Sunday, September 30, 2012

Incognito, Volume 1

Incognito is a wonderful mash of noir, superheroes, and pulp fiction. It has evil mad scientists who grow creatures in jars, villains who wear domino masks, and heroes who drive flying cars. The plot revolves around Zack Overkill, a former science villain who has been placed in the witness protection program. He has turned evidence against his former boss, Black Death, and has had his powers chemically removed as part of the program. Unfulfilled with his boring lifestyle, Zack turns to recreational drugs, which he finds out counteract his power-dampening meds. Given the chance to exercise his powers again, Zack takes to clandestine nighttime jaunts around the city, with his old lifestyle luring him to his former habits.

Much like the series Sleeper, Incognito is a fascinating take on the superhero/villain dichotomy. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips continue to co-produce excellent and enjoyable comics. They are both Eisner Award winning creators and frequent collaborators on series such as Criminal and Fatale. Brubaker talks about Incognito in this interview as well as this one. This series was optioned to be made into a film or TV series, though it seems to be in limbo.

This trade paperback collects the first 6 issue mini-series originally published in 2008-2009. All the write-ups I have found about it online have been full of praise. Esquire's Eric Gillin called the series "a refreshingly post-adolescent fantasy, filled with bad guys and even-worse guys, a witness-protection plan for super-powered snitches, and damsels who repay heroes with a roll in the hay." The Los Angeles Times' Geoff Boucher praised the noirish plot and Brubaker's "fantastic touch with dialogue." The reviewer at Collector's Paradise called this book Brubaker and Phillips' "third Masterpiece."

Incognito is published under Marvel Comics' Icon Imprint. A sizable preview is available here from Comics Related.

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