Review: Secret Identities #1

Secret Identities is a new series from Image Comics by the writing team of Jay Faerber, Brian Joines and artist Ilias Kyriazis. Jay Faerber is returning to the superhero genre with Secret Identities, Faerber has written other superhero team books before for DC, Marvel and Image’s with his own Dynamo 5. Jay Faerber can definitely handle a team book. Sadly, I am unfamiliar with either Joines or Kyriazis previous work, but Faerber’s the biggest name drawing me to this book.

As superhero teams books go, this one is a bit different. The team, called Front Line, is already established in this issue. The group has already come together, fought off an alien invasion and won. No origin story for any of the individual team members is presented. The Front Line members are: Luminary, Rundown, Helot, Gaijan, Recluse, Vesuvius and Punchline. You could say that this story starts as they are adding a member to Front Line. However, there’s a twist… this new member, Crosswinds, is a mole trying to uncover secret identities of our heroes. Ultimately, we are going to learn about the original seven members of Front Line from Crosswind’s perspective.

The Good

The premise that we will be learning about Front Line from the mole’s perspective is an interesting one. At this moment, we know very little about the team members. However, everyone has their faults and that’s what seems to make the story quite delightful to read. As we learn in this first issue, almost all of our heroes have some secret they want to remain hidden. And boy, there are some whoppers amongst Front Line.

While I’m not sure if it was by design, the members of Front Line adhere to some of the superhero team archetypes found in similar team books. For example, Recluse certainly has a very Batman-like quality to him. Granted he might also be a vampire with a Dexter complex, too. It does makes the characters for this series a little more identifiable for the reader. Without the origin stories of the Front Line members, the archetypes are all the readers have to understand these characters and their motivations so early in the series.

The Bad

I want to see this alien invasion that bought the team together. Seriously, their base of operation is a towering Viking-looking robot. How cool is that! Given what is relieved in this issue, the origin stories could have been potentially excellent reads.

While I think the premise of the mole’s learning the team’s dirty laundry is interesting, it certainly has been done before. It’s not a new concept, some of the best team stories revolve around the “traitor among us” plot. It’s my hope that this will be a fresh take on that old plot. Fingers crossed.

The Verdict

Secret Identities is off to a rocky start. The story so far is interesting. However relying on  character archetypes and  a well-worn story plot to start off a new series might be a risky move. I’m sure there is a grand plan in the works. Still, it might have been better to introduce these characters individually. I was under the impression that there was going to be some build-up to Secret Identities #1 from the Previews  of last November. Something similar to Dark Horse Comic’s own Comic’s Greatest World from back in the Mid-1990’s. Guessing I misunderstood that promo. That being said, I’m willing to give Secret Identities a chance and see what happens next month.

The Score

Story: 4 Out of 5
Art: 3 Out of 5
Overall: 4 Out of 5


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