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5.0 out of 5 stars Great murder mystery drama in the DC Universe focusing on the human side of superheroes.
Such an brilliant book and suspenseful a murder mystery story. This miniseries is a evocative 7 issue series from Brad Meltzer, a well known and acclaimed thriller novelist who creates a truly suspenseful tale. Sue Dinby, wife of the Elongated Man is preparing her husbands Birthday surprise when an unknown intruder attacks resulting in Sue's murder. This tale takes a more...
Published 2 months ago by Keith

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2.0 out of 5 stars Who the hell is Sue Dibny?!
SPOILERS

"Identity Crisis" is probably one of the most baffling event books I've ever read. By turns it's unintentionally funny, confusing, and ultimately pointless. At its core, it is a deeply cynical story and seems to be DC's attempt at Watchmen-ifying the DCU - and utterly failing.

It opens with two unfamiliar characters speaking atop a...
Published 23 months ago by Sam Quixote


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2.0 out of 5 stars Who the hell is Sue Dibny?!, 1 Jan 2013
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Identity Crisis TP (Paperback)
SPOILERS

"Identity Crisis" is probably one of the most baffling event books I've ever read. By turns it's unintentionally funny, confusing, and ultimately pointless. At its core, it is a deeply cynical story and seems to be DC's attempt at Watchmen-ifying the DCU - and utterly failing.

It opens with two unfamiliar characters speaking atop a rooftop: Elongated Man (yes that really is his name!) and Firehawk, a pair who look like the most generic superheroes ever created. They are failing to blend in with the scenery but aren't spotted despite Firehawk being on fire at night, watching an alley with a box in it, 2 gangsters, and a "super" villain who are somehow all connected. Sue Dibny, Elongated Man's wife, is preparing a surprise birthday for him so he's put on his tights and headed out into the night to give her room. But it's not going to be a happy birthday as she is about to murdered. Sue, it turns out, is the first in a line of family members of superheroes who are being targeted for some reason.

This first chapter... I think I could write an entire dissertation solely on how stupid this chapter is. First off - Elongated Man. Does anyone know who he is, let alone his wife? Does anyone care? His wife's dead - so what? We've just been introduced to these characters. Maybe you're one of the Silver Age readers who might remember these characters but I'm guessing most people coming to this book aren't, and I'm definitely one of them. But the response is hilarious. EVERYONE in the DCU mobilises as if their entire world is shook up. Sue Dibny is dead? SUE DIBNY? The correct response would've been "who?" but it seems she meant a great deal to everyone in the DCU despite not being a superhero and being the wife of a superhero called, yes, Elongated Man. The worst name ever created for a "superhero". Was "Distended Man" taken?

This is where DC begin ret-conning like crazy. Elongated Man tells stories of going out on patrol with Batman - I've read a lot of Batman comics and not once have I seen one mention of this character. Hell, in all the DC comics I've read, I've never seen a single mention of this guy. But whoever he is, he's suddenly important because otherwise this book has no impact on the reader, so DC make up a whole bunch of stuff about this couple you've never heard of to build them up as some kind of massively important characters on par with Superman, Wonder Woman, et al. when the truth is Sue Dibny is an easy character to kill off because nobody remembers her.

The response is so overblown and melodramatic that, once you realise this is all for a character called Sue Dibny, the wife of a superhero you've never heard of, it becomes really funny. Green Arrow at one point says "Clark and Bruce may be the bricks - but Ralph and Sue... they were the mortar" which just made me laugh partly because he's so solemn when he says it and partly because it's so untrue. And then the funeral takes place. You've never seen such an outpouring of superheroes - for Sue Dibny! The superheroes act like this is their 9/11! At this point I wondered if someone had made "Who the hell is Sue Dibny?" tshirts and that I should buy one - seriously, DC, it's one thing to insist the reader cares so much about this unknown couple, but to have literally every superhero in the DCU breaking down over her death? It's so ridiculous. This leads to the hunt for her killer who is judged to be an unknown villain called Dr Light - with no evidence!

To recap so far: the wife of a superhero, neither of whom anyone has heard of before, is killed by an equally unknown "supervillain" whose power is being able to light up like a lightbulb. Oh dear...

The Dr. Light connection leads to some baffling revelations and the explanation for the title. Dr Light, a seemingly harmless loony, manages to break into the JLA's moon headquarters (somehow because it's never explained) while they're all away. Wandering about - for no reason! You're never told why he's even there in the first place! - he meets Sue Dibny. And then rapes her! Here the laughter is replaced by an uneasy feeling that DC are now actively channelling Alan Moore. After half a minute or so, most of the JLA appear and stop him, beat him up, etc. Then, out of the blue, they decide to wipe his memory using Zatanna and then go further, changing his brain so his personality is altered! It should be said that Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman - the Big 3 - are absent but it's implied that this has happened many times before and, as they were involved, they must have had a part in this. But for the purposes of this book, the ringleader is winner of the curviest goatee ever seen in comics, Green Arrow, who, in this book at least, manages to win over Barry Allen/Flash, Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, and Carter Hall/Hawkman and together, they watch as Zatanna does the deed.

In a book of really strange goings on, this is perhaps one of the strangest reasonings I've ever read in a DC comic. Going waaaaaay back to 1960s Silver Age comics, they single out an issue where a magic box switches the identities of superheroes and villains momentarily. While the villains are in the superheroes' bodies, they unmask and find out the superheroes' secret identities. Aghast, the superheroes, once returned to their bodies, fear for their loved ones as they will now become targets for the villains. So they decide to wipe the memories of the villains to ensure their secret identities remain secret.

This highlights one of the biggest problems DC, and Marvel for that matter, have - going back to the past and rewriting it so it's "darker". It's like they're embarrassed of their history. So those silly Silver Age stories that were aimed at and written for kids? DC have decided to go back and rewrite them to suit where they are - in the 21st century - as a company, creatively. They want things to be "real" and "dark" and "gritty". First of all, if you're reading superhero comics and want realism - STOP READING SUPERHERO COMICS. You're reading about a guy who can move so fast his can vibrate his molecules and pass through solid objects and a billionaire who dresses as a bat, not to mention the alien who can fly - and you want them to seem more "real"? What a nonsensical complaint! The good news is that there are lots of "realistic" comics out there so you can fill your boots, but if you're picking up a DC or Marvel book then you're choosing to put aside realism and indulge in pure fantasy.

Second, why can't DC leave well enough alone? Those Silver Age comics were written for a younger, less sophisticated readership compared to the comics audience of the 21st century which is predominantly adult. Those stories in the 60s were silly but that doesn't mean you have to address the many bizarre stories that were printed and then find ways of explaining them so that there are "real" reasons behind their existence. They were just innocent stories for kids, designed to be silly - there is absolutely no reason to have to go back and pillage the past to suit the current Dark/Modern age of comics. I'm just getting so sick of this revisionist crap - writers who can't come up with something original so they go back and "spin" something old. It's so uncreative. How about a new take on Winnie the Pooh? Hey, you know why Eeyore is so down? He was molested as a young donkey. Yeah, he's on a ton of antidepressants. And speaking of drugs, Tigger? He's on crack. All the time, hence his energy. And Piglet, man s/he is such a whore, the things s/he does with Pooh in his trailer...

So that's the "identity crisis" of the book - superheroes performing immoral acts on immoral people. I don't know why DC felt they had to come up with an answer to the question of "how do superheroes maintain their secret identities so long?" especially as if that's a valid question, how about "how can Flash move so fast? Isn't that kind of speed impossible for a human?" etc. Once again, if you're picking up a superhero comic, questions of realism/logic - these shouldn't be valid as they're not applicable.

And then we're back to the murder mystery story of Sue Dibny, except now there's another body and once again this victim is someone you don't know nor care about: Tim Drake's dad. I don't even remember his name, that's how unmemorable he was. He was Robin's dad, that's it.

To recap again: two unknown and inconsequential characters have died, and superheroes have been revealed as morally bankrupt. Why is this considered to be a "great" book again?

So finally we get to the end as Dr Mid-Nite figures out, just as Bruce Wayne does, who the killer is. And on the subject of Dr Mid-Nite, he's been performing the autopsy on Sue Dibny since her death, basically the entire book. The events in this book take place between one and two weeks. Which means Dr Mid-Nite's been performing an autopsy for over a week! Don't these things take a day or two? He's got to be the worst "doctor" of all time to spend this long autopsying a corpse.

And who is the killer of two unknown, inconsequential characters? Only another unknown, inconsequential character! The Atom!....'s wife. Who? Yes, the superhero you kind of know about, or might not at all, the Atom is a guy who can shrink himself down to the size of an atom. In this book, he's been going through a divorce with his wife - who left him - and, despite the fact that she could get back together with him at the drop of a hat - he repeatedly reminds the reader how much he's still in love with her - she concocts the most convoluted plan to get him running back to her. Which he already was.

So how does Atom's wife do it? Well, I have no idea. I've read and re-read the sequence and am no clearer. She finds one of his tiny costumes in a box one day and then in the next panel she has acquired his powers and is able to shrink to the size of atoms. Um... Then for some reason she decides to try out her new power by going into Sue Dibny's brain and playing around in there...Er...Brad Meltzer, I'm not following. Then she loses control, Sue Dibny dies, Atom's wife tries to hide it by torching Elongated Man's house, fake a murder attempt, and then kill Tim Drake's dad. That's right, this is the most nonsensical resolution to a non-story I've ever read.

Before I finish (and congratulations if you've made it through this elongated rant - eh?) I will say that the book contains one of the best fight sequences I've read all year. Normally I'm against superhero violence as it's so inane, two roided-out dudes in tights punching one another - it's dull, right? But the sequence when Deathstroke takes out the group of Justice Leaguers (minus the Big 3) was genius. It wasn't plain fighting, it was tactical, it was clever, it was well choreographed, it was a perfect example of how superhero fights should be and so frequently aren't. That and I just like Deathstroke, this is the one part of the book that is faultless. Rags Morales is the other reason this book gets 2 stars instead of 1. His art is, as always, fantastic and, despite the far-too many scenes of costumes crying, his work only elevated the book.

So that's "identity Crisis". A story featuring nobodies important in the DCU killing one another while the superheroes hover around the edges, awkwardly trying their damnedest to pretend it matters. Brad Meltzer manages to craft one of the most poorly constructed "mysteries" I've ever read while also smearing crap over DC's superheroes for no reason whatsoever. This entire book is pointless, partly because the characters who died didn't matter in the first place. It is a disasterpiece of modern comics, a cautionary tale for future writers to avoid making superheroes "real". "Identity Crisis" doesn't make you think differently about superheroes, it just makes you wish for the kind of stories that are reviled in this book. The ones that don't try so hard to be "dark" and "gritty" and focus instead on creating original stories that have a balance between drama and levity - the kind of comics a kid would want to pick up.

"Identity Crisis"... it just sucks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great murder mystery drama in the DC Universe focusing on the human side of superheroes., 3 Sep 2014
This review is from: Identity Crisis TP (Paperback)
Such an brilliant book and suspenseful a murder mystery story. This miniseries is a evocative 7 issue series from Brad Meltzer, a well known and acclaimed thriller novelist who creates a truly suspenseful tale. Sue Dinby, wife of the Elongated Man is preparing her husbands Birthday surprise when an unknown intruder attacks resulting in Sue's murder. This tale takes a more human look at our heroes. Every hero is out on searching for the killer while still in fear that their own loved ones could be next.

This was a hugely successful story. I think it is exceptional when writers incorporated a classic genre story into the world of Super-heroes. Green Arrow has a prominent role in the story and long buried secrets to light. There is a division in the Justice League and a team within a team is a great aspect of this story. It will keep you hooked from start to finish and with ramifications for years to come.One of those books all comic fans should read, its ramifications run all the up into Blackest Night. A great story that focuses on the human side of super-heroes.

Check out my Blog http://supercomicsmovieblog.blogspot.ie/
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read, 21 Mar 2008
This review is from: Identity Crisis (Paperback)
I have avoided many DC comics titles for many years, being sick of the cosmic scale stries that look pretty but have no depth. Then came Identity Crisis. At it's heart is a murder mystery, cutting at the heart of DC's Justice League, it's also an intimate look at how the characters view themselves and eachother. Told mostly from the point of view of Green Arrow, this is a very human story. I read it several times in the first few weeks of owning it and then leant it to my non comic reading girl-friend. She also loved it, enjoying it's pace and murder mystery elements. Although it leaves a few plot threads untied, surely to tie them up in other titles, it's a good solid story about characters who've been around for years, but you don't really know. A cracking graphic novel with DVD style bonus features, a commentary and making of section at the back. Anyone who's ever heard of Superheroes should read this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive reading, 17 Nov 2007
By 
T. R. Alexander (East Anglia, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Identity Crisis (Paperback)
I am still relatively new to graphic novels in general, and the DC Universe in particular, with this being the first one I have ever read but I must say it has definitely inspired me too seek out more. The story is never less than entertaining, well written and sympathetically told. The plot is also thoroughly engrossing, I originally sat down to read only one or two chapters but ended up reading the entire thing in one sitting, something I haven't done with a book or magazine in years. As someone now to the DC Universe I did have to look up some of the characters on the internet to see who they were but this didn't detract from the enjoyment I got from reading Identity Crisis and I will defiantly be looking into finding out what happens next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 20 Jan 2009
By 
This review is from: Identity Crisis TP (Paperback)
Identity Crisis is masterful. A superb story with great interaction of characters and outstanding art and writing. Getting the story from different perspectives is good and the whole layout is good. As for the story itself it couldnt be better, some great action but really this is about the characters and it works very well. this is the first broad-spanning DC book that I've read and I found it really worthwhile- satisfying some of my staple needs like batman and tickling my fancy with characters I dont usually delve into like plastic man. I would recommend this to anyone as an excellent read.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Era?, 19 Aug 2005
This review is from: Identity Crisis (Hardcover)
Ever since the epochal Crisis on Infinite Earths Series in the mid-80s, DC have annually produced one 'event' series every year, crossing over into various other titles, wherein all the numerous superheroes of the DC Universe are brought together for some reason or another, like an alien attack in Invasion, or the death of the sun in Final Night. Sometimes these series have an important, long-ranging impact on the DC Universe, like the original Crisis. Other times they are just so much sound and fury, like Genesis or Zero Hour. Identity Crisis is 2004's big effort and falls somewhere in the middle.
The plot concerns the murder of Sue Dibny, the wife of the Elongated Man. Unable to catch her killer, the fear that someone has found out the secret identities of the superheroes and is targeting their family members draws the heroes closer together, and also causes old secrets to rise to the surface. The job of writing this fell to Brad Meltzer, most famous as a thriller novelist, whose only previous comic work (that I know of) is a well-received run on Green Arrow, who has a significant role in this. Meltzer proves with this series that he has a considerable aptitude for comic-book writing. His script is littered with memorable scenes, like the fight between Deathstroke and the Justice League. The murder mystery itself is compelling throughout the series, but, although there are clues and foreshadowing throughout, providing for a rewarding second reading, the revelation of the killer's identity was greeted with a general sense of disappointment when originally printed. It is an intriguing ending but not necessarily one that bears being examined too closely.
Identity Crisis is different from most of DC's big events in that it is very small scale. Whereas in Zero Hour or Crisis on Infinite Earths we are witness to the destruction and recreation of the universe anew (Worlds will live, worlds will die and nothing will ever be the same), here it is more about the human side of the heroes, about the interactions between the different heroes and their families. While the more outlandish and powerful characters, like Mister Miracle, the Metal Men and Superman, are used, and used well, the heart of the story lies in characters like Green Arrow and Batman. In essence, it is a detective story, and even when Wonder Woman plays a part it is in the role of interrogator of a murder suspect. For forgoing the all-too-predictable cosmic apocalypse scenario in favour of a more intimate story, DC should be applauded. The great triumph of the story is in its characterization. Very rarely in the history of DC have the heroes felt so realistic, so believable as people. The funeral of Sue Dibny at the end of the first issue is startling in its emotional impact, and the relationship between Batman and Robin is very nicely portrayed. Many fans have complained that the only real effects the story has are the deaths of a couple of supporting characters, including Sue Dibny who has not really been featured for years, and of a similarly unused superhero, Firestorm, whose death is strangely rushed and not really befitting a formerly great character. This much is true, but the real impact of the story, hopefully, is that it introduces a new depth of character to the DCU. The villains have greater depth and individuality and the heroes interactions are more complex. No longer the superfriends, there are secrets and grudges, and a pervasive sense that their individual moral stances are not so clear-cut as they would like to think.
The biggest problem with this series is that it fails to resolve all of the issues it raises. To find out how much Dr. Light has remembered you have to continue the story in Teen Titans and JLA. The war suit that is the focus of the Elongated Man's attentions in the first issue is not mentioned again in the series, only elsewhere, and the subplot with Black Lightning and Katana has no real impact on the storyline. Its only relevance is to Outsiders readers. However, for those who simply wish to read a well-written, well-constructed story (for the first six issues anyway) with outstanding characterization this is about as good as it gets. The only real downside is that you may find yourselves ineluctably drawn to the nearest comic shop to find out more, and after that it's impossible to escape. In a lot of ways Identity Crisis now seems like only a prelude to DC's big event this year, Infinite Crisis, and this one is guaranteed to break the bank.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An utter masterpiece, 21 Feb 2007
By 
M. Whalley "isc_dh" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Identity Crisis (Paperback)
This is what got me into comics. This story is amazingly powerful, more so than I thought a comic could ever obtain. I mean, how could something about guys in tights flying around make you really look at life?

But this graphic novel isn't about heroes in tights with amazing powers, its about the people behind those masks, with feelings and families.

Really, whether you are an avid comics fan or a first timer, read this. It will captivate you and suck you into the characters with the masterful storytelling and some extrememly powerful images. Not to be missed by anyone!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will never see these Superheroes in the same light again!!, 19 July 2008
By 
Mr. G. Bridgeman-clarke "Graham BC" (Rayleigh, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Identity Crisis TP (Paperback)
What would you do if as a superhero, someone knew your secret identity and chose to attack and kill your family?

This is what adult/teen comic books should be like - interesting, doesn't talk down to you and a great read more on the basis of the Marvel mode rather the DC - i.e. characters that have defects and can lie.
Not wishing to give the storyline away this is a great read about the death of one super-heroes wife and the member's of the Justice League (old and new) trying to come to terms with it and finding the killer. The book has many twists and turns an soon enough all the superheroes are worried about attempts on the life's of their loved ones.

The book is very realistic - think about it if you had a homicidal manic hunting you or your family and you knew that if he would just be locked for short-term before he escapes what would you do? The storyline goes way further then any other DC book to deal with this. It deals with infighting in the Justice League and the times when the members have to turn a blind eye to others actions. If you though Batman was a bit of a psycho wait until you see how Green arrow deals with his enemies!! See Batman humbled by the other members in a way that you would not imagine.

The finale when you find out who killed the victim is one where I cannot see how you will guess the perpetrator and so the volume keeps you guessing all the way to the end.

You will never see these Superheroes in the same light again!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking!, 10 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Identity Crisis TP (Paperback)
It's been months since I've read Identity Crisis, but it's one thing that I feel deserves some praise.
It' not often I will pick up a Graphic Novel and read it all through in one sitting, the story drawn me in after the first issue.
One of DC's best mini series which doesn't include major roles for the likes of Batman and Superman.
I highly recommend this to any comic book fan!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really yanking at the heart strings, 26 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Identity Crisis (Kindle Edition)
I had this on my 'must read' list for months and I finally got around to it. Can I just say 'WOW!' This is definitely my favourite story arc I've read because it's funny when it isn't tearing your heart out. Beautifully written and so emotive that I cried twice while reading it. Even if you know what' coming up, it still catches you off guard.
A must-read for all DC fans, honestly (especially since it focuses on family/personal relationships rather than SOLELY being heroes)
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Identity Crisis TP
Identity Crisis TP by Brad Meltzer (Paperback - 19 Oct 2011)
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