Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Ryan Bodenheim
Release Date: April 11, 2012
Cover Price: #3.50
In the case of Secret #1, I clearly judged this comic by its cover. The inclusion of actual photograph on a comic book cover is not something you see often. The cover of Secret #1 grabbed my attention the first time I saw it. The ghostly white set of teeth clenched around a sea of black tendrils was haunting. Luckily for me, I do not live to regret picking up this book based on its cover. Secret #1 is a tense and masterfully crafted first issue from an extremely talented young team.
Secret #1 plays out much like the opening scenes of a James Bond movie. We are first introduced to an unlucky C.E.O who has just had some information forcefully removed in a home invasion. Immediately after that, the rest of the comic takes place in a private meeting with some of Washington’s most powerful men, who are just learning that their private security is “shit.” The man delivering this information is known as Mr. Miller, who by all accounts is a private security expert with a few darker things planned for the future.
The big reveal at the end of this issue is standard to most spy and secret agent books. However, Jonathan Hickman crafts Secret #1 with an outstanding sense of tension and deceit. True to the form of spy comics, everyone is playing everyone, and bad things happen to people with too many secrets.
Artist Ryan Bodenheim does something in Secret #1 that is rarely seen in comics, yet makes a strong impact on the overall narrative. Each scene is penciled and inked traditionally, yet colors are restricted to one wash per panel. Entire panels will be completely blue, yellow, or red depending on the characters and tone of the page. One scene in particular stands out in which, most panels are washed in gray, except bullet wounds and blood. Bodenheim is looking to tap into a form of art that suggest heavy noir themes. By illustrating in this manner, Bodenheim is telling a story through shades and tones more than shocks of color.
Secret #1 gives everything that is asked from a young team of creators. Hickman and Bodenheim have created the essence of a good double agent comic. With a specific art style built for tone and razor sharp writing, Secret #1 is everything that is great about the spy genre.