YMMV / Identity Crisis

  • Author's Saving Throw: Dr. Light used to be a serious threat capable of taking on the Justice League, but somewhere along the line became a comical punching bag of the Teen Titans. This mini explains why that change took place and restores him to his original characterization.
    • This however backfired, since rather than becoming Love to Hate villain, many people simply found him way too loathsome and uncomfortable to read about-not helped by story-line in Green Arrow, where him being a rapist became pretty much his sole character trait. Said story-line was one of only two major appearances following Identity Crisis and he was killed off by Spectre merely three years after this story.
  • Broken Base:
    • The Deathstroke vs. Justice League fight. For all that is holy, never bring it up in any Versus Discussion, less you want the thread to be completely derailed.
    • Notably, the book occupies many extremes simultaneously. Jean Loring claims not to have wanted Sue's death, but brought along a flamethrower anyway, perhaps as a baby shower present. On the other hand, Dr. Light's return to form, the upgrade to Calculator, and the rarity of a Crisis Crossover focused more on a personal level than on an apocalypse, were all critically lauded elements. Not to mention it led to Ralph's epic storyline in 52.
  • Creator's Pet: The writer is an admitted Deathstroke fanboy who wanted to establish his favorite character as a badass. And he did so in the most fanboyish way possible: clumsily. Deathstroke's victory over a Justice League of America team can only be described as a complete and total Ass Pull. Sure, the team of heroes he fought didn't include Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman (two of whom would barely notice Deathstroke if he attacked them, and the third, Batman, would be ready for him if he did), but it did include the Flash and Green Lantern, neither of whom was portrayed as actually knowing how their own frigging powers worked during the fight. Key pieces are being somehow faster than the prototypical Super Speed superhero and overpowering Green Lantern's ring by developing stronger willpower (a facet that would be a reason for him to have the ring to begin with, not to mention not being how the ring works at all). It also included a direct reversal in how the Atom's powers normally work (the Atom does normally retain full mass when he shrinks) for no reason that was ever stated, and a complete and arbitrary nerfing of Black Canary's superpowers (she's easily able to rip through several feet of steel-reinforced concrete with her Canary Cry, but apparently penetrating a single layer of burlap over her mouth is beyond her abilities if it's Deathstroke's burlap sack).
  • Deader Than Disco: The miniseries was never lacking in detractors, but this was primarily because it was so big and popular; it was The Big Comic of 2004 That Everyone Was Talking About. Everywhere you went on comic sites, there were people debating over what it meant for the industry, whether its tonal shift boded darker stories, and whether the DCU would ever be the same again. But as the years ground on, the general opinion of Identity Crisis slipped from "controversial masterwork of our time" to "half-baked edgy fumble." Maybe it was how few of the story threads actually went anywhere or weren't promptly ignored or retconned, maybe it was how everyone tried to copy it at DC for a few years with increasingly weaker results, maybe it was that people started examining it and separating it from its hype and found that it was actually a very lacking story in many ways. Whatever it is, Identity Crisis has very few fans today, and whenever someone admits to remembering liking it, they'll usually be greeted by everyone else pointing out its plot holes.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Many fans feel this story and its extremely dark tone permanently changed DC for the worse. Identity Crisis was a come-from-behind sensation at the time, and as a result many of DC's other books took cues from it - in particular, its success meant it was now "okay" for superhero comics to depict sex and violence in more graphic ways. The trend ultimately led to much more unanimously hated stories like Amazons Attack, Countdown to Final Crisis, and Justice League: Cry for Justice.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • All those stories from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s in which the heroes use super-hypnosis and magic rings and so on to alter the villains' minds or remove knowledge of their secret identities from others read very differently given the revelations of this series. So does Doctor Light's time as an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain.
    • Justice League of America volume 1, #122 gets hit especially hard: it's a story that explains how the Leaguers decided to reveal their identities to one another, after Doctor Light uses "Amnesium" to scramble their knowledge of their alter egos, learn their secrets, and nearly kill them all. In the end, Light is mindwiped with the Amnesium to remove his ill-gotten knowledge. The story's title? "The Great Identity Crisis."
    • An earlier event, the more nostalgic Silver Age series of "skip week" specials, also has agroup fof villains learning the Justice Leaguers' secrets...and in the end, Hawkman uses some Thanagarian technology to remove this knowledge from their minds, with the sanction of Superman and Batman. The whole thing is played as a Reset Button style happy ending. The Silver Age: Justice League chapter also contains a scene in which Doctor Light rejects Catwoman's advances, stating that he "has always been more interested in test tubes and Bunsen burners than the fairer sex."
  • Memetic Mutation: The series inspired a fad on the Something Awful forums of user avatars showing their Wild Mass Guesses about the identity of Sue Dibny's murderer. The response to the series played a role in the formation of the "Batman's Shameful Secret" forum for comic book discussion on the site.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Crossed when they used Zatanna to alter Dr. Light's personality - which led to them using Zatanna to wipe Batman's memory. Even Ralph is shocked to learn of it, of all people.
    • Not to mention Dr. Light and the whole, y'know, raping Sue Dibny thing.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Deathstroke, and HOW.
    • A quieter one: Sue's funeral is the last physical appearance of Jack Knight (he's next to Stargirl).
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: Even people that haven't read it know it as "that superhero comic with an explicit rape scene."
  • Shocking Swerve: Jean Loring being the murderer when pretty much all of the evidence beforehand suggested somebody else. Rather impossible in some degrees, since there is a panel where someone else's hands tie the knot on which she fakes her own hanging, which is dropped when the murderer is revealed.
  • The Woobie: Several, particularly Elongated Man and Robin.

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