Review: Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales

24 March 2023
"Identity Crisis" is a gripping graphic novel that tackles mature themes such as loss, love, and betrayal. Written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Rags Morales, the story takes place in the DC Universe and revolves around the murder of Sue Dibny, the wife of the superhero Elongated Man. The Justice League comes together to solve the murder mystery, but the investigation soon uncovers dark secrets that threaten to tear the superhero community apart.

Author and Artist: Brad Meltzer is a New York Times bestselling author who has written several critically acclaimed novels and non-fiction books. Rags Morales is an award-winning comic book artist who has worked on several high-profile projects, including "Superman: Birthright" and "Batman: No Man's Land." The inks in "Identity Crisis" were provided by Michael Bair, while lettering was done by Ken Lopez. The creative team has done an outstanding job of bringing the story to life with their combined talents.

identity crisis cover

"Identity Crisis" opens with the murder of Sue Dibny, the wife of the superhero Elongated Man. The Justice League comes together to investigate the murder, but the investigation soon takes a dark turn when they uncover a conspiracy that involves mind-wiping villains, secret identities, and a cover-up that goes all the way to the top. The story is gripping and filled with twists and turns that keep the reader on the edge of their seat. The character development is outstanding, and the emotions of the heroes are palpable, making it easy for readers to connect with them.

One of the primary themes in "Identity Crisis" is the toll that being a superhero takes on the heroes and their loved ones. The story explores the darker aspects of being a hero, including the consequences of keeping secrets and the sacrifices that must be made to protect the ones they love. The graphic novel also explores the theme of betrayal and the toll it takes on the heroes' relationships. The story delves into the complex nature of love and how it can be both a source of strength and weakness.

"Identity Crisis" was a commercial and critical success upon its release, with many critics praising the story's mature themes and the creative team's execution. It continues to be a fan favorite to this day. 

One of the primary criticisms of "Identity Crisis" is the way it handles the female characters. Sue Dibny is portrayed as a victim of sexual assault, which some critics have called out as gratuitous and unnecessary. The story also features the death of several female characters, which some readers have criticized as being used solely for shock value. Additionally, some readers have criticized the way the story portrays the Justice League, arguing that it makes them look incompetent.

Author: Brad Meltzer has spoken about "Identity Crisis" in several interviews, providing insight into the creative process and the themes of the graphic novel: 

We wanted to show that superheroes are real people with real emotions and vulnerabilities.

 "Identity Crisis" is just as relevant to comic book readers today as it was when it was first released. The story's exploration of mature themes and its examination of the toll that being a superhero takes on the heroes and their loved ones are still relevant today. The story's treatment of female characters has been criticized, but it also sparked an important conversation about representation in comics. 

"Identity Crisis" is a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant graphic novel that explores the darker aspects of being a superhero. The story's mature themes, outstanding character development, and gripping plot make it a must-read for anyone who loves comics. While the story has its flaws, it still manages to deliver a satisfying and impactful reading experience that will stay with readers long after they turn the final page.

Trivia about Identity Crisis and its production

  1. The original title for "Identity Crisis" was "Crisis of Conscience."
  2. Brad Meltzer got the idea for the story after watching the movie "The Conversation."
  3. Rags Morales modeled the character of Elongated Man after himself.
  4. The identity of the murderer was kept a secret from the creative team until the end of the story.
  5. The story was originally supposed to be a seven-issue miniseries but was condensed to a seven-issue limited series.
  6. The cover of issue #1 features the Justice League standing in front of a funeral procession, with each hero's reflection in a puddle of water.
  7. The story was controversial upon its release, with some readers and critics calling it too dark and mature for a superhero comic.
  8. The murder of Sue Dibny is based on a similar incident that occurred in the 1960s in the Justice League of America comics.
  9. The story features appearances by several DC Universe characters, including Zatanna, Green Arrow, and the Teen Titans.
  10. The story's use of mind-wiping villains was later explored in other DC Comics stories, including "Infinite Crisis."
  11. The story's controversial treatment of female characters has led to discussions about the representation of women in comics and media in general.
  12. "Identity Crisis" remains a divisive and influential graphic novel that continues to be discussed and debated by comic book fans and scholars alike.
Check out J. Michael Straczynski's Superman Earth One.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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