Review: Incognito #1: Bad Influences

After a hiatus, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips return for another round of  “Incognito.”  This one they’re calling “Bad Influences.” You know, these guys are at the top of their game for this type of crime fiction. Like they say in the comic, if you’re new to this, just go find the trades and catch up.

I like the way Brubaker slices and dices when it comes to set ups. Notice how, when obligated, he will provide a phoned in montage of Captain America and Bucky fighting the Krauts in the Black Forest, etc. It’s like he wants to poke holes through the process. In this comic, he has our hero go through a mad dash recap of some past capers and then drop kicks him into New York City like a rat off a sinking ship. That done, the fog of moral ambiguity can thicken unencumbered. Our hero is Zack. He used to be a super-villain and now, not so much. He has these powers. He’s not human. They’re not sure what he is. He would just like to kick ass as often as he needs to relieve stress. But first, some substantial and  unexpected misadventure. 

Like any good hard-on-his-luck Brubaker character, it’s not long before Zack has accidently killed a guy and set off the latest chain of events that will tear up his miserable life. Cool noir this is. And, yes, there is a babe and Zack and she become bedmates, but nothing more. In the best scene in the issue, Zack momentarily becomes vulnerable and asks Zoe for a favor. She is his boss, and he was hoping she could talk some sense into, Von Chance, a prick that also answers to her. Unforutantely for Zack, Zoe must remind him there really isn’t that much between the two of them. That is about as lucky as this guy gets. It won’t be long before Zoe has completely turned against him and it all goes back to a most unfortunate mistake that Zack could have avoided.

Among the regular tidbits at the end of the comic, it was nice to read that the “Incognito” movie is shaping up well and has Robert Schenkkano attached to write the screenplay. Schenkkano, and Christopher Hampton, wrote the screenplay for “The Quite American.” As you may know, that has an impressive performance by Brendan Fraser. And yet another brilliant performance by one of the greats, Michael Caine. The movie has lots of memorable dialogue, such as these last lines:

They say you come to Vietnam and understand a lot in a few minutes. The rest has got to be lived. They say whatever it was you were looking for, you will find here. They say there is a ghost in every house, and if you can make peace with him, he will stay quiet.

“Incognito” is published by Marvel and is part of their ICON line. Go get yourself  a copy.

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Filed under Ed Brubaker, ICON Comics, Marvel Comics, Sean Phillips

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