Monday, January 23, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: Incognito Bad Influences

When we last left Zack Overkill, he'd been working for the good guys, the S.O.S., a group of government backed science heroes.  He's been with them for over a year, doing their dirty work, earning their trust and now they want him to take on a mission that will take him back into the criminal underworld he thought to be behind him.

Overkill is tasked with the job of infiltrating a criminal organization in order to extract another S.O.S. agent who they think may have gone over to the other side. Overkill has to use his frayed old connections to get back in the good graces with the people he's been busting, maiming, and imprisoning for the past year, and try to infiltrate one of the biggest crime organizations in the world.

When I began to read the second Incognito trade, I was shocked to see that the plot was eerily similar to that of one of Brubaker's and Phillips' earlier works, Sleeper.  It felt a little cheap that they would basically re-do the plot but with different characters.  Being the trusting and patient guy that I am, I figured I'd stick around and see if they'd take the plot in any different directions this time around.  For the most part, things stayed mostly the same, except for one major difference: The ways in which Zack Overkill and Holden Carver (the main guy in Sleeper) handle being a bad guy.

While Carver was very much reluctant, Overkill is just the opposite, and instead pretty much lives it up in a way that only a super powered baddie can.  Whether its hard core drinking, prostitute orgies, or just enjoying cracking some skulls, Overkill seems to be back in his element.  Though I thought there was more tension with Carver in Sleeper, it is sorta fun to revel with Overkill in his return to the uh, dark side.

Getting mixed up with the bad crowd isn't all fun and games, as Overkill quickly learns.  He soon uncovers a nefarious plot, and is torn between doing the right thing, trusting his allies, and saving his own ass.

Once again, the high quality of storytelling and art was evident in Incognito Bad Influences, but it didn't really deliver too much in terms of new material, which for me, was ultimately disappointing.  This was basically well written, well drawn rehashing of the plot from a previous title by the same creative team.  Not exactly what I was hoping for.

The ending seemed to leave the door open for more adventures with Zack Overkill, so we'll have to see what the future holds.  It appears that any more Incognito stories are on the back burner for now because  Brubaker and Phillips will be concentrating on their creator owned Image title, Fatale.  In terms of quality and entertainment, you can't go too far wrong with Incognito Bad Influences, but if you have already read Sleeper, you will probably enjoy this one less than someone who hasn't.

Grade: C

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