Review: Secret Identities #1

IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE! GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING, IT’S HERE! Secret Identities is here! Okay, so as of Wednesday, it’s here. Can you tell? My squee from the...


Secret Identities is here!

Okay, so as of Wednesday, it’s here.

Can you tell? My squee from the preview has not depreciated?!?!?

In case y’all didn’t read my Secret Identities preview, Jay Faerber and Brian Joines’ writing is so on-point, and Ilias Kyriazis’ illustration is, I maintain, everything and everyone I already adore in an Ilias Kyriazis-flavored art-smoothie with Charlie Kirchoff’s being lovely.

In Secret Identities issue #1, we’re introduced to The Front Line: an international (re: Canada and America) and intergalactic (we haven’t had that explained yet) group of superheroes who apparently met because a giant something-or-another (with a nervous system comprised of a hive-mind of adorable, not-so-buglike “bugs”) tried to destroy, I’m guessing, Toronto.

Toronto: It’s the new Tokyo.

And, we meet The Front Line, mission already in-progress, trying to contain an influx of demons conjured by the “dime-store Satanic Messiah” Perdition—yes, Perdition—who is physically a portal to other dimensions.

That’s had to be one hell (sorrysorrysorry) of a super-power to suddenly have. Can I not get bitten by that metaphorical radioactive spider?

All just as Crosswind—who is a very convenient and convincing Iron Man stand-in, which that visual and literary reference is probably going to be important down the line—comes breezing in to lend a hand and save the day.

Evidently, the puns are strong today. *HANDS*

Equally convenient, The Front Line offers Crosswind a place on their team: “Six yays and one Recluse.”

I wanna say this is a rookie move on their part? But, really, Crosswind’s everything is working in concert to gain The Front Line’s trust.

Surprising no one in the History of Ever, it works, and because we’ve seen the cover, we already know that Crosswind isn’t to be trusted.

Seriously, Ilias Kyriazis’ cover art is just about the only introduction to The Front Line (and Crosswind) that we need.

The juxtaposition of the Crosswind fully in the shadows (and Shadow Selves) of The Front Line, with words that more fully describe how others might see The Front Line—people who might want to hurt or arrest them because ~masked vigilantes~lets us know that Crosswind is not to be remotely trusted, and we learn from the actual text that Crosswind is a plant, a mole, there to uncover everything about The Front Line so that his sponsor (LA LA LA NOT GONNA TELL LA LA LA READ THE COMIC) can bring The Front Line to justice.


Those motivations haven’t been made clear yet.

And, The Front Line themselves? All situated in such a way to indicate that all of them are, in some way, corrupt or corruptible.

OMG, that’s such good super-hero meta, and that’s just the front cover.

Inside, we get little bits and pieces of The Front Line as super-heroes and as citizens.

There’s Luminary who is, thus far, kinda Captain Marvel/Monica Rambeau-esque but is also Meredith the Daughter of the President of the United States of America with a NSA Director who wants Meredith to be her spy.

Meredith also looks an awful lot like Dee from Rat Queens, which I kinda adore because ~Dee~.

There’s Helot who is some sort of alien cyborg—so, Cyborg references abound—from New Thermopylae and seems to be one of the aliens (or, maybe not aliens?) who brought The Front Line together. Helot is also less of a name and more of a title that indicates that, amongst his people, he was even too low to be granted an identity.

I foresee great things in regards to identity construction and creation from Helot.

We also have Gaijin, who is apparently also an alien but didn’t know that she (Is Gaijin a she? I have pronoun questions about several of The Front Line.) was an alien? However, Gaijin was raised by a mob that looks an awful like they might be Triad? And, part of me is sitting over here grumbling about potential appropriation on the part of the character with a side of racist stereotype, but it also seems like Gaijin—and, I wanna know if this name was imposed upon Gaijin or not—might become a site to discuss issues of appropriation and cultural Imperialism and the kinda of identity politics that occur when you’ve been raised in a culture that isn’t necessarily your own.

Our knowledge of Punchline comes down to—not much. Punchline is a stand-up comic by day and has become Meredith’s new PR person.

Punchline’s another character I’m wondering about pronouns for—as is Helot. Especially since Terran gender constructions are not necessarily a ubiquitous-through-the-cosmos thing, ya know?

Vesuvius, who is literally a walking, talking lava monster, evidently was a Roman soldier and died in the eruption of Vesuvius at Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Despite supposedly having amnesia, he also seems to have a lot that he doesn’t want anyone to know about his last days in the Roman Empire.

We also have Rundown, who’s a speedster with about four side-lives (plus families and kids) going on at once, so that’s going to be a mess eventually.

Errol Kendrick, aka Recluse is some sort of vampiric Bruce Wayne? I don’t even know, but Recluse is going to be a problem.

And, then, there’s Diamond Jim who was wounded in that first battle that brought The Front Line together and lost his legs because of it.

Interestingly, Diamond Jim is also helping Helot to sort out Helot’s new life on Earth in a much more metaphysical way than just getting him identification like the rest of The Front Line seems to be doing.

Secret Identities is filled with these really diverse characters that make me squee for representation while being clearly meta-cognates of more mainstream superheroes, and all of them—every single one—has some sort of secret that they’re keeping from everyone else.

This is going to be exciting.

Because, while The Front Line may not be the heroes that we deserve, they might just be the heroes we need.

When does issue #2 come out?

Image courtesy of Image Comics

Trie – Deputy Editor

Hey, I’m ‘trie (sounds like “tree”). I’m a university-educated mixed media artist, wannabe writer, and the poster child for the nerd-geek-dork trifecta. I’m also a gender queer, pansexual, polyamorous feminist and Hellenic pagan with a social media habit like whoa.
Find me at: My Website, Twitter


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