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Monday, September 12, 2005 

Sunbury's Daily Item: IC's 9-11 tie-ins confirmed

I was stunned when I found this. But it looks like now, with this article/interview from the Daily Item from Sunbury, Pennsylvania, the political stemmings of Identity Crisis have been confirmed:
..."Identity Crisis," a seven-issue miniseries collected this month in a special hardcover edition, didn't start out as a big event.

Instead, writer Brad Meltzer says, it was intended to be a small, emotional story — a look at the cost of being a hero.

DC's editors approached Meltzer after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. With those attacks giving Americans a new appreciation for firefighters and other everyday heroes, DC wanted a story that explored the risks its heroes faced when they donned masks and capes.
If you think the above that I highlighted looks confusing, you're right, it most certainly does. What exactly is this supposed to mean? That Americans are wrong to show appreciation for heroes? This is scary.

But one thing that certainly is being done here: the newspaper is lying if what they're saying is that this miniseries does what the American public appreciates. It does not portray heroes respectably, as noted below, and does little more than to depict them as failures.

Predictably, not only does the newspaper interview gloss over many of the real problems the miniseries suffers from, but Meltzer repeats the very weak defenses he used a year ago:
"I had no desire to kill a character for no good reason, not just shock value or sales," Meltzer says.

But in more talks with editors, an idea clicked.

"I said, 'You know what, I got it. Let me go.' In my head, it all made sense to me."
It did? As John Wayne once said, shyeah, right. I'm just falling out of my chair laughing already. What about the unspeakable act of horror Deathstroke pulled on Black Canary, and even the punch he gave Zatanna that caused her to vomit? And it only gets more hysterical with this:
A few days later, he returned with the pitch for what would become "Identity Crisis" — a murder-mystery that at its heart is a story of loss and families and heroism.
Oh, do tell me about it. They wipe Batman's mind, along with Dr. Light's, and Batman himself acts nasty, implying that he's on the side of a character who committed a rape, which is not even mentioned in the interview, and never show any genuine sympathy for the victim, that being Sue Dibny, of course. Some people may have said that the Masked Manhunter came off the best in this book, but when you look upon things harder, including the fact that he totally missed the phone being off the hook in the Dibny's apartment, you can see for yourself that even Batman comes off pretty bad, and isn't being portrayed heroically either.
The story follows the investigation into the murder of Sue Dibny, the wife of the stretchable Elongated Man. In doing so, it reveals a secret from the past of the Justice League of America.

To protect their loved ones, DC's greatest heroes had voted to perform "mindwipes" on some villains, erasing key memories. The JLA went a step further with Dr. Light, performing a sort of magical lobotomy on him.

When one of their own, Batman, objected, a mindwipe was performed on him.
So let me get this straight. They turned on their best pal, yet they say the book is about heroism? Please, that's the best one I've heard all day. Talk about forgetting what they said in the first place!

The Savage Critic blog at ComixExperience sums it up much better than I do:
Where is the heroism here? Did anything "heroic" occur in IDENTITY CRISIS? No, we've seen rapes, and murders, and insanity and horror, and self-delusion, and secrets and lies. And I don't think any of these characters are anything other than worse for it. Where's the damn heroism?
Alas, it's nowhere to be found. And thinking about it now, the way that the characters are shown to be utterly incompetant when battling Deathstroke...not exactly what I'd call heroic either. Nor the way that Ronnie Raymond as Firestorm just left himself open to an attack by the Shadow Thief in issue 5.

Next in the Daily Item interview, they say that:
Meltzer also used "Identity Crisis" to explore and revamp many of DC's second-tier heroes, such as Boomerang and the Calculator.

He was offered the option of using the baddest of the bad, such as the Joker, but he opted for the villains he says nobody cared about.
Probably just to serve as a cover, to make it look as if he was being clever. Sorry, but I'm not fooled, and making second-tier villians interesting at all costs is no substitute for good moral and common sense, which are crucial to good storytelling.

Next, a really big howler:
"I wanted to put a human face on both sides of this equation, hero and villain," Meltzer says.
No kidding. Then why were a]the women left out, b]Superman and even Hawkman made to look bad, c]the heroes covering up Dr. Light's crime and not informing anyone about them, and most importantly of all, d]Ralph and Sue largely minimized?
The mindwipes have been a key element in various titles as relationships between DC's heroes have soured — most notably the ties between the big three: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
And that's a good thing? Yawn. Been there, done that.
Similarly, the newly reinvigorated villains from "Identity Crisis" have proved critical to DC's current direction.
No kidding. I can't say, after all this time, that they're in colossal demand. And the villains didn't have to be cast in some mega-extravaganza in order for other writers to be prompted to use them. Dr. Light may have been used in the recent "Light's Out" story in Teen Titans, but now, what's really being done with him? Nothing much. And things certainly have waned by now for a lot of this hubbub DC didn't have to make.
Meltzer has the inside scoop on what's ahead for DC's beleaguered heroes — though he, of course, isn't telling. Geoff Johns, one of his closest friends, is writing the "Infinite Crisis" miniseries.
If he is, that's pretty bad. Either way though, after the gratutious rape in issue 2, and all the horrific violence in issue 3 and even 6, with even Firestorm being belittled, when reading the following:
A longtime comics fan, Meltzer is thrilled to see so many stories spinning out of "Identity Crisis.

"To see this level built on something that we started, there's no greater kind of geek moment than that."
I can only laugh. Because if he were really a comics fan, I doubt he'd stoop that low. In fact, I think he may have given himself away with his use of the word "geek": because it's been used as a form of stereotypical description of comics fans in past years, it makes me wonder if what he's really saying is that it's great to see so many unwitting addicts falling for the whole mess, hook, line and sinker.

Comics fan, my foot.

The worst part of all is that this interview is coming out on the week that 9-11 is in memorium. The Dread Pundit Bluto has an entry today talking about how the Syracuse Post-Standard chose to commemorate 9-11 by running an article on how some professors at the Syracuse university compared the US to the Axis powers. With the Daily Item/Knight/Ridder's running an interview that glosses over a book that's more or less an attack on the US in metaphorical sense, you could say that they too have pulled a similar dirty trick.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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