Legerdemain - The Best Identity Crisis Story with the Atom
By Hervé St-Louis
May 22, 2011 - 17:39

DC Comics
Writer(s): John Ostrander, Kim Yale
Penciller(s): Geoff Isherwood

Before Brad Meltzer had written Identity Crisis for DC Comics, about a conspiracy within the Justice League and a manhunt for an associated member of the team, Sue Dibny, the wife of the Elongated Man, there was another story about conspiracy that involved Ray Palmer the Atom. Legerdemain, was a four-parts story published in Suicide Squad #59 – 62 in 1991. The story was about how members of the Justice League; Superman, Batman and Aquaman were searching for the new Atom that had apparently replaced their old friend Ray Palmer in the Suicide Squad.

The story was full of conspiracy. Who was the new Atom who was involved in so many secret missions for the Suicide Squad; who were the band of paroled villains that operated on behalf of the United States under the command of Amanda Waller? What did the Micro Squad that was looking for Ray Palmer have to do with the genocide of an alien people the Atom once lived with? Was there really a new Atom? If so who was the new Atom? All these questions that had being building up in the Suicide Squad series were finally dealt with in that story-arc rather well and tied up years of continuity with the Atom. It also showed the propensity of the Justice League to figure out what was wrong with one of its members before it became a fashionable thing in the DC Comics universe that all super heroes were involved in the private lives of one another. One thing this story did well was show how much of a good character Ray Palmer was and detach him somewhat from the nutty professor persona that’s associated with him these days.

The old Suicide Squad story was written by John Ostrander and his late wife Kim Yale. The series was drawn by Canadian artist Geoff Isherwood in a very realistic way. The story also featured Oracle before she jumped permanently with the bat-team in Gotham City. There she resourcefully told Batman that he didn’t have to tell her his identity. She would just look it up on her computer. This story, to my knowledge, has not been reprinted by DC Comics yet. Many of the old Suicide Squad stories deserve to be reprinted as they showed an adult side to the DC Comics universe and created backstories for many of the most popular villains of the present. The next best place to find this story is in the back issue bin of your local comic book store. It should not be very expensive to buy.

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