View Full Version : Finally read "Identity Crisis."
...and if you haven't yet; you may want to skip this.
I'm personally of a mind that there isn't any topic inherently taboo for writing into a story; but I do think some stuff needs to be dealt with carefully. Identity Crisis bothered a LOT of folks with it's content; although having read it I'm not sure it's for the right reasons. Storywise I can SEE what they were getting at; but I think they missed the mark.
First, having Dr. Light rape Sue. They needed something severe enough to warrant the heroes reprogramming the guy. Okay; but you'd think any supervillain has ALREADY commited enough attrocities to warrant this. Threatening an entire city isn't enough? Sure, they made it PERSONAL, but that sorta made the heroes seem like jerks more than anything. The whole thing is handled pretty shallowly. Mainstream comics always seem to want the shock value of heinous events; but never seem to want the responsibility of actually DEALING with them. (The term "rape" is NEVER used in the story.)
And ultimately lobotomizing the guy really doesn't have anything to do with the story! At it's core the whole thing is a murder mystery with the origin of a new bad guy thrown in. Lobotomizing bad guys is hardly dealt with at all! (Other than to imply that everyone knows, but nobody says anything.)
The story comes across as really REALLY depreciating. We see heroes and villains at their worse; but NOBODY ever rises above. For the most part, instead of humanizing them (which it SEEMS like the goal was) they come across as self-important chumps. Even the bit with Ralph at the end... almost that exact scene was used on the Simpsons to show NED AT A LOW POINT IN HIS LIFE!!!
To me; the trick with putting stuff like murder, underhandedness, dark secrets and such in a story is that you have to DEAL with them. SOMETHING is gonna happen. Except here. We get a somewhat interesting idea (what if the HEROES did something bad?) glossed over for a standard superhero story. Which I think is the problem with a lot of mainstream books; especially the "event" ones. They want the shock and awe of a truly heavy story, without thinking through a truly heavy story... leaving nothing but spectacle and hype.
Earth 2 Chris
Jul 27, '07, 2:39 PM
My biggest gripe with Identity Crisis is that it put the characters through paces, many of which hinged on characters acting OUT OF character, and then pretty much went no where. Like you said, no one rose above, learned anything, etc. It was basically raking the DCU through the mud.
Meltzer writes good character moments (when they are in character), but I think his story structuring is weak. And I don't think this story should have been told in the main DCU. In an Elseworlds, these events could be taken to more natural conclusions, AND our heroes wouldn't seem much less heroic now. James Robinson's The Golden Age is a great example of this. An almost-Watchmen like take on the JSA and All-Star Squadron, but it didn't hurt the monthly books at all. Due to edtiorial decree, DC is still dealing with the fallout of IC years later.
That's my take.
Jul 27, '07, 8:56 PM
I view "Identity Crisis" as typical Meltzer writing...some good characters beats, like Chris said, but pretty much a lot of hype and hullabaloo with nothing being accomplished in the end. They say that Meltzer has such love for the Silver Age Justice League but this story didn't show that to me. Instead, it was a twisted version of the JLA. Granted the mind-wiping storyline was cool and retroactively fit well with the original JLA issues where they fought the Secret Society of Super-Villains, but the Dr. Light/Sue Dibny rape I could've done without. Knowing that this was behind the scenes of a story from my youth (albeit retroactively) ruined it for me. If anything, I'd rather have seen Dr. Light torture Sue instead of a sexual assault. Not that I condone either but I could see him knocking her around and terrorizing her a bit more in character with him and the SA JLA stories in general as opposed to him being a rapist. I want my super-villains to get their jollies trying to rob a bank or rule the world...not trying to get his rocks off. :muh:
Jul 27, '07, 9:47 PM
i think there simply should NOT be "rape" in the DCU. this is a universe with magic rings, androids, and talking detective chimps. it is simply too fanciful a universe for the real-world brutal crime of rape to occur.
i didnt have a problem with it being in Watchmen, since that was clearly a different world. but any universe that has Superman, Batman, and other kids heroes doesnt need to have rape, too. if you cant write a story that features women in jeapordy without them getting raped, youre a bad writer.
Jul 28, '07, 12:58 AM
I saw the "rape" of Sue to be a metaphor for the "rape" of the silver/bronze age stories we grew up on. The mind wiping, as the wiping away of continuity with the first crisis.... I saw Identity Crisis as the first stepping stone towards the return of what was lost... and it turned out to be true.
Thing with Identity Crisis is that it started as a stand alone story, but before it was shipped it became part of a bigger whole.
Granted the Mind Wiping had less to do with this story than anything else... up it set everything up for the next couple of years.
Beyond here be spoilers for the last couple of years of DC Comics....
Here's where you get Batman being paranoid, which leads to him not trusting anyone, and creating OMAC, which in turn gets taken over by Checkmate, which causes Superman to go crazy, which causes Wonder Woman to kill a man, and pretty much destroys the unity of the JLA making it easier for Alex Luthor and CO to do what they did.
Identity Crisis also created the female Eclpso which was needed to seduce the Spectre into destroying all Magic, which caused the death of Shazam, and caused Cap Marvel to become the new Shazam, making CMJ go on his quest, making Mary Marvel take the powers of Black Adam, etc...
The Mind wipes becoming public knowledge led to the Flash rogues becoming more dangerous which leads to them to beat Bart Allen to death recently.
Again, as a stand along story, Identity Crisis doesn't do much, other than reveal the wife of a Superhero doing something against her nature... and although that seems like a bit of bad writing, seeing the real life drama of the Benoit murder/suicide play out, it puts this fictional story firmly in the realm of reality.
No, Identity Crisis only works as part of a whole, as does the Adam Strange mini series. IDC was the first part of the Infinite Crisis-Earth bound stories. Adam Strange was the first part of the Infinite Crisis-space bound stories.
Maybe I'm wrong and I attribute too much planning to the powers that be at DC, but everything kind of works out.
It's nice to see folks giving this some thought!
>I saw the "rape" of Sue to be a metaphor for the "rape" of the silver/bronze age stories we grew up on.
Y'know... that SOUNDS funny, but the more I think about it the more sense it makes....
>Granted the Mind Wiping had less to do with this story than anything else... up it set everything up for the next couple of years.
That sorta bugs me too. There's enough in the story that SHOULD be dealt with; but it isn't. And a lot of what it sets up seems to be more of the same. That is; weirdly watered down "events" that should get more credence than they do.
>Here's where you get Batman being paranoid, which leads to him not trusting anyone, and creating OMAC, which in turn gets taken over by Checkmate, which causes Superman to go crazy, which causes Wonder Woman to kill a man, and pretty much destroys the unity of the JLA making it easier for Alex Luthor and CO to do what they did.
Well... yeah. Like that. A lot of deconstruction of established ideas... not inherently bad... but you sort of end with a 14-year old RPG "they're TOUGHER now and it's SOOO KEWEL!!!!" continuity.
>Identity Crisis also created the female Eclpso which was needed to seduce the Spectre into destroying all Magic, which caused the death of Shazam, and caused Cap Marvel to become the new Shazam, making CMJ go on his quest, making Mary Marvel take the powers of Black Adam, etc...
...which seems like a LOT of work to reintroduce a bunch of characters.
>The Mind wipes becoming public knowledge led to the Flash rogues becoming more dangerous which leads to them to beat Bart Allen to death recently.
See my 14-year old comment.
>seeing the real life drama of the Benoit murder/suicide play out, it puts this fictional story firmly in the realm of reality.
Well.... it's sort-of real life. I think that's what bugged me about it. There's a lot of stuff that ISN'T dealt with that would be important in real life. Stories like this are usually internal ones; that give you a peek into the character's head. And we didn't get that here. We got the opposite; a story about a murder. Which sort of throws some character personality stuff in at the end. (BAFFLINGLY, I might add....)
>And I don't think this story should have been told in the main DCU. In an Elseworlds, these events could be taken to more natural conclusions, AND our heroes wouldn't seem much less heroic now.
You COULD do it in the regular continuity, and do it well, and not make anyone seem like a puke. I think they just didn't. It could have been a great way to show some second-stringers deal with their inadequacies; or the futility of their quest... and it could have been cathartic for someone. (Yeah; okay, so Firehawk phones her mom at the end...) But it played out as an overwrought story from any given superhero book. When you mess with established characters like these you HAVE to present a more epic story; 'cos you're dealing with epic characters. ("Street level" is easier to do with unknowns like the Watchmen 'cos nobody knows what to expect, nobody has their own preconceptions and nobody has formed any real attachments yet.)
>the Dr. Light/Sue Dibny rape I could've done without
You really COULD have; since all you needed to progress the plot was Dr Light to do something of "the last straw" variety; and that covers a lot of ground. The rape was hardly in the book at all! I could see a kid reading this and not being able to figger out what actually happened. (It actually took ME a minute to figger it out.) I think it was put in to make the story more "grown up," but it really doesn't.
>i think there simply should NOT be "rape" in the DCU.
I wouldn't say NEVER; but I think it should be handled a lot more careful than it was here.
It's all about presentation. Think back to how many gold and silver age comics featured someone finding out the hero's identity; but forgetting it, getting amnesia or having their mine wiped; much like this story. But it was played out differently. Same event, different presentation.
>it is simply too fanciful a universe for the real-world brutal crime
Kinda reminds me of this: http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=160
Comic Book Geek
Jul 28, '07, 2:19 PM
Reading it as it came out... it was a fantastic ride. Who done it? My friends and I speculated for months rereading everything... and it ended with a wimper.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.