Home Comics & Toys Sanctuary will examine superhero PTSD in the DC Universe

Sanctuary will examine superhero PTSD in the DC Universe

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DC Comics Sanctuary (2)

You ever find yourself thinking about the mental strength that would be required to actually be a superhero? The strength of mind needed to slip into a spandex onesie and fight crime night after night? Hell, how do you even begin to cope when your life has been turned upside down by what seems to be an annual invasion into your reality by cosmic extinction events from beyond the stars and our ability to even conceive of those horrors?

Sooner or later, the weight of infinite crises and invasions of a secret flavour are going to come crashing down on you. It’s something that has a real-world equivalent, with many a soldier returning home from the battlefield and finding themselves unable to cope with the regular grind of the everyday world thanks to mental problems stemming from Post-Traumatic Stress-Disorder.

And that’s the idea that writer Tom King wants to examine in his next project, Sanctuary. At the DC In DC convention held last weekend, the Batman and Mister Miracle scribe revealed via io9 his new project that’ll focus on the crisis centres that help heroes deal with the trauma that they’ve battled through in DC-wide events and their own series:

if superheroes feel trauma and it drives them a little mad, that’s a danger

The DCU has a bunch of superheroes and all they do is fight, every time, and that must have a psychological effect on them, right? You can’t live a life of violence and not feel that violence deep in your heart—and we also have a group of superheroes, the Trinity, who care about these other heroes. They sort of feel like parental figures, the foundation that stands beneath them.

And they care about them for two reasons: one, because they’re good people, but two, if superheroes feel trauma and it drives them a little mad, that’s a danger.

So, as both a practical and a compassionate matter, they’ve set up something called Sanctuary, which is a place that you can go, modelled on veterans’ crisis centers—which is an interesting name for them—and talk about this trauma and admit that this had an effect on you; where you can admit that being a superhero and seeing a life of violence and seeing people get hurt around you, that that has some sort of impact on you—and Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman can help you.

DC Comics Sanctuary (1)

If there’s a C-word that’s definitely allowed in DC Comics as of late, it’s compassion. With DC Rebirth paving the way for more caring heroes and Wonder Woman reinforcing that ideal, it’s only fair that the heroes themselves take some time to look after themselves. Both physically and mentally. King says that the event will tie into another project of his, and given that the word Crisis is used, it could be massive.

After all, Crisis is a word reserved for only the most monumental of DC events, that began with The Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985 and was last used for the Final Crisis in 2008. Maybe now’s the time for a new crisis to emerge, in the wake of the currently-unfolding Doomsday Clock storyline.


Last Updated: January 16, 2018

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