Superheroes train themselves to overcome any obstacles. They need to be prepared to face any enemies that come their way. Attacks can come in any form and in order to survive and protect the lives of the innocent, they need to be ready.
While most heroes do train and prepare themselves, some do have apparent weaknesses. Some might suffer from a physical weakness like Superman with Kryptonite but other heroes suffer from a different kind of weakness—a secret identity.
A secret identity is a hero's greatest strength and weakness. If it ever gets discovered, it could mean the hero or their loved ones are at serious risk. When this does happen, the hero only has a few options they can consider. (Note: there will be some spoilers to ACTION COMICS #10, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #11 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #545 (from 2008!).== TEASER ==
Recently in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, young Miles Morales has been getting used having powers and being Spider-Man. His father doesn't seem too keen on the idea of anyone taking matters into their own hands and trying to be a hero. The problem is, his Uncle Aaron has figured out his secret.
That might not seem so bad since it's his uncle. The problem is, his uncle is a pretty shady guy. He's a criminal and a killer. He pressured Miles into helping him take out the Scorpion because he owed him a lot of money. He claimed it would be just one time and then he'd leave him alone.
Of course that's not how it would play out. Miles' uncle realizes the power Miles has and how he could absolutely use him to his advantage. Miles is just a kid and he doesn't want his dad to know what he's doing. When Aaron asks him for another favor, Miles is going to have to figure out what to do.
Also this week, Clark Kent is having problems with his secret as well in ACTION COMICS.
A man calling himself Nimrod after a passage in the Bible has made it his mission to hunt and kill pretty much everything. He is determined to kill Superman because he is an alien. Nimrod has already hunted and killed every species on Earth so this is his next logical challenge.
What makes Nimrod especially dangerous is he's used his hunting and tracking skills to use. He's managed to figure out who Superman is.
There are numerous other cases in the past where heroes have had to deal with this problem. Once the secret is discovered there's only a few things they can do.
Get "rid" of the person
Obviously this isn't really an option for heroes. A hero can't simply kill the person that knows their secret. Of course with the person knowing, there's the potential that information could lead to the deaths of innocents. The hero could try to justify that removing this person would just be another way to do their duty of protecting others.
Unfortunately, that's not how it works. Heroes can't kill just because their secret got out.
Mind wipes or telepathically erasing the information
This isn't really an option for the average hero and it could lead to other problems.
Back in IDENTITY CRISIS, it was revealed that Zatanna used her powers to give Doctor Light a mind wipe after he committed a repulsive act. He didn't necessarily discover someone's identity but we'll focus on the actions that were used to deal with him.
Despite what he did, he brings up a somewhat valid point. Messing with a person's mind is still a violation. Each time Professor X or Emma Frost tampers with a person's memories, they are violating the person and their rights. Despite what he Light did, Batman didn't feel mindwiping him was the solution. That resulted in Batman getting his memories adjusted as well. It was just a big snowball of a mess.
Fake your death and create a new secret identity
When Superman realized he was being followed by Nimrod, it appears he quickly put a plan into motion. The world believes Clark Kent is dead. This caught Nimrod off guard. So what can Superman do now? Looks like he'll be creating a new secret identity.
Again, this isn't the best solution. If a hero has friends and family, faking their death might solve the immediate problem but it also means they won't really be able to have any contact with them. Not all heroes have the luxury of simply walking away from their lives.
Make a deal with the "devil"
This is never a good idea. Never.
What is the solution?
Basically superheroes need to do everything they can to keep their secret identity closely guarded. Too much depends on it. There are those that don't bother having one. This frees them from having to worry about it. They can focus on actually being a hero all the time. It's not the easiest thing to do since they would have to be extra cautious about friends and family.
Superheroes with secret identities need to do all they can to ensure they never get discovered.