Friday, March 13, 2009

Brubaker and Phillips, "Incognito"

Goodness with a capitol G!

Of all the titles in the Marvel catalog I read only two these days, both are by the same creative team and both are among the very best books being produced in the industry today. They are, Criminal and Incognito. I'll save a review of Criminal for another day and focus on Incognito this afternoon. First off, the balance between story and art work is perfect and, Icognito is a book I enjoy reading as much as I enjoy looking at. This is a title for grownups and I don't recommend it as appropriate for small children. That being said, I really think that's one of the reasons I like this book so very much. The story line is about a twin who watches his brother gunned down in the midst of a battle with police after a robbery effort goes terribly bad. He is offered a deal if he turns on the brains of the outfit he's working for which he readily accepts. He is then entered into the government's witness protection program.

This is a tale that will grab you firmly by the cojones and command your attention from the very first panel of the story. The colors used to create mood are lurid and psychedelic in intensity. I always feel as if I'm being assaulted by garish signs offering titillating XXX promises of nude girls and twisted sex acts. I know it's dirty and I shouldn't be going into that kind of shop, but its got me by the balls and I just can't help but enter a peep show booth for one quick glimpse of a forbidden world of cheap physical gratification. Yes, the artwork and the color schemes used to enhance it are just that visceral and enticing.

Ed Brubaker knows how to tell a story. He's one of those writers who knows how to make characters and the world they inhabit come alive without going into verbose descriptions of setting and character motivation. He knows how to keep it real too. The main character in Incognito is in spite of his super abilities little more than a thug. His task is to pull off the job rather than think about it. He is a muscle boy and there's not much effort to ennoble him whatsoever. You won't be bothered with rationalization and justifications here, this guy is just as liable to do whatever he does for beer and babes than for any other reason. He loves the fighting and he loves the thrill of the action. I shouldn't like the guy at all and I don't, but I can't help but be fascinated by the things he does. He's a like bug I'm watching under a magnifying glass. Eventually I'm going to focus the sun's rays on him until he lays in a writhing mass of smoking ruin, but in the meantime I 'm getting a kick out of watching him crawl all over the dead bird.

I know, so far I keep thinking, "If not for the calming grace of illegal drugs there go I." Reading Incognito is like sleeping with that freaky hottie of a crack whore where you have a thousand and one good reasons for not going anywhere near her, but you'll never be able to forget that one thing she did with her tongue in the bad place for the rest of your life. You know what I'm saying...

Hey, as long as my buddies and the wife never find out about it, and I ain't telling no one, what's the harm?

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