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Comic Book / Secret Identities

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Front Line, in all their glory (Issue #1)

Secret Identities is a comic written by Brian Joines and Jay Faerber with art by Ilias Kyriazis and published by Image Comics. It was a limited series that ran for seven issues from February to September 2015, with a trade paperback being published the month after its conclusion.

The story focuses on the international (but based out of Toronto) super team Front Line. At the start of the story, the team consists of:

  • 'Luminary', your standard Flying Brick and daughter of the President;
  • 'Punchline', a snarky wise-cracker with Super Strength;
  • 'Recluse', a dark and brooding detective-type;
  • 'Vesuvius', a Roman centurion who was encased in rock and lava;
  • 'Gaijin', an alien stranded on Earth who was adopted by a family;
  • 'Helot', a high-tech warrior trying to overcome his war-centric programming; and
  • 'Rundown', your standard-issue speedster.

The team has recently lost member Diamond Jim to injury. Thankfully, out of the blue steps a replacement: Crosswind. However, it turns out that Crosswind is working for a secret benefactor to undermine Front Line via blackmail, and it turns out that the members have a lot of skeletons in their closets...

Not to be confused with the common superhero trope Secret Identity.

This comic book series provides examples of:

  • Aliens in Cardiff: Toronto isn't exactly a tiny city, but it is unusual for a multi-national super-team (especially one featuring the President of the United States' daughter) fending off a massive alien invasion in North America to not be centered around New York City or Washington, D.C..
  • Blow You Away: Crosswind's shtick.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Luminary develops new powers in the finale when she discovers her origins as an incubator for an alien virus.
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  • Fish out of Water: Helot being from a neo-Roman tech commune means that he's unaccustomed to modern culture.
  • Flying Brick: Luminary's powers are pretty standard super strength and flight, until the finale, where she becomes a being of energy.
  • Giant Corpse World: Front Line's base is in the body of a giant alien they killed on their first mission as a team. When newcomer Crosswind joins, the giant's antibodies have to be calibrated so they don't attack him. The end of the comic has other aliens showing up to avenge their fallen.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Crosswind dies after interrupting his fight with Recluse to rescue a civilian, which he only does to maintain his cover.
  • Home Base: Front Line is headquartered in the carcass of the giant alien they fought off in their initial team-up.
  • Horror Hunger: Recluse has to keep eating people or else he'll be a spider forever.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Ray Fournier of the Toronto Police is the mastermind behind Crosswind's infiltration of Front Line.
  • Meaningful Name: Recluse's name isn't just for show as he was cursed to become a monstrous spider if he doesn't sate his hunger regularly.
  • The Mole: The hook of the series is that one has infiltrated Front Line.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: Late in the book other species of the giant alien the team made their base in come back for revenge.
  • Retired Monster: Once upon a time, Vesuvius was a Roman soldier. He claims not to remember anything of his past... but is actually covering up for the fact that, by modern standards, he committed some atrocities in that role. However, in the present day he seems to be a genuinely nice person who sincerely regrets his past crimes, and when his past is revealed he carries on being a hero.
  • Rock Monster: Vesuvius gained a molten rocky hide after being caught in Pompeii's eruption.
  • Secret Other Family: In his downtime, Rundown uses his super speed to... keep two families, one in Halifax and one in San Diego. The epilogue shows he's married a third woman in Clearwater, Florida, and is expecting a child with her as well.
  • Super Speed: Rundown.
  • Token Good Teammate: Punchline has by far the least devastating secret and is a good, funny person.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Every member of Front Line is hiding something, and it's Crosswind's job to find it all out.


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