Incognito

May 5, 2009 at 2:01 am (Uncategorized)

‘I knew I was making a mistake before I threw the first punch.

Hell, I knew I was making a mistake when I felt the impact of the gravel crunching under my shoes…

But there was no stopping by then. And I have to admit…

Sometimes making a mistake just feels so fucking good. ‘

Thus opens Ed Brubaker’s new five part super-hero noir series Incognito. Brubaker has written many mainstream comic titles, and he currently most famous as the man who killed Captain America, but it is his noir series Criminal which is his masterpiece.

Anyone familiar with Scorsese, the Soparnos or any of the mob dramas knows about the Witness Protection Program. In exchange for testimony, the state agrees to protect former criminals from their old life. Quite often though, it’s a boring life to which the con, like the junkie who thinks one last fix wont hurt, has trouble adjusting.  

Incognitodevelops that scenario, but with a twist. Zack works in the mail room in a office in a company in Noweheresville, USA. His job is boring, people don’t notice him, life sucks. Welcome to the real world and you’ve got Harvey Pekar’s job.  But once upon a time, Zack, along with his twin brother  Xander were the Overkill Brothers, a pair of super-powered criminals working for the Black Death, the leader of a gang of super-powered villains.

When the Black Death is captured, he arranges for certain members of his gang to be wiped out including the Overkill Brothers. Xander dies, Zack survives. In Witness Protection, Zack is forced to take drugs to cancel his abilities. But the others drugs he does to stay sane have an interesting side-effect: they cancel the ones the feds are giving him. By accident, Zack discovers his abilities are intact, and he begins to use them again.

Unfortunately, Zack’s low-key activities catch the interest of the feds, and his old friends in Black Death.  

Featuring corny or brilliantly named supers like Max Gazer (who can see everyone’s future except his own), Ava Destruction , Firemouth, DoctorLester and more, Incognito is an amazing ride. Each issue features a little essay on a pulp hero. So far, the series has profiled Doc Savage, the spider and of course the Shadow. Well worth hunting down. I’ve poured over each issue, just in case I missed some little detail. Find it, devour it.

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