- Anyone who puts on a costume paints a bullseye on his family's chests.
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.
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, Sue is always going to be a target for his enemies.
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.
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.
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"
- Justice League of America
- Black Lightning
- Connor Hawke
- Benny Addison
- Barry Allen (Flashback only)
- Animal Man
- Jack Drake
- Jonathan Kent
- Martha Kent
- Metal Men
- Mister Miracle
- Plastic Man (Mentioned only)
- The Ray
- Trey Williams
- Funeral Attendees (Cameo)
- Adam Strange
- Big Barda
- Beast Boy
- Black Condor
- Blue Beetle
- Booster Gold
- Captain Atom
- Captain Marvel
- Commissioner Gordon
- Dmitri Pushkin
- Doctor Fate
- Doctor Mid-Nite
- Ellen Baker
- The Flash (Jay Garrick)
- The Flash (Wally West)
- Green Lantern (Alan Scott)
- Green Lantern (John Stewart)
- Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner)
- Guy Gardner
- Hamilton Drew
- Jack Knight
- Jason Blood
- Jimmy Olsen
- Justice League International
- Justice Society
- Kid Flash
- Kimiyo Hoshi
- Lois Lane
- Martian Manhunter
- Mary Marvel
- Maxwell Lord
- Mister Terrific
- Power Girl
- Red Tornado
- Snapper Carr
- Tasmanian Devil
- Teen Titans
- Central City
- Gotham City
- Opal City
- Star City
- Wildcat's Gym
- Sue Dibny is killed in this issue. She will return as a ghost and be reunited with her husband in 52. 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. They are finally put to rest when they are destroyed by the Indigo Tribe.
- 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. Most recently, he was seen as a resident of the criminal nation Zandia still wearing this costume. 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.
- There are many deaths mentioned in this issue.
- Aquababy was killed by Black Manta.
- Crimson Fox, Constance D'Aramis was killed by the Mist.
- Crimson Fox, Vivian D'Aramis was killed by Maurice Puanteur.
- The Flash died during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- Green Arrow died in a plane explosion. Later, he got better.
- Green Lantern sacrificed himself during The Final Night.
- Joanna Pierce was murdered by Constantine Drakon.
- John Grayson was killed by Boss Zucco.
- K'hym J'onzz died on Mars.
- Mary Grayson was killed by Boss Zucco.
- Sindella Zatara sacrificed herself to destroy a powerful magical artifact.
- Superman died fighting Doomsday. Later, he got better.
- Firehawk mentions that someone has an Amazo android on the black market. This plot thread will be further explored during Batman: Under the Hood when a Gotham City crimelord the Black Mask gets hold of it and uses it against Batman and Nightwing.
- Ralph talks to Firehawk about how Sue sets up fake mysteries for him on his birthdays, and he references a mystery that largely revolved around Barry Allen being dressed up as an old man, which happened in an earlier story.
- Jack Drake only recently learned that his son is secretly Robin.
- Black Lightning mentions stepping down from his position as Secretary of Education.
- Ray Palmer mentions his divorce with Jean Loring.
- It is brought up that Sue Dibny was actually made an honorary member of the Justice League, an offer which has been extended to extremely few people. This happened during her time on Justice League Europe, when she effectively ran things from the Embassy and Captain Atom recognized how much work she did for them.
- The suspect list for the murder includes a number of supervillains. Heat Wave, Heatstroke, Doctor Phosphorus, Plasmus, Scorch, Firefly and Firefist are suspected for their flame-related abilities. The list also includes the teleporters Warp, Bolt, Mirror Master, Peek-a-Boo and the Shade.
- Guy Gardner's costuming is problematic. He is wearing his Green Lantern garb at the funeral, which he has not worn since he was dismissed from the Green Lantern Corps a number of years ago. At the time of this issue, he should be in his Warrior attire. It is of course entirely possible that this outfit was simply the best thing he had to wear to the ceremony. Gardner will eventually make his return to the Corps during the Rebirth storyline.
- Ralph and Sue Dibny were last involved in the Super Buddies, a series that spins the superhero team in a humorous direction. A running gag throughout their storyline is that everybody believes Sue to be pregnant, although she adamantly denies this with increasing frustration. That story actually didn't get published until after Identity Crisis, and as a result the funny comes off more maudlin than it was originally intended to be.
- Firehawk is mistaken for Flamebird by civilians.
- Justice League Recommended Reading
- Justice League of America (Volume 1)
- Justice League of America (Volume 2)
- Justice League of America (Volume 3)
- Justice League of America (Volume 4)
- Justice League of America (Volume 5)
- JLA (Volume 1)
- Justice League (Volume 1)
- Justice League (Volume 2)
- Justice League (Volume 3)
- Justice League (Volume 4)
- Justice League International (Volume 1)
- Justice League International (Volume 2)
- Justice League International (Volume 3)
- Justice League Europe (Volume 1)
- Justice League America (Volume 1)
- Justice League Task Force (Volume 1)
- Justice League Quarterly (Volume 1)
- Justice League Dark (Volume 1)
- Justice League Dark (Volume 2)
- Extreme Justice (Volume 1)
- Justice League Elite (Volume 1)
Links and References
- The Flash #134
- 52 Week 52, see excerpt
- Blackest Night #1, see excerpt
- Blackest Night #3
- Detective Comics #463
- Young Justice #51
- Adventure Comics #452
- Starman (Volume 2) #38, see excerpt
- Justice League America #104
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, see excerpt
- Green Arrow (Volume 2) #101
- Green Arrow (Volume 3) #1
- The Final Night #4, see excerpt
- Green Arrow (Volume 3) #30
- Detective Comics #38
- Martian Manhunter #3
- Justice League of America #165
- Superman (Volume 2) #75
- Superman: The Man of Steel #25
- Batman #636-637
- Detective Comics #449
- Robin (Volume 2) #124-125
- Outsiders (Volume 3) #10
- Sword of the Atom Special #1
- Justice League Europe #2
- Green Lantern (Volume 3) #25
- Guy Gardner: Warrior #0
- Green Lantern: Rebirth #2
- JLA Classified #4-9
|Identity Crisis Crossover|
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.