When the publishers of superhero comics want to shake things up a bit, they really know how to do it. With Identity Crisis they brought in Brad Meltzer, already a successful author in his own right and long term comic fan, to create a murder mystery that leaves no DC Comics superhero untouched. In fact, it started the ball rolling for DC’s epic Infinite Crisis series, a storyline that spanned all DC’s superhero titles, which is being collected into a number of graphic novels over the next few months.
The book revolves around a simple concept: how do you threaten an indestructible creature like Superman? Sure, there’s Superman’s obvious Achilles Heel – the Kryptonite option. But there’s a better way of pulling a superhero down that’ll work across the board – go for their families and friends. When a superhero loses his secret identity, they’re as vulnerable as the people around them.
By throwing this spanner into the works of the superhero community, along with a few extra surprises, Meltzer has created a surprisingly sophisticated piece of work, that alters the future and past of DC’s superhero society in a subtle but permanent way.
The artwork is perfect for fast-paced superhero action, with enough detail to differentiate the square jaws from one another, but bright and uncluttered enough to ensure that the heroes and their costumes take centre stage.
What’s left is an elegant thriller, showing perfectly that superhero comics don’t have to be a series of epic battles in order to be any good. It’s not exactly up there with Watchmen but it’s a pleasant enough twist on the genre to make interesting reading.
Other titles in the Infinite Crisis series: