After Heroes in Crisis #8 revealed Wally West accidentally killed the characters in Sanctuary (but then purposely covered it up), this week’s #9 ties up the loose ends and closes the time loop created by the story’s events.
The key revelations of Heroes in Crisis #9:
- Wally West survives the story. Despite #8 indicating Wally must kill his future self to complete the time loop, the story finds an only-in-comic-books way to save Wally’s life.
- Although the events in Sanctuary have been “outed” to the public by Lois Lane’s reporting, the facility not only survives the crisis, but it’s still open, allowing other DC characters to get psychological treatment.
- Poison Ivy was resurrected by the Green. (But really, who didn’t suspect that at this point?)
- Wally West is in jail when the limited series ends, although there’s blue lightning around his chest’s symbol (the same blue lightning that’s on the cover), perhaps indicating the involvement of some other force.
So how did the issue wrap up the story? Let’s take a look at spoilers to find out.
First, Let’s Talk Confessions
Before we get into the main story, it’s important to point out that confessions from Sanctuary are interspersed throughout the issue.
The confessions are depicted over several pages, each featuring a nine-panel grid, and each panel capturing one moment from one DC character’s confession.
Included are confessions from a slew of DC characters you know, and some you maybe don’t — Jason Blood, the Guardian, Aquaman, Firestorm, Guy Gardner, Hal Jordan, Jessica Cruz, Kyle Rayner, Cyborg, Captain Atom, Jim Corrigan, the Question, Mademoiselle Marie, Black Lightning, Martian Manhunter, Katana, Mera, Raven, Tommy Tomorrow, Mr. Terrific, Beast Boy, Adam Strange, Red Tornado, Dove, Sideways, Dr. Light, Metamorpho, Kole, Frankenstein, June Robbins, Vixen, Will Magnus, Blue Beetle, Fire, Ice, Detective Chimp, Zatanna, Catwoman, Orphan, Stephanie Brown, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Damian Wayne, and Tim Drake.
Yes, all these people apparently had to go to Sanctuary. Tim, Dick, Jason - even they went to Sanctuary, each comparing themselves to the other three Robins and wondering about their identity in the Bat-family. (The exception among the Robins is Damian, who says he’s fine. And Steph just says, “Did they talk about me? I bet they didn’t. Everyone forgets.” And she’s right - none of them mentioned her in the dialogue shown.)
Oh, and Orphan didn’t say anything. And Catwoman just meowed.
The point seems to be that superheroes are troubled, just like the rest of us. All of them need help sometimes.
Now, The Story
The majority of the issue takes place in the spot where Wally West has time-traveled from the past to kill his five-days-ahead self.
But just as younger-Wally is about to kill five-days-older-Wally, Blue Beetle’s Bug shows up, carrying Ted Kord/Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Batgirl, and Harley Quinn.
(In #7, these four characters figured out that Wally was the key to the murders, and they devised a way to track Wally’s time disturbance by utilizing Skeets and Kord Industries tech.)
In Heroes in Crisis #9, the first thing readers learn is the explanation behind Poison Ivy’s resurrection (from the previous issue).
Ivy explains to Harley that the rose she gave her had a “piece” of Ivy in it, “so we would be together.”
However, when the flower was planted by Wally, the “piece” of Ivy merged with the Green, “shaped by the Green, and I am reborn - or perhaps it is better said, I am regrown.”
As we’ve pointed out before, this turn of events has been hinted about for awhile in DC books, with some stories suggestig that Ivy will soon take Swamp Thing’s place as the Avatar of the Green.
Of course, it’s still not clear how Wally knew to plant the flower…
Anyway, after Ivy and Harley are reunited, the two Wallys have a healthy chat, and the five-days-older one talks the younger one out of killing him.
“You’re not alone,” he says, pointing out all the people standing around him are kind of messed up too (including the girl who was “grown” and the four who just got out of the Bug).
“Talk. Listen. And know,” five-days Wally says. “As bad as it is, we’re in it together.”
Then readers learn two things from five-days Wally:
1) After Wally accidentally killed everyone, he didn’t travel back in time to “unmake” his mistake because that’s what Barry did during Flashpoint. “It remade the world; it erased my family.”
2) During the five days he had left to live, five-days Wally sent the confession files to Lois Lane to try to “make up for what happened,” telling the world what he’d done at Sanctuary, and encouraging people to get help before they made the same mistakes he did.
Five-days Wally tells the younger Wally that it worked, that Superman came out and told people the truth. “We’re not hiding anymore.”
As the Wallys are chatting, Blue Beetle estimates that the Justice League will arrive in a couple minutes. So, he says, there’s no need to arrest or subdue the Flashes (because, he also points out, they probably couldn’t arrest a speedster even if they tried).
Loop De Loop
Aaaaaand….then the whole time travel thing gets interesting.
It turns out that this whole “stop Wally from killng himself” is already part of the time loop.
Five-days Wally reveals that this is the same thing that happened to him five days ago - that he also didn’t kill the older Wally.
Booster Gold explains that they can still “close” the loop, even without the dead body of five-days-old Wally. They can go to the 25th Century and “speed-clone” older Wally. Then younger Wally can take that cloned body back to the past, so the loop will continue.
And five-days Wally doesn’t have to die.
Younger Wally isn’t convinced. He was ready to sacrifice himself. After all, he says, “I’m a hero.” And sacrifice is what heroes do.
But Booster explains that although, yes, they are all heroes, they’re people too. They’re family.
And sometimes, that can come first.
“Bros before heroes,” Booster says, holding his fist out to younger Wally. The scarlet speedster looks at Booster for a second, then responds with his own fist bump. “Bros before heroes.”
Before young Wally can take the cloned body back to the murder scene and complete the loop, Harley has something to say. She walks up to Wally, puts her hands on his shoulders, and talks about how he framed her and killed Ivy. Then Harley knees Wally in … well, it isn’t shown, but we’re guessing it’s his crotch, because the next panel, young Wally is on the ground in a fetal position.
“Oh right,” older Wally says. “That happens. And it lingers.”
So that’s part of the loop too.
Sanctuary Still Going Strong
The final nine-panel grid of confession videos is shown at this point, including some of the heroes we mentioned above. And there are two particularly notable panels:
1) Captain Atom says, “Now that you’ve reopened … are you sure? Is this safe?”
So … Sanctuary reopens. And DC characters are still going to Sanctuary for treatment, even after the event of Heroes in Crisis.
2) Jim Corrigan says, “I asked the Lord our God why we suffer. He didn’t answer. He couldn’t speak through the tears.”
The rest of the issue ties up loose ends. The cloned body gets taken back. And the Justice League shows up to arrest Wally West.
Booster and Beetle are shown hanging out together in Ted’s crib. And Harley and Ivy are hanging out together in a forest.
Heroes are still coming to Sanctuary to find healing.
Wally West’s family is still gone, or at least forgotten about by everyone but Wally.
And Wally is sitting alone in prison.
The final panel shows Wally’s Flash symbol glowing blue, with blue lightning around it. It’s not clear if the color indicates something more - perhaps a connection to Dr. Manhattan, or a nod toward Wally’s family being alive? - but it’s similar to the blue lightning featured on the cover of Heroes in Crisis #9.