Last weekend, at the DC in DC event, Batman writer Tom King teased two new projects for the publisher. The first, a new initiative called “Sanctuary,” which he describes as a universe-wide crisis center for super heroes. The second is a “new project” that may or may not be the vehicle that introduces Sanctuary as a concept. The key phrase here, however, as King was quick to highlight during press round tables at the event, is “crisis center.”
Now, obviously, crisis centers are a real thing, and the phrase is an apt name for Sanctuary as its been described. But the fact remains, it’s impossible to use the C-word in any context in a conversation about the DC Universe without evoking some very specific subtext. Coupling this subtext with King’s Twitter feed, where he has used everything from action figures to panel screenshots to tease upcoming projects, and the link seems almost too obvious.
So, we have to ask: is King in the process of creating the first official Crisis story for the post-Rebirth DCU? And if he is, why does it matter?
It’s time to roll up our sleeves and dive deep into some serious speculation.
What’s a Crisis, and Why Do They Matter?
Historically, the term “Crisis” has been used to describe cosmic-level events in the DC Universe that have massive, line-wide impacts on things like continuity or the universal status quo. The term initially came to prominence back in 1963 with the Crisis on Earth One! story. This was the first time the Justice League and Justice Society came in contact with one another by traveling between their respective Earths, a storytelling trope which set the “cosmic” precedent that would be more or less maintained through subsequent Crises.
Over the years, Crisis events evolved to become a sort of DC Comics shorthand for narrative pivots, a reorganization of history, and a realignment of continuity. The most famous “modern” Crisis, 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, was arguably the biggest, abolishing the original Silver and Bronze Age multiverse for the first time. Since then, there have been four major Crisis events, culminating in the appropriately named Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones epic, Final Crisis, a story which sprinted across the finish line just a scant few years before the continuity rebooting not-a-Crisis Flashpoint event sparked the New 52.
This is where things start to get a little odd.
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