Friday, February 20, 2009

REVIEW :: Incognito by Brubaker and Phillips

reviewed by Carlton Hargro

It looks like writer Ed Brubaker has scored another winning series with the launch of his latest crime/superhero comic Incognito.

Incognito, a creator-owned comic published by Marvel’s Icon imprint, mixes the best aspects of the two genres by telling the story of a former super villain who’s currently in hiding in the Witness Protection Program — and as a result of being bored by his new life, becomes a hero.

Like some of Brubaker’s other crime books, such as Sleeper and Criminal, Incognito is filled with the requisite amounts of sex, violence, double-dealing, femme fatales and more. The story is a lot of fun and the art, by Sean Phillips, is as gritty as the writing. But as much as I love Incognito’s writing and art, I dig the text pieces in the back of each issue even more.

The first two editions of the series featured two prose-style history pieces that explained the past, present and future of pulp characters like the Shadow and Doc Savage. Now that may sound boring on the surface, but both articles are quick reads — short, but enormously informative.

The writers who Brubaker have assembled to craft these historical works thus far have managed to show the links between pulp books of the past and superheroes of today in a way that would be of interest to even casual comic fans.

Personally, I’ve always wondered about the origins of guys like Doc Savage, but I wasn’t stoked about the idea of sifting through some huge tome about him. After I’m done reading an engrossing book like Incognito, however, I’m more prone to just flip through a quick story.

And with the economy the way it is, I appreciate anything that extends my comic reading experience without extending the price.

Carlton Hargro is the Editor-in-Chief of Creative Loafing Charlotte. For more by Carlton, check out the Creative Loafing website.

No comments: