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Absolute Identity Crisis (Review/Retrospective)

This January, I’m going to take a look at some of DC’s biggest “events.” This week I’ll be taking a look at Brad Meltzer’s impact on the DC universe.

Identity Crisis is the first in the trilogy of stories that built off the original Crisis on Infinite Earths to offer a fairly significant reevaluation of the modern DC universe, examining where the characters and the fictional landscape was as compared to where it had been decades before. I’ve argued that Marvel went through a similar period of introspection from House of M through to Siege, but DC seemed to engage with the concept on a more direct level. Written by best-selling novelist Brad Meltzer, Identity Crisis is an attempt to explore the rather fundamental changes that occurred in superhero comics during the nineties, often as a direct response to The Dark Knight Returns or Watchmen, giving us a more cynical depiction of the concepts and characters that we take for granted. It’s controversial – as any similar reimagining would be – and, to be frank, it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

However, it’s always fascinating, even if it is grimly so.

Time to hang it up?

Before we dig too deeply into the book itself, it’s worth noting that Brad Meltzer is a really good comic writer, from a technical standpoint. He’s very clearly a comic book fan, rather than a blow-in, and he obviously knows his geeky trivia and nerdy minutiea, but he’s also careful to explain everything as he goes along. So, while he uses obscure characters like Bolt, he tries to provide a meaningful context, often giving a panel to introduce two characters and (very briefly) explain their relationship. In an era where comic books are increasingly insular, there’s a sense that Meltzer’s Identity Crisis is highly accessible, despite pulling from years of continuity (to the point where several panels are literally copied from past works). It’s sad that this sort of care and craft merits this level of praise, but it’s so rare that I feel it’s worth pointing out.

Meltzer also manages to do a better job with the structure of a seven-issue mega-crossover than most seasoned comic book veterans. In this era of “event” comics and the inevitable “build-up” and “aftermath”, it often feels like a crossover storyline is a collection of plotpoints and disjointed scenes jumbled together in the hope that the sheer scale of the action will focus the reader’s attention. Very often, writers forget that there’s meant to be a story at the heart of these sorts of things, and Meltzer is shrewd enough that he treats his event like a story – there’s a beginning, middle and end; there’s internally consistent logic; there’s character arcs. Meltzer even does well to use Green Arrow as the focal character, the one through whom we see most of the action – we follow Ollie as he drives the action, and we even focus on his reaction to those parts of the story that don’t affect him. Again, this is just fundamental storytelling, but the fact that Meltzer handles it so well is a credit to him.

We get it... It's best not to have any loved ones in a Batman book...

Finally, Meltzer also holds on to his characters. I will explore some of his characterisations below (some are perfect, some are less so), but the author is consistent within the work. You understand why each of his characters is reacting to the situation a particular way, even if it wasn’t necessarily how you’d expect. Nobody has a sudden motive shift, nobody changes character because it suits the story. All the major cast have distinct voices, which is another thing that gets lost in these sorts of gigantic universe-changing storylines. Again, you’d imagine that this sort of thing would be fundamental comic book storytelling, but it’s overlook far too often.

Part of me suspects that it’s these three factors, coupled with the story’s controversy, that explain why so many people seem to love the story (especially those outside fandom). In contrast, there are also fairly logical explanations for who certain aspects of fandom absolutely loath the seven-part story. I can understand fanboy complaints about the battle with Deathstroke in the third issue, or even disagreements over the infamous “vote”, even if I don’t necessarily agree with them. these are comic books – characters have never really been internally consistent. I mean, compare any two iterations of Hawkman or Batman to get an idea. Personally, I imagine Hawkman would have been more willing to kill Dr. Light than meddle with his memories, and I also think that Ollie’s position goes against his long-standing liberalism.

Stroke of genius?

However, as much as I respect these criticisms, I don’t think they destroy the story – and I think Meltzer counter-balances all these nerdy problems with other moments of juicy nerdy goodness. I don’t love the story, but I don’t hate it either. I sit on the fence, admiring certain aspects, but disliking others. It’s a mixed bag, but it’s fairly well-told over all. Speaking of which, I like Rag Morales’ artwork. It reminds me of Mark Bagley’s work on Ultimate Spider-Man, which is certainly a good thing. And it looks good when blown up to absolute size.

Anyway, on to the story. There’s a lot of talk about how brutally the miniseries explores those classic Justice League adventures from the Silver Age. Comic book writers have a habit of rewriting history, and inserting their own slant on events. For example, Grant Morrison’s Batman run reimagined Batman’s other-worldly zany fifties high-concept adventures as drug-induce hallucinations designed to place Batman inside the mind of his greatest foe. Identity Crisis does something similar, spotting a marked divide between the classic superhero stories of the sixties and seventies, when compared to the darker stuff currently appearing.

Out of her League?

Of course, the comic books were a product of their time, and the reason that books didn’t feature the same gratuitous violence back them as they do today is because they were aimed squarely at children and haunted by the Comics Code Authority, a remarkably conservative set of guidelines designed to stop the books from corrupting fragile young minds. In response, the adventures were more zany. Batman went to other planets. Superman was rude to people for no reason. Body-swapping was par-for-the-course, as was very silly super-villainy.

Meltzer stumbled upon a brilliant hook: how did that zany four-colour world morph into the grim and gritty universe that now populated most DC titles? The reasons outside the books themselves were incredibly obvious – Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns were huge successes, and imitation (especially shallow imitation) is the sincerest form of flattery. However, there was never really a reason presented within the context of the comic books themselves. You could argue that one of the reboots – Zero Hour or Crisis on Infinite Earths– had rewritten the universe, but Meltzer was more interested in providing an organic evolution.

Hitting the wall...

Trying to explain how the world could have been innocent, the writer comes up with a rather charming answer: it wasn’t. “People always say it was simpler back then,” Ollie remarks. “But it wasn’t.” It’s a fascinating idea, and one that reflects the way that fans like Meltzer probably processed change. They assumed the darkness was always there, the risk and the danger, even if it was explicitly prohibited from the book itself. He suggests that those classic adventures were seen through the eyes of children, and comic book adventures are now seen by the eyes of adults. I think it’s dismissive to equate what Meltzer is arguing with the juvenile “grim is grown-up” or “violence is mature” attitude that had popped up far too often in comic books, and I think is argument is more nuance than most would acknowledge.

There has been a lot of violence in recent comic book, perhaps too much. There are large volumes of gore and gratuitous sex. One need only investigate the debate generated by the new DC titles Red Hood and the Outlaws or Catwoman to see examples of gratuitous objectification inserted into comic books to give them “an edge.” All too often, characterisation took a back seat to empty spectacle, and “pushing the boat out” became an argument of artistic merit. The nineties saw the popularity of characters like The Punisher and Wolverine skyrocket, because they were incredibly violent anti-heroes. I worry that comic books are so nervous being dismissed as mere “picture books” that they fail to realise the distinction between “maturity” and “mature content.”

Arrow points the Right Way?

It’s tempting to lump Identity Crisis in with those books, to describe it as a gratuitous example of ultra-dark comic books. I concede that there are moments that don’t help me mount a defence of Meltzer. There is no excuse for the rape scene in the second issue, apart from to generate controversy. Indeed, it’s very hard for me to ignore some of the disgusting “behind the scenes” rumours about that sequence. However, the most damning thing of all is the fact that the sequence is completely and utterly unnecessary.

I don’t want to get drawn into a discussion about it, but rape is a subject that needs to be handled with great care and tact, especially when you’re dealing with a genre that has a history of uncomfortable sexism as long as superhero comic books. Murder and assault are crimes that don’t necessarily have the same sexual elements, and they don’t involve the brutal objectification of a character who is more like than not to be female. I am not talking about real life instances of sexual assault, but rather those instances of sexual abuse in comic books, which seem to be almost exclusively directed at female characters.

Up and atom!

Indeed, it’s interesting to compare or contrast the portrayal of the sexual assault Devin Grayson wrote Dick Grayson going through in Nightwing in July 2004 (a month after this crossover began). The differences in the debate that each of these two sexual assaults generated is somewhat worrying, with quite a few commentators even refusing to acknowledge that Dick was raped, purely because he happens to be a man. I wonder if Grayson wrote the story knowing what was coming in Identity Crisis and wishing to explore the same situation with the genders reversed – to see if the audience would react differently.

More than that though, the sequence simply wasn’t necessary for the story that Meltzer wanted to tell. Having Doctor Light attack Sue without the element of sexual assault would have made the same point. The sexual element seems to have been added just to push the boundaries, but it feels so calculated and cynical that it’s sickening, as if it was the first thing that occurred to people when they said the word “edgy”– which is incredibly disturbing.

Ralph tries to hold it together...

Indeed, I thought it might have been interesting to see a male companion of a female hero getting attacked and victimised – after all, it’s not just women that are physically weaker than super-villains. What about Steve Trevors? How come he couldn’t get roughed up? Who not Alfred, the ultimate civilian supporting character? Ollie spends much of the book worrying about Black Canary, but how come she never seems too bothered about him? Indeed, Lois seems more concerned about Clark’s concern about her than she does about his own safety. You could argue that the death of Jack Drake, Tim Drake’s father, is an attempt to rebut this, but it doesn’t really feel like it. After all, he’s clearly so macho that he at least kills his assailant.

There is a rather disturbing misogyny behind all this. “What if that’s the plan?” Jimmy asks his boss, as he speculates about the mysterious foe. “Pick off all the wives… Strike where it really hurts?” He didn’t say “loved ones” or “family.” He said “wives.” There’s a sequence where Ollie mentions “fathers” and we get various images of the Bat-family in mourning – Bruce, Dick and now Tim. Note that he doesn’t say “parents”, continuing the depressing tendency to ignore Martha’s influence on Bruce at the expense of her husband. Barring one short sequence, where Ollie is sure to mention “her rack”, Wonder Woman plays a significantly smaller role than Bruce or Clark or any number of second-stringers. None of these individual factors are necessarily convincing, but they do add up to a convincing body of evidence.

Funeral for a friend...

More damning is the ultimate revelation about the villain and her motivations. Jean Loring comes across as a shallow and psychotic stalker, hardly the most progressive female portrayal in comic books. I know that Meltzer was trying to avoid the cliché of a grand evil conspiracy, and he does this quite well, but it feels especially awkward, particularly given the focus on male characters and bonding, with the expense of female characters. Captain Boomerang and his son spend time together, but where is the boy’s mother? Oracle, arguably the “mother” to the Bat-family, is present mostly in voice-over. Bruce and Tim, Ollie and Connor, Boomerang and son, even Jimmy and Perry – all variations on a father-son theme, with no major maternal influence to be found.

Anyway, I’ve probably spent too much time on that, but it’s the aspect of the book that really unnerves me, especially since Meltzer is a writer who comes from outside the genre. You imagine that those sorts of tropes and clichés are the result of internal reinforcement, but I worry now that they’re seen as defining characteristics for writers outside the genre to emulate if they get drafted to write a superhero story or two. It’s very worrying.

To the death (stroke)?

I think the worst part is that it feels like a straight-forward exploitation of the kind of stuff that Meltzer is playing with, so it seems reasonable to expect him to be smarter than that. There’s a lovely conversation between Jimmy Olsen and Perry White, where they discuss their coverage of the Sue Dibny funeral:

“I saw Green Lantern crying…”

“Which one?”

“The old one.”

“Get any photos of it?”

“C’mon, Chief — y’know we don’t –”

“No, no — I know… you always do it right… But if you did get some photos–“

There’s a sense that The Daily Planetis trying to remain above all the trash we see printed in tabloids, the exploitational nonsense. It’s the kind of stuff that you’re proud not to see, but which sells by the bucketload. Meltzer feels a bit like Perry White, wanting to condemn the pointless darkness that seems to sell books… and yet somehow tempted by it. That’s the key problem with the rape scene, beyond the objectification of Sue Dibny: it feels like the kind of crass exploitative violence that Meltzer is suggesting has no place in a DC comic book.

It's okay, you can cry...

There’s a lot of darkness and cynicism to be found in Identity Crisis. Meltzer hits upon an interesting idea: given the amount of Silver Age stories that involved the villains swapping bodies with the heroes, or discovering their secret identities, how come there were never any serious repercussions? Meltzer suggests that this was because the Justice League abused their power by wiping the memories of supervillains and altering their behaviour. This is used to explain certain shifts in characterisation. For example, Doctor Light went from being a foil for the Justice League to an incompetent comedy villain for the Teen Titans. Wally suggests, “I fought Light half a dozen times in the Titans. He was always…” Ollie finishes, “A moron.”

The problem is that such a policy, done once, became institutional. It became normalised, standard behaviour for “the League with the League.” Meltzer writes this quite well, with the type of self-justifications that sound ironic from an ultra-liberal Green Arrow. “No one understands the clean-up,” he insists. “And believe me, there’s always clean-up.”It’s the type of cop-out that criminals use to excuse their actions.

Bruce always had drive...

It’s interesting how Meltzer deals with the traditional Justice League players. In particular, he give the Flash the deciding vote. Barry Allen is something of a martyr in the DC Universe. He was the character who sacrificed his life to save the universe in Crisis on Infinite Earths, literally dying for the fictional DC Universe. He’s become something of a symbol for Silver Age innocence, partially because that huge self-sacrifice (one of the longest-lasting deaths in superhero comics) and also because his passing represented the birth of the more modern DCU. Meltzer gives him the deciding vote on the issue of the mind-wipes, and his decision ultimately tarnishes the character, and adds a layer of ambiguity to him. It shakes Wally’s idea of his uncle to the very core, and thus stands in for the tainted DC characters as a whole.

Of course, Barry isn’t alone in his complicity. Wally wonders how Superman never figured it out – the overgrown boy scout who knows all the knots by name. Ollie’s answer strikes at the heart of the standard characterisation of Superman, as the righteous “heart” of the Justice League. “People aren’t stupid, Wally,” Ollie tells the young speedster. “They believe what they want to believe. And they hear what they want to hear.”There’s a close-up on Superman’s ear, in case we don’t get the implication, which suggests that Superman has passively compromised his long-standing role as the conscience of the DC Universe.

Flying into action...

Batman is arguably no better. “Bruce gave me make-up to hide most of it,” Tim remarks of the bruising he received on routine patrol. It doesn’t even seem like an exceptional night. It’s an attempt by Bruce to placate Tim’s worried father, but also to conceal the reality of what his son is doing with that reclusive billionaire. The use of make-up to cover bruising is uncomfortably close to the standard signs of domestic abuse, and Batman’s attempts to hide Tim’s risks underscore just how morally compromised the whole idea of a sidekick actually is.

The story itself is a clever way to justify a shift in characterisation, even though I don’t think such shifts need a justification within the narratives. They are superhero comics, the product of hundreds of writers over decades, there’s bound to be inconsistencies. Indeed, Meltzer even implies that the practice might explain part of the swing towards a darker Batman, with his subconscious mistrusting his fellow superheroes.

Silly Wally!

I do like the way that Meltzer contrasts such random and haphazard jolts in characterisation with the more logical progression offered by legacy characters. While the author is trying to explain why Batman is not the same character that he was thirty years ago, or who Dr. Light suddenly became “a moron”, he has a perfectly solid justification for why the Flash and Green Lantern are different. Indeed, he shrewdly points out that each is more like the other’s predecessor. “Like Barry, Kyle offers a handful of rational kindness,” Ollie observes. He remarks of Wally, “He’s just like Hal. No fear.” It does make a solid argument for the use of legacy character to stage an internal evolution within the confines of a superhero universe, something that DC seems to have forgotten about of late.

Enough of that. Before I got distracted by that particularly juicy tangent, I was talking about how Meltzer seems a bit smarter than most comic book writers who mistake darkness for depth. I’d make the argument that Identity Crisis is as much about dismantling those dark modern stories as it is about picking at those goofy old-fashioned ones, suggesting that the future of the genre lies somewhere in the middle: in stories that have depth and gravity, but are aware of the ridiculous nature of the genre. In the first issue alone, we’re subjected to the zany sight of a superhero funeral, where all the heroes show up in costume, no matter how “bright”their outfits might be. It’s gawdy and tacky, even as Ollie explains the reasoning behind it – it underscores just how insane it is to push the genre in such a dark direction. It just looks silly to have all these people in technicolour tights at a funeral.

Team time!

Hell, even the opening scene seems to suggest that the DC heroes weren’t built for this sort of gritty realism. We spend a bit of time on a man in a trenchcoat in a car, sipping coffee, watching two gangsters on a streetcorner. We can see a skull on his shirt, clearly designed to remind us of The Punisher, perhaps the poster-child of the “dark and gritty” era. However, because this is DC, that isn’t the Punisher. It’s a guy called “Bolt.” And he’s not a badass, as much as he tries to seem like one. He’s a dude who can teleport. he tries to confront two street thugs on a corner, and he gets brutally shot and killed with no provocation, for trying to act like the tough guy must super-villains seem to want to be these days. “Wh-what’s wrong with you?” he asks as he lies dying. “Friggin’ psychos…” DC characters just don’t fit in with that world.

In fact, despite the story’s cynicism, you could read it as an inherent defense of the increasingly maligned and ignored secret identity. In recent years, the concept of the secret identity has been increasingly sidelined. Wolverine is Wolverine, inside or outside the costume, it’s the same stuff. Frank Castle is never not the Punisher. In Iron Man, Tony Stark declared, “I am Iron Man.” In Batman & Robin, Bruce announced his connection to Batman. The secret identity seems like a quaint little concept, a hangover from the Silver Age. Identity Crisis seems built around the idea of justifying this old trope. “There are animals out there, Wally,” Ollie explains. “And when it comes to family, we can’t always be there to defend them. But the mask will.”

They share a certain chemistry...

Indeed, the miniseries even hints strongly at the coming reconstruction of the DCU, the conscious attempts by writers like Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison to rebuild the fictional shared universe, reconciling modern storytelling with traditional values. Meltzer even teases the return of Hal Jordan, something that Geoff Johns would deliver in Green Lantern: Rebirth. “We’ve been at this too long,” Ollie remarks to his old friend. “When’re you really coming back?” As much as it’s an attempt to pick apart superheroes, it also seems to give a blueprint for putting them back together.

It’s very telling that the miniseries doesn’t close offering an excuse for superheroes to withdraw from themselves, to retreat behind the masks and ignore their civilian lives, as you imagine an experience like this might influence more cynical characters. Instead, it suggests the opposite – Identity Crisis asks the heroes to take stock of what they have, and to value those they hold dear, instead of cutting themselves off and isolating themselves. It asks them not to become, in the words of Justice League Unlimited, the sort of “psychotic loner” that Batman has been from time to time.

A slice of life...

I find Meltzer’s handling of Batman interesting in the context of the wider DC Universe. The character and his world seem relatively isolated from the rest of the characters. When Jack Drake dies, in sharp contrast to Sue Dibny’s funeral, Ollie notes, “Most of us aren’t invited.” Even the villains seem to draw a distinction between Gotham and the rest of the fictional universe. Explaining why some villains aren’t part of the union that they’ve formed, our narrator explains, “Luthor and Grodd do it for power. Cheetah and Sivana do it for kicks. And the Bat-Villains, well… they’re just fried to begin with.”

Batman haunts the first half of the book, a constant presence, even if he’s rarely actually seen, hovering at the back of a panel or leaving a note to Ollie. He’s discussed like an urban legend among the superhero community, responsible for various hi-tech security procedures and the one who is running his own private investigation into the murder. He’s ethereal, a character steeped in myth and lore, reflecting the poorly-thought-out nineties edict that Batman should be an “urban legend” in Gotham, which ultimately made little sense. Instead, Meltzer gives us an idea of what it must be like, as Batman dominates the book, despite seldom appearing for the first half.

A grave character...

And, when he does appear, he’s perhaps quite different from what most readers might expect. Far from the “Bat-jerk” of the nineties title or a paranoid and borderline psychotic loner, Batman seems curiously well-adjusted. “People think it’s an obsession,” he introduces himself. “A compulsion. As if there were an irresistible impulse to act. It’s never been like that. I chose this life. I know what I’m doing. And on any given day, I could stop doing it.” It’s an interesting take on Batman, and one that seems at odds with a lot of his defining characterisation.

I can’t say I care for this portrayal, as it comes dangerously close to the nonsense from Batman Forever. “I’m both Bruce Wayne and Batman,” Bruce states at the end of the film, having learned a very important lesson, “not because I have to be, now, because I choose to be.” It’s personal preference, but I always found Batman more compelling of a strange blend of East Coast Gothic Horror and conventional superheroics. He’s a monster with pointed ears, who targets criminals, motivated by the sight of his parents being gunned down. I like the idea of Batman as an almost tragic monster, driven by a compulsion that he can’t ever reject. Even in Adam West’s Batman!, I like the idea that this guy is dressing up like a Bat because he needsto in order to vent his inner frustrations – which are probably a lot less sinister than those haunting Christian Bale’s version.

The Boy Wonders...

Anyway, Meltzer’s portrayal of Batman seems to foreshadow a lot of the more recent takes on the character, and the conscious attempt to pull him out of the long shadow cast by The Dark Knight Returns. Grant Morrison’s Batman dared to suggest that Bruce could be something other than a psychotic loner, and there are a lot of moments in the run where the character seems to be having fun. Indeed, after Batman & Robin seemed to kill the notion of a “lighter and softer” Batman, The Brave and the Bold seems to have resurrected it. In many ways, Meltzer’s portrayal of Bruce seems to foreshadow all this character rehabilitation.

Indeed, Meltzer takes care to emphasise Bruce’s humanity, which is an aspect of his character that tends to get forgotten amid all the darker portrayals. “Like I told you before, Bruce and Clark were always there for the fight, but rarely for the clean-up,” Ollie explains, at one point, resentful of the big two. “That night was no different. But because it was Sue, Bruce came back.” It’s a careful example of Batman’s humanity and compassion, aspects of his personality that are often overlooked in place of his reputation as a “badass” or “genius.”

Buried secrets...

It’s telling that the most emotional panel in the entire story is Bruce cradling Tim, fulfilling his role as a surrogate father. “Tim, it’s okay,” Bruce suggests, “I’ve got you.” I’m not a huge fan of Tony Daniel’s Battle of the Cowl, but I did like the way it suggested that Jason Todd was a victim of Bruce’s late-eighties psychosis, and that Bruce wasn’t in the right place emotionally to take on a young boy. Here, you get the sense that he can now offer Tim the emotional support that he never gave to Jason. Even in the most perfectly-executed sequence in the book – as Tim and Bruce race to save Tim’s father – there’s a sense that this is a more affectionate take on the Caped Crusader. “Not again,” he whispers, under his breath, as if to underscore that Batman fights crime to save other people from his own sense of loss, rather than engaging in a campaign of terror out of a misplaced sense of revenge.

As with most of the series as a whole, I’m intrigued by the final few panels, which follow the widower Ralph Dibny as he walks through the “same old” routine, pretending that his wife is still there. I wonder if this is commentary on the best response to the gradual darkening of mainstream comic books over the past few years, suggesting that it’s delusional to pretend that the industry hasn’t changed, and that we need to confront that darkness and evolution?

It's a stretch...

On the other hand, Ralph seems like the happiest character at the end of the story, by avoiding the consequences of everything that’s happened, and refusing to deal with it – could there be merit in ignoring the decades of gratuitous and exploitational comic books? Like the rest of Identity Crisis, it’s frustrating to read, but I think that adds to the appeal. Of course, I might be reading too much into a few simple panels.

In many ways, Meltzer’s treatment of Batman is a lot like the miniseries as a whole. It’s very clever, and it serves as a very important piece in the tapestry of comic book history, but it’s not something that I entirely buy into. There’s a lot about Identity Crisis that is unsettling, not least of which is the implicit sexism in the way the story is told, but also in a completley pointless and gratuitous rape sequence. Still, Meltzer is a competent writer, and he knows how to structure a story, and he peppers it with a genuine affection for the material. There are a lot of great ideas here, I’m just not entirely convinced that they successfully overcome the story’s considerable flaws.

If you liked this, you might like our other reviews of Brad Meltzer’s stories featuring the Justice League:

5 Responses

  1. What are the other two parts of the trilogy you refer to? (In the begining of this excellent article yoy mention that Identiy crisis is the first part of a trilogy)

    • Apologies, should have clarified that.

      DC generally classifies there being two sets of trilogies, both of which involve Final Crisis and Infinite Crisis.

      There’s the “crisis of heroic identity”, which runs through Identity Crisis into Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis. And there’s the “multiversal crisis” that runs from Crisis on Infinite Earths through Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis.

      Thanks for your kind words, Christos.

      • Thanks for clarifying. There is a lot of crisis there by the way. Hope we wont see a Financial Crisis or something like Poor Man Batman kind of thing.

      • Wasn’t that what Fear Itself was supposed to be at Marvel or something? I’ve heard terrible things about that event, but I like that image of Spider-Man staring at the recession news. It’s not an image to build a whole event around, though, it’s just a really great shot.

  2. Yeah it was horrible. And the fact that it came out of Matt Fraction. I mean he is the guy who gave as Casanova and reinvigurated Iron Fist along with Ed Brubaker. The Spider-Man image though was great and it really spoke volumes about the characters place in the world.

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