Now that INFINITE CRISIS is winding down and the DC Universe has jumped a year ahead, I thought I'd go back and re-read IDENTITY CRISIS.
Of course, it wasn't much of a re-read as I only read the first few issues when it originally came out. Being one of those Giffen/DeMatteis JLI fanboys, I was pretty quick to put the book down after reading Sue's death. Heh. Imagine how I felt after COUNTDOWN...
But now that I see that the story wasn't just for shock and that DC really did have a game plan, I went back and filled myself in on the whole story. Unfortunately, with a story as big as this one, all the key moments had already been spoiled for me. I already knew who all died and who the killer was.
In hindsight, Sue's murder was much better handled than I originally expected. I can see why they used her for a couple of key reasons. The first being JLI was DC's biggest hit in the late '80s and Sue was well known by the readers so you get the emotional connection. The second being that it's Sue, not some costumed character that would be brought back years later to preserve copyright, which means it can be a permanent death. IDENTITY CRISIS would be totally ruined if five years later Sue came back. It had to be someone that was likely to stay dead.
Captain Boomerang's son was a nice addition, even though he did seem a bit quick to accept his father's reappeance.
Jean Loring... About time they did something with her. While Sue was busy with the League, Lois and Vicki Vale were getting lots of coverage in Superman and Batman's worlds, Iris Allen had been killed and Hawkgirl and Black Canary were fighting in tights, Jean was just... there. No wonder she went crazy.
And the Calculater becoming the villain's Oracle was a great upgrade of the character. I think I can take him a little more seriously now.
As for the retcon of the JLA's mindwiping... That, too, was done quite well as it comes off very plausible under the circumstances. And who's to say that the villain's didn't get a good look at themselves when they were mind-switched?
It didn't void any previously told tales and yet... it strengthened some on-running subplots and character tensions (like Green Arrow and Hawkman's rivalry).
The only thing I was expecting but didn't see was Batman's leaving the JLA for the Outsiders somehow being referenced as partially influenced by the mindwipes. Especially with Katana and Black Lightning making a couple appearances in the book.
All in all, the series did really well as far as telling a complete and entertaining story. I reccomend at least checking it out to get a feel for how the DC Universe is now.
BTW... the art by Rags Morales is awesome. He did a fantastic job and at some times I got a Neal Adams vibe from his work.