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Friday, May 07, 2010 

When discovering a secret ID can lead to badness

One of the writers on CBR's Robot 6 blog writes about the history of secret identities and how they were once a reliable story springboard. But there's also a little something here that's worth noting for how it only led to awfulness:
For example, Lois has known for almost twenty (real-time) years; and when it got awkward between Bruce Wayne and bodyguard Sasha Bordeaux, she found out. If there are no stories about the secret being pierced, then a big part of the secret’s dramatic utility goes away; and what’s left are briefer interludes in, say, the Daily Planet bullpen or Wayne Enterprises’ boardrooms.
Maybe, but sometimes it's probably better for the secret identity not be discovered, if Sasha's case is any example. Because when she found out, it wasn't so much as to develop her better as a character, but rather ironically, to lead to wedge-driving between her and Batman in the Bruce Wayne: Murderer/Fugitive storyline, one of the worst crossovers DC ever had the gall to cough up. She ended up in prison, taking only so much abuse, and this turned her against Batman, who initially preferred to just continue his life more as the Masked Manhunter than as Bruce Wayne and not actually solve the case of who murdered Vesper Fairchild, and let Sasha rot in the clink until the government arranged for her release to become a Checkmate agent. It was one of the worst examples of making Bruce look more like a self-centered, apathetic man than a human being since the 1990s, and Sasha was little more than a plot device. One of the worst stories in which learning a secret ID led to helllish circumstances.

And sometimes it seems like anyone who learns Batman's secret ID is bound to end up in a very horrid situation, even if it's not a coffin (in the original premise for Jason Todd, his own parents ended up dead after learning the secret in 1983). Maybe that's why it's better not to explore the idea, if that's all they can think of.

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I actually enjoyed Bruce Wayne: Murderer & Fugitive *embarrassed*

Very little of what you describe happened in the story.

Sasha learning Bruce was Batman did develop her character. She became more involved with his world and not just the Bruce Wayne part of it. And later despite the hell she went through, she never broke her promise and gave up any of his secrets. That says a hell of a lot about her character.

Checkmate didn't arrange her release. Bruce was in the process of facilitating it when Checkmate faked her death and kidnapped Sasha to recruit her.

Sasha didn't turn against Bruce. She was given the opportunity to be released if she testified against him, but she didn't. When she joined Checkmate, she didn't want to see Bruce again because of everything she'd gone through, but also she still cared about him and kept his secrets.

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