You'd think the past issue of Identity Crisis would have settled some of the big questions as to who the murderer is.
You'd LIKE to think that…
Truth is that as I write this, a day or so after the release of said comic, the message boards are still filled with more conspiracy theories than Florida come Election Day. But for the sake of voicing the opinions of the masses, as well as my own theories on "who dun et", I present the following list of suspects, motives and problems with the theories behind them.
But first, a quick review of the crimes so far…
Crime #1: Murder of Sue Dibny, wife of Ralph Dibny, a.k.a. The Elongated Man.
The cause of death is unknown so far. Her body was found, partially burned in her apartment. As of the end of issue #2, we find out (from Doctor Midnite, who was doing the autopsy) that she was dead before her body was set on fire, but no other means of death has been mentioned yet. Whoever the murderer was, we know a few facts from the text in issue #1.
First, the murderer had the means to enter their apartment without setting off the security system which is one of the most advanced on the planet. This would have required either the ability to teleport, the ability to walk through walls (aka phase) or a whole heck of a lot of electronic know-how. Or for the murderer to have been able to get through the security; i.e. be a Justice League member.
Second, the burning of the body was done with a flamethrower, but nobody knows this but we, the readers. The heroes investigating the murder are still running under the assumption that a fire-controlling villain is involved.
Third, the killer called her Sue. However, this means very little as her marriage and her husband's secret identity were a matter of public knowledge. Indeed, Ralph Dibny is historically recognized as the first masked superhero to out himself to the public in the DC Comics Universe.
Since then, we have learned (as of issue 5) that the cause of death is still unknown, but that Dr. Fate has ruled out magical involvement.
Crime #2: Attempted Murder of Jean Loring, ex-wife of Ray Palmer, a.k.a. The Atom.
This time, the murder was attempted with a different weapon: a hangman's noose. Superman (ever the Boy Scout) recognized the knot used as a bowline knot with a Dutch Marine twist. This was, it turned out, the trademarked knot of a villain called Slipknot, who specialized in tying nooses around the necks of his victims. The only thing that ruled him out was the fact that he was in prison, serving a ten-year sentence.
At this point, it is mentioned that Slipknot was a member of The Suicide Squad; a government program that sent convicted super-villains on missions too dangerous for ordinary troops. In the event that they survived, they would be given full pardons. If they were killed in the process, well… no small loss.
We also learn that the killer is definitely a man and wore brown work boots.
The killer was, again, somehow able to circumvent the advanced security system in Jean's apartment.
As the Atom has a public identity and his marriage was also public record, potentially anyone could have known how to find and attack her.
Crime #3: Threat of Murder, Lois Lane, wife of Clark Kent, a.k.a. do I REALLY have to say?
At the end of issue #4, Lois Lane received a letter which read…
I know who your huSband is.
The S, in husband was written in red ink with a triangle around it; an obvious reference to the Superman symbol.
So whoever the killer is knows Superman's secret identity, which is NOT common knowledge.
Crime #4: Possible Murder of Jack Drake, father of Robin a.k.a. Tim Drake.
Before the murder, Jake receives a box with a note which reads... Jack DRake. Drake with a capital R with a circle around it in red ink; this being a very loose approximation of the Robin symbol. The box contains a note with a gun which reads "Protect Yourself".
Robin's secret identity is even more secret than Superman's.
Shortly after, Jack Drake is assailed in his home by the villain Captain Boomerang. While he is able to apparently fatally wound his attacker, Boomerang is able to throw one razor-sharp boomerang into Jack Drake's chest before collapsing.
We only see the two men bleeding in the last panels, but the suggestion is that both men are dead.
In the build up leading to the fight between the two, we see Captain Boomerang's newly found lost son (whom dad just spent the day with) checking his messages and finding a message from his dad saying that he should watch the news and "this time I'm leaving a calling card… OUR card."
Captain Boomerang, it might be noted, is wearing brown work boots as he kicks in the door to the Drake residence.
Now, for the list of suspects… with the most unlikely coming first.
Firestorm, a.k.a. Ronnie Raymond
How He Did It? With the power to change matter on the atomic level as well as phase through solid materials, he could easily have killed Sue Dibny without setting off the alarms. Is also a JL member, so he could have bypassed the alarms. Probably knew Superman's secret identity as a JL member.
Why He Didn't Do It? Doesn't know Robin's Secret Identity. Lack of a motive, other than just going crazy. He wouldn't have the resources to hire Captain Boomerang as a patsy. Also, he's kinda dead now as of the last issue.
Green Lantern, a.k.a. Kyle Rayner
How He Did It? A Green Lantern ring could EASILY allow anyone to walk through walls and set a body on fire. Also, he IS a JL member and could have bypassed the alarms. Definitely knows Superman's secret identity.
Why He Didn't Do It? Probably doesn't know Robin's Secret Identity. Lack of a motive, other than just going crazy. Also, he wouldn't have the resources to hire Captain Boomerang as a patsy.
Nightwing, a.k.a. Dick Grayson
How He Did It? Taught by Batman, he could probably disable a security system utilizing the technology of four different alien races. Also, is an honorary JLA member after leading the team during the otherwise forgettable "Obsidian Age" story. He IS just clever enough to pull off the rest of it off and WOULD have the resources to hire Captain Boomerang as a patsy. And he knows Robin's secret identity.
Why He Didn't Do It? Ignoring the fact that DC is unlikely to turn the original Robin into a villain, he really has no motive other than going totally crazy.
Elongated Man, a.k.a. Ralph Dibny
How He Did It? Could easily break into his own apartment. Is a JLA member, so he could have could have gotten past the alarms. Is a master detective, so he could easily have figured out all the secret identities he didn't know from his time as a JLA member. He would also stand to profit handsomely from his wife's death (insurance policy). Would easily have the resources to hire Boomerang as a patsy.
Why He Didn't Do It? No motive except the money, and he's already comfortably well off from his marriage to a wealthy heiress. Also, would totally ignore years of characterization concerning how madly in love he is with his wife.
Captain Boomerang, a.k.a. Digger Harris.
How He Did It? Was caught red-handed at the scene of the Jack Drake murder. Made reference to his son about "leaving a calling card this time". (What had he done before?) Wore brown work-boots during the Jack Drake murder, like Jean Loring's assailant. Had multiple motives, from striking back at one of the first heroes he fought against (Elongated Man originally lived in the same city as 'The Flash' and fought most of the same villains) to wanting to make a name for himself again to just wanting to make superheroes look foolish. He would also have been able to faked Slipknot's MO, having being a member of the Suicide Squad himself.
Why He Didn't Do ALL Of It? He would have needed a LOT of help to have done ALL the murders. While the evidence suggests he was responsible for the attempted murder of Jean Loring and was definitely the killer of Jack Drake, he probably has no clue about the secret identities of Robin or Superman. There's also the pesky matter of how he bypassed the security. Digger's a right bastich, but he's no security wizard. Odds' are he either had help or is a fall guy for a mastermind planning something bigger. In fact, it's highly doubtful Boomerang would have sent Jack Drake a gun in order to offer him a fair chance at defending himself.
The Calculator, a.k.a. Noah Kuttler
How He Did It? This silly super-villain turned super information broker has been manipulating characters right and left since issue #1, calling up other super-villains and hiring them for special jobs or getting them information they needed. He helped Captain Boomerang with tracking down his lost son but no price was ever discussed for the service. Could it be possible that The Calculator planned the murder of Sue Dibny for some unknown reason and then used Captain Boomerang as a patsy to perform the last two murders to make it look like one criminal with a mission was at work?
Why He Didn't Do ALL Of It? The only problem with Boomerang as the master-villain is that he would have lacked the information on how to get past the security on the first two crimes and he didn't know all the secret identities involved. While The Calculator might be able to get such information, there's no definite proof that he knows Robin and Superman's secret identities or would be able to hack the JLA security systems. Also, from what we've seen there's no direct profit for him masterminding such an operation… and he's all about profit. In fact, as some of the super-villains in this story have pointed out, the murders are making their business harder as the super-heroes are now out in force investigating everyone making their jobs ten times harder. So why go out of his way to rock the boat for so little gain? Unless he's getting paid to act as a go-between by someone else who is more concerned with profit as revenge?
How He Did It? A series of several robots programmed to duplicate the various powers and skills of any JLA member, an Amazo robot could have performed the Sue Dibny murder quite easily, excepting that it would have registered as a JLA member on their security system and as such, not a threat. Also, issue one started out with Elongated Man investigating the sale of an Amazo robot on the black market.
Why He Didn't Do It? We haven't seen hide nor hair of an Amazo robot yet. In fact, the crate that supposedly contained one actually held one of Lex Luthor's old battle armor suits. There's also the pesky issue of the robot being designed to go after JLA members, not their families. And the robot wouldn't know all the secret identities.
How He Did It? Last time we saw Lex, he swore their would be "a crisis". He has the motive to try and take down the superhero community at large just out of spite. He's got the smarts to take out the JLA security systems and could probably figure out Superman and Robin's secret identities. And assuming he managed to hide away some of his savings in secret accounts before his exposure as a master criminal (as opposed to a slightly dishonest businessman), he'd have the resources to hire Calculator and any other super-villain to act on his behalf.
Why He Didn't Do It? Aside from his armored suit being in a crate up for sale, we've seen hide nor hair of Luthor. And the only real suggestion we have that he's even involved in the story is some muttered words in Superman/Batman #6. Plus, we're assuming a lot that he has the resources and knowledge to pull this off.
Daron, The Dark Overlord
How He Did It? He has the resources. He could get the knowledge. He could very well mastermind the whole thing.
Why He Didn't Do It? Wrong universe, but even then I wouldn't put it past him.
Comments? Theories of your own? Some little detail I missed that could blow the whole thing open? Drop me an e-mail .
Tune in next week. Same Matt time. NEW Matt Website.