Monday, February 4, 2008

Identity Crisis, and how VS has made it possible

Well, I enjoyed it last week, so it's back this week. This time, let's go through a DC storyline so that I'm not showing favorites (even though I like Marvel more).

Identity Crisis is my favorite DC storyline of all time, and it is at least within the top 5, if not 3, of my all time favorite comic storylines. For this edition, we shall go over Identity Crisis. Just a note of warning, this is an incredibly deep and mature storyline and has mature concepts that aren't light. Please just don't continue, if you don't think you'll be able to handle these concepts maturely.

Plot Summary: It all starts with Elongated Man and Firehawk on patrol. There was a tip that two punks were selling something special, which in comics, means a giant robot, or something like that. So, while waiting, they start talking about Elongated Man and his wife. Ralph Dibny wanted to be a celebrity. He may not have been one, but he always liked being known. So he lived without a secret identity. Any random person could know or learn, if they didn't already that Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man was married to Sue Dibny. Sue was even made an honorary Justice League member. Nobody else who wasn't a superhero got that treatment. Sue helped Ralph and his teammates, and was liked by pretty much everybody. Ralph tells Firehawk how they met, when he was back helping the Flash (Barry Allen). While Flash was the great hero, everybody looked at Flash and admired Flash, except for Sue. She was intrigued by this stretchable sleuth that hung out with and helped Flash. They loved each other, and moved on from there. Every year on his birthday, which means every year at some random time, she tries to trick him and give him a surprise birthday party. Elongated Man is an amazing detective, probably second best only to Batman, and always knows what is going to happen and when. His birthday was months away, but he knew that his party was this night, and he was going to act surprised when she gave him the magnifying glass that he had drooled over before. Sue knew that he would solve it, but she also knew he wouldn't guess the other surprise. After calling Alfred, and thanking him for helping her find that magnifying glass, she finds someone else in the house. As she panics, she calls Ralph, who immediately asks Firehawk to fly him home. When he gets there, the sprinklers are on and he sees her body, burned, and dead. Her gift to him is shown as the magnifying glass, now broken, but also a pregnancy test showing that she was pregnant. As he mourns, the League tries to figure out how somebody could have killed her. The houses that hold League members are protected by Apokoliptian, Thanagarian, Martian, Kryptonian technology, plus stuff Batman came up with (A great line, mentions all of the different techs, plus all the scary stuff Bruce came up with). No alarms were sounded, nobody just broke in. Nobody could have even just phased in. Meanwhile Green Arrow has the Ray, the Atom, the Metal Men and Mister Miracle all help him try to find how someone got in and who it could have been. They can't find anything, and that is disturbing. At her funeral, Ralph gets up to talk, but can't hold his face together (literally), and he is pulled away. With everything going on, after the funeral, all the superheroes try to find who did it. They all go in separate ways, except for Ralph, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Hawkman and Zatanna, who meet with Ralph, who wants them to go after Dr. Light. Meanwhile, Flash and GL decided to wonder why everybody was going after a villain except for these five, and spy upon the heroes. Hawkman is able to see Wally vibrating, making himself practically invisible. Green Arrow realizes Kyle must be there also and calls him out. On the way to Dr. Light's, they tell Flash and GL why Dr. Light is their number one suspect. A long time ago, when they had the satellite, they were off on a mission, and nobody was on the satellite except for Sue, who wanted to just see the stars, because she was bored. Dr. Light snuck onto the satellite, for what reason, nobody knows, but either way, his reason changed and he decided to have fun. It is never explicitly stated in the comics, but the intent is clear, and Dr. Light raped Sue. She put up a fight, but didn't stand a chance. When the League got back, it was practically over. Everybody piled on top of Light and he wsa taken down by Elongated Man wielding Hawkman's mace. When they teleported Sue and Ralph directly to a hospital, they had other problems. Ralph had not known about this, but the League, that consisted of Green Arrow, Black Canary, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Carter Hall, Atom and Zatanna, voted whether or not to mess with his mind using Zatanna's magic. Light was crazy at this point, and was ranting about how he was going to tell everybody at prison, create visuals using his powers, then find out everybody's wife or girlfriend and go after them. With a vote of four to three, they wiped Light's memory of the event and altered his personality to make him an idiot. Light was originally a League enemy, but ended up being the punching bag for the Teen Titans. How did that happen? His mind was altered and he became a loser. While this was explained to Flash and GL, Light decided that he needed help and needed protection from the heroes that were after him angrily for a reason he was unsure of. He hired Deathstroke, the Terminator, who was ready to take them all on. Forgetting what Ralph had at stake, the League doesn't fully pay attention as he rushes in and gets caught in an explosion provided by Deathstroke. Deathstroke's next move is to take out Flash, by exploding mines beneath the street, making Wally run right into his sword, which he twists to make Wally stay down (not kill, but not be able to move super fast for a time). He then goes after Zatanna, punching her in the liver, making her vomit and not be able to speak or cast spells (as her spellc all require backwards speech). Next, he goes after Carter, taking him out by slicing his harness off that holds his wings on, making him fall to the ground. He then takes out Green Arrow, by chopping the backs off of all the arrows in his quiver. When Black Canary tries to sing, he gets behind her and traps her head in a bag, handcuffing her, so she can't get it off. He then looks around for Atom, and seeing him, even while tiny, aims a laser pointer at Atom. The Atom is hit by the laser pointer, and is knocked back, and making himself large, so he is not killed by hitting something, knocks right into Carter, knocking them both out. At this point GL has to take Deathstroke on. Slade just grabs his hand and crushes his fingers. The ring works on will and with seeing everything that has just taken place, he doesn't have the will to take on Slade. Fortunately, Green Arrow grabs one of his arrows and stabs it right into Deathstroke's empty eye socket, enraging him, making him not think and just lash out, allowing the League to all pile on top of him, in a way very similar to what took place when they attacked Light on the satellite, making Light remember what happened, gaining all his memories and his old personality back, making everything super bright, taking Deathstroke with him, running away. As they are confronted by Superman, who wants to know why they are going after Light, Wally helps them out by saying how Ralph had an encounter with him once, and wanted to let him go after Light himself. Superman then tells them how it couldn't be Dr. Light because her body was burned after she was already dead (how this exonerates Light, I'm not sure, but whatever). Green Arrow then needs to tell Wally about how Light wasn't the only one they erased the memory of. Every time a villain took over a hero's body or snuck into their dreams or anything, Zatanna would have to wipe their memories so they wouldn't remember who the heroes were. Batman and Superman always were too busy for the wrap-up, and after the villains were defeated, they went back to their respective cities as Joker or Lex was up to no good. But the villains still needed to be dealt with and memories were taken. Light was different as he also had his personality changed, but he wasn't the first or the last person that was changed by Zatanna's magic. In a sub-plot, Captain Boomerang tries to deal with the fact that he may have a son. Then, as Robin tries to deal with his dad, Jean Loring, Atom's wife is attacked and is hung by a noose and goes stiff. Atom goes through the phone lines and jumps out, destroying the rope, and taking her down, trying to make her breathe. As she finally breathes, he is relieved. This time, Green Arrow goes right to the top, as opposed to all the other League membres. He gets Superman to help investigate. Superman recognizes the knot that was used and has Oracle look up who uses that type of knot, discovering Slipknot used to use that exact knot. Wonder Woman and Green Arrow go to Slipknot in prison and make him tell them what he knows. He doesn't know anything, which leads the JL to believe that it has something to do with the Suicide Squad, which is the only thing that Dr. Light (believed to have done the first murder) and Slipknot (believed to have done the second attempted murder) have in common. Clark tells Bruce that the League is looking at the Squad, which Batman easily casts aside, as there would be no benefit. Captain Boomerang actually meets with his son, who lets him know that a reporter tried to have a picture of him with a boomerang, which he threw back at the reporter, slicing off his earlobe. Green Arrow, in a move that is somewhat desperate goes to Hal Jordan's grave, standing on it, so that the Spectre will appear. They laugh and talk for a while before Arrow asks Hal to tell him who killed Sue, which Hal says he can't do. He has to answer to a higher power (DC God) and cannot just do things on his own. It hurts him a lot though that he can't actually help. Lois is then threatened, with a letter letting her know that she's next and that the killer knows who her husband is (the letter 's' in husband is surrounded by a Superman like triangle). Green Arrow then confronts Deadshot, Merlyn and Monocle. As they aim at him, GL, Flash and Hawkman break through the walls, easily taking care of the villains, who know nothing, as it is all over, as no villains seem to know anything. Unfortunately, during one of these confrontations, Firstorm is stabbed through with Shining Knight's sword by Shadow-Thief. He then, flies in the air and explodes, dying. Atom and Jean get back together, after they realize how short life can be. Captain Boomerang and his son practice throwing boomerangs, and as Owen (his son) throws a razor boomerang directly at his dad, he runs quickly and carries his dad away before the boomerang hits, running with superhuman speed. Robin, as he is about to leave to go on patrol is then confronted by his dad, who doesn't want him to leave. Tim is able to convince his dad that he is better off trying to help than just watching about it on TV. As Jack (Tim's dad) goes into the kitchen, there is a box on the table, with a note on it saying "Jack Drake" with the 'r' in Drake circled, like Robin's R on his outfit. Inside the box is a note and a gun. The note simply says, "Protect Yourself." Jack then calls Oracle, asking for his son, whom Oracle contacts, all while trying to keep Jack calm and trying to help. Someone jumps onto Jack's roof, just as Robin is contacted. Batman turns the Batmobile around, racing towards Jack's house. Robin and his dad talk to each other, with his dad telling him that he loves him and Tim trying to get him out of there. Batman asks for the Flash, but he oculdn't be reached. As Robin and his dad have what could be their last conversation, Owen Mercer gets a message from his dad, letting Owen know that he has a big job that'll get his name back on the map. Boomerang breaks into Jack's house and is shot by Drake, just as he lets go of a razor-sharp boomerang, hitting Jack right in the heart, as they both die. When Batman and Robin get to the house, Tim throws off his costume and races for his dad, who is already dead. Batman holds him, letting him know that he's got him. Before this, Robin had not been an orphan, but now both Batman and Robin are orphans. Owen goes to the house where his dad was killed, asking for his dad's body so that it can be buried, but the cops or feds or somebody won't let him, saying that all these villains have just come back, so they really can't just let the body be out in the open. Everybody deals with the losses, Green Arrow hugs his kid, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, wives, husbands, mothers and fathers all have been lost (Hal Jordan is like a brother, Terra was Geo-Force's sister, Aquaman's son, Martian Manhunter's daughter, Elongated Man's wife, Sue Dibny, Iris West's husband, Barry Allen, Wonder Woman's mother, Queen Hippolyta, and Bruce Wayne's father, Dick Grayson's father and Tim Drake's father). Life continues, with Merlyn, Deadshot and Monocle going free on technicalities, Dr. Light having an evil smile as he remembers what he was, Owen Mercer putting on the Captain Boomerang suit, Deathstroke shooting an arrow near Green Arrow with the arrow through his mask where he was stabbed in the eye socket. Flash looks for Deathstroke, but can't find him, but Wally asks one more question. During the battle with Deathstroke, when Dr. Light blinded everybody, he projected an image of the League taking him down, with Batman in the image. Wally asks why Batman wasn't mentioned the first time around. Ollie, looks down, then lets Wally know why. Batman wasn't mentioned because they took Batman's memories as well. Batman usually wasn't there for the clean-up afterwards and had gone back to Gotham, but because it had been Sue who had been attacked, he came back, just as Zatanna was wiping Light's mind. Bruce would never allow them to wipe the mind of someone and would have them let go from the League and have extreme things done to them. Zatanna had to stop Batman, and they had to take his memories as he would never allow it and they had to do it. Ollie then makes a big speech about how superheroes don't wear the masks merely to protect themselves, but to protect family and friends as well. If super villains knew who a superhero's mother was or wife or anything, nobody would be safe, but with the mask, people are more safe. Batman tries to track Calculator down, but Calculator already knew Bats would look for him wherever it was. As Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific keep examining the body, they find something about her brain as Batman tries to find out who benefits. There were two tiny indentations in Sue's brain, in the shape of footprints, just as Batman asks J'onn to find Ray (Atom) and to keep him where he is. Ray and Jean are back together, and the issue ends. The next issue starts in Ray and Jean's place. As Wildcat wonders why Atom would do something like that, Jean asks who left the note and gun to Jack Drake. Ray then wonders, and asks her how she knew about the note. Batman responds to other people, "Ray, it's not Ray...", as you realize that it had to have been Jean Loring, Atom's wife who killed Sue, "attacked" herself and hired Captain Boomerang to kill Jack Drake. She figured that if she made Sue faint, or whatever, Ralph would race back to her, Clark would go to Lois and maybe, Ray would go to Jean, and they could get back together. Who benefits when the family member of a superhero is killed? The family members of all the other superheroes. Jean stays defiant, asking Ray what he's going to do. Knock her out with a punch? So he takes her to Arkham, where they lock her up. Atom feels so bad about himself, that his ex-wife would kill a friend just to get him back, that he shrinks down and keeps shrinking down until he vanishes. Again, everything gets back to normal, and in the epilogue, Ralph talks to Sue, telling her everything, even though he knows she isn't there, but just telling her nonetheless, letting her know that he loves her.

Phew, sorry that is so long. I still don't feel I did it justice, but whatever. Move on, Pi.

Elongated Man, Ralph Dibny (DJL-007)
It is sad, but the story and everything started because of him, not keeping his identity secret and, of course...

Sue Dibny, Charismatic Coordinator (DJL-062)
The person who was killed in the beginning. A great individual and the only card with her.

Dr. Light, Master of Holograms (DGL-040)
I feel this is the one that represents him best. Maybe, Dr. Light, Furious Flashpoint would serve better, but that is set after Identity Crisis, when he is getting revenge for what happened to him. Of course, I feel that this card is even more disturbing when you consider that Dr. Light can make a hologram of Sue (bring her into play) and that it would actually make sense, as she is a 1-drop with a "come into play" effect.

Identity Crisis (DJL-181)
Of course, but now you know why it has the effect it does. When someone is killed, everybody rushes back to their homes.

Oliver Queen<>Green Arrow, Hard-Traveling Hero (DJL-016)
Aside from probably being the main character, he also represents, along with the next few cards, the people that erased Light's mind and erased others as well.

Hal Jordan, Hard-Traveling Hero (DJL-011)
They always fought, but were also the best of friends, but as their flavor text shows, very different viewpoints (big and small picture), but they still do what they think is right for the people.

Barry Allen<>The Flash, Scarlet Speedster (DJL-003)
One of the people who voted for the mind-wipe, in fact the one who broke the vote. Important indeed, even if he wasn't even alive by the time of Identity Crisis.

Zatanna, Zatanna Zatara (DJL-025)
A JLA version of Zatanna, who also voted for the mind-wipe and who actually preformed the wipe.

Ray Palmer<>The Atom, World's Smallest Hero (DJL-018 and DCL-025)
Another of the supporters of the wipe, plus an important character in the story itself.

Carter Hall<>Hawkman, Eternal Champion (DCR-006)
Not on the JLA, but the only version of Carter in the game. He also voted for the wipe, but beyond that, didn't fulfill much of a role, other than being on the League within the League.

Dinah Laurel Lance<>Black Canary, "Pretty Bird" (DJL-006)
She voted against the wipe. Plus, this incarnation does show the connection between her and Green Arrow (he called her "Pretty Bird"), and they were together then.

Satellite HQ (DJL-034)
Where Sue was when Dr. Light found her. It was important, although very sad, obviously.

Captain Boomerang, "Digger" (DJL-113)
One of his two versions, this one shows how much of a bad guy he is and how he did things that were just wrong. An important character in the story, he is still a letch, even by the villains' standards.

Brother I Satellite (DCR-105)
As a direct result of Identity Crisis, Batman gets paranoid of all the superheroes and beings with superpowers and creates Brother I in order to protect people from superbeings.

Deathstroke the Terminator, Ultimate Assassin (DCR-128)
Ever wonder where that art is from? Now you know. Although they switched out Elongated Man for Plastic Man, but the basic concept is the same.

The Calculator, Crime Broker (DCR-142)
Another big part of Identity Crisis, although always in the background, helping out villains constantly.

Eclipso, Jean Loring (DCR-179)
Yes, Eclipso was not in Identity Crisis, but Jean Loring, the host of Eclipso on this card, was. Plus, she became Eclipso because of Identity Crisis.

Absolute Dominance (DCR-183)
The scene where Kyle's fingers get crushed by Deathstroke is awesome. The card is awesome and represents it well.

Blinding Rage (DCR-184 and DCL-250)
Another scene from Identity Crisis, although not quite. The card has them piling on top of Batman, when that never happened. Zatanna just cried out, "Namtab pots!", and he stopped. They did pile on top of Dr. Light though and this card represents both of these things merging to make things confusing.

Defend Youself! (DCR-187)
Not quite Protect Yourself, but the same concept, plus it has Jack Drake, with the gun and note, plus the box and the shadow of a boomerang in the background.

Magical Lobotomy, Magic (DCR-193)
Zatanna wiped Light's memories using a, what's the term? That's right, a magical lobotomy.

Watch the Birdie! (DCR-203)
Ouch, getting stabbed in the eye socket would make anyone mad. Again, from the fight with Deathstroke.

Blinding Light (DLS-174)
While it takes place after, it is because of Identity Crisis that Dr. Light goes from chump to super villain who almost took out all the people who ever were Titans.

Owen Mercer<>Captain Boomerang, Digger's Son (DLS-220)
An important part of Identity Crisis, Captain Boomerang's son was shown and he took after his dad for a while until he wanted to help his half-brother (Bart Allen).

Atomize (DCL-043)
Jean killed Sue and hanged herself with the help of being super-small using Ray's tech to Atomize herself.

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