Ed Brubaker continues to blow me away with his comic book writing. I first took notice of him during a four-issue series he did for Vertigo called Scene of the Crime. I loved the noir style he infused the story with. Then I caught up with some of his work on Gotham Central, about the Gotham City Police Department. But it was his runs on Sleeper, Captain America, and Daredevil that captured my little fanboy heart. However, when he started penning Criminal, he bowled me over again.
And now, Incognito.
Who would have thought about doing a series starring a super-criminal now in protective custody, trying to live without powers under another name?
Ed Brubaker, that’s who. Even though I like Brubaker’s writing, I really thought he’d overreached his abilities when I first heard about this concept. I thought the story would be corny, or it would be about a character I couldn’t empathize with.
Happily, I was wrong on both counts. Zack Overkill is a totally empathetic character even at the outset when I didn’t like him much. He is a guy whose world has gotten twisted away from him, and he’d lost his twin brother Xander. He’s gone from powerful to powerless and is stuck in a dead-end job that he hates.
Then, one day, the drugs his parole officer uses to suppress his superpowers inexplicably stop working. Zack is back, and maybe more powerful than ever. But he’s not the same man he was.
I love how Brubaker shows this part of the character, the inability to be like everyone else. He was a villain at first, then he’s become a hero. He doesn’t know why he has to go out and fight crime every night, but he can’t simply sit back and do nothing. And he doesn’t want to go back to his criminal ways. However, even Zack’s altruistic ways soon get him in trouble, and Brubaker’s story takes off like a jet.