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Old May 9th, 2007   Lorendiac is offline   #1
Neo Geoffan

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Default Identity Crisis: What would you do if the villains knew your secret ID?

Okay, it's been a few years since certain "revelations" about mindwipes were retconned into JLA continuity in Brad Meltzer's "Identity Crisis." I figure there's been enough time for tempers to cool so that we can discuss one of those Mindwipe Retcons in a rational and civilized fashion.

(What's that you say? Why yes, I am a diehard optimist. How did you guess? )

However -- not wanting to put too much strain on my theory that tempers have cooled off by now -- I'm going to skip past the bit about the near-lobotomy of Doctor Light, and the erasure of ten minutes of short-term memory from Batman's head when he interrupted the thing with Doctor Light. Let's just push all that aside and talk about a different Retconned Mindwipe Episode from "Identity Crisis," one where a lot less psychological damage was done to the villains on the receiving end, and arguably for better reasons -- the villains in question had learned a bunch of JLA'ers secret identities (something Doctor Light never managed). So Zatanna evidently cast a spell that erased (or at least "buried" until Despero came along?) those memories of superhero secrets, without doing any particular harm to the cognitive abilities of the villains in question. (Or not that we know of.)

One interesting thing was that, unlike the thing with Sue Dibny, this other retcon drew fairly heavily upon "previous continuity." Specifically, a three-part story arc about body-switching between heroes and villains, written by Gerry Conway, published in the original "Justice League of America" title, #'s 166-168, way back in 1979. Some of the JLA's modern fans seem to have gotten a bit confused regarding just how much Meltzer "retconned in" and how much he "derived from the old continuity," so I'll try to give you a quick summary of the differences between the "old version" and the "new version" of what happened in that long-ago case.

The Old Version

Five members of the Secret Society of Super-Villains managed to capture five members of the JLA and used powerful magic to swap minds around between the two sets of bodies. The following "pairs" each had their minds switched into the other person's body for awhile, without the remainder of the JLA knowing about it right away (although they eventually caught on).

The five "pairs" who exchanged bodies were:

The Wizard (William I. Zard) --- Superman.
Plant-Master (Jason Woodrue, later called "the Floronic Man" and "Floro") --- Wonder Woman.
Star Sapphire IV (Deborah Camille Darnell) --- Zatanna.
The Blockbuster (Mark Desmond, whose brother Roland later was the Blockbuster of the "Nightwing" title) --- Batman.
Professor Zoom (Eobard Thawne) --- Green Lantern (Hal Jordan).

At the end of the arc, the villains were subdued and magic was used to switch everyone's minds back where they belonged. Nobody died; nobody appeared to suffer any lasting damage. There is no indication in Conway's scripts that any "secret identities" were discovered by any of the body-switching villains during these events, so no one talked about possibly mindwiping them!

The Retconned Version

In an "Identity Crisis" flashback, we learned that those body-switched heroes who wore masks (Batman and Hal Jordan, at any rate) voluntarily unmasked so that pictures could be taken of their revealed faces. In addition, it's not a huge stretch to imagine that the Wizard could have used Superman's X-Ray vision, superhearing, etc., to penetrate the disguises of other JLAers he encountered while he was inside Clark's body. If Superman had anything hidden in his costume that could point to Clark Kent, the Wizard could have used his vision powers to spot it.

It also appears that the Secret Society of Super-Villains learned the identities of just about every other member of the Satellite Era JLA who was bothering to maintain a secret identity at the time, and it seems that the villains who had switched bodies must have shared those secrets with some associates who were not directly involved in the body-switching. (Not involved in the original story, anyway -- perhaps it's been retconned to include more villains? As examples: in "JLA: Crisis of Conscience," Matter Master, Felix Faust, and Chronos had somehow been brought up to speed on the subject of the secret IDs of Batman, Superman, etc., even though I don't remember seeing any of those three participating in the old Conway story in any way, shape, or form.)

The Big Question

If you had been a member of the Satellite Era JLA at the time of the "body-switching story," and if you'd become aware that the Society villains had learned your secret identity and those of your teammates -- and thus could easily track down your nearest friends and relatives as well as your own home address, if they ever got loose and ran wild with that knowledge -- then what would you have voted to do about it if the entire membership of the JLA debated it after everybody had been switched back where they belonged? Remember: at this point the villains in question had just been captured and were, for all practical purposes, totally helpless against anything you and your friends might choose to do with any of your available resources!

What would you do?

(If there's enough interest in this topic, and if I get a broad range of answers, then I'll probably create a Poll at some later date with all the basic types of answers included on the ballot.)
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Old May 9th, 2007   Matt Olsen is offline   #2
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Matt Olsen
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Mindwipe, baby. No question.
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Old May 9th, 2007   Bob Francis is offline   #3
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Bob Francis

joined: Apr 2006
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Mindwipe, baby. No question.
Matt Olsen View Post
It's a, dare I say, no brainer.

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Be Daring, Regret Nothing
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Old May 9th, 2007   married guy is offline   #4
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No question.
Mind wipe.

That's what was so great about Identity Crisis for me. You could see both sides of the argument so clearly, and BOTH were right!
'My name is Wally West. I'm the Flash!'
I'm in a very abusive relationship with DC, and I just keep coming back for more. - Fastest
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Old May 9th, 2007   hurri-fan is offline   #5
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Well, I hate it when both sides are right. BUT, I'd mind wipe 'em.
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Old May 9th, 2007   starks is offline   #6
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Stick them in the Phantom Zone. Imagine the storyline when they come back, or a storyline trapping the heroes in there with them. Lots of good possibilities.
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Old May 10th, 2007   E-MAC is offline   #7
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Mindwipe is the only answer.
"If at first you don't succeed, try Kyle again!".
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Old May 10th, 2007   gottaluvit is offline   #8
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Yeah mindwipe. No question.
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Old May 10th, 2007   Matches is offline   #9
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stepping aside

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If I was feeling charitable.... mindwipe.
@allstarmatches on Twitter.
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Old May 10th, 2007   Mavericwing is offline   #10
Neo Geoffan

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Mindwipe. Definate mindwipe.
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Old May 10th, 2007   Jeffrey Neary is offline   #11
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I love it!!!

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Switch Sides.

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Old May 10th, 2007   Jeff Shabazz is offline   #12
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Kill them all, it's what they would have done to my loved ones.
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Old May 10th, 2007   achilles140 is offline   #13
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Supreme Geoffan

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Switch Sides.

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LOL! That, or call in Diana to snap his neck....
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Old May 11th, 2007   WokHead is offline   #14
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Neo Geoffan

joined: Feb 2006
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Mindwipe for sure.

If a mindwipe was not an option however - like if there was no J'onn or Zatanna or anyone around - I'm not sure what I'd do.
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Old May 11th, 2007   SWilliams is offline   #15
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Kill them all.
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Old May 11th, 2007   k26dp is offline   #16
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Stick them in the Phantom Zone. Imagine the storyline when they come back, or a storyline trapping the heroes in there with them. Lots of good possibilities.
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I don't have to imagine it. Joe Kelley wrote that story in the pre-OYL "This Is Your Life, Superman" crossover.
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