Identity Crisis
by Brad Meltzer, Rags
Morales, Michael Bair
(DC Comics, 2005)

This hardcover graphic novel compiles the seven issues of this subtly universe-changing miniseries, which explores with nerve-wracking rigor the paradox of superheroic secret identities.

Because so many dual identities are known among the Justice Leaguers and their enemies, the horror dreaded by the super community comes to ugly reality -- not only are their friends, families and beloved ones threatened, one of them is actually murdered. The intense scrutiny with which the authors then examine their moralities and lives provides a sublime, if sweaty, reading experience.

I am amazed unceasingly at what the traditional "comic book" now offers. The writing, combined with spot-on art, is positively Dostoevskian in its perverse and prickling paranoia. Of all its many wonders, perhaps the greatest is the strangely overwhelming depth it now gives all those charmingly "innocent" stories of comic's Silver Age in the 1960s.

If you have a fondness for superheroes or have ever given the genre any thought at all, this is fine, thoughtful and scary reading.

by Stephen Richmond
29 October 2005

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