Book of Doom:
Incognito #1

incognito 1

Sorry it took so long for this review to get up, but we’ve been behind in getting our comics, and we’ve all been pretty busy with other stuff. Hope you can forgive us, because this is the last time I’m ever apologizing for anything, ever again.

Incognito #1, to me, seems like a perfect first issue. The groundwork for this universe is laid out, the main character is firmly established, and the general direction of where the plot is headed is given a big, menacing push at the end. All in all, you can’t ask for a more solid first effort.

Based on the reputation of the creative team, I was fully expecting a home-run opener, and this surely doesn’t disappoint. Aside from that, I don’t have much else to say, other than that I’m really looking forward to what comes next, and I’d encourage anybody who missed out on this issue to track a copy down and get up to speed.

Here’s what Jim Doom has to say about it:

I guess Incognito is a case of how you don’t have to have an interesting premise to make a decent comic. I enjoyed reading this, and I’m sure to keep reading it, but the premise seemed almost amateurish, as if Ed Brubaker were reviving this character as a favor to his aging neighbor who had a lame comic in the ’50s. I think the excitement of finally getting my hands on the book and reading it inflated my experience a little, because I’m definitely coming down.

Maybe I’m being too hard on it, because when I think about it — an ex villain becoming a good guy because he misses the rush — I guess it seems kind of novel. Maybe the pulp / noir aspect gimmick factor has been used enough in the past few years that it was essentially invisible, and so the book depended on the story.

The use of the Santa Claus scene definitely made Zack seem like a creep, which was good, but the attempted parallel between the Santa Rape disguise and a “super” costume seemed a bit contrived. He talks about really being in touch with himself while hidden behind a costume, yet a few pages later he’s talking about how the criminals were the only honest people. It just felt more like lines from a cliche collection than an internal monologue from a real character. I felt I got a much better sense of the guy from the exchanges with his rehab handler.

And I’m curious to see where his “hero” career goes from here. If he really just becomes a good guy because it gives him the same rush of being a bad guy, there’s really no reason why he wouldn’t just become a bad guy, because then he gets the profit that drove him originally. And the story behind the drug — the witness protection program requires he be on a power-inhibiting drug, but he does recreational drugs, so he takes something else to hide the recreational drugs from his system, but the recreational drugs negate the inhibitors, thus secretly releasing his powers — is riddled with seemingly arbitrary burdens that are lifted with coincidences.

I fully expected to like this book, and the more I think about it, the less I do. But I’ll probably keep buying it if for no other reason than the fact that I didn’t like Criminal #1 but it ended up being really good. I have enough faith that this will turn into a good comic, and if it doesn’t, it’s $3.50 for something with no ads that’s still better than most of the junk I still buy. I also like the way Brubaker tries to make the comic into a little insiders-club magazine with the column and articles at the end. And other than the mysterious floating phone of page 3, Sean Phillips’ art was great.