If Tom King could redo his 2018-2019 series Heroes in Crisis, he'd change the title and casting to make it just a little less divisive.
"People hate that poor little book and I love it so much," King joked during an interview with CBR at New York Comic Con. "I think the casting on it makes it divisive. There's two things -- number one, it has a terrible title. I should have come up with a better title. I called it Heroes in Crisis. Every time I see the title I'm like, oh, I should have called it Sanctuary. That's a much better title than HiC. I was going for the Crisis title probably just to make money -- that's a good lesson to young creators. Go for the art, not the money. That's number one."
The hypothetical title Sanctuary refers to "The Sanctuary," a rehabilitation center for the DC superhero community introduced in the series. While it was an intimate murder mystery rather than a world-shattering series, Heroes in Crisis arguably sold well precisely because it followed DC's Crisis naming convention, which is usually reserved for major events like Crisis on Infinite Earths and the current mega-event, Dark Crisis.
"Number two, Wally West had been set up from Rebirth as sort of the new hope of the universe," King continued, addressing Wally's surprise reveal as the perpetrator behind the murders in the series. "...DC told me this is the cast. I said I need two suspects and an actual murderer. They said it was going to be Booster, Harley and Wally. I said that’s great. That was my mistake, I should not have said that’s great. Making Wally -- who was the big hope...to me, there was such sadness in his rebirth because he got reborn without his family. To me, that’s a horrible thing. I have children, I have a wife and I live for them. Oh great, I’m back, my family is back, wonderful -- my superhero family is back but my real family is gone? To me, that’d tear my soul apart. That’s what it’s about, him sort of experiencing that."
Wally's Role in Heroes in Crisis
Wally West returned to DC during the company's 2016 Rebirth initiative after the New 52 reboot wiped him from continuity, presenting Barry Allen as the sole Flash. Wally was portrayed as a symbol of hope and legacy, and his return was representative of an ongoing metaplot to depict the relatively grim New 52 reboot as a shift architected by Doctor Manhattan, of Watchmen fame, to recreate the DC Universe in his liking.
Wally returned to DC continuity alone without his family, however, and Heroes in Crisis showed him grappling with this trauma and inadvertently causing a Speed Force blast that killed several victims at the Sanctuary. His subsequent covering up of the murders and brief imprisonment in a Justice League prison drew outcry from dedicated Flash fans when the story wrapped up.
"I think a large chunk of the audience, because he was the symbol of rebirth... it's like movie casting. You don’t want to see the Rock looking out the window, crying," King speculated. "You want to see him punching somebody. I just think it was cast poorly. If I had to do it again, I’d cast it differently. Besides that, I think [Heroes in Crisis] is a wonderful thing. It speaks to issues that are really important to me and it’s drawn by Clay Mann with the most beautiful art you’ve ever seen."