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Identity Crisis Paperback – August 16, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This seven-issue miniseries by bestselling author Meltzer (The Zero Game) was both wildly popular and reviled, and the collection shows that both views have merit. It does knock the rust off scores of DC characters while opening avenues to explore post-9/11 morality. On the other hand, it trashes the roles of characters whom readers have come to consider old friends and tampers outrageously with years' worth of continuity. The story begins shockingly when the wife of the minor super hero Elongated Man is brutally murdered. Things get increasingly serious as other members of the Justice League of America find that their loved ones are targets. The super villains are a lot nastier than they used to be; the heroes, meanwhile, are forced to admit that they could have been responsible for some of what's gone wrong when they started tampering with the minds of villains who deserved it or even fellow heroes who merely disapproved of the idea. This makes familiar heroes more morally ambiguous;more human;and the old, easy trust is lost, with long-term consequences still to be revealed in future DC story lines. In the meantime, Meltzer's script and Bair's inking of Morales's penciled art serves the realistic aspect of the characters very well, making this book a genuine comics landmark. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up–After the tragic death of Sue Debny, the wife of the Elongated Man, the members of the Justice League of America and most of the DC superheroes are brought together to investigate. Sues murder is unsettling for a couple of reasons: she was a friend, and whoever committed the crime knew enough personal information to be able to sneak past security. Even more troubling are the letters that the family members of other heroes receive, indicating that they are the next targets. The superheroes split into teams to follow the leads that they are most suited to solve. The novel asks: how far do you go to protect your loved ones? What if everything you stand for goes against your need to protect your family? The story moves quickly and the full-color artwork is splendid. Morales captures human emotion in such a way that he breathes life and authenticity into the characters. The coloring job is superb: the dark, somber tones perfectly set the mood. Some of the action occurs offscreen, such as the flashback to Sues rape, making what happens even more dramatic and powerful. Featuring a good mystery, great fight scenes, and good writing, Identity Crisis is an exciting read for fans of the DC universe.–Erin Dennington, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; 1st edition (August 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401204589
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401204587
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle and The Book of Fate, as well as the bestsellers The Tenth Justice, Dead Even, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, The Zero Game, and The Book of Lies. He is also the author of the nonfiction bestsellers, Heroes For My Son and Heroes For My Daughter, collecting heroes from Jim Henson, to Rosa Parks, to Mr. Rogers. Brad is also the host of the History Channel TV show, Brad Meltzer's Decoded -- one of the co-creators of the TV show, "Jack & Bobby" -- and is the #1 selling author of the critically-acclaimed comic books, Identity Crisis and Justice League of America, for which he won the prestigious Eisner Award. His newest book, The Fifth Assassin, will be published in January 2013.

Raised in Brooklyn and Miami, Brad is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia Law School. You can find him regularly on facebook.com/bradmeltzer or at bradmeltzer.com.

For authenticity, The Book of Fate was researched with the help of former Presidents Clinton and Bush. He was selected by the Department of Homeland Security to brainstorm different ways that terrorists can attack the US. The Inner Circle is about a young archivist in the National Archives who finds out that George Washington's secret spy ring still exists to this very day.

His books have spent nearly a year on the bestseller lists, and have been translated into over 25 languages, from Hebrew to Bulgarian. In The Tenth Justice, the opening lines are: "Ben Addison was sweating. Like a pig." In the Hebrew translation, it became: "Ben Addison was sweating. Like a horse." We're not sure if it's a kosher thing or what.

Brad has played himself as an extra in Woody Allen's Celebrity and earned credit from Columbia Law School for writing his first book, which became The Tenth Justice. He also co-wrote the oath that the President of the United States gives to all AmeriCorps members. Before all of that, he got 24 rejection letters for his true first novel, which still sits on his shelf, published by Kinko's.

Brad currently lives in Florida with his wife, who's also an attorney.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Crawford VINE VOICE on September 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Up until recently I've been a very casual comic book reader. After reading various comics published by DC that mentioned "Identity Crisis" and finding it hard to avoid "spoilers" everywhere on the web I picked this up the day it was released to get caught up and find out what all the fuss was about. After closing the book, I was shocked about how much a "superhero book" could affect me emotionally. I had lost a very beloved family member a few days before reading this, and I'll admit it did affect the way I viewed this book. But in looking back at it "cold", I believe it stands incredibly well as a graphic novel, a tragic love story and a mystery.

The plot has already been gone over well, so I won't go there. Basically, it's what would be a fairly standard mystery except for that it surrounds the murder of the wife of someone named "The Elongated Man", has Wonder Woman deliver the eulogy, and a perplexing question is how a murderer could get around technology from places including Krypton. Typing it, it does sound like the book could have been a huge joke and misstep for DC- but in my opinion it was very effective.

I was not familiar with Sue Dibny, but I cried when her husband held her dead body in his arms (and saw the surprise present she gave him for his birthday) and the scenes at her funeral. My heart went out when another character lost a very close loved one, and I really felt the tension when the Justice League were at moral odds with one another. I will admit I was very unhappy when we were shown that Sue had been attacked before- by being raped by someone usually referred to as a fairly silly villian. This scene was the hardest for me to read.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By N. Bilmes VINE VOICE on November 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
I used to be a DC comic addict, and in the mid-'80s spent more than I should have buying issue after issue of all that DC and First Comics could put out. As I got older, I stopped buying the mags (I was spending my money on dates, then marriage, now kids...) and lost touch with the genre. But sometimes, while browsing in a book store, my legs would take me to the graphic novel section. My eyes would scan the titles, and from time-to-time I'd let temptation get the better of me. The Ultimate Spider-Man for instance,and the new JLA comics in particular caught my eye.

And just last month, I bought this book. I was attracted by Brad Meltzer's name on the spine. I like the guy's thrillers. They're usually mindless fun, perfect for a quick read. I thumbed through the book and liked what I saw of the art. I bought it.

And I'm glad I did.

This is one of the best graphic novels I have ever read, and it will hold a place of honor on my bookshelf, next to my Dark Knight Returns and Ultimate Spider-Man collection. This will be reread time and time again, and I'm glad I got around my aversion to buying comics again.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. Beitler on December 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Title: Identity Crisis (HC)
Publisher: DC
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Artist: Rags Morales
Inks: Michael Bair
Collects: Identity Crisis Mini-series #1-7
Price: $24.99

So this is the critically-acclaimed, industry-shocking, media darling that everyone was talking about, huh? Well, I have to say I'm a little let down after al the hype. Just like the feeling I had walking out of the theatre after seeing Matrix Reloaded, I felt a bit disillusioned. This was supposed to be great! Fantastic! Ground-breaking and history-making! Well, not for me. Not to say it was bad, because it wasn't. It was pretty good. Great artwork? Check. Compelling storyline? Check. Controversial? Definitely. So what was missing here? I'm not quite sure, but this book just didn't wow me like it seemed to so many others.

From my own web-forum-gleanings, it seemed to me that most people had a "loved-it" or "hated-it" reaction to this book. While I fell in the middle ground, I can certainly see both sides of the coin. Identity Crisis, for me, possessed qualities and component elements that I both liked and disliked. I'll share a few of both, starting with the easiest: the art. I've had other experiences with Rags Morales (mostly from old Valiant titles), but this newer work is definitely the best I've ever seen from him. He did a great job on the art chores, surpassing his former works in every respect. So, I must compliment him for his efforts. His action sequences, in particular, were leaps and bounds ahead of stuff I'd seen from him in the past. This guy draws a mean Deathstroke! Likewise, the inks and colors were superb. I've noticed a trend in current comics that I prefer the colorists working on DC books to the ones working in Marvel books.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joseph P. Menta, Jr. VINE VOICE on January 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales' "Identity Crisis" collects the original seven-part DC Comics mini-series into an extremely engaging and entertaining superhero epic, which interestingly doesn't have all that much to do with superheroics.

What we have here is a clever and well-crafted mystery story revolving around the death of Sue Dibny, wife of Ralph Dibny, the DC hero known as The Elongated Man. The usually gentle Ralph is both devastated and angered by his wife's murder, and soon enlists the aid of his many (and better known) superhero friends to solve her murder and bring the killer to justice. Soon, the likes of the Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, etc. are on the case.

What's interesting here is that the various heroes are portrayed as flawed humans, not moral paragons. Indeed, the story purports that maybe these heroes were never all that innocent to begin with, even back in the early days when their comic book adventures were bright and cartoony and fairly kid-oriented. Maybe in this post-Watchmen comics era it isn't all that unusual to see a little darkness in our comics heroes, but true moral compromise by a big company's flagship heroes is still a pretty rare thing, and made me sit up and take notice in "Identity Crisis".

In particular, there's a flashback to an early Justice League adventure (an actual comic book story published decades ago) where a team of super villains switches minds with the Justice League, effectively taking over the bodies of the League's members. Even then, many kids must have asked, "Hey, when the bad guys were inside the bodies of the heroes, why didn't they unmask them and see who they really were?
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