According to Heroes in Crisis #6, there are now (at least) two different versions of what happened at Sanctuary. And the differences between them have been seeded throughout the series as little-noticed clues to the mystery behind the murders.
Heroes in Crisis #6, the latest issue in the murder mystery series by Tom King, Clay Mann, Mitch Gerads, and others, also confirmed that Gnarrk died at Sanctuary, and it featured another quick cameo by Nemesis, the character whose powers of disguise make him a leading suspect.
But the most obvious revelation in the issue is the existence of different versions of the murders.
In fact, with the previous issue’s clue about time travel being involved in the murder, it’s possible that what readers are seeing are two different timelines.
And there may be more.
Wally’s Here and There
The key to the differences seems to be the death of Wally West, whose murder in this issue had a few differences from the version of his murder that was shown in Heroes in Crisis #3.
In the issue #3 version, Wally was cradling Roy Harper in his arms when he was killed by Harley Quinn out on the front porch of the Sanctuary house.
In the new version, Wally was also holding Roy Harper, but he was killed by Booster Gold inside the Sanctuary house.
Looking back at previous issues, the “inside” version of Wally’s location was also depicted in Heroes in Crisis #1.
Superman discovered Wally’s body inside the Sanctuary house, and there were no bodies on the front porch.
There also seems to be another distinction: Harley Quinn’s reason for being there. In one scenario, she is shown giving a confession by herself at Sanctuary, as if she’s a patient (in issues #1 and #5).
But in this week’s Heroes in Crisis #6 (and in issue #2), she seemed to have snuck into the facility and was only able to access Sanctuary’s treatment facilities by sharing them with her friend Poison Ivy.
Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman have established that they don’t maintain records of who goes to Sanctuary, so they technically wouldn’t know whether Harley Quinn was a patient there or not.
And neither, it seems, do the readers.
All About Perspective?
It’s also important to note that there are other discrepancies in the way the murders were carried out.
For example, Booster saw Harley Quinn wielding a hammer, but Lagoon Boy was shown being killed in a previous issue by some sort of spear or projectile.
And although Booster Gold was supposedly killing people with his energy blasts (as depicted in this week’s #6), Commander Steel’s impenetrable skin was not harmed, according to Batman’s autopsy on him.
Gnarrk’s death scene in this week’s issue might provide a clue about what’s happening. The character died as he was holding Protector in his arms, on the field outside of Sanctuary.
Gnarrk calms the other character by talking about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, an analogy that features prisoners only able to see shadows on a wall, unable to understand the higher concepts creating them.
Perhaps the inclusion of the analogy hints that the “shadows” being seen by characters (and readers) in Heroes in Crisis might not be the whole picture? Each of these realities might just be “shadows on a wall” compared to the bigger picture of the Sanctuary murders.
Then again, maybe Gnarrk’s mention of the cave was just a sweet way for him to talk about how much he learned when he was transported to this world.
What Went Down
Besides these confusing revelations, there’s a lot of content in the issue about the way three characters experienced therapy at Sanctuary: Gnarrk, Wally West, and Harley Quinn.
In this issue, Ivy again says that Harley Quinn isn’t supposed to be at Sanctuary, warning that the Trinity will come and kick her out. Harley says, yep, she realizes that. And the issue implies that the only way Harley was able to access the self-treatment aspects of Sanctuary was with Ivy’s assistance.
And as outlined above, this time, it’s Booster Gold who is shown killing Wally.
The issue ends with six one-panel cameos featuring various characters in their “confessions.” Included are Commander Steel, Blue Jay, Solstice, Kid Devil, Hot Spot, Nemesis, Arsenal, Gunfire, and Tattooed Man.
The solicitation for Heroes in Crisis #6, which was titled “Who Is Saved?,” stated that the issue would show readers “what pushed one of the superheroes over the edge and how it broke the machine.” Apparently, that one superhero is Booster Gold, since he’s the potrayed killer in this issue.
But there’s obviously more to learn in this murder mystery, since readers still have no explanation for clues like the chattering teeth from issue #1, Wally West’s body being five days too old, and the mysterious hand that pulled the rose from the water in issue #5.
The story continues March 27 with Heroes in Crisis #6.