Posts Tagged ‘Tom King’


Image result for heroes in crisis 9Murder. Losing control. Pain. Trauma. What do our super heroes go through in the course of being universe savers? These are questions that the Heroes in Crisis mini-series have forced upon the reader for nine issues. The under current is a murder mystery, at the place of healing Sanctuary. It is also a subplot as the secrets of Sanctuary at the healing of PTSD and other mental-emotional scars of gods on Earth were leaked out for the world to see. It struck chords of de-stigmatization, and a look in the mirror effect for the reader for our world today. That is how we need to look at the healthy parts of our lives.

For anyone who has ever been front lines for anything, or present at the loss of a loved one. As Wally West echoes to his future self– it is always one more thing…one more moment you shove it down to do this or that, help this person or that. Not always having the perfect situation or even the basics, but pulling one more miracle out of your back pocket…

Then boom.

Crisis.

It’s not just a comic book series, like any good story it is a metaphor for our own life and holistic growth.

How are you kind to you?

(And yes it is very hard to write of this awesome series without spoilers)

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coverA stone skipping across a pond leaves ripples with each impact.

The joys and life of traumas are the like the skipping stone through the generations.

Soul Ripples

What happens when the helper needs help?

For over 20 years Ty Ragan served his neighbour from the rough camps to the shelters to home and every where’s in-between. The simple life lesson of Jesus of Nazareth to love your neighbour as yourself was the centre question to be answered in his life. In May 2016 his life would begin to change drastically through unknown seizures and strokes.

Enter into the ripples that brought him to 2016, the transformational power of love of family and friends as he seeks new ripples in hope for his soul.

 

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Flash Fact: Puddlers scraped molten pig iron , taking out chunks of carbon. They removed the flaws, the weak points in the metal, turned it into malleable iron.  But the thing about Puddlers was: they did’t live. The process of doing that, of removing the vulnerabilities it was harsh and hot. Breathing that air, working that furnace, it made them sick, killed them young. Almost as if what was wrong with the iron went into them.

One part to go. I won’t be giving away any harsh reveals or spoilers for the readers as we journey into what actually happened in sanctuary. What happens into the soul of a person who has lost everything, and now has no lightning rod.

That is the hardest part of healing. Sure, we can always say it is for ourselves we need to heal. This is truth. Yet, it can become a harder struggle when there is nothing tangible keeping us in this world. I for one know I am this far along my healing journey due to the love I have for my wife and kids, and the love they have for me. If they were not in my life, or if during this process I was to lose them I do not know if I would bother carrying through. It would be easy to simply give in to the rolling darkness, and the pain that exists within.

This is the allegory of the Puddler. The idea of them succumbing to the process of purging out the pain, the impurities and vulnerabilities. That is the journey of healing, as we go along and release, who is there to aid us in carrying the burdens? Who are the social supports we have? For as Sanctuary has shown the heroes, it is not just about having a space to dump, but who is there when you leave the room? What is there for you when you leave the room?

Image result for heroes in crisis 8When you make the choice to seek healing, who is there for you on the journey? It may start as the professional/paid supports out numbering the social supports. But as true healing happens, the social supports need to outgrow the professionals. When I worked building life recovery groups, the outcome was not for the person to only have the 12 step group be the only support. Rather for it to always be there, but for the person to go find new networks to flourish in as well.

The Puddler that cannot escape the harsh heat and air, succumbs to it was they take on the darkness. This is the person in healing who is not ready to face the darkness within, who does not have supports to carry through to the light…It also speaks to the seeping in, the transference of trauma and pain to others who are unaware of the journey you have chosen to begin…or choosing a social support that appears safe, but is not. Like the data files dumped on to the internet from Sanctuary about the heroes’ darkness, so is vicarious trauma lurking to go through like a lightning storm.

The rolling story of healing-pain-seeking is well laid out through the familiar heroes we have grown up with. The question is, what lessons are we taking away for a better today and tomorrow?


In just two months my monthly trip to the comic shop to pick up the new Heroes in Crisis Image result for detective comics 1001will come to an end. As this has aided a renewal in some fun in life, I have decided I should figure out another series to pick up and read. With news Supermans titles would be going weekly it became a bit too expensive to pick up. With Detective Comics #1000 I was piqued with the new storyline starting in 1001 and picked that up.

Though Tom King was the writer of H.i.C. and Batman #68 looked like a standalone story to sample. Well, it was part of the Knightmares storyline (part 6) of the deconstructing of Batman. I will try not to give any spoilers.

It was a fun story of a bachelorette night with Lois Lane and Selina Kyle discovering friendship and shenanigans.

Image result for Batman 68How can this be a Knightmare in deconstructing Batman/Bruce Wayne? Seeing joy is wrong?

No.

It is deeper than that, and for anyone that has perhaps journeyed through trauma you can get it. You become hyper-vigilant to seeing the horrors, and the catastrophic. It leads to constantly being a fight/flight/freeze scenario. You replay your life, and relive that which you have lost. For Bruce, it was seeing Selina who he had lost, and coming to the realization that there was nothing that meant more to him. The inability to feel/focus on gratitude it one of the biggest emotional numbing agents within PTSD before and during healing.

The other piece is in the conversation between Bruce and Clark, about the worst nightmare for Bruce. The quiet. Bruce hates the world that makes Batman necessary, but what happens if Batman is no longer necessary?

What is the greatest fear of the situation you are in?

Batman-68What is your major support? Have you told them so? Authentically, have you paused. I have written previously of the Jonah Effect, those that bail on us when crisis or illness arrive. Yet, how often do we truly acknowledge those that have continued the journey with us and been there for us.

The Knightmare was for Bruce realizing that which could possibly be no more, because he was too focused on everything else to let himself be present for the good. That is Selina.

Today I was proud to be able to share the supports of my wife, kids, 3-5 close friends, Dad and his wife that have continued on this journey of pain, sorrow, and now healing with me. There is gratitude which provides more healing. It was humorous and learning to see this type of struggle from our world shared in our current mythology.

Before you go forward, whereever you are on the journey, truly take time and pause–

Who are those that support you and you support them in the journey?


Okay I am a wee nip loving the discount trade paperback bin at Revival Records and Comics by my house. There I have said it, but I in no way want an intervention currently. It is a great way to discover those stories that the Public Library has yet to score, and that I just can’t swing paying full cover price for at Chapters.

This week it brought some contemplative fun around family, and can folks actually change. One is a collection of one shots centered around the up coming nuptials of Catwoman (Selina Kyle) and Batman (Bruce Wayne)-yes there may be some spoilers.

But it is truly about family, and weird connections, as an undercurrent story is The Joker actually trying to get an invitation to the wedding because he does not see Batman as an enemy, but rather as his best friend who he has grand ol’ times with. Then there is the story of Damien Wayne, the current Robin, coming to terms with what it means to have a step-mum, and truly moving away from his grandfather’s heritage to accept the true him.

Image result for batman prelude to the weddingBatman’s boyhood friend, Hush, comes back to show that he has finally found away to get what he wants to be–close to his friend Bruce (the Batman) by physically altering himself to be Dick Grayson. The shenanighans started at Batman’s bachelor party with Dick (Nightwing) and Superman.

A great father-son moment ensues after the superhero battle of Dick and Bruce acceptingRelated image and acknowledging how good of friends they are, and then Dick realizing Superman has the rings.

And the response is awesome- “I get it, he’s Superman”

And then there’s more fun as Batgirl tackles the Riddler in a move to ensure no villains crash the party, and Harley Quinn decides to get some “exposure therapy” for her PTSD from the abusive relationship with her Puddin’ Mr. J.

Each story raises how do we determine who are family is…and more importantly our path to happiness.

Image result for batman: bride or burglarWhich then leads me into the flow of the second find, Batman Vol. 6 Bride or Burglar by Tom King. They are a collection of stories in King’s wheel house, how the human being will respond to trauma, and where our centre’s rest. The opening story is about a wealthy son who has lost his parent’s to violence “The Origin of Bruce Wayne” is a one and done story mystery about how Zasz has gotten in and out of Arkham to commit murders and add to the tallies’ on his skin…only for it to come home to roost that the child, wants desperately to be Bruce Wayne, he is the murderer.

What happens with pain and grief that goes unprocessed? What happens when a child truly has no one? Is this the way our society should be in the world?

Then there is the Super Friends story arc with Wonder Woman where she and Batman go into another dimension to give the eternal warrior, the Gentle Man, a break from the hordes of evil for a day so he can see his wife. A day though our time, is decades there time. Can Bruce still hold to Selina as his lightning rod? As the weariness of war wears him down? Will the Gentle Man decide to return and if not, what does this mean for our world?

Why does this story (or any comic story matter)? Simple, like our television shows and movies, I challenge you that they are our new mythology. Our heroic meta-narratives, and within this arc what King is asking is:

Can someone else fill your vocational call?

Image result for batman: bride or burglarThe volume closes with a story of Poison Ivy, that leads into Heroes in Crisis (regular readers know is one of my favourite storylines currently, issue 8 out April 24). Ivy believes she has killed, and has lost it. Tied into the green she literally takes over the world and all the 7.5 billion minds along with it. The Bat and the Cat are left free, for a reason, to play out what is happening.

Can they help Ivy find the truth?

The journey through the darkness, the wilderness, to allow the truth to emerge. As the truth emerges (she did not kill, the Riddler did during the Vol.4 War of Jokes and Riddles), she becomes open to PTG (Post Traumatic Growth) by healing, by entering Sanctuary.

It raises questions as we challenge and examin our own journeys. In contemplative spirituality, the Daily Examin is not a list of sins, or screw ups. It is a time to pause, reflect, and contemplate what was good, what was meh, what can change, and where have we grown. During Lent the Daily Examin brings us into the wilderness experience, a literal example here with Ivy in this story, as we move towards the SONrise, but first, we must journey and choose.

Where is your wilderness taking you?

What needs to be released?


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When Hal Jordan in grief succumbed to Parallax and killed the GL Corps

Heroes in Crisis for the uninitiated is the 9 part mini-series by Tom King and Clay Mann put out by DC Comics. It is about mental health, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a feeling the Post-Traumatic Growth is coming…and a little place called Sanctuary. Oh and there is a temporal murder mystery as well. What is not to love as walls of stigma are shattered by the biggest heroic names of Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman?

The mystery is deepening as Blue & Gold (Booster Gold & Blue Beetle) meet up with the Dynamicker Duo (Harley Quinn & Batgirl) on the run and trying to sort out the truth (spoiler: the body of Wally West was 5 days older than the day it was found).

Wally’s story is unfolding of his weeks in Sanctuary treatment, 1, 2, 3, 4. It is a real time look at what happens when one opens themselves up to the healing process. There is a euphoria of the good, a leveling out, a time of more intense sorrow than can be explained (tears are healing)…and then it is like being in the eye of a Related imageHurricane…and eerie calm that you just cannot explain but are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It creates a different kind of anxiety within your system. It is not driven by flashbacks, grief, physical-emotional-mental pain. It is literally driven by the fear that you are becoming you again.

That the trauma you are moving through, you are growing and changing for the better. Healing.

In that healing though the new grief anxiety grows as you realize that change is coming. Change triggers grief. Your entire system is used to running in the PTSD heightened sense of being, and it is possible to baseline back to you. Can you handle it?

What does it mean to no longer have your pain control you? But to integrate it healthily and move forward?

In Wally West’s case, returned from the Speed Force or where ever he was trapped due to Flashpoint and the New 52…it is the healing fear, of moving on from not having his family, Linda (his lightning rod) and Jai/Iris (his kids) and all the Flash family. As he noted in an earlier issue, “I am starting to forget”.

The healing crossroads, to choose the new life, or abide in the pain trauma or to simply cease. For those who may not get the rhythm of healing this issue could appear quite uninspired, but it is in its pacing that the true ending of stigma of mental health abides.

Thank you to my hunni for the gift of issue #7, cannot wait until next month and the month after (for the finale)…then guess I need a new series to read 🙂

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Image result for Heroes in Crisis #6How do you go forward when your world says you have brought hope, but your lightning rod is missing? This is the question Wally West raises in Heroes in Crisis #6 as he works through his trauma of returning to a world where his wife and kids do not exist. Where many of his friends remember him and the hope his return brings, he is empty inside.

The mystery deepens as to who has taken the Sanctuary for healing, into a web of murderous destruction. The psyche of many heroes and villains is explored in looking at what is holding them back from being whole.

It opens with questions around how many lives saved. Reflect on that, how does one judge a heroic life? How do you judge your own success in life? Is it through numbers, money, things, people?

What spells out success for you?

It is through this line of questioning that the character of Roy Harper Image result for Heroes in Crisis #6(Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow) emerges. The former young sidekick of Green Arrow; former heroin addict, single dad, former member of the Outlaws and Teen Titans. He is at Sanctuary working through his stuff, when this questions arises.

His answer speaks to the simplicity within my own life as to why I help:

“None of this, not one ounce is counting who you save. This all of it, is about doing what you can. It’s about getting off your couch. That’s all. Just get the &*#@ off the couch.”

-Roy Harper (Heroes in Crisis #6)

Like contentment, success and self-worth are intrinsic and discovered within. Not due to external factors. We do what we are called to do, we also need space to heal and be who we are meant to be. Heroes in Crisis is an in your face look at the toll of being on the front lines making this world better, and could easily be the story of many front line helpers that the world far too easily discards. The statement most heard when a helper needs aid from the world is, “its your job, do it or get out.” Instead of, “it’s a journey, let’s take a break and learn to heal so we can help others better.”

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Where is your journey taking you?

 

 


Related imageThe Heroes in Crisis mini series has been excellent. Well paced with the super hero action, and the crime mystery noir feel of mystery to it. Who invaded Sanctuary? Who did the spree killing? Who removed the safe space for heroes to heal? These are the underlying questions.

But then the questions erupt even more as the mysterious Puddler has leaked the story to the media of Sanctuary. Lois Lane can only sit on the story for so long, and as issue 4 came to a close, it was revealed the story was going out.

This is the opening to issue 5. As Booster Gold and Harley Quinn, partnered with Blue Beetle and Bat-girl respectively seek out answers. Flash and Batman deep dive into this weird mystery.

Superman and Wonder Woman address the press. It is a timely tale within the week of Belle’s Let’s Talk, a social media initiative to remove stigma of mental health. It reveals that there is much more needed than simply social media awareness raising. It is a concerted effort by governments around the world to appropriately fund mental health care equally, and as part of universal health care. It is understanding what is happening, that it is shifting how one experiences the world. It takes courage to live differently, but it also takes courage to understand when one needs help, to seek that help out and to heal.

This is what Superman addresses to the world. The fear that they human citizens are feeling knowing that metas are struggling with trauma, and PTSD. The thoughts of someone that can level cities now being afflicted with what has been mistaken for violence trigger. It is a key piece of Superman’s press conference, and something everyone needs to understand with any first respondents, front line workers:

“The nightmares, the nightmares they will forever endure. Yes Sanctuary exists. It exists to help these heroes recover from this pain, to help them recognize themselves under these scars, to help them wake from these nightmares. But its existence, it should not scare you. On the contrary it should comfort you. This suffering, is needed for healing. It is not the mark of a madman. It is the wound of a warrior. It’s a sign. A sign of their love…”

-Superman, Heroes in Crisis #5

Will you live in fear of the unknown, or know that by someone opening up they will discover whey they are under the scars, and discover love of life once more.