Warning: this article contains spoilers for Heroes in Crisis #7 and for the series as a whole.
Tom King And Clay Mann’s Heroes in Crisis hasn’t exactly been shy about its body count—we’ve even been keeping a running tally of the losses, with apologies to Gnarrk, whose poetic death in issue #6 didn’t seem to merit an article of its own. From C-listers like Red Devil and The Protector to major losses like Arsenal and returned Flash Wally West (kind of—more on that in a moment), Heroes in Crisis has portrayed death after death on the page in an attempt at addressing trauma and loss in the context of super-heroics. As readers learn more about a mass killing at The Sanctuary, a secret facility established by Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman to care for the mental-health needs of its super-powered patients, King, Mann and their guest collaborators have pointed the accusatory finger at three primary suspects: massacre survivors Booster Gold and Harley Quinn, who have turned to allies Blue Beetle and Batgirl, respectively, to help them run and hide; and Wally West, whose death has been revealed to involve time-travel flimflammery. This week’s seventh installment (Heroes in Crisis was announced as a seven-issue series, then expanded to nine) not only takes a major step toward identifying the true culprit, it also features the rebirth of a character whose demise had yet to be confirmed by the series.
Heroes in Crisis #7 Cover Art by Mitch Gerads
Pamela Lillian Isley, better known as occasionally reformed Bat-foe Poison Ivy, was one of the first major DC characters rumored to meet a grisly end in the pages of Heroes in Crisis. While Ivy has been seen in the confessionals Sanctuary participants recorded before the attack, readers only knew of her apparent fate through the words and actions of Harley Quinn, whose erratic behavior was implied to be a reaction to losing Ivy. (Harley and Ivy have been confirmed to be in an open romantic relationship, although portrayals of that bond vary from series to series.) While a lack of explicit on-page death could be seen as a blessing, the ambiguity around Ivy’s fate has created an ongoing tension among fans of the character, especially when a potential cover to Heroes in Crisis #7 leaked, depicting Ivy’s seemingly dead body in what many considered an overly sexualized pose, with her blood in the shape of The Flash’s lightning bolt. Following backlash and a request by writer Tom King, that cover was replaced by the Superman image seen above.
Cancelled Heroes in Crisis #7 Cover Art by Clay Mann & Tomeu Morey
As of today’s Heroes in Crisis #7, however, Ivy fans can breathe a (perhaps confused) sigh of relief. Throughout the issue, Wally West is seen reciting poetry to a field of flowers. In the book’s final pages, we see the former Kid Flash zap one bud—possibly the flower Harley held in a prior issue—with electricity, helping it to bloom into a fully reborn version of Poison Ivy, floral musculature and all. While Ivy’s appearance and exact abilities have shifted over the years from nearly human to a radiant green, this may be one of the first times in mainstream continuity that Ivy has been portrayed as being composed entirely of plant matter, à la Swamp Thing. After seven issues of teasing out Ivy’s fate, we now know for sure that she did die—quite possibly at Wally West’s hands—but that she’s back in emerald action.
Heroes in Crisis #7 Interior Art by Clay Mann & Tomeu Morey
While we can strike one name from Heroes in Crisis’ ongoing casualty list, Ivy’s method of return seems to confirm a sneaking suspicion that readers have been debating since the first issue: beloved Flash Wally West, whose return in the pages of DC Rebirth made him the literal symbol of hope in the DC Universe, looks to be the most likely culprit for the mass murder that took place at The Sanctuary. After returning Ivy to life, Wally apologizes to her, saying, “I didn’t help you. I hurt you, and then I did this. This doesn’t make up for the hurt.” The issue’s penultimate page ends with Wally and Ivy facing a second Wally West, presumably zapped through time to explain how Wally’s body ended up at Sanctuary in the first place. “Death,” Wally warns Ivy. “You’ll see my death.”
Of course, with two issues left, King could have any number of twists and turns up his sleeves. We’ll withhold full judgment until we read Heroes in Crisis #8 and #9, but if Wally West is revealed to be a spree killer—and the covers to the next two issues do focus heavily on Wally—Ivy’s off-page death and spring-time rebirth will be just a footnote in the heated conversations ahead.
Heroes in Crisis #9 Cover Art by Clay Mann & Tomeu Morey