Art by Carmine Infantino
|First appearance||Flash #119 (March 1961)|
John Broome (writer)|
Carmine Infantino (artist)
|Alter ego||Susan "Sue" Dearbon Dibny|
Black Lantern Corps
|Supporting character of||
Susan "Sue" Dearbon Dibny is a fictional character from DC Comics associated with the Elongated Man. Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, the character first appeared in Flash vol. 1 #119 (March, 1961). In 2004, she became a flashpoint for discussions of women in comics when a highly controversial storyline was published in which she is murdered and revealed to have been raped in the past.
Fictional character biography
Sue is the wife of hero Ralph Dibny, The Elongated Man. She is a brunette socialite from Westchester County, New York, United States. She has at times worked for the Justice League as an administrator. Ralph and Sue share a very loving relationship, often being compared to Nick and Nora Charles. It all started when Ralph crashed her debutante ball, using the pretense of jewel thieves to catch a glimpse of the lovely Sue. What followed was a whirlwind romance, with Sue and Ralph married a short time later, with Barry Allen serving as the best man. What followed was a life of adventures and superheroics, as Sue stuck by Ralph's side as he traveled around the globe as part of the Justice League. This leads to the various dangers associated with the lifestyle, including her near death at the tentacles of an alien parasite and being kidnapped by a supervillain, Sonar I, to become his consort. Through it all, Sue and Ralph stick together, even when the going gets tough. Many readers considered their loving relationship a breath of fresh air in an era when comics were becoming darker. Sue and Ralph were involved in a battle for Opal City, home of many of the Starman characters. Ralph meets with Hamilton Drew, a legendary detective based in Opal City, and the Dibnys are instrumental in saving Opal City from an attack by various supervillains. After the affair, Sue and Ralph move into the city, content to spend their lives together as superhero detective and wife.
Sue is a member of the Super Buddies team made up of former members of the Justice League. As she has no superpowers herself, she spends most of the time at the Super Buddies headquarters, arguing with team founder Maxwell Lord.
The 2004 DC murder mystery Identity Crisis begins with Sue's death at the hands of Jean Loring while she was expecting a child. Attempting to reunite with her husband Ray Palmer, Loring had used his equipment to try to create a threat to the families of other superheroes in an attempt to prompt Ray to come back to her. Although Loring hadn't intended for Sue to be seriously hurt, by travelling down the phone line to 'jump' into Sue's brain, she unintentionally caused an aneurysm that killed Sue, prompting Loring to start a fire to burn the body in a panic. Over the course of the series, it is revealed that in the past Sue was raped by Doctor Light. In an attempt to prevent him from harming members of other superheroes' families, Justice League member Zatanna attempted to magically rehabilitate Doctor Light, which accidentally resulted in the villain becoming less intelligent and very incompetent. Batman in fact wanted another punishment for Dr. Light but his mind was also mindwiped by Zatanna, erasing his memory of his involvement in events. Light is the prime suspect until Doctor Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific carried out an autopsy and confirmed that Sue had not been killed by anything that would constitute Light's standard M.O., with a casual comment Jean made to Ray prompting him to realize the truth, resulting in him sending Jean to Arkham and disappearing from the JLA. During a Sinestro Corps War one-shot, Superman-Prime mentioned that his anger over what happened to Sue Dibny as one of his reasons for his actions during Infinite Crisis, seeing it as further 'proof' of the failures of the new universe.
During the 52 series, a Kryptonian cult (which has Wonder Girl as a member) attempts to revive Sue from the dead. They attract the attention of a now depowered Ralph Dibny by spray-painting the Kryptonian word for resurrection (the Superman symbol, inverted) on her tombstone. Ralph and a team of heroes infiltrate the resurrection ceremony. Convinced that the ceremony is a hoax, Ralph and the others attack the temple, which subsequently catches on fire. However, Ralph is convinced that the resurrection is not a hoax when a seemingly animated straw representation of Sue crawls towards Ralph uttering his name. Although this straw version of Sue Dibny is destroyed in the fire, Ralph survives and vows to complete Sue's resurrection. However, a later issue revealed that it was Felix Faust who animated the dummy with his powers, and Ralph was aware of Faust's deception but pretend to believe that it was really his wife in order to get close to the villain and his master, Neron.
In the final issue of 52, Sue reappeared alongside Ralph, both as ghosts (he had used a magic artifact to ensure that they would be together in the afterlife), inside of a school where a paranormal event has occurred. Her final line is "Honey, your nose is twitching".
One Year Later
In Batman and the Outsiders #5, it is revealed (after appearing unknown in the previous two issues) that Ralph and Sue have gained or discovered the ability to possess human bodies, like the ability of Boston Brand, AKA Deadman.
Reign in Hell
Sue and Ralph, in their ghostly forms, appear before Doctor Occult with news of the war brewing in Hell. Sent by Giovanni Zatara, who as a member of the Hell Resistance Movement hopes to take advantage of the war, they ask Doctor Occult to aid him in his plan. They then dissipate and leave him to make his decision.
In Blackest Night #0, Black Hand is seen in a graveyard approaching the graves of Sue Dibny and her husband Ralph. They are revealed as members of the Black Lantern Corps when they attack Hawkgirl and Hawkman; killing the two heroes by ripping their hearts out. Sue, Ralph and the Hawks later join Firestorm and Martian Manhunter in attacking the Flash and Green Lantern. The fight is interrupted by the arrival of the Indigo Tribe, who use their powers to remove Sue and Ralph's rings and blast them to dust. After the "Blackest Night" crisis, the Flash looks around to see if Ralph and Sue were among those resurrected by the White Entity only to be told by Green Lantern they were not coming back.
Powers and abilities
While alive, Sue Dibny possessed no superhuman abilities. However, she has shown herself to a quick thinker, decent detective (though not on her husband's level), and multi-lingual (native English, as well as French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese). Her appearances as a ghost have shown her with paranormal abilities.
- Sequential Tart: Tart To Heart (vol VIII/iss 11/November 2005)
- TheFourthRail.com - Snap Judgments
- Reign in Hell #1 (September, 2008)
- Blackest Night #0 (June 2009)
- Blackest Night #1 (July 2009)
- Blackest Night #2 (August 2009)
- Blackest Night #3 (September 2009)
- Blackest Night #8 (May 2010)