Warning: SPOILERS for DC's Heroes in Crisis
There was no way for DC fans to prepare for Heroes in Crisis, delivering a crushing blow to their favorite comic book heroes with an attack much smaller, and much more common than the end of the world: a mass shooting.
With the first page of Heroes in Crisis #1 beginning after the attack, too late for even Superman to stop, only two survivors are left in a daze at what they've just witnessed. Wally West is dead, joined by at least a dozen other heroes. And it was Booster Gold who killed them. But knowing that Booster Gold was behind the shooting at Sanctuary is just the beginning of this story. Now, the question is why he did it. And just as important, why doesn't he seem to remember it?
- This Page: Yes, Booster Gold Was The Killer
- Page 2: Why Booster Gold is Losing His Sanity
Yes, Booster Gold Was Behind The Mass Shooting
Before any skeptical readers unfamiliar with Tom King's writing, or Clay Mann's artwork let their outrage or anger turn to attacks against the storytellers, Heroes in Crisis is not a story being lightly, or disrespectfully told. The stunned, numb, and half-dazed tone with which most of the first issue is told fits the shock of the event itself, and it starts with Booster and a cup of coffee in an unassuming roadside diner - blissfully unaware of how close they are to one of the most tragic crimes in recent DC memory.
It's hard to know if the storytellers intended this first page to end the mystery, with Booster calmly accepting that when Harley comes shuffling in - clothes torn, skin cut, blood dripping - "there's gonna be a fight." Whether the reader views Harley as survivor or stalking killer, that assumption likely holds as she consumes a piece of pie in the wake of a horror (a meal she finds "tastes like America" in a new way), and begins stabbing Booster with her typical brand of tenacity.
Their continued fight, Booster seemingly surprised that she hasn't "done enough" already, Harley seeming to have already decided neither she nor Booster is going to live through the day, plays out even as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman enter Sanctuary to discover who, and what has been lost. As Bruce decides the promise of Sanctuary is dead, Harley plants her knife squarely into Booster's chest - revealing that he's been broken more than he knows.
The end of the issue doesn't leave a sense of ambiguity as to the killer's identity, as much as it might seem to be a case of Harley's word against Booster's. Her regret over responding to Booster's sudden attack by fleeing for her life rings true, and the final page revealing Booster's video testimonial - dropping his confident persona to admit that he needs help - is as final a note as they come. Telling as Harley's earlier testimonial, ending with "Bang, Bang. Bang. God..." may have seemed at the time.
The most tragic part of this story is that fans who begin searching for an explanation out of habit may not find one at all. Booster Gold was taken to Sanctuary out of concern for his mental health, like many of the other heroes being treated. And it may be his recent trauma, horrible enough to break any hero, that simply led to his violent break.
If comic book fans don't already know about Booster's recent nightmare trip through time, they should, before deciding what the future should hold for Booster Gold.