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Incognito (Incognito #1)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  3,103 ratings  ·  167 reviews
What if you were an ex-super villain hiding out in Witness Protection... but all you could think about were the days when the rules didn't apply to you? Could you be a humdrum office clerk after being the best at years of leaving destruction in your wake? And what if you couldn't stand it? What would you do then? Incognito - a twisted mash-up of noir and super-heroics - by ...more
Paperback, 166 pages
Published December 9th 2009 by Marvel (first published November 1st 2009)
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Remember the end of Goodfellas where Ray Liotta is complaining about having to live like an ordinary schmoo after going into witness protection? And the real Henry Hill that Liotta played has had numerous arrests since turning rat because apparently once you’ve been a gangster, working a regular job just doesn’t provide the same opportunities for excitement.

Now imagine that you had been a super powered villain before becoming a regular old clock puncher. Like Doctor Doom working for an insuranc
Brubaker formula for a noir comic:
- self-aware protagonist, acknowledging his self-destructive nature as it consumes him: check
- flashback sequences in different colour palettes, illustrating the good old/naive days: check
- loner guy gets obsessed with a standoffish bitch: check
- skips most of the daytime in favour of nighttime scenes with long shadows and meaningfully darkened parts of faces: check
- bastards threatening women in sexually suggestive ways: check
- blackmail from unexpected places:
This has been an exceptional year for me in terms of the quality of material I've been reading. I think I've given out more 5 star reviews that anyone I know. Well, it's either this or I'm easily impressed.


Not only have I been recommended Ed Brubraker and sean Phillips' work by fellow Goodreader Stephen but when I saw that Bill Hader had written the forward to this graphic novel, I was genuinely intrigued. Hader, who is easily my favorite cast member working SNL today, is a crim
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
What if a powerful supervillain ended up in witness protection, working a regular office job like the average Joe?

That is the scenario that Ed Brubaker presents his readers in the series "Incognito."

Zack Overkill was 'a very villainous fellow,' it was all he knew. And then his world changed. His brother was killed and he woke up in a secret government hospital and he was given drugs to deactivate his supernatural abilities and he was under the oversight of SOS, who had once been his greatest ad
Picture a supervillain in the witness protection program. That's Zach Overkill. With his twin brother, Xander, he had spent his life working for The Black Death. Now Xander is dead, and Zach has given evidence against his former boss. Aside from being given a new name and a normal job, he's also on drugs to suppress his powers. But when he starts taking drugs on the side, they cancel out the power suppressors, and Zach finds himself playing hero. This brings him to the attention of both supervil ...more
Ron Nie
So I know a second miniseries of this came out in 2010, hopefully that book resolves my big issue with this comic, but I'll be honest, I'm not planning on giving it a read.
The first few pages of this comic introduce us to Zack Overkill, former superpowered troublemaker who basically struck a plea deal with the feds, turned over valuable info on a big bad, and in return was allowed superhero parole (drugged so that he can't have his powers, forced into a file clerk job).
One of the very first th
ok, let me start this off by saying that by the end of part 4 i was leaning towards 2.5, really but then i read the last part and lolwot was that?

the first two parts were some dude!bro pseudo intellectual ramblings about good and bad and society and government, ooh that we have heard so many times before. we get it, everything is grey and all that old shit but like the way the creators of this piece did it wasn't very rewarding. it felt like we were meant to think that what they said was so impo
Sam Quixote
Once the good guys have rounded up the bad guys in the superhero books they usually wind up somewhere like Arkham Asylum (Batman) or sent into space in a mirror (Superman 2), but in this book Ed Brubaker has his villain wind up in a Witness Relocation Program and given a job as a file clerk. There he lives a normal life of boredom, his super powers regulated by drugs administered by the good guys (a kind of less glamorous JLA). But the life he lived is too alluring and he soon finds his ways bac ...more
Will Hinds
As a fan of Criminal, I was looking forward to Brubaker's take on a noir superhero comic. Tonally, I can feel it, but the story kind of rambles around in a way that really put me off. Of course, being a superhero comic there's the expected far fetched science fiction. That, I can handle and expected. The problem is, hm, harder to pinpoint than I expected when I decided to write this review...

OK, see, the things Zack (the protagonist) thinks are very noir-esque, his internal monologue. So that's
I'm impressed. Very impressed. And this is shocking because I have always avoided "crime" comics and I really didn't want to read another super hero comic.
This is unlike anything I have ever read before. It's dark, gritty but comical. I love the way Zack looks at "regular" people. The good guys and bad guys are ALL over the top, with crazy names and even crazier powers. This is like being on a carnival ride with rusty bolts, it's not a safe read. It throws twists and turns, but most importantly
Richard Guion
Great premise: the super-villain Zack Overkill goes into a witness protection program after he turns on his mega crime boss, The Black Death. Zack had a Partner In Crime, his twin brother, who was murdered by The Black Death. The story finds Zack working in a mid-western city, an errand boy in a corporate office, so low he's looked down upon by secretaries. His powers are nullified by drugs he is forced to take. When he finds a way around it, Zack puts on a mask and finds himself fighting crime ...more
Hoy lo releí. Brubaker me gusta más escribiendo creaciones propias como estas, de corte noir con mezcla de ciencia ficción, que escribiendo superhéroes. El dibujo de Phillips es espectacular y le da ese toque sucio que queda muy bien.
Yet another fine independent creation by Brubaker & Philips. This one focuses on a former supervillain (mid-level) in the witness protection program after being caught by 'good guys'. Thematically similar to Mark Waid's Incorruptible series, yet more pulpy like Criminal series. I liked it, though not quite as strong as Criminal, the ideas are fun to explore and it is great to see a book done from the villain POV when he's not really as bad as u think, and you even feel sorry for him and what ...more
If you've read (and liked) either Sleeper and/or Criminal, you have to read this. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have yet to disappoint me - with Incognito they crafted another really cool, dark and compelling series. This time, about a former super-villain who's undercover, pretending to be just another normal person going about their lives. I devoured this, and seriously, getting this book would've been worth it simply for the covers alone. And the art. But add to that the superb writing, and y ...more
Okay this is a hard one to review.

I loved the overall storyline of an ex super villain in witness protection and teetering between good/evil. There were some badass characters and the action scenes were very easy to follow. The art style was done in fantastic color combinations and tones.


Why did we need to have our main character have sex with an intoxicated woman....who thought she was having sexual intercourse with someone else. That was so unneeded for the storyline. We could have est
Maggie Gordon
To be fair, this book is more of a 2.5. Technically, it's great. The art is detailed, gritty, and gives a good foundation to the weighty atmosphere. The dark and grim mood is spot on. Overall, the book captures the noir genre very well. On the other hand, the story isn't particularly novel. The idea of a bad guy who turns good has been done many times before, particularly in the noir and superhero genres, and Incognito doesn't add anything new to these themes. Furthermore, there's a lot of gende ...more
Zack Overkill is a reformed super villain trapped in the ennui of a typical office job and yearns for the excitement of his past. As intriguing as this premise was, the execution left me cold. Not helping things was the ridiculous portrayal of every woman in the story as having large breasts and a thin waist, but the worst was the protagonist's blaming the victim in a potential rape scene. After asking himself, "What is this stupid bitch doing walking down an alley in the middle of the night?" h ...more
I can see what they were trying to do with this book but honestly it didn't work for me. The main character seemed too much like the standard anti-hero protag and it seemed like he was too close to standard archetype for me to get at all invested in him. Also, not at all fond of trying to create a "redeemable" character who is also a rapist. Also not at all fond of the way the woman he raped was treated. A woman who doesn't want to spend time with a guy who comes off as intensely bored with his ...more
Abraham Thunderwolf
The team that brought Criminal to the world doing a book about a supervillan who is now in witness protection? OH YEAH I'M TOTALLY READING THIS, was my thought as I picked it up. If I was reading this on the train I probably would've missed my stop. It's this crazy noir/pulp fiction of old/superhero world, lots of moral grays and black shadows. Zack's, the main character, day to day, his dreary office job, visits with his handler, are presented in sickly yellows, but his night time adventures co ...more
Farah Ng
Review from Broken Penguins blog:

I recently found myself at the neighbourhood Heroes World looking at graphic novels with a friend. Past all the Walking Dead comics was Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillip’s Incognito.

Incognito is different from what I know of comics (disclaimer: I know nothing about comics) — it’s more than just action. It’s a dark and hilarious story. The characters are bitterly sarcastic. It’s everything you want after a long day at work.

Having enjoyed Fatale so much I decided to check out what other books Ed and Sean had worked together on. I must admit I don't care for superheroes so wouldn't have bought this one but I'm glad I read it. I was definitely in the mood to read something with an anti-hero as the hero. It was interesting to see the focus on villains instead of heroes. I also like how much of a "normal life is hell" the book was focusing on. I didn't enjoy the art as much as Fatale but I still liked the book overall. ...more
I was worried I would not like this, because it seems like it's going for the "darky and gritty" thing that so many superhero novels do, where it's more about just crudeness and making things "edgy" by having everyone be total assholes, than actually making an engaging story.

But that wasn't this.

The story is that Zack has been stripped of his powers and dropped into witness protection following giving testimony on his former boss, supervillain Black Death. And the beginning does seem like it's g
The most recent Brubaker/Phillips collaboration I read was the Criminal series. This one is a bit different. It isn't just the subject matter, but the tone. This does not try to explore character depth or progression. Normally that would be a bad thing. But given the subject matter, Brubaker would come off preachy and cliche. I finished this hoping to read more in the series. Art is standard Sean Phillips, what does stand out a bit is the colors by Val Staples, nicely garish, with odd clashing c ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Haris Ansari
Despite the simple and somewhat cheesy dialogue ("tough tittie, Mister science-villain..."), Incognito's story and character proved interesting enough to draw me in...till it all started falling apart near the end.

While the author weaves a universe and tale that compliment each other perfectly, it all collapses into an ending rather abruptly. Quite unprecedented considering how, prior to the final chapter, the novel had provided me with ample time to digest and appreciate all new developments.

An Odd1
SMAKK RRRIIPPPP WHUUPP KRAKK explode from night-dark blood-red backgrounds; obscenities balloon from mouths, guns decapitate in gore. (BG bad-guys big-guns bloody-gore shelf, not "Like", but fills nightmare horror niche.) From empty solitude to hopeful redemption, scruffy hero Zack slowly slides from bad to good. Cover says all - white smile above white shirt splotched with red on dark background. Counting pages annoying.

Zack Andersen is bored lonely alienated file clerk in Witness Protection,
THIS is a five star comic! I'd had it on my shelf for a couple of years, knowing it would be good, but not wanting to have run out of Brubaker books to read. Glad I waited, and now dreaming there will someday be a Volume 2!

I've said it time and again, Brubaker does gritty noir supers better than anyone, and when he gets to tell his own tight, non-corporate universe stories, he just excels. Using classic Zeppelin pulp characters that have languished since the '30s, Incognito translates them into
Mike (the Paladin)
Well, I've joked about using this word to describe books so often but it seems so apropos so often...this is an "interesting" book.

I give it a 3 and lest you don't know, from me that's a good thing. This is an interesting concept, though it's an idea that's been done a lot in the last few years at least in general, That is it's another attempt to take comic book superheroes and super-villains and bring them into the seedy, seamy, nasty, disappointing, cussing real world. We get lots of 4 letter
I love a good noir, a good pulp, they are fun to read, to get lost in, now I have not always been sold on Ed Brubaker as an author, I started reading Criminal Volume one, which is created by the same team, of Brubaker and Phillips, however about 3/4 ofthe way through, the story got bogged down and I got bored so I never finished the book, now, this hase of course made me shy of this series, but I don't know, just kinda had a hunch in the comic store and picked it up and I am very glad I did.

A su
Kevin Mann
Pretty good! I wont restate the plot themes like all the other reviews. On one hand, I wouldnt say this is brubaker/phillips "BEST" but it is a worthwhile better than average read, and ,it stands pretty well as a homage to the quirks and goofy fun of the 30s & 40s ERA pulps, mixing in superhero cliches from more recent times...The only minor complaint I have here is there were times i wondered why i care about this "zack overkill" guy? He isnt as compelling as other brubaker/phillps protagon ...more
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She-Geeks: This topic has been closed to new comments. Incognito by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (July read) 15 24 Jul 29, 2013 05:32PM  
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Ed Brubaker (born November 17, 1966) is an Eisner Award-winning American cartoonist and writer. He was born at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

Brubaker is best known for his work as a comic book writer on such titles as Batman, Daredevil, Captain America, Iron Fist, Catwoman, Gotham Central, Sleeper, Uncanny X-Men and X-Men: Deadly Genesis, and The Authority, and for helping
More about Ed Brubaker...

Other Books in the Series

Incognito (3 books)
  • Incognito, Vol. 2: Bad Influences
  • Incognito: The Classified Edition
Batman: The Man Who Laughs X-Men: Messiah Complex Criminal, Vol. 1: Coward Captain America: Winter Soldier, Vol. 1 Captain America: The Death of Captain America, Vol. 1: The Death of the Dream

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