Wally West in Heroes in Crisis No. 9 (Credit: DC Comics)
What Should DC Do Next with Wally West?
DC’s next step with Wally should be to directly address the trauma that set him down this dark path, but also to re-visit the rehabilitation process in Sanctuary. The finale sees a horde of new characters joining the center (including Nightwing, so when in the timeline does this title fit in, since Dick Grayson is still going by Ric in his own series?) but, if the trinity don’t want a repeat of Wally, they are going to have to change the foundations of how Sanctuary works. Furthermore, the trial of Wally West, were it to play out in any of DC’s titles, needs to have a better grip on the psychological effects on the character prior to and following the massacre.
Having hyped up Heroes in Crisis as a sensitive look at PTSD among superheroes, the series has, in fact, undermined its own message at every turn, not least by framing mental illness as directly resulting in violence. The PTSD angle was also not fleshed out, neither were there accurate psychological tips for working through trauma. There’s little for readers to take away from this, especially those who were invested in the central theme. Some may have found the title entertaining – and, as a comic book event, Heroes in Crisis definitely had its moments – but these were a dime-a-dozen.
Tom King was supposed to bring a deep personal insight to this series, but it didn’t come to fruition. We do not know whose final decision it was to change the message of the series but, in the end, Heroes in Crisis is more controversial than it is poignant.