Cover of Incognito 1 (Dec, 2008).Art by Sean Phillips.
|Publisher||Icon Comics (imprint of Marvel Comics)|
|Publication date||December 2008|
|Number of issues||6; 5 (second series)|
A second five issue miniseries, Incognito: Bad Influences, was released in late 2010.
The first series was published in December 2008 and ran for six issues. The title took a seven-month hiatus while the creaters worked on the third volume of Criminal. It returned in November 2010 and ran for another five issues.
Each issue featured an article written by Jess Nevins on the pulp characters The Shadow (#1), Doc Savage (#2), The Spider (#3), Operator No. 5 (#4), Fu Manchu (#5), and Zeppelin Pulps (#6). The articles in the second miniseries focused on The Phantom Detective (#1), G-8 (#2), Captain Future (#3), Nick Carter (#4), and Pulp Supervillains (#5).
The comic is set in a world in which larger-than-life pulp heroes and villains have existed since the early 19th century. The original super was an escaped convict named Kenneth Lee who went by the name the Black Death. His powers came from a radioactive object which landed in New England over 200 years ago. Other notable supers include the descendants of the soldiers who were chasing him including the Doc Savage-esque "Professor Zeppelin," the Shadow-esque "Lazarus". After WWII, the SOS agency created by Zeppelin has kept most stories about the supers out of the news.
The comic deals with former science villain Zack Overkill, who is in the Witness Protection Program after giving testimony against The Black Death. Zack is required to take a drug that eliminates his super abilities and given a job delivering mail in an office.
Trying to escape the boredom of a normal life, Zack experiments with illegal drugs. It quickly becomes obvious they interfere with the power-blocking drug and he once again has his super strength. He begins wearing a mask again and searches for action in the streets and back alleys acting as a vigilante rather than a supervillain to avoid being arrested for violating his parole agreement. His actions reveal to Black Death that he is alive. Several of Black Death's soldiers attempt to kill Zack for his testimony.
During the story, Zack learns the truth about the origins of the science heroes and villains, and his own connection to one of the first and greatest. After working with Professor Zeppelin's daughter Zoe, Zack decides to work with SOS at least until Black Death stops trying to kill him.
In the second series, Bad Influences, Zack is now an agent for the SOS, and given a new assignment: appear to go rogue so he can go underground and bring back an SOS agent who infiltrated Level 9, a science-villain organization. But while doing so, someone is using the identity of Lazarus to wipe out science villains. SOS incorrectly believes Zack had gone rogue, and he is imprisoned in the same prison as Black Death.
The original mini-series was collected into a trade paperback, but do not include the extra articles:
- Incognito (144 pages, November 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3979-6)
- Incognito: Bad Influences (2011, ISBN 978-07851-5155-5)
A hardback collection was released that includes both series plus the extra articles:
- Incognito: The Classified Edition (368 pages, September 2012, ISBN 978-0785165743)
- Ed Brubaker on Incognito, Newsarama, September 16, 2008
- "Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips Go "Ingognito" at Marvel with a Teaser Preview (press release), Comic Book Resources, September 16, 2008
- Extra Pulp: Ed Brubaker Talks "Incognito", Comic Book Resources, December 15, 2008
- Fleming, Mike (April 29, 2010). "Fox Goes 'Incognito' For New Twist On Superhero Genre". Deadline.com. Retrieved April 29, 2010.