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  • Accidental Aesop: Mixed with Family-Unfriendly Aesop. Many readers are baffled that the message of the book is supposed to be (according to marketers) about the importance of mental health and having places to heal; Instead viewing the message of the story as being, "If you're mentally ill you're either going to die horribly for seeking help or, accidentally or not, become a mass murderer."
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: The intended message of the series seems to be about the importance of mental care and having places where one can heal after traumatizing events but the final issue reveals a different take on mental health care. Namely that therapy does help but it's not an instant cure, it's something that takes time and effort in order to be effective and you have to be open to it in order for it to work even if you feel like you're not improving.
  • Ass Pull: There was no conceivable way for anyone to guess what happened at Sanctuary, because critical aspects of it rely on things that are never established and outright contradict previous lore:
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    • The revelation that the massacre was caused by an electrical storm from Wally's Speed Force connection comes out of nowhere, as the Speed Force has never been shown to have such a psychological connection or be used in that explosive way before. Rather than a clever mystery solution, it ends up being a facet that nobody could predict on account of it never having been an issue before. In fact, it's been shown to be quite the opposite, as the entire reason that Wally is so talented with the Speed Force is that he doesn't try to contain or hold it back, but instead allows it to guide him in a sort of zen state.
      • The book also lost out on an opportunity to actually give a proper explanation as to why the Speed Force was acting unusually: it got broken during the Flash War arc in The Flash, so Wally's inability to control it was literally not his fault at all. Instead, the book never brings this up, and it's just treated as a matter of fact for the Speed Force when, as mentioned, it never was. But then given how it ignores most of Flash War, this shouldn't be too surprising. Also, given the nature of this series, having Wally's Speed Force explosion be purely the result of his breakdown goes better with the themes of the story King wanted to tell, even if it makes far less sense, but the same could be said of many of the creative choices made in this series.
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    • Wally's skill with computers is apparently equal to that of Barbara Gordan and Tim Drake, if not beyond, because he's not only capable of cracking the security of Sanctuary designed by Batman, but also capable of reassembling all the videos of patients confession from the bits that are deleted... what he claims to do doesn't actually make sense if you know how digital files work, especially in a case where it's likely and logical the deletion protocols for erasing these files goes beyond simply sticking them in the recycle bin and deleting them. To put it mildly, Wally does not have this level of skill. His intelligence level can fluctuate Depending on the Writer, but no writer before Tom King has written him with computer skills, and super speed giving him years worth of time to try really doesn't change that.
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    • Lagoon Boy's death was notably shown in flashback, and was clearly not the result of a Speed Force explosion, as he had a harpoon shoved through him. King claims it was just poorly written on his part, and that the scene just takes place in Lagoon Boy's mind as he's killed by the Speed Force explosion. Most find it very hard to believe that's just poor writing, and think it's far more likely that editorial required major changes some time after that issue was published.
    • The way that the need for Wally's dead body to be present at the crime scene is addressed. The need for it adds tension to the scene and its presence is a clue, given that it helps lead to the killer... in the end it was placed there by Booster using completely unforeshadowed cloning tech. It is almost a literal Deus ex Machina.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: This was an issue the series had from the moment it was announced, and got worse as it went on. It was marketed as a Spiritual Successor to Identity Crisis, probably still the most divisive Crisis-event DC has done (which says something, because nearly all of them are divisive for one reason or another). Then it was revealed that Wally West and Roy Harper would be dead in first issue, and then it leaked that Wally West would be the killer, which many fans thought was so absurd that they refused to believe it. And that was all before the series started being published. Each issue in the first half seemed to reveal more and more D- and C-list characters having been killed, which is something that has become a massive Pet Peeve among DC fans in recent years. Then it was confirmed in series that Wally was the killer, for reasons and through means that made very little sense to most and made the whole mystery plot a "Shaggy Dog" Story because there was no way for any reader to piece it together themselves, which is usually required of any good murder mystery. And the idea of Wally West, who had only recently returned and still hadn't been allowed to do much, would be forced into this role alienated more people than can be measured. The thing that makes it all the more baffling is that Tom King's genuine passion on the topics and desire for more people to understand them with this series was undeniable, but the story itself seemed to go out of its way to alienate as many people as possible away from the series from the start or give them reason to want to hate it and ignore any potentially good explorations of these important issues because the series was harming characters they liked for the sake of Shocking Swerve.
  • Awesome Art: Whatever fans and critics say about the story, there's general agreement among both that the art by Clay Mann is beautiful, at least in most aspects. There has been debate and controversy throughout the series with how he draws the female characters, bodies and faces, but praise for his layouts and work outside of the women is mostly uniform. In the case of the two issues drawn by frequent Tom King collaborator Mitch Gerads, the praise is without exception. And the one issue drawn by Lee Weeks is also beautiful. The art is probably the least controversial thing about this series (which says something, since there's still controversy there too).
  • Bile Fascination: There are people who read this series just because of how negative the reaction grew with seemingly every issue. It has actually been quite a while since DC published an event comic THIS hated by so many, and some readers just wanted to see what was causing such anger.
  • Broken Base: The art style has caused this. You either think it's gorgeous in its entirety or you're put off by the frequent sexualization of the female characters and their dead-looking eyes and expressions.
  • Critical Dissonance: Many fans disliked the series from the first issue, simply because it started with so many characters being found murdered, including Wally West and Roy Harper. Most critics, however, were far more positive, as they loved the idea of an event that seemed like it was gonna focus mostly on the mental health of superheroes and the mystery seemed intriguing; the fact it was written by critic favorite Tom King helped as well, as they trusted him to handle the issue with care, knew he had first hand experience with it, and he showed undeniable passion about it. But, critical opinion slowly dropped as the series went on, mostly due to poor pacing and critics beginning to get more pessimistic on whether the series would actually manage to pay off everything it set up. Then issue #8 happened, and critical approval took a nosedive, becoming far more in sync with fan response, which remained negative throughout and actually managed to drop even lower at the same issue. Some held out hope that Issue #9 would pull off something like a The Ending Changes Everything, and many suggested holding off judgement till the series was finished. Then Issue #9 came out, and the final response was identical to Issue #8: critics and fans that liked it throughout liked the end; fans and critics who didn't like the series, or came to not like the series as it went on, hated it. Critics are arguably still a bit overall more positive on the series, with even critics who came to dislike the series saying there are moments throughout the series that are very well-written and do a good job showing the effects of trauma, and the idea of an event focused on an issue such as mental health is still something they love, but as a whole it simply doesn't work. Fans, meanwhile, mostly hate the series and want it retconned entirely as soon as possible, though there are, of course, some that really love it, but they are pretty clearly a minority.
    • Another cause for dissonance, in the case of some critics—some fans for that matter—is how versed the reader is in certain aspects of the DCU and what stories connected to this they've read. Fans and critics who have only read DC Rebirth and this series, but not Flash War (of which there are many), have a far easier time believing Wally's trauma and his subsequent actions because just from reading this series you would get the impression that Wally's family is irrevocably gone and he's stuck with all the memories of them with no chance of ever getting them back, which makes his breakdown and actions seem far more believable and logical. Those who have read Flash War, which states clearly that Wally's kids are alive somewhere, and have read other series that show characters regaining their pre-Flashpoint memories through various means, meaning Linda can as well, don't find any of it believable, because there's a good chance he could get his family back and thus has no reason to completely lose all hope.
      • This also applies to the matter of the Speed Force explosion. Those versed in classic Flash lore know that has never happened before and that the story describes its nature and a speedsters connection to it in a way that is completely at odds with nearly all pre-established lore, and thus the twist and results seem far more unfair and forced. Those that read the Flash could understand that the Speed Force was broken in the fight between Barry, Wally and Hunter Zolomon, that could have given the book an out in this regard, but didn't. And then those who aren't have a far easier time believing what happens and don't see any issue.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • In her confessional, Donna Troy talks about how historians don't know if the city of Troy actually existed. Even with her saying "They find ruins, but they don't know.", Troy is indeed a real place.
    • Some of Wally's confessionals imply he doesn't know therapy can take a long time...despite having gone through therapy before.
    • Wally's trauma that leads to him being sent to Sanctuary is the result of Linda not remembering him and his children missing, which leads him into the series of events that cause his breakdown and the massacre that follows. The problem with that is, Wally has been in a very similar situation before, where his children actually were unambiguously dead (as opposed to their current very ambiguous status) and Linda left him for a time afterward. To put it mildly, he handled that situation a lot better than he did this one.
    • Batman not being able to determine exact cause of death for any of the victims can be Handwaved by saying Speed Force lightning doesn't kill in any manner even Batman would be able to identify but the BIG failure, like gigantic, is Batman not being able to immediately identify that all of the damage inflicted to the bodies was done postmortem. This should not be possible. Injuries inflicted antemortem (before death) and injuries inflicted postmortem (after death) are distinguishable for someone with Batman's training (wounds inflicted postmortem don't bleed being the most obvious). It would require Batman have absolutely no training in Forensic Medicine—which he absolutely does—and thus shouldn't be doing it at all.
    • Sanctuary, with its solitary confinement and verbally abusive AI (among other problems), is treated as a good and effective tool for the heroes to get better, but as any psychologist or person dealing with mental illness will tell you, 'it's the exact opposite.
    • Sitting in front of a camera and 'confessing' your issues is not therapy. Yes, therapy does involve a lot of the patient talking and the therapist listening, but the therapist also has an important role and is actively involved, with it being closer to a discussion rather than any kind of 'confession'. Also, therapists are necessary usually to get patients to even start talking about their issues, as most people don't just wanna talk about their deepest problems without some prompting. Putting someone in an empty room after telling them nothing they say will ever get out and you can talk freely won't likely get many people to suddenly spill their heart out. Also, many people don't actually know what the cause of their problems are, they need someone, like a therapist, to listen and tell them.
    • It should go without saying, but having patients relive their traumatic experiences is not something any actual doctor would ever recommend. The potential harm it could do to the patient means the risks vastly outweigh any potential benefits.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: This series is pretty damn bleak, with some accusing it of being outright nihilistic. Characters who sought out treatment for their trauma are unceremoniously killed off-panel right at the start, meaning they'll never be able to work through their problems and get better even though they sought help. And the help they got may have just caused them all more suffering until they were all killed. Every character that appears in this series is shown or implied to suffer from some kind of trauma; characters that are traditionally upbeat are dour. The effects this series has on the DCU as a whole—meaning the changes that will likely actually matter beyond this series and not be ignored—are all negative, because the alleged positive changes are unlikely to be referenced much after this series, if at all. Even when the ending tries to provide an inspiring message about how You Are Not Alone, and more heroes will now seek out help and not be ashamed of their problems, it arguably fails because so much of it makes little sense and is just unbelievable, particularly when you consider the series tries so hard to realistically portray trauma, but then tries to unrealistically claim certain events are good and will lead to massive change.
  • Don't Shoot the Message: Fans have agreed Tom King wanting to do a serious story about superheros and PTSD was admirable. The problem is, the story he's given them is just another Crisis Crossover involving multiple beloved characters getting killed for shock value or having their backstories and characterizations ruined for plot convenience, while the living characters take turns holding the Idiot Ball. One could even argue the message itself is the only reason many critics gave it so many chances and held out hope for so long, as many of this event's significant flaws probably would've been lambasted if the comic hadn't had this intended message.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Many are already guessing or hoping the event will end with Booster using time travel to fix this whole mess. Unfortunately, others are guessing that while he does go back in time he'll end up instigating the massacre in the process as part of a Stable Time Loop. This didn't happen; though a stable time loop is involved, it Booster only uses it to save Wally for some reason.
    • The mere presence of masks has led people to assume Psycho Pirate or Johnny Sorrow is the villain. In the end neither is involved or even mentioned in the event.
    • The fact that Wally isn't given a confession page and his eyes are open when his body is discovered has led many to believe that he's alive or the killer — not helped by how many of the tie-ins outright don't acknowledge Wally's death while acknowledging Roy Harper's and a Bleeding Cool article that reported that Wally would be a main character in the relaunched Suicide Squad seriesnote , respectively. He is in fact the killer.
    • Solicitations and cover art for the last two issues pretty blatantly indicated who the focus of them would be on, it was so obvious that many thought this was intended as a Red Herring, because the covers themselves made it just too obvious and no real murder mystery would give away the killer like that. Turns out those guessing this were being too clever for their own good. And it was that obvious.
    • Many guessed that the Sanctuary AI would be revealed to be the culprit or the one that manipulated events to cause the massacre, due to how antagonistic it is shown to have been to patients and the level of control it had over Sanctuary. This was strongly supported by the solicitations for later issues, but the AI isn't even mentioned in final issues and its abusive behavior is never addressed.
    • Meta-case. The final issue of this series wound up being delayed one week for unknown reasons, which coincidentally made it so it was released on the same day as Doomsday Clock #10 (which has had more delays than can be counted), thus some speculated (or hoped) that the delay was due to the two issues being in some way connected, and that DC wanted to publish both on the same day because one might spoil the other, or to quickly placate fans by showing they were gonna use Doomsday Clock to 'fix' Heroes in Crisis. Didn't happen. The two issues had no connection and it was just a coincidence they wound up releasing on the same day. Some are still hoping, with two more issues of Doomsday Clock left, that they could use it to retcon Heroes in Crisis, but at present there's nothing to indicate that is the case.
    • Meta-case. It's been noted by some that many of the books that would reasonably be expected to deal with the fallout from this event, or even reference it, were ended, or were put in arcs that would justify it never coming up, just before the stuff that would be pretty clearly controversial happened. Titans and Green Arrow were both canceled before the final issues, while Nightwing and The Flash are both in arcs that let them escape mention of it. It could just be a coincidence (Nightwing's current status quo started quite a while back), but some speculate they really didn't wanna have to deal with the events of this series, but couldn't believably get away from it unless the books were canceled, or moved into arcs where the events would have reason to go unmentioned for the series that sell too well and can't be canceled. This is noteworthy in The Flash's case, because there is no conceivable way they can't address the events of this series at some point, but don't seem to be planning to based on available solicitations.
    • Meta-case. When Bleeding Cool leaked that Wally would die, they also leaked that he would be the killer, literally running through Sanctuary with machine guns and mowing down the inhabitants. While this isn't in the series itself, it was leaked far ahead of the revelation of how the massacre happened, and also fits in perfectly with King's intent to have the killings be connected to mass shootings. Bleeding Cool also reported that King wanted to change the trajectory of Heroes in Crisis, but that he was concerned with comparisons to Armageddon 2001 and supposedly convinced to stick with his plan. With how much the mystery doesn't line up with the clues given, and how badly received and butchered the mass shooting allegory was... it seems highly possible — especially given the accuracy of Bleeding Cool's leaks in every other regard — that Wally was going to be using machine guns and the backlash to the mere rumour caused King to change it. It also probably didn't help that the idea of a speedster using guns just seems a bit nonsensical, and most would probably have said the only reason they would be used was Tom King wanting it to be a mass shooting.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: The ending isn't really happy by any stretch as, barring Wally and Poison Ivy, all of the characters killed at Sanctuary are still dead and Wally is in jail, but the final issue clearly reads like the event ended far more happily than most fans or critics interpret it, so it arguably counts. Wally releasing the private confessions of all the other heroes without their consent is treated as a grand noble act that comes close to redeeming him and leads to many heroes coming forward to share their issues rather than hide them, but many fans and critics see it as a massive violation of their privacy that Wally had no right to do, and that act itself is also something else Wally did that was wrong during the event, rather than a redeeming act. Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are shown together having a nice walk through the woods, seemingly free, despite both still being criminals due to the many crimes they've both committed that are completely unrelated to this event. Sanctuary is shown to have reopened, with more heroes using it than ever before...except there is nothing to indicate any kind of reform, meaning all the conditions that helped cause the massacre are still present, including the AI that antagonized the previous patients. It's never even acknowledged that the absurd policies of Sancuatary were even incorrect, when most critics and fans agree they are, at best, very very flawed and that the massacre likely wouldn't have happened if Wally hadn't been totally isolated. And as for Wally, the narration states clearly at the end that he's going to keep 'running' and not give up...but most fans don't believe there's any way for Wally to properly redeem himself to the point he could be respected as the hero he was before, short of a big retcon of this whole event and his actions. Not to mention any chance of Linda regaining her memories or finding their kids is considerably more unlikely than it was before this event. And, given the way the character has been treated for years before now, even after DC Rebirth, and that he was forced into this role in the first place, most fans believe he's far more likely to wind up just suffering more after this, or being turned into a regular villain as soon as someone other than Tom King writes him, as many expect will happen if rumors prove true and Wally joins the Suicide Squad.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • It's extremely noble to leak, and then publish, the private therapy recordings of dozens of people without their consent to the entire world (including those of multiple deceased individuals), despite previous promises that nothing they said or did would be known to anyone else, because it will show the world and other heroes that They Are Not Alone, which will lead them to seek help at the exact same place a massacre of heroes and that invasion of privacy occurred. For some reason.
    • Therapists and other mental health professionals are unnecessary for the treatment of trauma, as is seemingly any kind of medication. It is best to keep the mentally traumatized isolated and away from human contact, and said individuals should be regularly taunted and insulted by their overseer. If anyone suffers a breakdown, it will not be caused by any of this and will be the result of their own misguided actions, rather than a failure of the facility and the people responsible for making it this way.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Oh boy. Most fans do not seem to accept most of what happens in this series and are praying this eventually becomes Canon Discontinuity, or at least hit with a heavy retcon at some point, like with Hal Jordan and Emerald Twilight. This is made even easier by how much continuity it seemingly ignores or retcons. Many are hoping they could shoehorn in a retcon in Doomsday Clock, but given current editorial and the fact the Doomsday Clock's actual importance to the DCU now is ambiguous, others don't think a fix will be around anytime soon.
  • Fetish Retardant:
    • As you'll see many times on this page alone, Clay Mann's art of the female characters is this for many readers due to much of the intended fanservice happening at entirely inappropriate times and many of said characters looking like expressionless, walking, talking corpses.
    • Poison Ivy's "new look", in particular is a cross between her being naked with her skin flayed off her body, showing her musculature.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • A lot of ideas in the series were first explored by King in Mister Miracle (2017), only with much more critical acclaim. Reasons for that include how Mister Miracle was a tightly-focused story built entirely around Scott and his family, meaning the story never felt side-tracked by other elements or characters. Mister Miracle was also explicitly disconnected from the DCU, meaning readers didn't have to strain disbelief for certain ideas and none of it would have an effect on books outside of itself. And, since it was set during an actual war, King could transpose his feelings about soldiers and PTSD directly, rather then making the strained comparison with mainstream superheroes, in spite of the numerous logic holes such allegory creates.
    • The issues some readers have with Tom King's dialogue in this series aren't new. Tom King has always employed a strange, repetitious style of dialogue — sometimes described as lyrical or poetic. It's just more noticeable here because this series has a far larger, more diverse cast that most readers are more familiar with than the rest of Tom King's other series (barring Batman, which has also previously been criticized for questionable dialogue during King's run), so its easier to notice, particularly with characters like Batgirl and Harley Quinn, who do sound rather off from the way they typically speak. The fact there are so many characters speaking in an identical manner also contributes. In addition, this dialogue is often used to convey a simple idea in an elegant or artistic manner, whereas Heroes in Crisis uses it constantly, even when explaining complex situations.
    • Tom King's interest/focus on characters with PTSD or mental trauma is not new and is a running theme throughout nearly all of his works, all of which are highly critically acclaimed and well-regarded by fans. The difference, of course, is now he's doing that with nearly all of the heroes of the DCU, many of whom simply do not work in that context. Yes, characters like Harley Quinn, Batman, Roy Harper, and Barbara Gordan do all have established issues, but others don't. Before this, no one would've picked Booster Gold as a character that would make sense to star in an event comic about damaged heroes and probably still wouldn't after this. To be marginally fair to King, this isn't exactly his fault, see Misblamed.
  • Fridge Logic:
    • Wally's Power Incontinence is expressly not unique to him, but tied to everyone who uses the Speed Force. This, despite villainous speedsters such as Inertia, Reverse-Flash, Rival, and Savitar all being the sort of people who'd revel in the kind of destruction this causes, but have never shown the ability.
    • Wally manipulates evidence to delay Batman and Barry Allen from catching him early. This, despite using a time machine as part of his plans — Wally literally has all the time he needs for anything.
    • Relating to the above, why on Earth doesn't anyone just use Booster's tech to travel back in time to prevent the massacre? While it's at least partially justified for Wally since he seems to be completely mentally broken, one has to wonder why on Earth the other characters don't do so.
    • The ending with Wally in prison creates some pretty significant issues that the final issue doesn't address. While the prison Wally is shown in is never named, it presumably has to be one run by the regular government, since the Justice League (for obvious reasons) doesn't run any kind of special prisons for super criminals. This would mean Wally's secret identity is a matter of public record because... that's just how the criminal justice system works, even in the DCU. This isn't usually an issue because DC heroes don't get thrown in jail much (or ever), and the identities of villains, unless newly introduced, are all public knowledge. This would mean, logically, Barry's secret identity would be very very easy for anyone to figure out, as well as the identities of the other Flash characters, such as Wally West II and Bart Allen, because the family is so connected that revealing one of their secret identities would make it easy for most to figure out the rest. A potential way around this is to not put him on trial... but legally you have to do that; even if the criminal confesses, you still have to involve the courts. Also, since Wally made a huge show of it by releasing his confession and the other tapes to the public via Lois, the public is very much aware of his existence, so it's (logically) impossible to do anything involving him quietly.
    • Despite spending the better part of the book hunting Booster and Harley out of the belief that they're the killers, not once does any of the Trinity suggest using Diana's lasso, the one which identifies lies. It's especially nonsensical because the most recent rules for the lasso at the time of publication is that it bases its answers off the universal truth, rather than what the subject believes. Had Diana used that, Booster and Harley would've been outed as innocent instantly.
    • All 'confessionals' done by patients are recorded, but it's also specifically stated these are immediately deleted afterwards. Then why would they ever be recorded in the first place? Not to be shown to any doctors, and presumably not for any other heroes to watch, so they don't seem to actually serve any purpose...except as a framing device for us to see the confessionals and, far more critically to the story, so they can be released by Lois to show the world that superheroes also suffer trauma and You Are Not Alone. While it's implied that Batman watched the tapes, nobody finds it strange that recording occurs at all.
      • Even the implied explanation has issues because Batman has his own testimonials. Even by the standards of Properly Paranoid, taping your own therapy sessions and watching them afterwards seems impossibly extreme.
    • Why was there a seemingly alien Green Lantern — most of the human Lanterns show up alive in this series and all of them are established to be alive in Doomsday Clock, which takes place after this series — in an Earth-based therapy centre for superheroes? Lanterns usually don't leave their space sectors for no reason, the Lantern is shown to be in-costume indicating that they're still using their ring and are on active duty, why wouldn't the Lanterns have their own therapy program, why would the Lantern not go to therapy anywhere else and what experience or qualifications does the Sanctuary AI even have with aliens that could have vastly different psychology and brain chemistry?
  • Funny Moments: Black Canary's Screw This, I'm Outta Here!. Implying that she's probably the Only Sane Man of all the Wangsting heroes and villains at the Sanctuary and/or she's fully aware of how much of a shitshow this comic is becoming and is getting out while she can.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Rereading the DC Rebirth Special after this event can be rough, given how Wally gets put through the wringer, to the point you might think he was better off not coming back. This isn't helped by Tom King's attempts to retcon EVERYTHING since the DC Rebirth Special to suggest Wally was actually miserable all along, missing Linda and the kids, and his friends completely ignored him and flat-out didn't care, all so he can portray Wally as so depressed and miserable that Daredevil would advise he cheer up, as well as so he can shove down fans throats how everything they wanted and believed about DC Rebirth was misguided.
    • Rereading Flash War can also be a troubling experience. It's entirely possible the only reason DC allowed Wally to remember his children was so they—and Linda—could be used to justify his trauma and later actions in this series, rather than having any intention of bringing them back like they did Bart Allen.
  • He's Just Hiding!:
    • As soon as he was revealed to be dead, there were two camps regarding Wally West: Those who think he's dead and hate DC for killing a beloved character that has, per their own hand, become synonymous with optimism and hope, and those who think that he's in no way dead or will return by the end of the series, not helped by some reports about upcoming unannounced comics.
    • Many are guessing that Poison Ivy will be revealed to still be alive, since the reader never actually sees their corpse (unlike every other murder victim) and Booster and Harley are the only ones who have confirmed their death.
  • Humor Dissonance: The 'comic relief' of this series involves gags such as Harley Quinn cheerfully stating she's gonna kill Booster Gold and no one taking the criminal with a lengthy history of violence particularly seriously, even while she tries to do just that right in front of them. Yes, Batgirl stops her before she does it, but it's treated as a joke, and one of the two that watch is BLUE BEETLE, his best friend.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • To start with, the fact that the entire story hinges on the Trinity, the moral centers of the DCU, thinking the idea of establishing a trauma clinic with no actual therapists and actively dehumanizes patients would actually be a good thing.
    • The fact that Wally intentionally mutilated the bodies to hide that they were killed by the Speed Force, and this working. Apparently, even the world greatest detective can't immediately identify death by electrocution.
    • In general, a lot of Wally's actions seem utterly nonsensical and make little sense. The book attempts to justify this by arguing that he was suffering a mental breakdown at the time, but that causes its own issues, as many of his actions such as altering the crime scene to frame Booster and Harley seem too calculated to come from someone truly suffering a meltdown.
      • Wally states that the whole reason he tampered with the bodies and framed Booster and Harley was that he wanted five days for him to "do something as good as he did bad." Most assumed that meant he was gonna try something like time travel to stop the massacre or something equally big to redeem himself. Instead, it seems he needed five whole days just to send Lois Lane video recordings (unedited video recordings at that). There's no indication he did anything else. Considering most fans agree Wally's worst actions are that he desecrated the corpses of his friends and framed two other people, rather than the massacre, which was an accident, this would strike many as being utterly stupid and nonsensical, never mind out of character. It seems likely that doing everything he did to frame Booster and Harley would take far more time than sending videos to Lois.
  • It's the Same, So It Sucks:
    • Outside of all the controversy this page details, there are some readers who were just annoyed that this was yet another Tom King story that focuses on comparing superheroes to real life soldiers suffering from PTSD.
    • King attempts to 'break down' Wally West as a character and seemingly believes that he is built back up in some form in the end. Dan Abnett tried to do something similar with him in Titans, but fans detested it, it was swiftly reversed, and Wally was taken out of that series entirely. Though that case was nowhere near as bad as what happens in this series and could be easily reversed, King's changes probably can't be. Most fans don't want Wally to be broken down, considering he hasn't even been allowed to get much of a life since he came back in DC Rebirth and already doesn't have much at all to break anyway.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Outside of some readers having Bile Fascination for the series there are some who admit they only read it for the Harley/Ivy moments.
    • Others just read it to see Booster Gold and Blue Beetle together again.
    • Many bought the first issue because of Wally West. Most didn't stay after that one.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: It's easy to whittle down the list of possible deaths based on which characters have their own series. Before the first issue hit, fans already narrowed the list of likely victims down to Roy Harper, Kyle Rayner, Tim Drake, and Poison Ivy — With the list narrowing down even further once solicitations were released.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The page (sometimes edited to be three panels) of an annoyed Black Canary saying "fuck this" then walking away have been used to react to Heroes in Crisis itself.
    • Joking that Clay Mann is secretly a necrophile (if not outright accusing him of being one) due to his...questionable art decisions regarding the female characters.
  • Misblamed: In a sense. King has said that he gave an outline of the general plot of the story to DC editors, and that they're the ones who chose what characters would feature — namely, Booster Gold, Harley Quinn and Wally West. However, the execution otherwise is still all Tom King, including some other much maligned elements, and King did himself no favors by publicly claiming on Twitter that the editors had not influenced what he was doing with Wally, only to backtrack once the comic was over.
  • Narm:
    • Some fans have pointed out that the lack of reaction from the hero community to the massacre is quite strange and even OOC when one remembers the in-universe reaction to Sue Dibney's death.
    • As mentioned elsewhere, the art on many of the female characters is...odd.
    • In the finale, Booster's statement of "Bros before heroes" comes across as quite ridiculous and almost a parody of the concept of forgiveness, essentially saying that Wally's manslaughter is okay (but requires imprisonment) because they are friends and should prioritize that over actually being a good person.
    • Tom King's statement comparing Wally's accidental massacre of everybody in Sanctuary when he finally reached his freak-out breaking point because of a never-before-mentioned or showcased need by speedsters to always maintain rigurous control of the Speed Force else they spontaneously manifest a lightning storm to a mass shooting. The intent may be there but the audience consensus is that King is seriously reaching.
    • Near the end, a montage is given of various testimonials from heroes, in an attempt to frame all heroes as having issues and Hidden Depths. Thing is, though, while prior testimonials have a full page to detail the characters feelings, each testimonial in the montage is given a single small panel, with many of them being either jokes or non-sequiturs. The result kinda takes away much of the impact.
    • The fact that the Trinity not only didn't provide actual therapists for their allies but decided to put them all in solitary confinement with a Jerkass AI that verbally abuses them for the crime of having trauma to begin with is this for anyone who even has an inkling of what actual therapy is like. Made worse when you remember that its personality is based on "their best aspects." Made even worse when you remember that the Trinity includes Batman, a man who while a truly skilled hero is also someone who is in need of therapy himself and really shouldn't be telling anyone how to go about recovering from trauma since he very arguably never has.
    • The fact that Ivy and Harley (and the Tattooed Man of all villains) were apparently able to break into Sanctuary to become patients speaks of the absurdly low security the place had.
    • Barbara's Batgirl outfit is this for many, due to the fact that it seeps into every crevice of her body. While it's not uncommon for superheroes (especially female ones) to have outfits that look painted on this iteration of the Batgirl suit takes it to an entirely new level.
    • Dozens of people, most of them heroes, are slaughtered at Sanctuary. The only one properly brought back from the dead during the event is Poison Ivy, a villain. One suspects this has less to do with any kind of logic or role in the story and more due to the fact her death would inevitably cause backlash with people DC doesn't want to anger, because regardless of how you feel about the character, it can't really be claimed she was the most deserving to be brought back of the people killed. One could even make the reasonable argument that she's better off now than she was before, because this is Poison Ivy and she probably prefers being part of the Green over being human.
    • Wally West, the Fastest Man Alive, needed five whole days to send Lois Lane some videos.
    • For many, the idea that Harley Quinn of all characters can not only stand up to Batman, but also Superman and Wonder Woman in a fight at the same time is impossible to take seriously.
    • Wally hugging the other Wally. It's suppose to be a serious moment, but it ends up just looking silly.
    • Batman, the world's greatest detective, can't tell that the not only were bodies tampered with, but that they all died via electrocution. Yeah.
    • The ending shows Sanctuary reopen, seemingly the exact same Sanctuary facility where a massacre of heroes occurred on the front lawn, whom many of the other heroes had close relationships with. Surely the least they could've done is open a new facility somewhere else, especially considering that could reasonably cause many of them emotional distress. This might be some attempt to reinforce the (alleged) mass shooting analogy, because very few of the places where mass shootings occur shutdown afterwards. But that's a matter of practicality, as most schools and businesses don't have the time or resources. Batman alone easily has the resources to open another Sanctuary facility somewhere else with little issue.
  • Nightmare Fuel: For anyone who has or is attending therapy, the possibility of their personal records being leaked to the public without their consent is horrifying. ...Which is exactly what happens and for some ungodly reason it's portrayed as a good thing.
    • Sanctuary itself is this, due to all its counter-productive methods and down right abusive behavior (essentially putting its patients in extended solitary confinement with no outside contact for weeks and trapping them with an AI that belittles them for having trauma to begin with).
    • Relating to the above, the fact that more heroes in need of healing are shown to use Sanctuary despite all the abuse it put its former patients in is pretty scary. What's stopping this from happening again?
  • One-Scene Wonder: Black Canary's single provided testimonial, where she stares at the camera, goes "Fuck this", then leaves. Many readers find her reaction the most relatable thing in the whole book.
  • Older Than They Think: This is not the first comic to attempt at looking at PTSD and trauma within the world of superheroes from a more meaningful point of view. Kurt Busiek's final arc in the recent Astro City series from Vertigo and Magdalene Visaggio's Eternity Girl also explored the concepts. Astro City featured a support group for individuals who survived Crisis Crossover events, and was founded by a man whose wife was erased by a time-altering catastrophe and is the only one who remembers her. Eternity Girl focused on a suicidal immortal superheroine who is told by her supposedly dead Arch-Enemy the only way she can die is to destroy existence.
    • Green Lantern had a particularly dark arc where the lead's mental health breakdown led to the near destruction of the universe. Oddly, this is never referenced in the series.
  • Padding: This series was originally meant to be 5 issues, then got bumped up to 7, then got bumped up again to 9. There is not a enough story to fill that space. The mystery of the series is ultimately a Clueless Mystery and the series goes entire issues without any development on that front, because there's ultimately not much to develop, because none of the clues are real, the only real 'clue' is discovered by Booster Gold in issue #7. One issue before Wally confesses. The superhero confessions, which every issue has several of, often don't have any connection to the story, but many critics and fans consider those their favorite part of the series, so that can justify their existence, but the majority don't have anything to do with the plot or the characters that are actually involved in the series.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: The cover showing Nightwing embracing Starfire set off several alarms in the shipping fandom, particularly those who expected Nightwing to be in a relationship with Batgirl due to the Ship Tease in their respective books.
    • This wound up being Covers Always Lie, neither Nightwing nor Starfire have any role in this event (outside of individual 'confession' panels), while Batgirl's role is limited to assisting Harley Quinn.
  • Signature Scene: The series undeniably has a few, though whether that's for good reasons or bad varies.
    • Superman's speech to the press about superheroes and their trauma in issue #5 is probably the scene that is remembered the most for positive reasons, even if it is arguably a case of Author Tract. Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped may apply.
    • Black Canary cursing the camera and pulling a Screw This, I'm Outta Here!. This one was almost certainly not the intention of the writer though, and was just meant to be a funny moment, but she's basically serving as an unintentional Audience Surrogate for many readers.
    • Wally accidentally killing the other patients at Sanctuary in a Speed Force explosion.
    • The climax with the heroes talking Wally down from killing himself is almost certainly intended to be this, but the... unusual circumstances of it all, and the individuals involved, means it may not work for many as intended. This heavily varies, however.
  • Snark Bait: As the rest of the examples on this page demonstrate, basically the entire event. In particular, the idea of the Sanctuary, a trauma clinic with no therapists that cuts patients from contact with the outside world, actively dehumanizes them and has them undergoing a blatantly unhealthy method of "recovery", has been lampooned incessantly due to being impractical in such a way that you'd think the Trinity wanted a massacre to take place.
    • After issue #8, many critics and fans—at least those that were still defending the series—told detractors to wait till issue #9 to see how it would end, believing Tom King's repeated claims it would clear things up and many assumed it would be a case of The Ending Changes Everything. After issue #9 came out and changed virtually no one's opinion on the series, in either direction, plenty of mockery ensued by detractors, who found the idea they weren't allowed to criticize a serialized story when it was already mostly done absurd and pointed out that the same argument was made during Marvel's Secret Empire event, to similar results.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Tom King has been vocal about using the book to address post-traumatic stress disorder, and why it's important to provide a space for healing. Whether the series he wrote actually succeeds at that, though, is another issue.
    • The final issue makes a very good point about mental health that often gets overlooked or disregarded in other stories. Namely that while it is important to receive help for recovering from traumatic events the process will not be instant and you need to be open to said help even if you feel it's not working right away. There is no magically overcoming trauma even when you are getting help for it and it can take time and effort to do so, even if the effect isn't instantly apparent.
  • Tainted by the Preview: A lot of fans were turned off by the event due to the Tonight, Someone Dies nature of the advertising teasing they would lose a beloved character.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: The one possible death that no one's particularly upset about is Mark Richards, the second Tattooed Man created by Geoff Johns. Hinted to having been killed off in the third issue, Mark is mainly remembered as one of the members of Deathstroke's bastard Titans from Brightest Day and for his hand in slaughtering Ryan Choi. Due to his inconsistent motivations and flat personality, Mark's one character even the most nostalgic Titans fans aren't worried about.
  • Tear Jerker: Superman reporting on the deaths at Sanctuary, particularly Wally West & Roy Harper - he goes from using their civilian identities to their codenames, and can’t even bring himself to say the words out loud.
    Superman: Roy...Roy and W-W...Arsenal and Flash are...confirmed.
    • Harley mourns the death of Poison Ivy by dropping a rose off of a bridge. It's clear that she blames herself for it, lamenting that they would still be alive if Harley had never known them.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Given the fact that Wally West struggled with depression for much of his run as The Flash (to say nothing of what he's gone through since Flashpoint, or the effect his Abusive Parents had on him), a comic that looks at mental health in superheroes would've been a great way to explore his character. Instead they Dropped a Bridge on Him off-panel in the first issue. Making matters even more infuriating, the The Flash issue that had Wally heading off to Sanctuary advised fans to read that to see his story continued, which in light of how its 'continued', almost feels like a taunt. Then he was revealed to be the killer.
    • Likewise, Roy Harper's struggles with depression and his past addiction aren't handled with any nuance or depth. Roy's suffered from some pretty bad abandonment issues (losing his birth father, having no clue who his mom is, being shunned by his adopted community before his loving foster dad died, and then getting neglected by Green Arrow) which caused his depression and led to his experimentation with drugs before getting addicted to heroin. Instead, Tom King completely ignores all that and changes Roy to a prescription addict who got hooked because of injuries he got as a superhero, but then switched to heroin because he either damaged his kidneys or feared he would. This makes it incredibly difficult to take Roy's interview session seriously because of how blatantly it ignored his backstory. It's especially frustrating because the session appears one page after his corpse is found.
    • Considering the series is supposed to be about mental health and trauma, it’s a bit odd that Jessica Cruz doesn’t have a bigger role, or any role, for that matter. She does appear for one panel in the final issue, but is no more prominent than anyone else.
    • Despite his close relationship to Wally, easily the closest relationship he still has with Linda not remembering him and Dick having amnesia, Barry has no role in the confrontation (despite him arguably being the one best suited to talk to him) and his reaction to Wally's confession is never shown. In the final issue, he only appears in a panel showing him and Superman coming to arrest Wally, in which he gets no dialogue and you cannot even see his face. And due to his solo series being (perhaps not coincidentally) in the middle of a flashback origin arc at the time of the big reveal and this series conclusion, there's a good chance we won't see Barry's reaction or thoughts on this for a while, if Williamson doesn't try to deliberately avoid it entirely.
    • Similarly, as noted above, Nightwing, Wally's best friend, isn't really in the series at all, and due to his current status quo at the time of this story being him with amnesia and going by the name Ric Grayson, it's entirely possible Nightwing won't learn of his best friend's situation for quite a while. Though, weirdly, he does show up in a single confession panel in the last issue, seemingly back to normal, but it's only one panel and it's just used for a gag with the other Robins.
    • Cassandra Cain, another character with a history of extreme trauma and suicidal depression, not to mention an Ambiguous Disorder and recent discovery of her own pre-Flashpoint past that could have been tied into Wally's story, only appears for a gag single-panel confessional where she stares blankly into the camera while looking like an Off-Model Uncanny Valley nightmare that's only recognizable due to her costume and the label at the top of the panel.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • This is essentially the case with this entire series. The uniform claim of even the heaviest detractors, fans and professional critics, is that the idea of Sanctuary is great. The idea of a series focused on the mental health of superheroes, that focuses on the problems of that would naturally come from what many of them experienced is great. You'll find few people that say otherwise. The problem, however, is the murder mystery. It's near-universally agreed that the exact same message this series aimed to tell could've easily been told without having to needlessly and cruelly murder C and D-list characters, as well as force others to act out-of-character or firmly hold the Idiot Ball. It's possible the only reason there's a murder mystery is because it wouldn't be an event otherwise.
    • The execution of Sanctuary itself has wasted the potential the concept held. A center for superheroes and villains to address their problems in a safe environment sounds like a good idea. Only Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman set up the place to be monitored entirely by robots, with its only "Therapist" a computer program containing their best respective qualities. Added into this is how its virtual reality chambers are used mainly for the characters to relive their respective traumas in an effort to face them, when it's clearly shown through Lagoon Boy and Wally West that doing so over and over again is not healthy.
    • Broadly speaking, most of the casualties had ongoing storylines or facets to their characters that could have been used for more than inflating the body count. The private sessions tend to underscore this point.
    • Sanctuary's existence, and the heroes' reliance on its healing capabilities get introduced in the same issue that they're shown to have a catastrophic failure. Even the posthumous reveals of the personal sessions do little more than remind the reader that Sanctuary had no build up, and to pad out the mystery of the killer.
    • The series is focused mostly on Wally West, Booster Gold, and Harley Quinn but there are many characters with previously-established or implied psychological issues that the series either totally ignores or doesn't focus on much at all if they do appear. The most obvious is Batman, but since Tom King is writing his ongoing, with an emphasis on his psychology, that's probably justified. But there is also Jessica Cruz, Jason Todd, Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, and many others; said characters do appear in confession, but very little is actually explored or done with them.
    • In a similar vein, the story was meant to be a follow-up on the conclusion of "Flash War", which saw Wally admitting that he needs help (with what isn't exactly clear) after he is unable to locate Hunter Zolomon, who knows where his children are. Zolomon has a history of dealing with tragedy, feeling that superheroes are only stronger once they have experienced it, and his modus operandi is to inflict it on heroes to better them. He sounds like a perfect character to include in a series that focuses on the benefits of therapy to deal with tragedy... he isn't even mentioned, even though he is integral to Wally being at Sanctuary to begin with.
  • Uncanny Valley: As mentioned multiple times throughout this page alone, the art done on the female characters can be extremely off-putting to some readers. From their sexualization during increasing inappropriate times (ie, Barbara's ass being hyper-emphasized and the center of the panel when she's showing her bullet wound and the pose Ivy's dead body is put in), their (often times) weirdly shaped breasts, their bulging and dead looking eyes, and finally their lack of facial expressions in many scenes will often cause them to dive headlong into this trope. This is especially bad when compared to the male characters, who are more expressive and don't have the same bulging eye effect most of the time.
    • Upon initiation to Sanctuary the characters are given a white cloak and a golden mask... for some reason. It ends up making the facility look like a cult rather than a mental health facility. (Thankfully the masks and cloaks are rarely used in-universe).
  • Unfortunate Implications: Many people have taken to Tumblr, Twitter, and Reddit to point out that portraying a bunch of characters in need of therapy being massacred after attempting to seek help is not only gross but also an irresponsible and even dangerous portrayal of mental health and therapy. Not helped by the added bonus of Issue 8 portraying a suicidal character (aka Wally) as a accidental mass murderer; Which just reeks of this trope. Here are but two examples of such complaints. (Warning: Potential spoilers.)
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: The third issue shows Wally West using Sanctuary's "Chamber" technology to create holograms of Linda Park and their kids, Jai and Iris West, before Linda's memories of them were destroyed and the twins were erased by Flashpoint. The issue is clearly attempting to show Wally in a negative light for wanting them back so much, to the point it's implied he may or may not have accidentally wrecked Sanctuary's computer and caused the massacre in an attempt to get the twins back in some way. However, many readers felt Wally desiring to get his family back is an entirely understandable thing considering how important they were to him, considering Linda still exists and simply doesn't remember Wally, and since Zoom flat out told Wally his children were somewhere in the universe. The readers, especially Flash fans and fans of the West Family, do not appreciate how Linda and the twins are being used to demonize Wally after spending years hollering at DC to bring them back into Wally's life. This is especially frustrating because Wally has been shown evidence that his family being gone are one of the indicators why the DC Universe has been damaged, so he's being made out as a villain for trying to fix what needs to be repaired.
    • This gets more complicated after the big reveal of Wally being behind it all. It's not so much fans see Wally or his actions sympathetically within the context of the story, but rather they don't believe he would do these things and the story itself has to bend over backwards to get him to do what it wants him to do, as well as requiring he possess skills he never had previously. Some fans and critics argue they might have been able to accept him losing control of his powers (even if its a significant retcon of the how the Speed Force works, but since the Speed Force is retconned every other story featuring the Flash, that's hardly new or unique to this series) due to a mental breakdown and accidentally killing the other heroes as a result, but his actions afterward are just too out-of-character, selfish, illogical, and cowardly for most to accept Wally doing them, no matter how traumatized and unbalanced the story attempts to portray him. The whole series ignores or handwaves so much previously established continuity and characterization to make the plot work, not just for him but for practically every character who appears, that it becomes hard to feel like anyone's actions are their own, with Wally just being the most egregious and worst harmed. The fact DC has an extensive history of wanting to get rid of him, as well as basically all the characters of his generation (which at present they've proven rather successful at), and the poor quality of the writing in later issues that completely fails to believably justify or explain such extreme actions, just makes it all the easier to ignore this series completely until someone comes along to retcon it.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • The entire Trinity gets a bad case of this because they were the ones who designed Sanctuary, a facility which is shown consistently throughout the book via flashbacks to be dehumanizing, abusive and isolating, along with doing seemingly little to actually treat patients mental health. What's more, The Reveal means the entire massacre was their fault, as the sheer isolation and dehumanization he was subject is what caused Wally's powers to go out of control and kill everyone. Despite this, not once is any of them reprimanded for their culpability in the situation, and they're instead still treated the moral pillars of the DCU.
    • Going off the ending, Lois leaking the tapes of the patients testimonials is supposed to be a heroic action meant to show to the world the flaws of their heroes and make sure they get help. This ignores that leaking confidential records such as people's therapy sessions without consent is a huge violation of journalistic integrity and the rights of those involved, and Lois didn't even take any action in that regard beyond doctoring the footage to hide their secret identities. Coupled with her lack of remorse in the matter, and Lois looks more like someone who leaked potentially damaging information regarding dozens of people that will likely effect them and their personal lives, all just to make a statement. Wally can somewhat avoid this, even if the comic never acknowledges this is a bad thing and its all treated like a perfectly good and rational thing to do, because readers can justify it easily because he is pretty clearly not in a healthy state of mind and the comic itself shows him not thinking in the slightest bit rationally for that entire period of time. Lois doesn't have that excuse.
    • Harley Quinn. Aside from fans being annoyed by her Wolverine Publicity allowing her to hold her own against not only Batman but also Superman and Wonder Woman there a fans who find her firmly in this trope. While the major concession seems to be that it's sympathetic of her to want to avenge her girlfriend, Poison Ivy, that didn't prevent fans from being annoyed by her behavior constantly getting in the way of the investigation team making any progress (something already difficult since all of them are holding the Idiot Ball to varying extents). Her desire and attempts to kill Booster in particular is this, since she doesn't even know for certain that he's responsible. Only made worse by her being the main cause of the Humor Dissonance due to the aforementioned scene seemingly being Played for Laughs as well as the fact that she gives Wally a Groin Attack for what he did after the investigation team narrowly talks him out of committing suicide. Meanwhile, the ending features her getting a relatively happy ending with a revived Ivy while Wally is locked alone in a jail cell in conditions that are eerily similar to what caused the massacre in the first place, despite the fact that she herself should be in prison for previous crimes, many of which include murder.
  • Wangst: The series has been criticized for this since issue one. Just about every single character is shown, stated, or implied to suffer from some kind of trauma, and absolutely none of them cope well. Characters that are traditionally more upbeat, such as Superman, Wally West, and Booster Gold are all portrayed as being miserable.
  • What an Idiot!: Apparently the League thought it was a good idea to not send their allies to a rehab-esque center with actually certified therapists, but instead lock them in VR chambers, seemingly completely isolated, with only an AI that (in Wally's case at least) criticizes them for not being able to move on from their problems and for holding onto the past. Yeah. Brilliant idea. Was totally going to work out from the beginning.
    • The plot could be quickly resolved if the investigation team or Wally either used time travel tech (which they have access to) to either go back in time and to find out who the killer is or to simply Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • The Woobie: Wally. He may have accidentally killed his friends and covered it up, but man does he have it rough. His beloved wife doesn't know who he is, his children may be alive somewhere and he doesn't have any way to find them, one of the people he accidentally killed is one of his oldest friends, he has to be talked down from committing an overly complex form of suicide, and by the end he's once again totally isolated, only now in a jail cell. And god only knows what gonna happen to him next...
  • Writer Cop Out: What many believe with regards to the events of the last two issues, specifically Wally killing all the others at Sanctuary being the result of an accident and Wally surviving his own apparent death via an Ass Pull. Many guess the original plan was to have Wally actually murder the other patients and actually succeed in killing himself (or at least actually dying in the end). This is supported by leaks before the event started, and makes Tom King's claims about his intentions with the series far more sensible. The backlash the story got hit with may have forced King—or the editors—to make significant changes to avoid an even larger backlash that likely would've occurred if the original story had been kept. The fact this story wasn't written with a specific character in mind as the culprit arguably makes this even more believable. King likely didn't think they would give him such a big-name, fan-favorite character to fill a role that required such extreme actions, but went along thinking it would work, only for the backlash to force changes.

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