The first comic I bought and read this year also happens to be the first issue of a new mini-series from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Incognito. This is their second creator-owned book for the Icon imprint and comes while they take a break from their ongoing series Criminal, of which I have been a fan without having read all of the series yet (a fact I plan on remedying in 2009). Incognito grew out of Brubaker's thoughts on the pulp origins of super-heroes, though this series focuses on a villain.
In this first issue, we are introduced to Zach Overkill. He is a former science-villain who teamed with his twin brother under the name Overkill Brothers. His brother is now dead and Zack is in a kind of witness protection under a system set up by Professor Zeppelin. They worked for an organization called Black Death but now Zach is working as a file clerk and his powers are controlled by drugs. He is cut off from society in a number of ways and numbing himself with drugs and women. Things change and events are set in motion that can only end badly. It should be quite a ride.
I am a big fan of Sean Phillips. He draws in a gritty yet clean and accessible style that works very well for these kind of books. He knows how to tell a story through his art. He also does a killer drawing of The Shadow for the back matter, in which Jess Nevins gives us the history of The Shadow. I never realized there were differences betwee the pulp and radio versions before.
Ed Brubaker is interested in what makes criminals tick and this looks to be another great character study. I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes.