Superheroes Who Reveal Their Secret Identities:
The very concept of a superhero holds within it one unwritten rule – one must always have a secret identity to fall back to when not saving the day. This allows not only for the superhero to have some semblance of personal life but also gives the near and dear ones of the costumed fighter the safety of anonymity. Comic books were the ones that popularized this idea. But now they are the ones who have decided to let this rule go. The fact that Marvel and DC, two of the biggest names when it comes to superheroes, are guilty of the same crime takes us aback. There are several instances where Superheroes revealed their secret identity in the name of freedom and liberty and paid the price later.
Superman, in DC Comics, has finally decided to leave behind the grandpa glasses. He took the world by storm when Clark Kent announced his secret identity to everyone. He told the entire world that he was Superman and all the enemies in Superman’s Rogues’ Gallery starting from Lex Luthor to Metallo will be now head over heels at this revelation. They now know Superman’s soft spot. They can finally make the Man of Steel bleed. While what happens next is left to the future, there are multiple precedents that reveal Superman’s identity reveal was a humongous bad idea.
In 2002, Captain America’s true name as Steve Rogers was revealed to the whole world. The Media lambasted Captain America for using the American Flag and trying to take the law into his own hands. Captain America was forced to join the Government and become a government agent to escape further social and legal persecution. In 2002, another Major Marvel Superhero also revealed his true identity. Tony Stark disclosed to the press that he is Iron Man. Both the Superheroes ended up paying a hefty price for their rash actions. Captain America’s activities now came under the government scanner and whatever he did was scrutinized by the authorities. After the events of the Civil War, it was due to Captain America’s true identity being public was why he was so easily assassinated in The Death of Captain America.
Coming to Iron Man, the armored avenger did not sleep peacefully for long. A legal contract allowed Stark Tech to be used by the company’s consumers only if Tony Stark allowed them to. But since the Iron Man armor was not made by Stark as a Stark Industries employee, the United States Military managed to use this loophole to copy the Iron Man armor and start giving to their soldiers en masse and without fear of lawsuits, leading to the Armour Wars saga.
The Flash has also been a victim of such circumstances. Barry Allen’s death led to Wally West aka Kid Flash take on the mantle of the Flash. He would not be able to keep his identity a secret for a long time and the entire world soon came to know who he really was. Zoom used this information to target Wally’s pregnant wife Linda and kill her, leading to the Flash angrily killing Zoom in cold blood. Wally then used the help of the Spectre to wipe away the memories of his identity off the minds of the entire human population. It still was not enough and Zoom again came back to haunt him, almost killing Linda once again.
Spiderman has probably been the greatest victim of the identity reveal mishap. During the events of the Civil War, Spiderman unmasked himself and revealed on National Television that he is Spiderman. A string of lawsuits by The Daily Bugle and a number of attacks by prominent supervillains who targeted Mary Jane and Aunt May later, Parker realized just how much of a bad idea that was. The only way left for him was to make a literal deal with the Devil. In return for Mephisto saving Aunt May’s life and erasing the memories of his secret identity from the world, Peter was forced to let go of his marriage with Mary Jane.