We’ve Seen Too Much: Heroes In Crisis #1 (2018)

Panel from Heroes in Crisis #1 featuring Booster Gold and Harley Quinn in a Nebraska diner, before an inevitable fight.
Heroes in Crisis #1

On its web site, DC describes Heroes in Crisis (2018) as a “ripped from real-world headlines” story concentrating on a single question: “How does a superhero handle PTSD?” To customers visiting comic book shops that provide free copies of DC Nation #4 (also available for free on Comixology), the series was advertised in a slightly different way: for devotees of continuity and the stakes that canonical stories offer them, the publisher has loudly promised that a major character in the DC Universe will die in late September, right in the pages of Heroes in Crisis.

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The Anvil

Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart

Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart passed away on August 13th, 2018. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the World Wrestling Federation was dominated by larger-than-life characters like Neidhart, entertainers from a different plane of reality populated by demigods. Less idols than sentient cocktails of baser impulses, The Hart Foundation and their peers roared through our world with little care for decorum, acknowledging only the seemingly-arbitrary set of rules laid out by the referees of their in-ring battles. The rules of engagement were necessary only in that they ensured the fighters would eventually be forced to momentarily end hostilities, and even under these conditions we knew that disqualification rulings were opportunities for unsanctioned mayhem, that victories were mere way stations.

The April 28, 1990 broadcast of Saturday Night’s Main Event begins with a monologue by The Ultimate Warrior, the resident Cosmic Cimmerian of the WWF, in which he vows “to walk where no man has ever been” and promises to reach “the outer limits,” screaming each word from behind raised fists. Warrior was Conan The Barbarian meets Ozymandias. He seemed to look forward to the bleak and empty destiny he imagined at the end of his battles, wandering alone as champion of all that he succeeded in obliterating. He didn’t so much promise to reshape reality so much as desire one where he could rule alone and unchallenged.

The Anvil brought a manic, delightful energy to his backstage promos. He stood out even in the outlandish landscape of professional wrestling populated at the time by Warrior, Hulk Hogan, The Macho Man Randy Savage, and many others. Whereas these legends leaned heavily on long-winded fantasies outlining their triumph in the face of insurmountable or unprecedented odds, The Anvil let his laughter do the talking and left his partner Bret “The Hitman” Hart to justify the fighting that was to come.

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