Incognito: The Classified Edition by Ed Brubaker is a graphic novel that collects Incognito 1-6 and Bad Influences 1-5. Brubaker is the creator and author of such notable comics as Criminal and Fatale of which I am a huge fan. So eventually I would find a work by Brubaker that I did not in love with and this is it.
What happens to super villains when they get captured? They get sent into super villain witness protection program where they are drugged enough to keep their powers in check. Zack Overkill is a file clerk. A quiet sort of guy that you wouldn’t notice. But it wasn’t always that way. Together with his twin brother Xander, the Overkill brothers were responsible for over two hundred acts of domestic terrorism. Now Xander was dead and Zack hidden in plain sight, his powers kept in check. Until the day Zack starts to miss the excitement of his old life. Only now he isn’t committing acts of crime, now he’s trying to stop them. But Zack’s actions do not go unnoticed. Not by the powers that want to keep him in check or the his old bosses that want Zack back or dead.
Incognito is a blend of criminal noire and dark superhero storytelling that Vertigo is known for. For me it just doesn’t click. Zack and the origin story is convoluted. The factory of super powered humans is not very original as the brief lessons in history as to how the two super powered groups came to being. For a Brubaker story it just doesn’t engage. Whether it is a superhero or a main character in a traditional novel setting, there should be some kind of connect between the character or the reader. It doesn’t come to being with Zack Overkill. You never get his sense of redemption of his outrage at his coming into being. You just get the sense that he is doing this because, well, he is bored and after a time, as a reader, so are you.