Justice League Unlimited. Characters who are treated at Sanctuary will be given a pin as a symbol of their treatment, and King has confirmed that multiple books will begin featuring appearances of the pins on characters cross the DCU. There will also be non-Heroes in Crisis books that feature "talking head" style interviews that will start in the event book where characters are given opportunities to talk about their emotional lives directly and openly.
“This is a big story about a masacre… a murder that happens in the safest place in the DCU,” King said of the project later, during the DC Nation panel where he also reveals he will be reuniting with past collaborators Mikel Janin and Mitch Gerads on the project. “What [Mitch and I] did in Mister Miracle is deconstruct one superhero…that was a prelude to Heroes In Crisis where we do that to every character in the DC Universe.” King then promised that the series would make the DCU different from any other fictional world out there, because it will more strongly reflect the emotions of its readership.
Heroes in Crisis #1 hits shelves September 26.