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Sue Dibny, wife of the Elongated Man, is murdered, her body horribly burned. The super-hero community rallies to find the murderer.

      For the episode of Superman: The Animated Series, see Superman (1996 TV Series) Episode: Identity Crisis.

Identity Crisis is a 2004 storyline written by Brad Meltzer with art by Rags Morales. Following a tragedy in the hero community, an old wound is pried open that challenges many heroes at their core, and mobilizes villains against them.


Sue Dibny, wife of the Elongated Man, is murdered, her body horribly burned. The super-hero community rallies to find the murderer.

Early suspicion rests on Doctor Light, as it is revealed that he had raped Sue Dibny years earlier in the Justice League satellite headquarters. It is also revealed that the Atom, Black Canary, Hawkman, Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), and Green Arrow allowed the sorceress Zatanna to mind-wipe the captured Doctor Light. Not only was his memory of the rape of Dibny removed, but his personality was also altered to make him less of a threat. Thinking that Light may now have murdered Sue, the superheroes attempt to capture him. However, Light has hired Deathstroke to protect him, and in the ensuing fight between Deathstroke and the JLA, Doctor Light regains his memory, is enraged at the violation, and escapes.

The murderer next tries to hang Jean Loring, the ex-wife of the Atom. The attempt fails. The murderer then sends a death threat to Lois Lane (Superman's wife). Finally, a hit is arranged by Captain Boomerang on Jack Drake, the father of Robin (Tim Drake). However, Jack Drake receives a note warning him of the impending attempt on his life, as well as a gun, both sent by an unknown party. As Jack Drake fatally shoots Captain Boomerang, the latter manages to throw a razor boomerang at Drake's chest, injuring him fatally. Batman confiscates the note before the authorities or the media can learn of its existence.

As the investigation continues, Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond) is stabbed by the Shadow Thief, who wields the Shining Knight's enchanted sword, breaching his skin. Approaching critical mass, Firestorm flies into the sky and explodes.

Bolt is seriously injured in a shootout by two thugs transporting Lex Luthor's battlesuit.

Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) reveals to the Flash (Wally West) that Batman had walked in on the heroes while Zatanna was performing the mind-wipe of Doctor Light. When Batman tried to prevent them from doing so, he was mind-wiped as well.

Eventually, the autopsy of Sue Dibny's body by Doctor Mid-Nite and Mister Terrific reveals that Sue Dibny had been killed by an infarction in her brain. A microscopic scan of Dibny's brain shockingly reveals two tiny footprints as the cause of the infarction.

Mid-Nite and Terrific, along with Batman, separately realize that Sue was murdered by someone with access to the technology of the Atom, Ray Palmer. (Palmer's technology grants him the ability to shrink himself to subatomic size). Before they can discover whether it was Palmer or someone using his technology, Palmer learns that his estranged wife, Jean Loring, is aware of the note sent to Jack Drake (knowledge of which had been kept secret). He deduces that she was the killer.

Loring asserts that she did not mean to kill Sue, nor was it her intention for Jack Drake to be killed. She argues that she sent the note and gun in order for him to protect himself and survive the attack. She tells Palmer that she undertook the plan, which included faking the attempt on her own life, in order to bring Ray back into her life. Palmer realizes that she is insane, and Loring is committed to Arkham Asylum.


Core Storyline



  • In Justice League of America #166-168, the Secret Society of Super-Villains, including The Wizard, The Floronic Man, Star Sapphire, Professor Zoom, and Blockbuster, captures JLA members Superman, Batman, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Zatanna and Wonder Woman and switches bodies with the heroes, which causes them to learn the JLA members' secret identities. At the conclusion of the arc, Zatanna erases the villains' memories of the incident and the secret identities.
  • As part of the continuity changes introduced by Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wonder Woman was retconned out of the pre-Crisis JLA. In all further references to the JLA's pre-Crisis adventures, including its origin story and the Secret Society incident, Wonder Woman is replaced by Black Canary). However, following Infinite Crisis, Wonder Woman has been restored as a founding member, so the Black Canary retcon has been retconned. This means that all appearances of Wonder Woman in the early league, including the Secret Society story, are back in continuity.
  • When Elongated Man was admitted to the JLA, his wife, Sue Dibny appeared regularly in their comics stories and is revealed to have spent a lot of time alone on the Justice League Satellite.
  • Superman (the Justice League's official leader) and Batman were previously portrayed as the most commanding members of the team. Identity Crisis postulates that the two were always so busy battling their own adversaries that that a league with a league, consisting of Green Arrow, Black Canary, Hawkman, The Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Elongated Man and Zatanna, made most of the difficult decisions (including that to mindwipe villains) and that Superman and Batman, in Green Arrow's words, "saw what they wanted to see" regarding their activities.
  • Villains like Dr. Destiny and Brainwave who could easily discover the League's identities failed to do so, not because they didn't think of it, but that the League erased their memories when they did discover it.
  • Doctor Light's previous ineffectualness was not due to his own foolishness, but rather, because of the effects of the JLA's attempt to alter his personality.
  • Green Arrow and Hawkman's mutual antagonism, which was originally rooted solely in their differing political philosophies, is revealed to have come about from their opposing opinions of what should have been done to Dr. Light and the minor altercation they had because of it.
  • Previously, it was determined that in the post-Crisis DCU, only a handful of other heroes knew the secret identity of Batman and Superman (or in the case of Superman, that he had a secret identity at all). Now it seems to have reverted back so that virtually every hero in the JLA knows who they actually are.


Recommended Reading

Links and References

Events Crisis on Multiple Earths | Crisis on Infinite Earths | Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! | Infinite Crisis | Final Crisis | Flashpoint | Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths
Zero Hour Related Events End of an Era
Countdown to Infinite Crisis Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1 | The OMAC Project | Rann-Thanagar War | Villains United | Day of Vengeance
Infinite Crisis Aftermath 52 | One Year Later | World War III | Battle for Blüdhaven
Countdown to Final Crisis Death of the New Gods | Salvation Run | Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer | Countdown to Adventure | Countdown to Mystery | Countdown Presents: Lord Havok and the Extremists | Countdown: Arena
Final Crisis Related Events Final Crisis | Final Crisis: Revelations | Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds | Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge
Flashpoint Related Events Time Masters: Vanishing Point
Road to Dark Crisis Infinite Frontier | Justice League Incarnate
See Also Identity Crisis (crossovers) | Heroes in Crisis | Dark Nights: Death Metal | Crisis on Infinite Earths Crossovers | Zero Hour Crossovers | Infinite Crisis Crossovers | Final Crisis Crossovers | Dark Crisis Crossovers | Convergence
Identity Crisis 001
Identity Crisis Crossover
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The events from this issue or series are related to Identity Crisis, a crisis in themes of morality and identity for the Justice League of America, beginning when a mysterious killer starts targeting the families of heroes. This template will categorize articles that include it into the Identity Crisis crossover category.

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Mindwipes Storyline
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The events from this issue or series are related to the Mindwipes Storyline, and/or any of its surrounding events, including the League That Defeated Itself, Identity Crisis, and Crisis of Conscience. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the Mindwipes Storyline category.