Thoughts on Some of Tom King's Stories?

I am curious about what everyone else’s thoughts are on some of Tom King’s more well known projects:

The Omega Men (12 issue mini series)
Mister Miracle (12 issue mini series)
Heroes in Crisis (9 issue mini series)
Batman Vol 3 (#1-85)
Strange Adventures (ongoing 12 issue mini series)
Rorschach (ongoing 12 issue mini series)
Batman/Catwoman (ongoing 12 issue mini series)


Heroes in Crisis- Worst comic I ever read (I hate the divisive art on it so it is definitely not all him).


Missing one:

One of the greatest Superman stories of all time.


Its usually depressed people the comic. His writing is a waste of good artists like Clay Mann.

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I thought it was horrible as well

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King does seem to incorporate a number of real life issues into his stories, such as mental illness, past trauma, and terrorism/war. Which traits of his writing style do you take issue with?


I do enjoy King’s stories. I haven’t read Strange Adventures, Rorschach or Batman/Catwoman yet because I’m waiting for them to all be released so I can read them in one go.

I find that his stories have a lot of elements to them and if I read as they are released I lose some parts over time. But they work better if I read his mini-series runs in one go.

Yes, his stories are usually depressing and deal heavily in mental health issues or other topics that are usually not used front and center in comics. But that is why I like them. Yes, Heroes in Crisis was rough, but it was the closest storyline we’ve had to openly dealing with PTSD and such that I am aware of. I enjoy that series for that reason.

As for his run on Batman. It can be dense in certain parts but it is a really great run. He ties everything together about halfway through and you realize how much he was building up to. His run was cut short but I still feel like it was done very well and wrapped up nearly everything he needed to.

But honestly if a series has King’s name on it I’m probably buying it.


I’m definitely of the mind that his work is a lot better when it feels more isolated continuity-wise. Mister Miracle, Up in the Sky, Strange Adventures and Rorschach all were/have been pretty good, sometimes great, and on the competitor’s side, Vision remains 1 of the best Marvel stories I’ve ever read. But things like Heroes in Crisis, Batman/Catwoman and his Batman run were/have been a lot more rough. I think if he’s free to tell the stories he really wants w/out too much editorial interference (which I get the sense there’s been more of on those last 3 titles), then he can really shine


I’ll say this about Tom King stories: They read a lot better in trade. Whether they are good or bad is more a matter of preference with what you want to get out of a comic. For me, I don’t mind his use of repetition to underline his characterization of characters. I also get a real kick out of the little moments he sticks into his stories, like this one from his Batman run:

So yeah, I would definitely consider myself a fan of his work, but I can see how some of his choices and writing techniques can rub people the wrong way. I should also mention that I have not read Heroes in Crisis, nor do I plan to :sweat_smile: I am pretty excited to read through Strange Adventures once it wraps up, and I’m very intrigued with how Batman/Catwoman is going so far, although the cuts from past to present to future are a bit difficult to get used to.


The Omega Men

Loved that series, felt like an excellent hard sci-fi series which was able to take this concept that I literally never heard of before and made me care about them. I also think it’s probably the best story Kyle Rayner has ever been in.

Mister Miracle

AMAZING work. It’s an absolutely stunning and real depiction of a married couple trying to live their life and work through their emotional baggage. The Mitch Geralds art is beautiful, and I love how there’s a certain ambiguity about everything in the end. The only thing I would give as a negative is that while I think it got characters like Scott and Barda and Granny right, I think some of the other characters, namely Orion kind of got a raw end, being forced into certain characterizations to fulfill the story, which is a little unfortunate.

Heroes in Crisis

Woo-boy…okay. There a lot of things I like about the series in theory.

I like the idea of a story about how these heroes deal with the physical and mental strain of what they do. The idea that these aspirational, god-like beings also deal with the sort of issues that we do makes them feel both more human and more heroic.

Similarly, I liked the idea of how they explored Wally as a character here. Historically, Wally’s a character that I’ve just never really been into, but taking that conceit of Wally being the one to bring things back to what they were before in Rebirth, all the while not having his family anymore, I thought that was a great twist on things and I wanted to see more of that explored.

I also dug the idea of the murder mystery – Harley Quinn and Booster Gold being thrust in a murder where they both think the other did it? That’s a neat idea for a mystery.

BUT…I think this is something that probably shouldn’t have been combined together. I would have much rather either seen a book solely about Sanctuary, about characters like Wally, Booster, Harley and Ivy dealing with their emotional trauma and finding some sort of peace, or a murder mystery involving characters like Booster, Blue Beetle, Harley and Batgirl. But combining the two just made the Sanctuary plot feel cheap and exploitive and the murder mystery feel trite and unnecessary.

As for the art…Clay Mann does some great work, though there are some instances where you feel like you have to give him a good bonk.

Batman Vol 3

It’s got highs and it’s got lows. There definitely wasn’t enough story for 85+ issues, it makes some weird choices, and doesn’t always gel together. But there’s also moments of sheer brilliance. I loved it for solidfying for certain how imporant Catwoman is to Batman and his world (I’m a shipper, sue me), and exploring the idea of if he can be happy and fulfilled while still being Batman.

I think if it was condensed down to maybe 50-60 issues and some tweaks, this could have gone from a solid, if controversial at points run to an instant classic.

Strange Adventures

Admittedly, I’m a few issues behind on this book so some of my thoughts may change once I’m caught up. But what I’ve read has been interesting, though it can feel a little like already treaded water in some respects. I will say I really like the Mister Terrific side of things. Not only does that feel a bit more different to some of his other work, but it’s just cool to see Terrific used as something other than a JSA member, in something more substantial unlike, say, his brief ongoing during the New 52.


This one I’m even more behind (I should get caught up on both today when I’m off work), but what I’ve read has been interesting. I like that it seems to be just as much a meditation of comics and their influence on culture as it is a story in the Watchmen universe.


I’m actually caught up on it (the delays have helped a bit :sweat_smile:) and I’m enjoying it so far. The whole “past/present/future” thing was a little hard to get at first but after slowing down it’s easy to read. Clay Mann’s pin-up-y art definitely works a lot better with the epitome of femme fatale in Catwoman, and I think it’s an interesting exploration of how these two seemingly complete opposites can find love and solice together.

The only thing I’m a little “eh” on right now is their take on Helena. I think I would have prefered her keeping her original name of Huntress instead of Batwoman, and I think her costume is kinda “eh.”

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If King wrote Spider-Man, Peter would never leave his apartment.

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Same boat sort of deal here.

I’ve read very little Tom King so it is hard for me to make absolute statements on him, but I’ve read enough to know that I like his writing.

HEROES IN CRISIS was really good for 6 issues, hooked me in with a spectacular 7th issue, and then unravels for me in the last issue and a half.

I’ve loved BATMAN/CATWOMAN. I think there is a lot of negativity around it because they think it is supposed to be something it isn’t, and DC marketing has some blame in that. Ultimtately, I’m loving over dramatic soap opera stylings of the book and I love the character reveals that we are getting to exemplify why they were/are never going to get married.

I’m excited to read RORSCHACH and STRANGE ADVENTURES here pretty soon. And THE HUMAN TARGET recently announced should be interesting. I need to check out SUPERMAN: UP IN THE SKY, and SUPERGIRL: WOMAN OF TOMORRROW had a really strong start for me.

I know he is divisive, and a lot of people don’t like his writing. But for me, it works. He is writing different from pretty much everyone else in comics so I think people could at least appreciate that. But to each their own, not all comics are for every one.


My memory says I liked Omega Men but I remember exactly nothing else about it. I read Mister Miracle well after the hype and I thought it was fine but didn’t live up to it and again remember nothing about it. Once more, I think I didn’t mind Up In the Sky but . . . no memory.
I very much disliked HiC. Very much.
I hated his Batman. Like, despised it. I know there were occasional parts I thought were good but not nearly enough to change my mind.
“Bat” “Cat” dialogue is like nails on a chalkboard to me so no chance I’d ever read Batman/Catwoman.
Unless he does an event, which I would read under protest due to its importance to the DCU, I doubt I will ever read a King series again.

To his credit, I think King understands themes very broadly but his dialogue and execution just don’t work for me.

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Agree 100%. I think if THE TRINITY had shown up at the beginning and arrested Wally and then done the whole thing as an ‘interrogation’ plot with Wally having memory loss from the explosion and desperately trying to remember so that he can clear his name would have been better.

Batman could have pulled the tapes but they still self-destruct after 24 hours still gives the same sense of agency that sending them to Lois Lane did, just a little cleaner because you aren’t inserting a whole character for a weird subplot.

But setting everything up as a murder mystery didn’t work for me because ultimately there had to be too many twists to justify it. And while I’m fine with Harper’s death, and the reason for it, I’m not ok with Wally framing other people. And it really frustrated me that he pinned it on two characters that do enough wrong to need some ‘wins’ in their corner and he took advantage of their public image to clear himself.

I really enjoyed the first 6 issues, and the 7th one really locked me in for a fantastic finale. But the last issue and a half really unraveled rapidly and lost me on the ending. I still love the first 7 for sure, I think the art is mostly beautiful, I love the 9-panel grid ‘confessionals,’ and I think the story gets too much hate for how strong it was upfront. But I can understand people not liking it in the end.

I just don’t hear many people actually justify what they don’t like other than 'Wally killed Roy," which is a non-issue for me.


I feel like if I read it again I could be specific but no part of me wants to. Broadly, it didn’t live up to what it was sold as. The mental health focus (which I was very excited to read) was just a bunch of talking heads panels and I personally thought the dialogue was all cliche Hollywood “therapy”. It was also sold as a mystery but I didn’t feel like it played out that way. A mystery should be solvable but none of the clues indicated what actually happened, although maybe I am remembering wrong. I didn’t like Harley taking down the Trinity so easily. It just felt forced. I really don’t like what Wally did and the repercussions for him and Roy.
It might have been just out of control internet rumors but I feel like there was a lot of editorial influence on this story. To borrow and paraphrase an idea from Roger Ebert, I’d much rather read about the behind the scenes process than read the finished product. (Same with 5G, I’d love to know what the plan was and what happened. Someone turn that into a documentary graphic novel.)

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I definitely agree with editorial getting in the way, as well as marketing selling an idea that wasn’t actually intended by the creators. I feel the same way about the BAT/CAT wedding. I don’t think TK ever intended them to get married, but it hurt everyone’s feelings because marketing made sure to convince everyone that they were.

I would love to get the full backstory on when, where, and why everything fell apart as you said. A documentary-style OGN for both of those would be must-reads for me.

But yeah, I’m not asking you to re-read and defend yourself specifically. I just run into a lot of people that ‘hate Tom King for what he did to Wally,’ but the one thing they point at for that feeling is because of Roy’s death. But that was something that happened to Wally and Roy.

They are the victims and yet people blame Wally. I don’t disagree with people not liking HiC. I’m on the fence myself. I just disagree with most people’s reasoning on it.


HA! Spider-Man’s existence is an endless onslaught of depression and misery

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I’ll admit, I have yet to read any of his ongoing mini series. Most likely because I agree that I think those read better when they are all out and I can read them in one sitting. As for his run on Batman…it was all right. I liked it enough where I will check out Batman/Catwoman when it is finally done.

HEROES IN CRISIS - This…is a horribly put together story. You can tell that the story was heavily altered as the issues were coming out, there are plot lines that come up but are completely forgotten about, it tries to be poetic despite the horrible damage/violence shown on the page and done in the aftermath. Also, the entire reason this story is happening at all hinges on a fundamental misunderstanding of an essential part of DC lore. (I can provide more detail, but I think that sums it up.)

MISTER MIRACLE - Despite seemingly similar to Heroes in Crisis, I think this works way better. Maybe it’s because he is using the New Gods mythology and that this story doesn’t necessarily have to fit in with main continuity. And I think he approaches the topic of mental illness way better than HIC too.

OMEGA MEN - I thought overall, this was pretty great. It was interesting seeing a DC story approach the topic of terrorism/religious warfare. Admittedly, I’m no expert about Green Lantern or specifically Kyle Rayner. But I don’t recall his Catholic faith being such an important part of his character. I could be completely wrong, I only mentioned that because I read this story right after reading all Green Lantern stories starting with Hal Jordan’s rebirth all the wary through to the end of the New 52.


I wasn’t a big fan of how Heros in Crisis went, but there were some terrific parts in the series; I absolutely loved his run on Batman, enjoy Batman and Catwoman–and how can’t you enjoy Mr. Miracle?!

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I dig them all. Heroes in Crisis is the most flawed of the bunch. King has acknowledged Wally wasn’t the right character for that story, but the underlying idea is a really thoughtful one.

Mr Miracle and Vision are IMO his best work, though we’ll see how Strange Adventures wraps up.