Publisher: Image Comics
Writers: Brian Joines, Jay Faerber
Artist: Ilias Kyriazis
Release Date: 18th February, 2015
There’s no doubting that 2014 was a glorious year for Image, and 2015 certainly has a lot to live up to. Quite apart from Spawn #250, there’s a whole host of other continuing titles that have the crowd all excited. New titles coming into this mix are definitely at risk of getting lost in the mire, as well as having that terrible burden of expectation. Superhero comics have a mixed time at Image, and often the ones that succeed are defined by their unique take on the genre.
Secret Identities isn’t that.
It’s a real gamble, throwing us a superhero team-up comic completely cold; certainly, thrusting us in media res helps, with time post-fight to give us the necessary exposition. And it’s quite explicitly not trying to be a “riff” on the genre; instead, we are focused on a character intent on exposing our team The Front Line’s dark secrets, disrupting them from within their ranks. The motivation seem unclear, but convincing. As for the individual team members, we have a relatively conventional mix of powers and archetypes – flight, brute strength, fire, speed etc – although they are individual enough not to feel like a rehash.
The political slant is interesting; playing the whole “where are the Canadian superheroes?” card, they are based in Toronto despite one of the team being the US president’s daughter. In another not-so-subtle nod to the genre, their base is a giant alien-robot-thing that they first defeated together (although its giant biological defence systems are very well conceived).
The art is big and brash, as it should be, and works alongside the dialogue that’s full of cheeky banter and further in-jokes.
This is an encouraging start, as long as it doesn’t veer into self-parody. There’s been so many outstanding reimaginings of the genre of late, however, that this has an awful lot to prove.
The Writer of this piece was: Sam Graven
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