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Call for Reviews - Incognito: Bad Influences #1

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john lewis hawk

Founder of The Outhouse

Postby john lewis hawk » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:11 pm

Superboy's cancelled too.
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Regular-Sized Poster

Postby guitarsmashley » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:12 pm

john lewis hawk wrote:Superboy's cancelled too.

You shut your whore mouth. Also issue 6 solicitation is amazing considering there is no issue 7.
"Attention new readers: This shock-filled issue is a great jumping-on point! After last issue's daring developments, learn what will impact our deadly duo next! What is Hawkeye's new mission? Why is Mockingbird in the Savage Land? What secret is Dominic Fortune keeping? And who is the mysterious organization that is launching plans to destroy the lives of our troubled tandem?"

Royal Nonesuch

Staff Writer

Postby Royal Nonesuch » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:51 pm

Narratively, this issue did a lot of set-up and catch up. It really ran down most of what you need to know from the first volume, and lets us into Zack's head so we can see how it all affected him. It's a nice, meandering story that shows us the typical day in the life of our main character.

Sean Phillips is the real star here. He draws the issue with some classic comic book storytelling layouts, which provides a great sense of pacing and storytelling. It's a joy to look at, and the story is served so well by it.

Also, as an aside, Brubaker mentions Winter's Bone in the back matter, which is a nice little movie I saw this past summer but it didn't really find much of an audience. That has nothing to do with anything, but I was glad to see it.
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Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:08 pm

starlord wrote:

It"s CANCELLED????!!!! When the hell did that happen?!?!

Change of plans. Superboy #1 is my pick for this week.

What was solicited as #7 and #8 has been changed into a separate mini-series, Widowmaker.
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Stephen Day

Wrasslin' Fan

Postby Stephen Day » Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:23 pm

starlord wrote:

It"s CANCELLED????!!!! When the hell did that happen?!?!

Change of plans. Superboy #1 is my pick for this week.

Ah crap, I though I'd be able to participate next week, now I can't. :smt011
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Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:13 pm

Incognito: Bad Influences #1 - Untitled - Brubaker & Phillips

Story - When there's a new Brubaker/Phillips comic on the shelves, it's an event. It doesn't matter whether it's Criminal or Incognito or Sleeper or Little Lulu, this creative team is one of the most fertile and exciting in comics, and has been for the last 7 years. When it comes to these two, you expect quality.

And the first chapter of Incognito: Bad Influences certainly doesn't skimp on the quality, this is top-notch stuff, and I already can't wait for the next instalment.

Incognito has always been superheroes at their darkest, at their most noir, it's so dark that it's almost not even superheroes. Brubaker is playing a lot here with notions of heroism, and in the world of Incognito, the line between good and bad is a very murky one. Zack Overkill may now be working for 'Good Guys', but he sees very little difference between his work for S.O.S. and what he did before as a 'villain' with the Black Death. Zack Himself has remained largely unchanged by his switch of allegiances, he is still filled to the brim with disdain for non-powered people, and he hates his secret identity, it seems that regardless which side he is on, his life still sucks. These parallels with the first series are interesting, but Zack's neverending pessimism, and frankly, his whining, do serve to make him quite an unlikeable protagonist. But that's just one of the things that sets Incognito apart.

The murky line between good and evil theme continues with Zack's new mission, to go after an S.O.S. Agent who went undercover in an Evil Organisation and went native. Yes there are shades of Sleeper here, with allegiance upon allegiance being played opposite eachother, but obviously Brubaker knows the similarities, seeing as he wrote both stories, and I'm willing to bet things will go in quite a different direction.

Another aspect of Incognito I love that gets a good outing here is the fact that it's rooted in the world of the old Pulp magazines, and full of nods and homages to them. This is played somewhat for laughs with characters like 'GI Gorilla' and 'The Nuclear Nazis', but we also get a more detailed exploration of what the Shadow-analogue Lazarus was actually like, and we see the correlation between the Pulp world, and the present world, in the story of Ignatius Beekman. I love the sort of secret, hidden world Brubaker has built into this story, mainly teased through subtle hints in the first story, and then expanded upon in Jess Nevins' fake articles. Now thankfully it seems that Bru will be exploring the Pulpy past more in Bad Influences, and that can only be a good thing. Noir is all about the past catching up with you, and unfortunately for Zack, what's catching up with him are things he didn't even do!

Incognito is plain and simple, just good comics, so reader may gripe that we're getting this instead of Criminal, but to me, a Brubaker/Phillips joint is the same quality regardless of genre, and rest assured, this is quality.

Art - It seems kind of silly to do these as separate sections, because there's such a strong relationship between Ed Brubaker's words and Sean Phillips' pencils, it's hard to really get one without the other. It's the perfect fit for this kind of story, and we even get some nudity!

Best Line - 'Only thing we're sure of is you're not a clone', not the most snappy of lines, but it really threw me for a loop, what the hell is Zack if he's not a clone?

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Windom URL

Rain Partier

Postby Windom URL » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:30 pm


This first issue is pretty much all exposition, ironic after the snarky lack of recap on the inside cover. This is a comic that tells you stuff instead of showing it, through the heavy-handed dual narratives that switch narrators in the middle of the issue without any clear delineation, even a differently-colored caption box.

That was actually one of my least favorites devices used--my initial reading of the comic was interrupted and I had to skip ahead to figure out I was reading narrative captions by Zoe Zeppelin instead of Zack after the break because I couldn't reconcile narration and narrator. This left me shaking my head at how an attempt to be clever could backfire like that on a writer--I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time but I'm not sure why.

In the initial miniseries, Zack goes from a powerful thug who uses his powers to take whatever he wants to a nobody in a dead end job and his reaction to that created an inner conflict that was interesting to explore--here in the sequel, he gets the excitement back and no longer has to slave away in an office but whines about having to do things like pay his rent with the gov't money he receives, or buying groceries. The interesting internal conflict has been replaced by mundane moaning about his new life, complete with screwing the boss. Compared to the first volume of the title, this exploration of Zack's interior life comes up lacking substance and depth.

The parts showing Lazarus and Zack's connection to him are the most interesting things I:BI #1 has going for it, but the confrontation with IG is merely a method to put Zack's credibility in doubt and set up his undercover op. The IG story doesn't even make sense, as the explosives he uses are suspected to come from one of Lazarus' old bases--it's highly unlikely IG as a lowly stool pigeon would be given access or even knowledge of Lazarus' secret hideouts or tech. I just don't see it, and it just seems like an easy means to an end.

Sean Phillips artwork looks good here, if a little static with many basically repetitive panel compositions. There's nothing very impressive or memorable, but it serves to illustrate the exposition-heavy issue well.

I had the feeling I'd read a lot of this issue before so when I got to Jess Nevin's article on pulp history I wasn't that surprised it also gave me a sense of deja vu. I've read about the Phantom Detective elsewhere and found the article weak and a lot less informative than even the wiki page for said pulp hero. The legacy of the longest running pulp character is so underplayed by Nevins he neglects to even mention, for instance, that two early Batman editors, Jack Schiff and Mort Wesinger, may have been inspired by their earlier days on the pulps to adapt PD's red beacon in the sky to the bat-signal used by Batman, or even that the exploits of the Phantom Detective have been reprinted over the last several years by Adventure House as well as earlier reprints of the material. The PD has a strong fanbase in the pulp community, in fact in 2006 the first new story using the character in 50 years was written. The PD inspired no one, Jess? Really?

I found this to be a very disappointing return to Incognito.

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Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:08 am

Surely the big 'The Old Man's Problem' box was indication enough that the narrative changed? It may not be obvious that it's Zoe Zeppelin, but it's clearly not Zack because of that box.

More than one person here has reviewed the Recap Page in almost as great a detail as the actual comic, makes me laugh!
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Everybody lies!

Postby GOSD » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:19 pm

Victorian Squid wrote:
I wish I knew if I'd like it enough to! It's such a conundrum.

And if I did like it, what edition to buy?
All of them.
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Review Grouper

Postby 48THRiLLS » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:30 pm

shit... did I forget to review this?


I thought this was a solid start to Brubaker's mistress from Criminal. I really enjoyed the first Incognito story and I am sure that this will be just as good as the aforementioned. If I had a complaint it would be that it muddled a little too much at the beginning (to probably get new readers up to speed) and took a bit to get to the real plot but now that we are past that I am guessing #2 will be just as strong as anything Bru and Phillips have done together. I did really like all the villains they showed in his flashback, I hope they revisit some of em. I am gonna score this a little lower than I would have liked considering most stuff by these two get 10's but a average comic by these guys is still better than most.


ART - 9

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Regular-Sized Poster

Postby guitarsmashley » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:50 pm

stop trying to shirk responsibility and put up the article already.


Postby ****** » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:27 pm

You want it so bad you do it.


Postby ****** » Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:02 pm

Incognito: Bad Influences #1

There's only one fault I can find with Incognito.

It's not Criminal.

That minor nitpick aside, pretty much anything Brubaker, Phillips and Staples do together has been one of my favorite comics over the past couple of years. If they want to pulp it up with Incognito for a while that's okay by me.

There was a lot of 'where are they now' to this issue, but it still did a great job of setting up the current series. If the transition to Sleeper style layouts on that last page didn't give you a nerd boner, you should probably stick to your Reader's Digest subscription and Lifetime movie marathons.

Story: 8
Art: 10
Overall: 9


Postby ****** » Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:19 pm

Royal Nonesuch wrote:Also, as an aside, Brubaker mentions Winter's Bone in the back matter, which is a nice little movie I saw this past summer but it didn't really find much of an audience. That has nothing to do with anything, but I was glad to see it.

The only thing that bums me out about reading these in trades is that I miss out on Brubaker's recommendations. I watched Winter's Bone a couple of nights ago, really good (and depressing) movie.


Postby ****** » Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:44 pm

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