Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Hickman & Bodenheim
The Secret is a comic book that mixes intrigue with espionage. The opening issue presents several threads, some of which are very violent, that start to converge towards the end of the issue. The gist of the book so far is that there is a security firm that runs a hard sales pitch at prospective customers. The book doesn’t reveal much of the bigger story in the opening issue as the reader must have some faith in the creative team to deliver down the road. I found the book to be very average in this regard.
The Secret has a violent opening scene where a man is being beaten and the lives of his family threatened. He’s forced to give up his access to his company’s data. The book then jumps to a few other scenes that all center around either data security or violence. Some of the scenes are heavy on the dialogue as we get a real sense about what the security firm is all about in terms of its corporate goal and we get a glimpse into the strength of the alpha dogs that lead the company.
The artwork is gorgeous. I would like to believe that the coloring and shading on the pages have some deeper meaning towards the story but I was not clever enough to figure out how. Basically each set of pages in the story take a dominant color, such as purple or deep blue, as the entire background for the pages. They create an atmosphere where the characters blend into the scenes, making the reader second guess if a specific character is passing from one scene to the next. It’s definitely a flavor of noir and something you may have seen if you read Who Is Jake Ellis? Overall, I liked that I wasn’t sure which characters, unless specifically named, where in one scene versus the next. I am specifically thinking about the table of executives during the sales pitch. This is an effective way to add some mystery to the book.
One of my bigger gripes with the issue is that without much of a reveal and without a cliffhanger, the single issue just barely satisfies whereas in a trade or a collection this issue will seem awesome as it gels by the ending. The art of the single issue seems to have vanished with some books.
My other complaint really has to do with the story. It seems very unrealistic that any CEO, much less of a huge company, would have the passwords to everything. In the real world, the senior management know about important matters on powerpoint slides and couldn’t tell you how the data is rolled up without a lot of help from the worker bees. Usually if you want passwords and access to data you kidnap an IT guy not a senior manager. Not to mention the idea that the data is stored in a format that anyone can understand without specific table and rule knowledge seems completely unrealistic.
Additionally, the idea that the best time to walk through security is at night is the complete reverse of how many buildings operate. If anything, lunchtime is when the security desk is the least likely to check badges and pictures because of the volume of people walking in and out of the door. At night, the guard sees so few people that any new face is going to get questioned. These elements nagged at me while I read the story.
The Secret is a classic case where the creators are known entities and the book will have to be given some room to come together. Hickman isn’t going to give away everything in the first issue. Patience is the key. The problem is I have to judge the book based on these contents and not what I hope to see down the road and there really isn’t a whole lot in here. It’s a very ordinary spy book where the bad guys seem to be security experts that basically bully customers to sign up. I hope the series takes off next month.
2.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles