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"Chapter One: Coffin": In Opal City, Elongated Man and Firehawk are on a stakeout overlooking the black market sale of one of Lex Luthor's Warsuits. This deal is being engineered by the Calculator, b

Quote1.png Anyone who puts on a costume paints a bullseye on his family's chests. Quote2.png
Ralph Dibny

Identity Crisis #1 is an issue of the series Identity Crisis (Volume 1) with a cover date of August, 2004. It was published on June 9, 2004.

Synopsis for "Chapter One: Coffin"

In Opal City, Elongated Man and Firehawk are on a stakeout overlooking the black market sale of one of Lex Luthor's Warsuits. This deal is being engineered by the Calculator, between supervillain Bolt and two street thugs Benny and Trey. Their discussion turns personal while they wait, and they get begin talking about love and secret identities. Firehawk asks Ralph to tell him the story of how he met his wife, Sue Dibny. It is truly one of the great modern romances. Since the first day they met, when she saw him across the room at a party, she's only had eyes for him.

Sue Dibny murdered

They've been deeply in love, and despite spending time with all of the other stunning gentlemen in the League, their interest has never strayed from each other. It is of course complicated by the fact that because Ralph has a public identity,[1] Sue is always going to be a target for his enemies.

Dibny marriage

On this particular day, Sue is throwing Ralph one of her famous surprise parties for his birthday. Every year, she creates a mystery for him to solve as part of her gift. Ralph is confident that he has already figured out the entire thing, but he is not aware that Sue has planned an extra surprise for him. And then bad things start happening. Alone in her home, Sue is brutally attacked by a mysterious assailant, and signals for help. As EM and Firehawk fly there as quickly as they can, Bolt gets into an altercation with his dealers, and is mortally wounded when they shoot him. Bursting into his own home, Ralph finds Sue lying dead on the ground and her body horribly burned. Rushing to hold her, he breaks down emotionally and physically as he realizes what's happened. In addition, we learn Sue's special gift to him... she was pregnant with their unborn child, and he was going to become a father.

Signal Devices are all alerted and the call goes out. The heroic community is very quickly organized. There are contingency plans and notifications and protocol in place, largely organized by Oracle. Green Arrow arrives at the crime scene, and Batman has already been there and left to perform tests. A full investigation is conducted, and many favors are called in to keep the police out of their business until they're finished examining the scenario for themselves. Mister Miracle is called in to look into how an attacker could've gotten inside, the Atom looks for microscopic evidence, the Ray does spectrum analysis, the Metal Men look into metallurgy and even Animal Man sniffs around for anything unusual. Metamorpho looks into anything they can't identify. Their home was protected by an advanced League security system combining known technologies from across the universe. There is no visible evidence of anything out of the ordinary, and nobody can figure out how a killer could've gotten in and out without leaving a trace. Arrow swears that whoever did this better hope that the cops find him before they do.

The Funeral

A funeral is held in Central City, the place where Ralph and Sue first met. People come from across the country, and in some cases across the world, to mourn and pay tribute to the deceased. Superheroes gather, along with anybody who worked with or even knew Sue at all. To preserve the identities of everyone involved, costumes are worn at all times during the ceremony. The pall-bearers are Green Arrow, Hawkman, the Flash, and Sue's uncle. Wonder Woman is responsible for delivering the eulogy, because she knew her the best. After she is finished, Ralph tries to give a speech, but physically cannot hold himself together he is so upset.

"Help me find Doctor Light."

After it's over, Captain Atom organizes everyone into strategic search groups to find and hunt down the murderer. A list of suspects is made based on the way she was killed, largely composed of fire-based villains and teleporters. Once everyone else has left, there are six remaining members of the League who haven't been assigned to any case, deliberately. The Atom, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Elongated Man, Hawkman and Zatanna. They are drawn together by a secret they hold from the rest of the community, so big that it would threaten to tear everything apart if it got out. There's a mixture of dignified purpose and shame, as the murder brings up consequences to their actions they haven't had to deal with for years, but which they and they alone must deal with. As they convene in the back of the church, Ralph has snapped back like elastic into a man of action from his distraught and miserable form. They all know who did it, the only person who could possibly hold a grudge against someone like Sue Dibny. Ralph asks them to help him find the man responsible, who he believes to be Doctor Light.

Appearing in "Chapter One: Coffin"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:




  • Sue Dibny is killed in this issue. She will return as a ghost and be reunited with her husband in 52.[2] During Blackest Night, she is resurrected as a member of the Black Lantern Corps when a power ring takes control of her body, for usage in the armies of Nekron.[3] They are finally put to rest when they are destroyed by the Indigo Tribe.[4]
  • This issue reintroduces an updated version of the Calculator. In his first appearances, he was a regular costumed criminal who wore a suit with big buttons on the chest, and fought Batman.[5] Most recently, he was seen as a resident of the criminal nation Zandia still wearing this costume.[6] Here, he is shown to be a villainous counterpart to Oracle, operating from a remote headquarters where he has access to every computer system in the world.
  • This story is collected along with the rest of the series in the Identity Crisis graphic novel.


See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

Identity Crisis 001.jpg
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.