Alternative Identity Crisis KillersA column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: Keith Dallas
EDITOR’S NOTE: The killer of DC Comics’ Identity Crisis has been revealed, and by now, all the reviewers and fans have reacted. Many have enjoyed the mini-series, and plenty of other readers have voiced their disappointment that the mystery ended with Jean Loring as the killer. They expected someone else: a more iconic DC super villain or a second-tier super-hero. Anyone except Jean Loring.
So in order to appease those readers, the SBC reviewers have put on their thinking caps and provided alternative Identity Crisis killers. We have replaced Jean Loring with a different culprit(s) and in the process, of course, re-wrote some of the events of the mini-series. Whether we’re trying to be playfully clever, provide a more logical solution, or pick a bone with a creator or two, we hope you enjoy our alternatives.
According to Michael Deeley
Ambush Bug embarks on a mission to “lighten up” the DC Universe! He will form a team of light-hearted superheroes who will do good for the sake of doing good. These heroes will have healthy personalities, no habit of dark brooding, and no personal hang-ups. Their highly publicized exploits will make the DCU a fun place to be. He was going to call Robby “Dial H For Hero” Reed, ‘Mazing Man, and Captain Marvel, but decided to call on Elongated Man first. The plan was to call Ralph, then suddenly *pop* in, teleporting right in front of him.
Unfortunately, Sue picked up the phone.
It is here that we learn the true nature of Ambush Bug’s teleportational powers. He does not just appear and disappear at will. His costume generates microscopic robot insects that transmit him as an energy signal. Thus, when Sue picked up the phone, a tiny bug landed in her brain. His sudden appearance so close to Sue knocks her across the room, killing her instantly.
Shocked by his accidental murder, Ambush bug hastily tries to pin it on a villain. He ‘ports into the Watchtower trophy room, grabs Dr. Light’s light gun, and burns Sue’s body. Ambush Bug has now lost all hope of bringing fun back into the DCU. He resigns himself to a cold, empty universe of misery and pain. He half-heartedly hangs Jean Loring, but leaves her hands free. He calls Calculator for a cheap assassin, but then has an attack of conscience, and mails Jack Drake a gun. He had planned on following up his threatening letter to Lois Lane by teleporting a nuclear bomb over Metropolis, but gives up on living completely.
Ambush Bug teleports into space and detonates the bomb. His costume’s space-warp powers combine with the nuclear fusion taking place at the explosion’s core, and the costume is sent back in time.
Irwin Schwab was raised by solid state television set. When his reception goes on the fritz, he goes to his building’s roof to investigate. He finds a green, insect-like costume hanging on the antenna. When he puts it on, the costume fills his mind with memories of the future DC universe. It is a dark place of death, despair, confusion, and misogyny.
Driven crazy by the suit’s visions, Irwin Schwab dedicates his life to bringing fun into the world. He will be the Groucho to everyone else’s Margaret Dumont; the punchline to the joke that is society; the pratfall in life’s parade. Irwin Schwab becomes Ambush Bug!
And the cycle continues. . .
Jason Todd, Kyle Rayner, and Captain Boomerang (in the desiccated, pregnant corpse of Barry Allen)
According to Shaun Manning
The internet rumors were true! After finding his girlfriend stumping with a milquetoast John Constantine-lookalike, discovering his place in the JLA has been permanently filled by hanger-on John Stewart, learning his series has been cancelled in favor of Hal “The Gal” Jordan's return, and that Major Force really did kill his mom in issue #180, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner goes completely batshit. Echoing his predecessor’s helium-induced pronouncement in Green Lantern #48, Kyle screams into the depths of space, “I’m coming to Earth, alright, but you won’t like me very much when I get there!” Returning to his home planet, Kyle enlists the help of the one man more forgotten and alone than he: former Robin/Hush suspect Jason Todd! Dead and buried for an indeterminate number of years, Jason is upset that he’s become a favorite plot device throughout Batman’s world but doesn’t actually ever do anything. Hearing of the forsaken Green Lantern’s plight, Jason readily agrees to help in any scheme to return them both to the spotlight. (“Fuck this Nightwing: Year One noise, I’m a prime-time playa, what!”) The only trouble is deciding on something big, something that can’t be retconned away–but what?
As the two former heroes lament their sad fates and struggle to come up with a world-beating plan, they see real villain Captain Boomerang working his best to hang himself from a tree. Kyle and Jason decide they ought to ask ol' Digger how a bad guy operates. Boomerang says he’s always found it useful to find out everything he can about a hero’s private life, and then “go after his bitches.” Kyle remarks that he’s always hated the Elongated Man, so Ralph would be a good test case. Jason rubs his hands together, already fantasizing about victim #2, Jean Loring, not knowing she was divorced from that bastard, the Atom.
Keening up to this plan, Digger Harkness unties his noose and offers a foolproof plan to get in close to Ms. Dibny. Calling on comic book science of years gone by, Boomerang conjures up the body of Barry Allen, the Flash, and swaps minds with it. While the Cap’n’s body wanders about in search of fresh brains, his mind discovers a deep, dark secret in the desiccated corpse of his original rival; the Flash was pregnant when he died!
Now an unbeatable, unholy alliance, Green Lantern, Robin, and the Flash tiptoe up to Sue Dibny’s apartment. Jason Todd knocks on the door, then all three rush around the corner and laugh, laugh, laugh. They repeat this two more times before deciding they really ought to get down to the business of murdering this woman. It is decided that Digger should go first, “in case he cocks it up,” and the others would lend an assist if necessary. The putrid body of Barry Allen vibrates through the door, leading Sue to drop her EPT test in horror. Boomerang/Flash vibrates his fingers inside Sue Dibny’s head and, with fingernails that have continued to grow since his death, walks across the surface of Sue’s brain, killing her instantly.
Her last words are heard to be, “You... utter... Dork…”
According to Ray Tate
The shadow sweeps over them, and Kal-El knows it can only be one person. Just one person who makes no sound and defies all their super senses.
“Who else, Kal?”
“What are you doing here?”
“Trying to stop an injustice. Put him down, Arrow, before I make you eat that quiver.”
“You're protecting, Dr. Light!”
“After what he did to my wife!”
“Dr. Light had nothing to do with your wife, Ralph. That mystery, had you let me keep my memories, would have been solved decades ago.” Batman’s eyes narrow to slits. Superman watches as Arrow drops the bleeding and broken Dr. Light.
“Look, something had to be--”
“Shut up, Arrow. Lantern, get Light to a hospital.”
“I'm on it.” Katma Tui blazes her beam over Dr. Light, and she teleports him to the nearest emergency room. “I don't have any love for Dr. Light, but if he’s innocent then he deserves to be treated as an innocent.”
“This tragedy could have been avoided had any of you remembered that we work within the law whenever possible.”
“Oh, yeah! Look who's talking!”
“Arrow another word from you, and you'll be using your teeth to fire your bow. I admit that my methods have of late been growing--disturbing. I’ve been growing careless. I haven’t been acting like myself until this evening. The Joker hit me with Dr. Moon’s latest invention. It was supposed to turn me into a babbling idiot.” He smiles ever so slightly. “Apparently, I have been acting like one, for everything. All my mistakes came back to haunt me. So many things that could have been easily avoided. Spoiler. Her death... That will take time for me--but in part, I wasn't responsible. I haven’t had all my
faculties for some time. Thanks to your form of justice.”
“Batman, I apologize, for my part in this cover-up.”
“Accepted, Zanna, but you owe me, and I intend to collect.” Batman does something Superman hasn’t seen in years. He grins. For some reason, the Man of Steel shivers. “Don't worry, Kal. When I do collect, I think you'll approve. It’s something I would have done immediately had my memory, my mind been intact.” Batman shifts toward the Elongated Man. He lays a hand on Ralph’s shoulder. “Ralph, I grieve with you, but Dr. Light had nothing to do with your wife’s murder or the rape.”
“That's what you said. I'm trying to believe you.”
“Bats, we caught him red-handed!”
“Arrow, I warned you.” Superman catches Batman’s fist and shakes his head.
“Fine. Be a boy scout.”
“Would you have it any other way?”
“You have a story to tell, old friend.”
“Years ago, Dr. Light invaded the JLA Satellite and appeared to rape Sue. What none of you knew, and what he didn’t know nor would ever know thanks to your form of justice is that he was merely a puppet. Think. Dr. Light never had a personal vendetta against Sue. Rape is a personal crime. It’s one of the most hideous crimes of which the vermin of humanity has ever conceived. Then we must also ask how Dr. Light breached our Satellite. I designed the Satellite, remember? The only people who had the codes were League members.”
“Batman, you're not suggesting that a League member--”
“Of course not. I'm suggesting a League puppet divulged those codes.”
“A League member who at the time was under considerable strain, whose mind was vulnerable to mental attack. Barry Allen, the Flash.”
“Remember, at the time, Barry believed Zoom had murdered Iris. Later we learned that Iris’s parents in the future had managed to find a way for her to cheat death. The Flash did not know until near his own death.”
“You said Uncle Barry was a puppet! That's bull! The Flash would never allow himself-”
“Puppet isn't a metaphor. He was controlled, Wally. By the Psycho-Pirate.”
“But why! You said Dr. Light didn’t have a vendetta. The Psycho Pirate…”
“Is insane and hates the Justice League. He defeated Barry Allen, who was your best friend Ralph.”
“He tried to twist Barry, to turn him into the opposite of what he was. He tried to make the Flash rape Sue, simply because she was your wife.”
“If there was such a being, we wouldn't exist.”
“You're dark, man, you know that.”
“Etum Worra! Go ahead, Batman.”
“Thank you, Zanna. Psycho-Pirate tried to break Barry, but he couldn’t do it. Finally, he gave up and settled for something smaller.”
“The energy it took for your Uncle to resist, Wally, was enormous. He would not change his character, but the Psycho-Pirate still managed to make Barry believe that he was his friend, and that he needed the codes. He got them.”
“It could have been anybody, Ralph. Kite-Man, Captain Cold, Count Vertigo. Any one of our enemies, but the Pirate knew where Dr. Light lived. He knew how weak his mind was and how open to suggestion he could be. The Pirate’s intent for the Flash to rape Sue as the ultimate betrayal to your friendship was never carried out by the Flash, but the Pirate had built an obsession by this time. It had to be met.”
“I want the Pirate.”
“I already had him. He won't be out of intensive care for a year. Then he'll be in Arkham.”
“I want him dead.”
“And then what? That won't bring Sue back. Nothing will bring back the ones we loved and lost, but doing what we must can make their memory even more powerful a force for justice in the world.”
“Batman, what do you want of me? Anything is yours for the taking.”
“He's so damn annoying. We should leave him like that.” Batman smiles. “I need you, Zanna. A dear friend of mine and an honorary League member was a victim of a madman’s crime. I want you to heal her if you can.”
“Barbara Gordon.” Zatanna lowers her head. “You know, I always wondered why you never asked. I am so sorry.”
“We've been through enough apologies. It's time for the healing for all to begin.”
“Namtab dna Annataz og ot Arabrab Nodrog.”
Superman smiles. For once, he sees his old friend vanish, and he was right. He does approve. The cost was great, but something tells him that the world will become a lot better now that Batman had truly returned. Steps though will have to be made to prevent this from happening again. They underestimated the Psycho-Pirate. He will construct a robot to watch the Psycho-Pirate for the rest of his life, and what will happen to poor Ralph? Above all they must give him the friendship and care that will see him through this horror. That’s what the League is about.
According to Kelvin Green
How we were all fooled! Those microscopic footprints found in Sue Dibny’s brain in Identity Crisis #6 led the Justice Leaguers to deduce that The Atom was responsible for her death, but in fact the culprit was none other than Henry Pym of the Avengers! Incensed at his treatment under Chuck Austen and Geoff Johns, Pym used the confusing events of Avengers/JLA to follow them to the DCU, where he planned to get his revenge on the two writers by ruining their characters as they ruined him. Upon arrival however, he was disappointed: he couldn't catch up with Johns’s Flash, and didn’t feel like beating up on either a gang of kids or a group of pensioners; and Chucklin’ Chuck Austen was doing far more damage to Superman, the JLA and his own reputation than Hank and a whole gaggle of Ultrons could ever do. Worse, some maniac dressed up like Nosferata the She-Bat started stalking Hank, and he was forced to find an ingenious hiding place, which turned out to be Sue Dibny’s brain. Sadly, the constant sounds of “rassinfrassin' Austen frassin’ Johns” coming from inside her head drove her loopy, and she killed herself by throwing herself backwards at her kitchen table (that this unique method of self-termination worked says a lot about the physics of the DCU). Then Chuck Austen, hoping to get rid of Pym once and for all (Johns was too busy finding warm tartan blankets and comfy slippers for the JSA, what with winter coming up and all), turned up and destroyed the body with his amazing flaming man-member. However, the eternal soul of everyone’s favourite insect-fixated scientist survived the conflagration, and consumed by vengeance (not to mention the ferocious flames from the fiery phallus of Chuck Austen!), is rumoured to have become the new Spectre.
According to Keith Dallas
In the famous “Mirror, Mirror” episode of the original Star Trek television series, four U.S.S. Enterprise officers (Kirk, Scotty, McCoy, Uhura) through a transporter malfunction get sent to a dichotomous parallel Star Trek universe in which values and ethics have been upended. Instead of being paragons of peace and interspecies harmony, the Imperial Fleet I.S.S. Enterprise threatens and annihilates worlds that will not succumb to their wishes.
Unbeknownst to many, the DC Universe also has a parallel “Mirror” universe (through an agreement with Paramount Pictures, this parallel universe was spared from destruction during Crisis on Infinite Earths). Through a manipulation of the space-time continuum too complicated to elabotrate here, the Ray Tate of THAT universe flung himself into the DC Universe we read every month. Unlike the warm, fuzzy Ray Tate who writes weekly reviews for SBC.com, THAT Ray Tate is a misogynist, a Pro-lifer, and he LOVES Post-Crisis DC continuity. He consumes comics that in any way mistreats women. He revels in their degradation. THAT Ray Tate kills Sue Dibny because he’s upset that the Joker crippled Barbara Gordon before he had the chance to. Ray Tate is your Identity Crisis killer.