Friday, September 28, 2007

Identity Crisis #7 (2/05)

As occurred earlier when J'Onn and Arthur vanished in pursuit of a villain of interest who wouldn't appear for another four issues in other heroes' custody, the Manhunter and Batman stopped mattering after a major build-up. One panel saw J'Onn exclaim "By H'Ronmeer..." while in another Batman assured, "Ray? It's not Ray..." and the book was turned over to the aforementioned Mr. Palmer in his bedroom with ex-wife Jean Loring. Perhaps it's a limitation on my frame of reference, but I've always known the Atom as a scientist and adventurer-- not so much as a detective. That might explain my pet theory that when J'Onn J'Onzz reached out to find Ray's mind, he perhaps influenced or even usurped it as Palmer began grilling his once and present lover on the death of Sue Dibney.

We learned Jean used one of Ray's leftover size-changing belts from their divorce to attack Sue in a bid for both Ray's attention and for the benefit of neglected significant others of super-heroes everywhere. She inadvertently killed Sue, then began to cover for her crime with further indiscretions that led to the more deaths. Ray committed his clearly insane ex to Arkham Asylum and went into isolation, whereabouts unknown for many years. Surrounding events led to another heroine turning in her cape, as Manhunter stated before a gathered JLA, "So that's Atom and Firehawk off the reserves... Anyone else?" While he tried to have Flash act as liaison for a training session with the Teen Titans, West was distracted by thoughts of what exactly Batman remembered about the League's betrayal of him. New cracks began to show...

Again, Rags Morales and Michael Bair provided gorgeous interiors, though word has it Rags was scarred by his involvement with the book. Just as his star was ascending from cult favorite to star, he himself went into seclusion, with little output beyond a very brief run on Wonder Woman in the years following. Brad Meltzer eventually launched a new Justice League of America series that again favored the "Satellite Era" to the exclusion of J'Onn J'Onzz and inclusion of more Pre-Crisis elements. The effect of the mini-series was undeniable, as the entire DC Universe took a turn for the dark and twisted interlaced into its continuity.

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