Monday, November 1, 2004

Looking To The Stars: Who Dun Et, Part Deux

Last week, I talked about the crimes and evidence we had thus far in "Identity Crisis" and discussed the pros and cons of the various theories that have sprung forth involving "Who Dun Et?" I then asked for all of your opinions and theories.

You people are GOOD.

Admittedly, some of the ideas are a little out there but no more so than some of the other theories being tossed around. In fact, your ideas gave me a few more ideas as well. But first things first: viewer mail.

Our first letter comes from Brandon Downard…

I'm going with Maxwell Lord. In the early issues of JL, he had files on every superhero and knew for certain that Jack Ryder and The Creeper were one and the same. I wouldn't put it pass him to know the IDs of most of the DC heroes considering the research he put in them to make the perfect team to protect him for the alien computer. He has the resources to hire Calculator, Boomerang, Bolt, and any one else that he would need.

I think his motive would be the fact that he wants to bring order to the DC and make up for his screw-up JL. He creates this killer to get the superheroes serious about taking down the world's super villains. The heroes get really serious and in short time they put most of the major and minor villains in jail and in the future they'll be more proactive in their work. He had Calculator get Bolt (who looks really good considering the fact that he was eaten to death by ants in SS V. 2 I. 3) to get the Lex Luthor battle suit so that he could frame an already hated man on the ID killings.

Ummm. Dunno how to explain away Bolt's apparent demise. Any chance that he discovered a latent power to talk to ants and commanded them not to eat him and that everyone just THOUGHT he was dead?

No? Oh. Okay then…

Hmmm… Maxwell Lord: the opportunistic millionaire who personally financed the Justice League throughout most of the Justice League Europe and Justice League International days. Well, he'd certainly be morally loose enough to do this and he's the master of Machiavellian schemes.

Still, I don't know if the idea of him wanting to make up for screwing up the Justice League has any merit. Lord was an egomaniac; a reasonable one to be sure, but definitely not one to easily acknowledge his own mistakes. Besides, as of last year's "Formerly Known As The Justice League" story-line, he was still his incorrigible self and hard at work on creating a new low-rent Justice League.

Ironically enough, said team contained Elongated Man, his wife Sue(who was the one truly sane person on the team) and our next suspect, who was suggested in a letter by Andy DiNunzio…

I have an interesting theory as to who did the murders. Booster Gold is one I came up with. He could have all the knowledge as to the identities of the heroes and still found ways to confuse them by the use of Slipknot's noose. Since he originally stole the items from his future to make him a hero, he has the semi-lax moral code. The why is still a mystery. Could be some unrequited love affair with Sue and hatred of the rest of the heroes for treating him as a joke. I can't come up with a decent reason as to the why, but he could definitely make the motive and opportunity.

Hmmm… Booster Gold. The most opportunist, hero-for-hire ever. Well, he IS a sleaze, but hasn't been a killer. He COULD have stolen the equipment to pull off the murders. Heck, Blue Beetle, who he frequently partnered with, probably has a teleporter and flame-thrower in his lab. But as you say, there's no real motive other than him MAYBE being upset for being treated as a joke. But from what I recall of his time in the Justice League, he tended to dismiss all criticism and thought highly enough of himself to off-set everyone else's low opinion of him.

Besides, aside from the superheroes whom had open identities, I can't see ANYONE letting Booster Gold know their secret identity. You think Batman is going to chance a known superhero who craves the spotlight getting anywhere NEAR the Batcave? Or risk the guy just suddenly showing up at Stately Wayne Manor with a bus full of strippers so he can party with his "close personal friend, Bruce?"

And speaking of Batman, Francisco Gonzalez has a theory about the mastermind being someone very close to the Batman Family.

I have a theory about the master-mind that would explain a lot of things, but, given the character, I do not really think it would be "her".

A brief discussion first. So far the suspects fall in one of two categories: a villain seeking revenge or a hero turned traitor (but none of the second have a real strong, personal motive).

The first suspect was Dr. Light, in revenge for what the JL of A did to him. I think that event could be central to the story and not just circumstantial. What if someone is mad at the heroes, not for doing it, but for not doing it "to someone" else?

There are some situations that could be mirrors here: the obvious one is The Calculator to Oracle.

The second one would explain the "need" for the Sue Dinby's rape, as a mirror action to Barbara Gordon's rape in "The Killing Joke". Some readers see that the torture done to her by the Joker amounted to, if not included rape. And even if that is not the case, how could the JL of A have altered the minds of The Wizard, Felix Faust and Dr. Light and let the Joker get a pass?

That would give a motive for the killings. Her knowledge of the super-hero community would allow for opportunity, and she has access to all the resources that she might need. That would explain the bypass of all the security systems and that surely would explain how Dr. Light knew that the JLA was coming for him in Issue #2. She could have warned him once she saw that the JLA was trying to find him and she would have had that information from the Suicide Squad files (were she first started as Oracle).

Dick Grayson will become the decoy and possibly last victim to this. The killings started the anniversary of his parents deaths... and, according to the DC solicitations, Bludhaven is gonna need another protector.

The scary thing, I can SO see this working. One of the biggest blindsides of the DC Comics Universe is that in a world full of amazing technology, people with magical powers and now… the Justice League using their powers to cover up events such as the rape of one of their members as well as altering the minds of criminals who had learned their secret identities… nobody has ever addressed why nobody has ever thought of trying to heal the broken spine of Barbara Gordon.

I can only remember two times that the question was ever addressed. Once, in Grant Morrison's JLA, when the villain Prometheus told Barbara he could heal her if she quit helping the League. She turned him down. The other time was in "Batman: The Chalice", an alternate universe story where Batman becomes protector of the Holy Grail and offers to use it to heal Barbara. She turns him down because she doesn't believe an item that depends on faith will have any effect on a faithless soul like her.

Still, how much time would it take? Call Zatanna, have her say a few magic words and BOOM… Batgirl walks again. Need something more based in reality? Dr. Midnite is an amazing surgeon who has performed miracles in the past. Ditto Mr. Terrific.

Of course Barbara is very strong-willed and would probably reject help from anyone who suggested that she was in anyway incapable of handling herself in her current form. This has been suggested in the past by other Batman fans who said the only reason Barbara hasn't been cured is because, like in The Chalice, she refused to be helped. Problem is, there's been enough stories where they showed her lamenting the loss of her legs to blow that whole "I'm handi-capable" argument to high-heaven. The truth is that there is no reason, other than editorial power insisting that Barbara Gordon remain confined to a wheel-chair, that she SHOULDN'T have been healed by now.

So think about that. She is cheesed off at the superhero community she busts her butt to help that will watch their own backs but not hers. She got her start as the master hacker Oracle as an associate member of Suicide Squad. She'd definitely have the resources to hire several mercenary villains to act on her behalf as well as the knowledge of how to hack the JLA security systems. She definitely knows the secret identities of Superman and Robin. And she'd definitely be able to send everyone on wild good chases as the plan unfolds…

Still, while Babs COULD do this, as Francisco points out, it would be very out of character for her to do something like this. Besides, as this week's "Batman" and "Birds of Prey" (which actually take place AFTER the end of Identity Crisis chronologically) show, Barbara couldn't have done it by sheer dent of being free to fly around the country.

Unless she really IS the mastermind and plotted the downfall of another patsy as she continues to roam free…

Our last letter comes from James Lawson, who had an idea about how a super power that most of we detectives have ignored might have had a hand in things…

One power set overlooked is time manipulation. As Degaton
showed in a recent issue of JSA, it is possible to find out information
about people then act on it by walking between the seconds of time.

The only problem I see with this theory is I cannot think of any
time-traveling villain that would benefit from this situation. Well,
that is just my theory. Although Snapper Carr is still my top suspect.

Regarding the time-travel option; it certainly is possible, but unlikely as time-travel would be kind of a cheat and go against the grain of the usual detective story. Additionally, it would be kind of cheap to go this far and then find out the whole thing was done by the likes of Waverider or Chronos.

Hey wait… Chronos IS in this story. Crud!

As for Snapper Carr, the "mascot" of the original Justice League and second only to Jimmy Olsen on the list of hapless-sidekicks, I somehow forgot to include him on the list of suspects last week. And speaking of suspects, that's as good a cue as any to discuss the new suspects I've come up with since last week.

Snapper Carr

How He Did It? Snapper actually DID have the ability to teleport for a while and, as mascot to the original incarnation of The Justice League, he would have known something of their secret identities.

Why He Didn't Do It? There's no definite proof he ever knew Superman was Clark Kent or knew anything about Batman and Robin. Also, the last time we saw him he didn't have any super powers and had fallen on hard times. So, he wouldn't have had the resources to contact or hire Captain Boomerang.

Martian Manhunter

How He Did It? A founding member of the Justice League, the alien superhero J'onn J'ozz would have the ability and knowledge to perform most of the crimes. He can walk through walls and read minds, so he could easily track down all the people he would need to act on his behalf when he couldn't act directly. Setting Sue's body on fire would also have thrown suspicion away from him, as all Martians have a fear of fire that is so intense it negates their considerable powers.

Why He Didn't Do It? As loyal as he is to the League, they being the only family he has now in the wake of the holocaust of the Martian people, it makes little sense for him to turn on them. No motive at all.

Dakath, the Burning

How He Did It? The dark side of Martian heritage given physical form, this being was created accidentally by Martian Manhunter during a romantic liaison with a fire-controller who helped him overcome his fear of fire. Possessing all of Martian Manhunter's knowledge and powers, as well as the ability to control fire itself, he nearly destroyed the Earth once and was able to put the entire Justice League into check single-handed.

Why He Didn't Do It? He hasn't been seen since the destruction of his physical form in the JLA comic over a year ago. Plus, as a hands-on kind of villain, he's have little reason to recruit Captain Boomerang as an assistant.

Ben Morse, Comic Nexus Editor

How He Did It? Is actually a character in the DC Universe, albeit a rotting zombie in his one appearance so far. Connections with popular DC Comics writers would enable him to find out everything he needed to know to take on the world's finest heroes and outwit them.

Why He Didn't Do It? Well, I was going to keep it secret… but in the interest of clearing his name, I cannot. The Zombie Ben Morse six-part mini-series, with artwork by Jim Lee and writing by Geoff Johns will be out in Summer 2005!

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