It’s just not the way I like my Superman. I had issues with Identity Crisis. There were a few issues – not the least of which is that Barry Allen, the Flash, voted for “the wrong thing” (and continued from there) and he is dead, looks to be staying that way, and therefore won’t get a chance to redeem himself. Here’s a character that was almost always portrayed as being a truly good guy. Then we find out that he spent time screwing with all sorts or people’s minds. It alters all of his stories retroactively, and unlike the other participants, who are still around, Barry cannot atone for what he did.
It also seems now that Superman and Batman have known about it for a while, and it is just coming to a head at this time, years later. Again. Superman carrying the knowledge that his allies changed a man’s personality without doing anything about it? That’s not the Supes I know.
Not that all of the darkening is bad. Deadshot is coming off of a limited series in which he is an anti-hero, but it was still an effective and enjoyable series. My concern is that this desire to make things darker is going to make us change the characters we know and love, and have for many years. I would love to see a take on the Justice League including Hawkman, Wonder Woman, Captain Atom, Geo-Force, and some other characters who, while not looking to go around on murderous rampages accept killing as an occasional necessity. I think DC already has some dark characters, and if you want to tell dark stories, use them.
It even seems that the current Superman cross over, “Sacrifice” might lead to Superman making a decision to kill. There are steps being taken to alienate Batman from the Justice League in the wake of Identity Crisis as well as, it seems, Superman in this current story line. DC seems to want to break up the Trinity (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman). While I am all for a new and interesting look at a character, and I am not the type to threaten to stop collecting comics over the choices being made, I do have to question them. One of the things that have always set DC apart from Marvel is the iconic nature of their characters. Superman once said that in this world, “There is right and wrong, and it isn’t hard to tell the difference.” I’ve always liked that he lived in a world where, unlike the real world, that was true. I think it hurts these characters to place them in a world where that is no longer true, and where they are in the “feared and hated” zone that Marvel’s characters are designed to fit into so well.
It’s reported that the late, great (and great isn’t quite a strong enough word for the man) Julius Schwartz told Dan DiDio that “every ten years you have to give the comics an enema.” It’s hard, if not impossible to argue with wisdom from Schwartz, who in many ways is single-handedly responsible for the Silver Age of comics starting. The only thing I would caution Mr. DiDio about is to remember that in an enema, you are supposed to discard, rather than use, what comes out.