Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quick Look: Ed Brubaker's INCOGNITO

Ed Brubaker is well known for the crime noir works 'Criminal' and 'Sleeper' and also for his work on the Batman spin-off series 'Gotham Central' and for the infamous 'Death of Captain America' event for Marvel Comics.

Brubaker teamed up with artist Sean Phillips, known for his recent work on Marvel Zombies, to create a noir story called 'Incognito.' It's about a super criminal 'Zack Overkill' who betrays his boss to the police after he himself feels betrayed. He then enters a witness protection program to hide from any potential retaliation from his other criminal buddies. However, life as a normal person takes its toll on him and he hates the fact that it limits him from exercising the freedom to do what he wants and enjoy his powers as he did back in his criminal days.

Unfortunately for him, his old boss is closing in on his whereabouts, and he finds himself turning towards the super heroes for help; but they're not necessarily willing to help an old supposedly-reformed criminal. In order to gain their trust, Zack might even have to consider helping them fight against other criminals as a hero, but that risks further exposing Zack's identity to the criminal underworld and dragging him back into the spotlight!

The story might be similar in a sense to anyone familiar with Mark Waid's 'Incorruptible', where an evil ex-criminal considered beyond reform struggles to become a person who fights for good. The difference here is that Zack Overkill is more cynical, and is rather forced to consider becoming a reluctant superhero due to a series of circumstances rather than of his own volition.

The setting is a throwback to a 30's era of pulp and sci-fi comics with bold heroes and heroines in the same vein of Doc Savage, or the likes of Flash Gordon and the Phantom. Human tough guys with their likewise ludicrous and campy villians, names and all, but filtered through a more realistic lens and with an infusion of noir's complexity, violence, and dangerous damsels. The artstyle has a flat color pallette with emphasis on light and shadow and monochromes.

Incognito has a sequel called 'Incognito: Bad Influences' that picks up with Zack's new life following the outcome of the first book. Both books are available at our store for the U.S. Cover price. We even have the larger hardcover 'Incognito Classified Edition' for collectors that contains both books plus a lot more material for insight into the creative process!