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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Identity Crisis (graphic novel) by Brad Meltzer and DC Comics

So, what happens when you take a best-selling author of thrillers and have him work with a great comics team?

Brad Meltzer
You get a strong story, great art and some of the cherished ideas of comics are re-worked.

To quote the introduction by Joss Whedon, "it's unlikely that Elongated Man is your favorite-ever character. But halfway into issue one he was certainly mine. Brad and Rags paint a portait of a man - and a marriage - that is so unassumingly lovely, it's unbearable to think anything bad might happen to either. And inevitable that it will."

****Spoiler alert****

Thank novelist Brad Meltzer for making you care and thank artist Rags Morales for making you feel the pain of Elongated Man's loss on page 31 (even now, I just glanced at THE page and I felt it all over again).

Meltzer re-works some of the bad guys and makes them truly awful. Why shouldn't they be. Regular villains stalk, kill, rape, maim and torture. Shouldn't super villains do even more of that? To combat that, the super heroes are not morally upright in all of their actions. They are after all, human (except for a few of them). They are scared for their families, friends and loved ones that cannot defend themselves against freaks with a funny suit and a good search engine. The scene in which Batman and Robin (Tim Drake) rush to save Robin's father (p. 170) illustrates this fear and is great only because of the art - the art tells the story better than paragraphs of text would. But, the text does add something - Batman says only two words: "Not again..." as he mashes the Batmobile's pedal to the floor. We all know what the orphaned Caped Crusader's motivations are. On page 182 the art is equally compelling. You can see the horror in Robin's eyes with Batman assuming an unusual compassionate role - cradling Robin and saying, "...I've got you..." The accompanying narration notes "Batman and Robin. Orphans."

*******End Spoiler Alert**********

I give Identity Crisis 4 stars out of 5 simply because I did not like the Whodunit of the whole mystery. It seemed odd and random, but then again lots of life is odd and random so maybe I'm overly critical.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Identity Crisis.

Reviewed on November 29, 2008

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