I apologize if this has been discussed before. I did a search and did not find a previous thread but I may have used the wrong words. Anyway...
I've been thinking about the possibilities of a well known super hero actually maintaining a secret identity. Is it possible? If so, how difficult would it be to maintain?
I've always just accepted the Man of Steel's ability to disguise himself with a pair of reading glasses and a good acting job... But since that horrid One More Day event in which Peter Parker sold his soul to save his aunt who is old enough to have live next door to Moses, I've been thinking about how easily it would be for one to discover the true identity of Spider-Man. And that got me thinking about all super heroes.
Super Man, in the DC universe, is basically the most well known super hero, is he not? And does he not have thousands upon thousands of photographs of him floating around? Facial Recognition applications are no longer things of science fiction; they exist. The internet also exist. It would absolutely be possible to run a program that searched every database on the internet to find a match for Super Man. So, one image of Clark Kent on the net, with a little information, would be enough to connect the two. Surely, Lex Luthor could accomplish this... Almost any computer savvy person with access to a facial recognition pattern could accomplish this.
But, even without a photograph of a hero's face, there are still ways to figure out who a hero might be. Let's consider Spider-Man: So, supposedly everyone's memory of his secret identity has been erased and only those he has told since O.M.D. know who he really is... Although, there have been hints that SOME people still retain SOME sort of memory of his past. (i.e. Spider-Woman thinking Spider-Man was married... Hawkeye remembering that Jessica Drew had a crush on Spider-Man in high school)
But, let's assume an intelligent villain wanted to figure out Spider-Man's true identity. He could use a little common sense and a good search application. So, other heroes and villains would see or discern certain things about Spidey, such as:
- Sex - Male
- Race - Caucasian. His skin often shows through his torn costume.
- Hair and Eye color - Brown. Again, seen through the torn costume.
- Physical dimensions - easily calculated from images of him. Height, weight, etc...
- U.S. citizenship - obvious
- Residence - He's ALWAYS in New York City and has on a number of times stated that he is a new yorker.
So, just with that little information there, one could search for all male Caucasians who are residents of New York City that match the physical dimensions of Spider-Man... So, hack into the database of the New York City DMV, or hospitals, or police databases, or anything containing physical information on residences of New York City...
Sure the list would be long, but it can be narrowed further with a little insight or super villain gadgetry...
- Age - His age can easily be guesstimated to be between 14 and 45. He 'appears' to be an adult, but the images of his hair would show no grey.
- Educated - Heroes and Villains who have been around him enough would see that he's obviously educated beyond the high school level. In particular they might notice he has a keen understanding of science.
- DNA - Obviously there are a number of villains and heroes have his DNA. How difficult would it be for Dr. Doom or Otto Octavius or even the Wizard to punch Spidey and get a blood sample...
So, now the "searcher" narrows his database to white male residences of New York City who have a college degree, in particular a degree in one of the Sciences.
Based on this alone, the list should narrow significantly... But it would be easy to narrow the possibilities even further. You simply eliminate those still on the list who could not possibly be Spider-Man
- Eliminate those who were simply not in New York when Spider-Man was. For example, anyone who has done a tour of duty overseas while in the military. Spider-Man could not have been in Iraq for a year or two while he was also fighting crime in New York.
- Eliminate from the list anyone who has not been a resident consistently for the past ten years. (approximately how long Spider-Man has been Spider-Man)
- Eliminate those physically unable. i.e. quadriplegics, paraplegics, etc...
By this point the list should be manageable. At this point, our searcher could really use a sample of DNA, but even without it... Wouldn't they be very close? So then with a little research and perhaps:
- Facial Recognition Applications
- Voice Recognition Applications
- DNA analysis
- Good old fashioned footwork
This really would be possible, don't you think? How many super heroes with secret identities really could keep their secrets in today's comic book universe? What do you all think?