Identity Crisis #2 from DC. Brad Meltzer (Writer); Rags Morales (Penciller); Michael Baia (Inker); Alex Sinclair (Colorist); Kenny Lopez (Letterer). What do you do when it’s not shocking enough to have a much-beloved female character–who happens to be pregnant–get brutally murdered in your first issue? Why, have more brutality and wanton violence happen to the same character in a flashback in this issue. The first issue’s events worked well enough in context, but this time DC has really gone too far. Throwing subtlety out the window, they make certain you know what happened (because it takes place over a page and a half), and then turn the perp into a raving, drooling loonbag afterwards who enjoys reliving and sharing the experience. There’s a time and place to have gritty, morally ambivalent heroes–this is not it. Especially when there’s no “mature readers” tag on the cover. And especially now that we know one character to have been an assault survivor all this time and the rest of the heroes that we’ve grown up reading to be more fallible than is necessary to tell a story. It’s unbelievable that DC has sunk even lower than Marvel when it comes to shock-for-shock’s-sake writing. Actually, it’s really not–what with Nightwing having potentially nonconsensual sex in his title and DC touting a six-issue JLA story arc that shows the heroes failing in each issue. The fanboys are already lining up to talk about this issue: how it’s impressive and deep and I bet they’d throw the word “gravitas” around if they could only spell it. But frankly, they’re wrong. This isn’t deep, dramatic storytelling. It’s reprehensible. And sadly, it will sell like hotcakes.