Four issues into Heroes in Crisis, the murder mystery mini-series by Tom King, Clay Mann, and Lee Weeks, the story’s investigators aren’t much closer to figuring out who committed the mass murder at the Sanctuary treatment center.
Two main suspects have emerged: Harley Quinn and Booster Gold. Both were apparent witnesses to the massacre, and both claim the other perpetrated the crime.
But there’s confusion about which one of the two characters could have pulled it off, with even DC super-detectives the Flash and Batman in disagreement in this week’s Heroes in Crisis #4.
So what are the clues so far? And what questions do they raise?
Newsarama gathered the main clues and questions and gathered them here, along with what characters are implicated:
Clue #1: The Puddlers
The first major clue came in #1, when the Trinity was arriving at the murder scene and found writing on the wall at Sanctuary that said: “The puddlers are all dead.”
Wonder Woman pointed out in #1 that “puddlers” are people that work with molten metal and remove impurities so the iron can be strong.
But the “Puddlers” term has continued to show up in the story, but in a different context. Lois Lane has been sent thumb drives with videos of heroes’ “confession” treatment sessions from Sanctuary.
The first thumb drive had an attached note that said, “Our heroes hide themselves from us. From Sanctuary. Here is the truth. More truths will be coming.”
The message was signed, “The Puddlers.”
The use of the term doesn’t seem consistent. The first use of “puddlers” seemed directed at the dead heroes, but the latest one seems to be a moniker for the perpetrator(s). After all, if the puddlers are “all dead,” how are the puddlers sending these thumb drives?
But more importantly, this latest clue points toward someone with technical ability. The person (or “people”) who sent the thumb drives had to get access to the files from Sanctuary (which according to Batman were not even being recorded).
It also implicates the Sanctuary AI itself. The note to Lois says “from us” and then says “from Sanctuary,” implying that the “us” might be the same as “Sanctuary.” After all, this wouldn’t be the first time Batman has constructed an AI that went rogue, and there were personalities programmed into the system that mimicked human beings Jonathan Kent, Martha Kent, and Lana Lang.
That said, there’s a possibility that Batman had back-ups of the confession files somewhere. Heroes in Crisis established that Batman lied about Kryptonite in his belt, implying that he also lied about making back-ups of confessions. So the perpetrators might actually have stolen the files from Bruce Wayne.
Suspect(s) implicated by this clue: Batman, someone in the Batman family or rogues gallery, or the Sanctuary A.I. itself (although it’s hard to imagine an artificial intelligence being angry that the heroes “hide themselves” from the public).
Clue #2: Two Witnesses, Different Memories
Although both Booster Gold and Harley Quinn escaped harm during the slaughter at Sanctuary, each one of them is convinced that the other one committed the crime. In fact, Booster claims Harley tried to kill him and failed.
Both of their claims to innocence have been tested by Wonder Woman’s lasso. And both passed.
It’s hard to fathom a motivation for either of these characters killing a slew of other people, but it’s always possible this is part of Tom King’s narrative about mental health.
Did one of them commit the murders, then leave the other one alive so they could frame them for the crime?
Or, because future solicitations imply they’re both innocent (and we’d like to believe that’s true), is it possible that the real perpetrator somehow got inside their heads and made them each see the other?
But if it wasn’t one of them, how did they get these memories? And why did the murderer let Booster Gold and Harley survive?
Besides, who would have the mental power to make each of them see the other?
Suspect(s) implicated by this clue: Booster, Harley, and/or any of the DC characters that have mind-control or memory manipulation abilities. Or maybe a shape-shifter that could make themselves look like Harley or Booster.
Clue #3: Harley’s Presence
During Poison Ivy’s treatment at Sanctuary, she underwent a session that all patients were apparently encouraged to undergo: A “confession” in front of a mirror.
Poison Ivy’s confession, recorded before the mass murder, featured Harley Quinn showing up in the middle of it.
Harley’s appearance at Sanctuary was a surprise to Ivy, who claimed that Harley shouldn’t even know where Sanctuary is.
So how did Harley Quinn not only discover Sanctuary but break into the facility and find Poison Ivy?
Doesn’t it naturally follow that this breech in security is connected to the murders, since they occurred while she was there?
Suspect(s) implicated by this clue: Harley Quinn, the person who gave her the information to get to Sanctuary, someone else close to Harley, or someone who would know to follow her to Sanctuary.
Clue #4: Shield, Powers & Strange Actions
One of the big clues that has been repeated is that Booster Gold’s shield was not functioning during the murders (according to him), and it still wasn’t functioning afterward.
He’s not the only one that appeared to have a superpower malfunction. It’s also difficult to believe that someone could murder so many individuals who have superpowers. For example, why didn’t anyone seem to fight back or run? Were their powers suppressed too? Or was something else at work?
Heroes in Crisis has also revealed scenes that don’t make much sense, particularly when considered with the current suspects. For example, Lagoon Boy was killed by a projectile and died laughing out loud. And Harley Quinn was allegedly able to swing a giant mallet so quickly and with enough power to instantly kill speedster Wally West (or maybe Wally didn’t even resist?).
An alarm was set off around the time of the murders. Readers have been shown that various chamber sessions were interrupted by an automated announcement: “Emergency. Please proceed to the nearest exit.”
The dialogue that occurred during the murders is also strange. Harley Quinn and Booster supposedly talked calmly about this being his first day at Sanctuary … an eery conversation that occurred when she had just bashed Wally West in the head. And Wally’s last words were: “Roy … why … why did it … the kids .. I didn’t want … I didn’t want to be alone.”
At the very least, the characters seemed confused during the murder scene.
Were all the characters’ minds under control by someone else? Or is someone actually a stark-raving mad killer and the rest of them were so surprised to see it at Sanctuary that they didn’t resist?
Suspect(s) implicated by this clue: The Sanctuary AI, mind-control villains, a crazy Booster Gold or Harley Quinn (or one of their personalities?), or, perhaps, Booster’s robotic friend Skeets…
Clue #5: Skeets Signal
After Booster Gold flew away from the murder scene at Sanctuary, and after his fight with Harley Quinn ended, Skeets showed up in #2, stating that Booster sent him an emergency signal.
Skeets then used futuristic technology to heal Booster, and he encouraged Booster to turn himself in.
This all sounds innocuous enough for Booster’s flying robotic friend, except there’s a big problem: Skeets was revealed by King to be a bad guy now.
According to an image in Batman #50, Skeets is one of several characters working secretly with Bane to negatively manipulate Batman. Look at the bottom right.
If we consider Skeets a villain, it might follow that he would have the ability to shut off Booster’s shield technology to help the murders take place. And if Skeets is teaming with the other villains revealed in Batman #50 (including Psycho Pirate, who can manipulate emotions), it might explain some of the shenanigans during the crime.
That said, it’s difficult to come up with a motivation for Skeets or Bane to kill dozens of people, including villains, in a Nebraska mental health facility.
But it’s safe to assume that Skeets showing up in a King limited series, after the writer revealed in Batman #50 that Skeets is a villain, was not a mistake.
Suspect(s) implicated by this clue: Skeets. And, by extension, Bane and everyone standing with him at the end of Batman #50.
Clue #6: The DC Graphic
A few months before the series began, DC released an advertisement for Heroes in Crisis that teased some of the characters that might be murdered or involved.
There is already one inconsistency in the graphic. It said “two of these characters will be murdered,” but Roy Harper, Wally West and Poison Ivy are all three present. So…did one of those three actually live? We didn’t see Poison Ivy’s body (yet?), and there are all kinds of conspiracy theories floating around the internet about Wally actually being alive, so it might be one of them.
The advertisement also says three of the characters will be accused of murder. So far, two of them have been revealed: Harley Quinn and Booster Gold.
But the key question included in the graphic is: “Which one of these characters will be revealed as a murderer?”
The images shown included: Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Booster Gold, Deathstroke, Nightwing, Kyle Rayner, Tim Drake, Green Arrow, Arsenal, Cyborg, Poison Ivy, Superman, Lex Luthor, Flash/Wally West, The Riddler, John Constantine, The Atom, Damage, Mr. Terrific, Beast Boy, Harley Quinn.
So…if the story hasn’t been changed and DC wasn’t kidding, one of those characters did it.
Clue #7: Those Teeth
There were a couple clues discovered when Bruce Wayne conducted an autopsy on the body of victim Commander Steel.
Bruce reported that although Commander Steel was dead, his “fairly impenetrable skin was perfectly intact” and there was a bulge in his neck, “as if someone made him swallow something.”
The item that was shown looked like wind-up chattering teeth.
Suspect(s) implicated by this clue: The Joker, someone associated with the Joker (like Harley Quinn), or some other character connected to teeth. Or, perhaps, someone trying to frame the Joker.
So who do you think is the Heroes in Crisis killer(s)? Let us know in the comments.