I went out at lunch and picked up Identity Crisis #7. Looking back at the series, it was very satisfying dramatically, though of course there were many things happening in it that I didn’t like. Even the revelation of the killer’s ID didn’t feel like a cheat. There was no sense of an Armageddon 2001-style last-minute change, and no one showed up out of left field in the final chapter.
On to specifics. Spoilers abound!
The Jean-using-the-Atom’s-equipment theory was the one I was seriously looking at after #5 and settled on after #6. Boomerang himself was clearly a hired hand at most. The Calculator was too obvious. None of the other villains seemed capable enough. I couldn’t see Ralph setting it up. Nightwing was a longshot (though I got worried when Wally asked him to look for Linda). People were dragging in Zoom, the Top, and Amazo, who might have made sense in standard comic book logic (say, Zero Hour-style), but it was clear from the start that this was structured as a murder mystery. As early as #5, evidence was starting to point toward the Atom, with the revelation at the end of #6 being the clincher. But between actually seeing his inner monologues and knowing Meltzer was using the structure of a murder mystery, it seemed that it couldn’t be him. That left his ex-wife Jean, who would have had both the means (she had his patents) and the opportunity (we didn’t know where she was at the time of the murder). There just wasn’t a strong enough motive. The only thing she seemed to get out of it was getting Ray back, and she could have achieved that with far less effort.
The explanation given—that she hadn’t meant for Sue to die, and just hadn’t thought her plan all the way through—had never occurred to me, but it takes care of the motive question neatly, without resorting to mind control, possession, shapeshifting, etc.
So the killings are over. What are the consequences?
Obviously, Sue Dibny and Jack Drake are dead. This will profoundly affect both the Elongated Man and Robin… and by extension Batman, Nightwing, Oracle and the rest of the Gotham heroes.
Captain Boomerang is dead, to be replaced by his son, who adds super-speed to his arsenal. Still up in the air: who is is mother? I would guess this will be explained in upcoming issues of The Flash, probably in the upcoming issue with the elder Boomerang’s funeral or in the upcoming “Rogue Wars” storyline.
The original Firestorm is dead, catching us up to the new series. Firehawk appears to be retiring.
Jean Loring is now a murderess and has been committed to Arkham Asylum. It seems unlikely that she and Ray will ever reconcile. The Atom has gone on a microscopic walkabout.
The Flash and Green Lantern have learned the dark secret of the JLA’s past policy of mind-wiping villains. The Flash in particular is having trouble dealing with the knowledge that they even mindwiped Batman.
Batman may blame the Flash for not being able to prevent Jack’s death.
Dr. Light, former arch-villain who became comic relief, appears to have become his old self again.
The Calculator, originally a ridiculous villain, is now more sinister and a major player.
In the side story “The Secret of Barry Allen,” the Flash learned that his predecessor had attempted to turn his enemy the Top into a hero, and failed. The Top is again sane—and evil—and revealed that he reprogrammed many of the Rogues, making their quests for redemption less than genuine.