***Beware: This post contains spoilers for Forever Evil #1.***
Secret identities have been a staple of comic books since Superman first put on a pair of glasses to disguise himself as mild-mannered report Clark Kent. But more and more, it seems as though secret identities are becoming a thing of the past. Several Marvel superheroes no longer keep their identities secret. The identities of Iron Man, Captain America, Luke Cage and the Fantastic Four are all publicly know.
It is common knowledge in the Marvel Universe that Matt Murdock is Daredevil even though he still denies it. Even Spider-Man had his identity revealed for a short time during Civil War. But DC has stuck with the idea of an alter ego. With few exceptions, there aren’t many DC superheroes who have public identities.
In fact, the only ones I can think of off hand are Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Guy Gardner, all three of which are Green Lanterns. But after the events of Forever Evil #1, I have to wonder if DC may be heading toward a world without the secret identity.
At the end of Forever Evil #1, Nightwing is unmasked and his identity is revealed in front of the world by The Crime Syndicate. This is a major shakeup for the character and the DC Universe at large. Now that people know Dick Grayson is Nightwing, might they figure out through deductive reasoning that Bruce Wayne, Dick’s adopted guardian and financier of Batman Incorporated, is Batman? And if that happens, could Jason Todd and Tim Drake both be exposed as well? What is to stop The Crime Syndicate from revealing the secret identities of all the superheroes.
Imagine a DC Universe with no secret identities. Everyone knows that Clark Kent and Superman are one in the same. What if everyone found out that Barry Allen was The Flash? The reason heroes wear masks is to protect their loved ones. Would Lois Lane, Iris West, Carol Ferris and Alfred all become targets? Would the villains simply attack the heroes where they live? I am extremely excited for the possibilities.
This article was first posted on September 10, 2013