Lostscribe(J. Ryan Buck)
For two reasons I have decided to reread and review different “Events” of the comics world.
1.I have recently gone through my own series of Events. I was laid off of work after 12 years with the same company. The only job I could get to help with the bills was minimum wage, 14 hours a week which was no real help at all. You would think being overqualified would be a good thing but it's really not. (Like just because I know how to manage I do not know how to scrub a toilet or something.) So I have wanted to move for years and so this seemed like the perfect time and a sign from the big man upstairs that I should. I toiled away in minimum wage land (there’s your next Mario video game title!) for two and half months while I get the house in order and look for prospective buyers. It's hard to sell a house in this market and it's even harder to find a job right? But like Batman broken by Bane I was determined to get back on my feet. As Bruce said in that great crossover event, “God hates a coward.” Next my house sells in three weeks, I am packing up the car for the first move of my stuff and I get a call for an application I filled out the night before and from there an interview and a job three days later! I go back to do the second of what would end up being three trips eight hours round trip and the next day I get into a car accident. Following week the car is considered totaled, but my insurance is awesome (shout out to my boys and girls at Allstate!) and I get a check for the value of the car. Final trip back and sign the house papers, take the last load back and buy a new/used car and here I am. It was just like Crisis on Infinite Earths except no one died and my car played the part of the flash (although I don't believe it will be coming back.)
2.Second reason I have decided to write about Event Comics is that I grabbed two boxes of comics to take to the house, (I'm living with family right now) and when I opened the box to see what I had, it was mostly events, so there is the fact that it is what I have in my room right now and that is why I am reviewing them... but also all the stuff I wrote in the first section as well.
I realize that I have been doing primarily Marvel comics, you would never know that I am a DC guy. I love just great comics of any company but DC is always the one that still gets me the most excited to go to the comic shop.
(W) Brad Meltzer (A) Rags Morales (C) Michael Turner R.I.P.
August 2004- February 2005
We open with Elongated man and Firehawk sitting on top of a building and watching a transaction about to occur. A large box is to be sold and neither of the heroes knows whats inside it. They speculate that it could be an Amazo and pray to god it's not.
Next Clark is with his parents and Martha comments that her check to pay for her subscription of the Daily Planet was sent back again. She states that she is perfectly capable of paying it herself and that Clark cannot stop her. Clark mentions with a smile that he indeed could stop her. Martha mentions that Batman's parent's probably never have to deal with this. Clark gets a call from Martain Manhunter and is in his costume in the span of one panel, he tells his parents to lock the door. (It's these little interactions that really make this comic event great. You can tell Brad Meltzer loves these characters and that he is writing them from the inside out. Anyone who thinks that the DC characters are too perfect to relate to should read this comic.)
Next Nightwing is visiting his parents grave when Starfire lands behind him. Next he gets a call from Oracle (Barbara Gordon) to report in. (Awkward! You see little Dick Grayson knows both women in an intimate way. He's also bagged Huntress and Supergirl as well, so he's like the James Bond of the DC universe in that way I guess.)
Back at the Stakeout, Firehawk asks Elongated Man how he met his wife. Ralph recounts meeting her at a costume party where the Flash (Barry Allen) attended and she still hung on Ralph’s every word while everyone else was all over Barry. Sue Dibny met Superman, Batman, Hawkman and all the other DC universe beefcake and still she had eyes for only Ralph. Every year for his birthday, Sue sets up a fake mystery because if you are unaware, Ralph is a detective on par with Batman. Even though Elongated man always has his wife’s mysteries already figured out, he still play's along just for the fun and to see his wife’s reactions to the whole thing.
Meanwhile sitting in a car is small time criminal Bolt who is the prospective buyer of the mystery box. On the line with him is the Calculator. The Calculator is the villain version of Oracle. He used to be one of those lame villains but now he charges per question for villains to gain information in situations. 2,800 dollars and three questions later, Bolt knows that the two thugs he's about to encounter may have guns and that Elongated Man is in the area with Firehawk. Bolt is having second thoughts but in the end he needs whats in the box.
At Ralph’s home, his wife Sue is getting everything ready for his birthday when she hears someone coming around the corner.
Bolt teleport's into the alley and demands the two boys give him whats in the box as he had no intention of paying for it. The boys pull out their guns and cut loose. Firehawk and Elongated man spring into action when Ralph gets an emergency call from Sue who is being attacked at the same time. Ralph demands that Firehawk fly him home immediately and once he arrives he finds his wife dead and burnt almost beyond recognition.
Tim Drake (Robin) is sitting with his father when they hear the news report Sues death.
Ray Palmer (The Atom) and Jean Loring, his divorced wife hear about the news and having been close with both Ralph and Sue travel together to find out what happened.
Back at the scene of the murder Batman has already gone through the house and now Green Arrow with Mister Miracle, The Ray, Animal Man, The Atom and two of the Metal Men are going through everything down to a cellular level for clues. Green Arrow mentions that they called in favors to keep the cops away and that when the killer is caught he will wish that the police found him first.
48 hours later it's the funeral and Ralph is so torn up he cant even hold his form, Wonder Woman says a few words and the hunt is on for all suspects. The Titans go after Plasmus and Warp, the JLI go after Firefly and Scorch, the JSA pick up Dr. Phosphorus, the Blue Beetle and Booster Gold take on Heatwave. Everyone leaves to persue their separate leads, but all are wrong as a select few stay behind. Green Arrow, Zatanna, Hawkman, The Atom, Black Canary and Ralph. The six of them have a secret the others are not aware of and they know who the killer is. Doctor Light.
The Atom is searching through a trunk of old stuff at what used to be his house but now just belongs to his wife. As he emerges he has a crossbow he got from Hawkman years ago and gives it to Jean for protection, I mean after all if someone is out to kill superheroes families then all bets are off!
Together the six who stayed behind after the funeral are ready to take a run at Doctor Light, when Hawkman see's that the Flash (Wally West) is vibrating out of everyone’s sight, everyone's but his. Shortly after, Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) reveals himself as well. (I really miss these two guys as the Flash and Green Lantern. I grew up with them donning the tights and learning the ways to be heroes. All so we could get Barry Allen and Hal Jordan back and make their journeys almost null and void. Same goes with Green Arrow, I loved Conner so much more then Ollie!) Wally demands to know what is going one and why they believe that Doctor Light is the killer. The story shifts back to the satellite era of the JLA (circa the 70's in our time.) where we see Light wandering around the headquarters. Light waited for all the heroes to be on Earth for him to get on board the satellite. No one is sure why he was up there in the first place but whatever the reason it became secondary when he came across Sue Dibny. Light attacks and rapes Sue and Barry is the first to return and tackles Dr. Light. Light then realizes he found every heroes weakness, attack their families and significant others, it's the one thing that would hurt the heroes more then anything else could. Ralph takes Sue to the hospital which left the others to deal with Doctor Light. The Doctor is insane with glee as they contemplate sending him to Arkham where he comments he will have a whole new audience to show what he did as he uses his light powers to show exactly what he did to Sue. Zatanna makes the bad doctor forget what he did, but this leaves the problem of him stumbling upon this revelation again and doing the same thing to someone else. It became obvious that they needed to do something a little more permanent to Light and his sick mind. The sides are split with Carter (Hawkman) Zatanna and The Atom for the mindwipe and Green Arrow, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Black Canary against it, leaving Barry Allen as the deciding vote.
In the present various villains are hanging around the abandoned satellite of the old Injustice Gang. Various names populate the floating base, Merlyn, Mirror Master, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Deathstroke and others. They are all for hire and can be brokered through the Calculator. Suddenly Dr. Light teleports in and asks for help, and for a price, he gets it.
Back in the past Barry votes to go ahead and “fix” Doctor Light. Zatanna doesn’t just erase his memory, she changes his personality and turns him into the blithering idiot we all know him as. Wally and Kyle can't believe that they ever did that once upon time. Green Arrow remarks, that it wasn't just once, shocking the two young heroes, who must spring into action as Dr. Light has just teleported into an abandoned building. Ralph in a rage rushes into the building after Light but is sent reeling out of the building. Stepping out with Light is Deathstroke the Terminator.
Meanwhile Dr. Midnight is performing an autopsy on Sue Dibny when he comes to the realization that Dr. Light is not the killer.
Wally is the first to react as he charges forward, Deathstroke (Slade Wilson) flips a switch which blows explosives all around himself except behind him, forcing Wally to attack from the rear. Slade simply holds his sword (pointy end first) behind him which Wally runs right into, impaling himself on the blade, down goes Flash. Zatanna begins to utter the first word of a spell but Slade moves in and strikes her in a pressure point that makes her choke and throw up. Carter is flying in from above ready to squash the mercenary with his mace, when Deathstroke leaps up and cuts the Hawk's flying harness, dropping him to the ground. Green Arrow is firing away which Slade is easily blocking and when he takes a swipe at Ollie it appears to miss his head but was actually intended to slice the ends of all of his arrows rendering them nearly useless. Canary sets her jaw, ready to scream his head off but Slade is faster still as he wraps her head up in something with one hand and cuffs her arms behind her back with the other. Next up is the Ray who comes in microscopic to which he is shot down with a laser pointer, instinctively he goes big and lands right into Carter knocking him out. GL comes in and Slade breaks his fingers and shows Kyle that when you have a ring that runs on willpower you need to be confident to use it! Kyle is not feeling so tough after Deathstrokes display of cunning and fighting prowess but while he is struggling, Ollie comes from behind and shoves an arrow into Deathstrokes blind eye. This royally pisses Slade off as he totally loses his shit and goes ape on Ollie, to which the rest of the heroes dogpile the Terminator. Doctor Light watches these eight heroes tackling Deathstroke and it all comes back to him as these same eight icons did much the same to him as they took him down all those years ago. Light remembers and teleports himself and Slade away, to which Superman shows up.
Superman asks the questions they all know they are going to have to answer, why do they believe Light killed Sue and why did they keep it from everyone else? Wally is quick to point out that Ralph wanted first crack at Light and that's why they left without letting anyone else know. Clark accepts the answer but replies that it was not Dr. Light, that the burns to Sue were just to cover up how she really was killed, of which they are still working to determine. With big blue's eyes and ears no longer pointed at them, Wally pulls Ollie aside and tells him the only reason he covered for them is because of not wanting to stain Barry Allens good name. Wally want's some answers himself, as in how many others have been mindwiped?
We flashback to the old days, where we see the Injustice Society when they switched bodies with the JLA and in a great panel we see Lex in Superman's body taking a picture of Batman with his mask off and Superman saying, “Perfect. Go get Flash.” (This is a panel that shows that when you read those old issues and say, why didn’t they just find out who they were so when they switched back they could use that against them! We'll they did.) All the times the villains found out the heroes identities it was this small group within a group that kept the stuff in line. Ollie says, “people aren't stupid Wally. They believe what they want to believe and hear what they want to hear.” and we get a close up of Superman’s ear.
Elsewhere Captain Boomerang is sitting in a car and talking to Calculator though his earpiece. Boomerang is old and washed up but he's begging for a job, only no one wants to hire him. All the while he is sitting outside of the building where is grown son lives, his son that he put up for adoption when he was a baby.
On the last pages, Jean Loring is blindfolded with a noose around her neck as she tries to call her ex-husband the Atom for help.
The Atom, traveling through the phone lines pops out and changing his size in the fibers of the rope severs the noose and changing back to regular size catches his wife in mid fall. Jean looks up at him with a smile on her face as she says, “just like the old days.”
Later as Mister Miracle is looking at the special security system they have set up at everyone of there loved ones homes, he finds that just like Sues attack, nothing was tripped on the alarm. Ollie wonders if this confirms it's a teleporter then. This time they brought Superman in to help at the crime scene. Clark knows exactly what types of knots were used , after all he was a boy scout. Oracle checks her database and finds that villain that used that kind of knot is Slipknot, but he only has one arm now and is doing ten years in prison. Wonder Woman visits him, wrapping him in her lasso around him and once he starts talking they realize he had nothing to do with it. The League speculates it could be the Suicide Squad, but Batman knows that, that is not the truth because no one in the Suicide Squad benefits from their deaths.
Tim Drake decides to take the night off to hang out with his dad, while Captain Boomerang comes face to face with his adopted son and they hang out.
Ollie visits Hal Jordan's grave and Hal appears, because he was the Spectre at this time and demands to know who the attacker is. Hal of course knows who it is, but he answers to a higher power (not Vince McMahon) and cannot tell him.
Finally Lois Lane is going through the mail on her desk and finds a note saying they know who her husband is.
This new threat brings everything to a head as the heroes are swarming all over the villains and asking them what they know. In one of the confrontations Firestorm is stabbed in the chest and has to fly away so as not to blow up the entire city as his body goes nuclear.
Jean Loring and Ray Palmer are rekindling their love since her attack.
Captain Boomerang is teaching his son how to throw his weapon of choice and it appears that his son is going to be a hell of lot better then his old man.
Tim Drake has stayed home with his father ever since the initial attack. But it's time for him to don his Robin costume and get out their to help. Everyone of the heroes is scared for their loved ones lives and Tim Drake is no different as he gives his father a JLA signal watch and tells him to call for help for anything. After his son leaves, Jack Drake finds a box and inside the box is a note that says his name only the R in Drake is big and red like Robins. Also in the box is a gun and another note that says, “protect yourself.” It's at this time that Jack can hear someone jumping onto his roof. Jack calls for help and the call goes through Oracle. Oracle relays the message to Robin who is with Batman in the Batmobile. Batman throws the car into reverse and speeds on to Robins house. The intruder inters the kitchen where Jack is crouched and hiding revealing himself to be Captain Boomerang. Jack unloads on him blowing him away while the Captain tosses a razor-tipped boomarang that lodges into Jacks heart. Both are left dead on the floor and bleeding.
Wally visits Oliver and tells him that when Dr. Light remembered what had happened, for a split second he flashed a vision of his memory. The only one quick enough to see it was Wally himself, but the image didn't make sense because Batman was there too. It's then Green Arrow admits that they had to mindwipe Bruce as well. When Batman returned and they were lobotomizing Dr. Light he lost his shit and went for them to which they felt the only way to keep the League together was to erase his memory. They didn't want to do it but they knew Batman would never accept what they did. Wally mentions that it can't last forever, Batman is the worlds greatest detective, he will figure it out eventually.
The Calculator is in his office and gets a call from Merlyn who asks him why he set up Captain Boomerang? Calculator responds that all he did was get him the job, that someone put a hit out on the cheap for Jack Drake and he was just doing him a favor and throwing a little work his way. The strange thing is he can't figure out where the hit job originated from and who would have planted a gun for Jack to use.
Dr. Midnight has found the cause of death for Sue Dibny, she had a blood clot in her brain, the fire was as he figured just to cover the real cause of death up. As the doctor looks closer he finds two small footprints on her brain.
At the same time, Batman is looking through all the evidence and then realizes who the killer is as he calls for Ray Palmer.
Meanwhile Ray and Jean are completely back together again but Ray has a crazy look in his eyes. Just as the two of them are about to get down to business in the bedroom Jean asks Ray if anyone figured out who wrote the note for Jack Drake. It's then Ray turns the bedroom light back on. How did Jean know about the note? Batman took the note and never told the newspapers about it. Ray confronts Jean who lies at first, but then breaks down saying that she didn't mean to kill Sue. Ray knows she must have found one of his suits and then used it to shrink down and that’s why they couldn't find any evidence of an intruder. Jean figured that she would just knock Sue out and then everyone would rush back to their loved ones including Ray back to her. The problem was that Jean didn't have any training using the suit and she grew too big, killing Sue and then not wanting to get into trouble she burned the evidence. Ray realizes that it was what Bruce said all along, who benefits? The families of the heroes do.
Ray leaves Jean in Arkham and then not being able to handle the guilt he shrinks seemingly out of existence.
Everything as it always does after these things goes back to normal with Wally still mentioning that Bruce will one day remember and their will be a reckoning when he does. (That story is the great “Crisis of Conscience” in the regular JLA comic. I will be doing that follow up story very soon!)
In the last part we see Ralph Dibny laying in bed and talking to his wife who is not there. He's having a whole conversation and doesn’t seem the least bit sad. (The follow up to this is in the weekly 52 series which you can pick up in trade. Now 52 I will not be doing because I am not a machine, but it's really creepy and if you don't feel like reading the whole thing, I'm sure you can find out what happened on the interwebs somewhere.)
Thank you for those nightmares Mr. Waid!
A lot of purists hated this “Event” but it is honestly one of my favorites, I feel that although it did not last, it gave the old school DC universe an edge to it. Sure you can poke hole's in the plot if you give it a second read but it's such a good read that it warrants a blind eye in my opinion.
And as always if you missed any of my previous installments you can find them here. http://lostscribe0.blogspot.com/
Thanks for all of the support!
Lots of people hated Identity Crisis, but the trade is awesome and the whole thing reads really well as one big story, I found. It's one of my favorites of recent years as well.ReplyDelete
Identity Crisis is Meltzer's Magnum Opus.ReplyDelete
I dont think he did anything in comics better. JLA included. It was a great read and actually was my official opening into the world of DC. (Along with the GL: Rebirth)
I bought the first issue and enjoyed it. Bought the second, started reading, got to the rape scene. I sat and stared at it for a good ten minutes. I then closed the book and brought it and issue 1 back to the store. They gave me cover price back and said they totally understood. I've never read another thing he's written and I never will. Just like watching a Benoit match.ReplyDelete
It's strange because this is one of those books that it seems like the comics press and some in the market really hate any readers for liking this, but I can understand the strong reactions to this story. I personally really liked Identity Crisis though didn't care much for the ending.ReplyDelete
Though if I had to choose a favorite of Meltzer's comic stories, I would put Identity Crisis behind his Green Arrow Archer's Quest storyline.
Identity Crisis is awesome. One of my favorite mainstream comic stories ever, a marvelously crafted murder mystery that set the stage for Infinite Crisis beautifully. This was also my favorite era of DC Comics. As mentioned by others, everything seemed truly tied together, and every story felt important.ReplyDelete
I forgot about Archers Quest! I loved the concept of Ollie looking for the stuff he stashed away before he died. His JLA run left me a little disappointed though. I think I sold all the issues except the lightning saga because that was pretty good. Meltzer struck me as a guy who writes we'll when he has a concept but in trying for a lengthy run he seemed to run out of steam. Still he did give us Dr. Impossible the best post Kirby New God character. Though I have yet to see him utilized to any great effect.ReplyDelete
And see I was disappointed in Infinite Crisis. I have only read it once so I might need to do a future installment on it. I really mostly recall Superboy Prime kicking everyone's ass and a bunch of Omac's running around. Identity Crisis felt like the quiet anti-event, event. Infinite Crisis was going for standard big story, but when stacked up against Crisis on Infinite Earth's nothing feel's that big. Crisis on Infinite Earths is probably my favorite event story of all time, but so much happens and the story is so freaking huge I'm a little too intimidated to review it.ReplyDelete
I think the purists spoke so loudly that I was almost expecting to get a lot of hate posts after my review. But it seems a lot of people dug it as much as I did.ReplyDelete
I get that. I wasn't real familiar with the Sue Dibny character, but if it had been a character I was more well acquainted like Lois Lane I probably would have been sick to my stomach to be honest. I know that sounds like shit since it is horrible to happen to anyone let alone someone you know, but that's my honest reaction.ReplyDelete
Yeah, hopefully you have gone back and caught up on some older stuff, you missed a lot of good stuff. I know I did, I did not get into DC until about 97 and am still coming across things I did not know existed.ReplyDelete
Agreed with you there, I was expecting more out of his Justice League stuff, he had some good issues like the #0 issue and the award winning "Walls" single issue, but overall very blah to me and then it was just sort of over. It read like he was going to do more but sounded like it was the plan and wanted someone else to pick up the plot thread (like for example, Cyborg joining the league)ReplyDelete
Though I am glad he had enough pull to tone down Benes' overly distracting cheesecake shots.I think overall to me is that Meltzer is great as writing the characters as people, but hit or miss when writing them as superheroes.