C.O.W.L. #4 Review
As City Hall continues to threaten Geoffrey Warner, Blaze must find a way to unite C.O.W.L….even as John’s investigation brings a dark cloud over the organization.
Image Comics has been really working hard on going where no comic has gone before. I’ve been impressed by the books they’ve been producing.
One book I couldn’t wait to get into was C.O.W.L., written by Kyle Higgins, likely best known for his Bat-work at DC, including Nightwing and Batman Beyond 2.0.
C.O.W.L. is an intriguing take on superheroes, focusing as it does on Chicago. The heroes there have unionized, and that makes for a very different experience for the people wearing the capes and cowls, and even those who don’t.
Previously in C.O.W.L.: “Welcome to the ‘Chicago Organized Workers League’ – the world’s first Super-Hero Labor Union! While C.O.W.L. once stood as a beacon of hope against an epidemic of organized crime and an unbeatable ‘brotherhood’ of Super-Villains, the union now faces its fiercest foe yet – a disillusioned public. In targeting the last of the great villains, C.O.W.L. attempts to prove its value to the world and to each other, while staving off villainy from both outside and inside its offices.”
I’ve long wondered just what heroes would do when their entire reason for being – namely, beating up the baddies – was done. This book tackles that head on.
I find the characters to be quite gripping, particularly Grant Marlow, an unpowered sharpshooter who finds himself despised by his own son because he can’t fly or do any of the “cool” things other heroes can. His child wants to be dropped off away from the school he attends so he won’t be ridiculed by his classmates, something that discourages Grant. It also symbolizes what C.O.W.L. is up against when it comes to public.
Chicago is a perfect location for this comic, somewhat foreboding and facing the kinds of problems that C.O.W.L. is! I wouldn’t be at all surprised if city news finds its way into the stories as well.
This is the kind of realistic tone that makes the book very relatable, and it really sings out to me.
This month, politics plays an important role in what’s going on. Also, the character interaction is strong as the “heroes” find themselves opposing each other as things are beginning to come to a head.
ART AND COLORING
I’m also particularly fond of the art and color scheme, which reminds me some of the Darwyn Cooke Parker books. The panels tones changes quite a bit depending on what’s happening in them, so it keeps our attention grabbed very successfully. The somewhat sketchy drawings also make the characters more “real” than the bright, clear work in today’s superhero books.
The art does fit the mood of the story very well, with brighter colors being held back while interesting color matches add an interesting tone from page to page. Like it!
One of the best sequences this time features a baddie taking on Kathryn, a heroine with powers that he seriously underestimates. I’ve never seen dice used in that way before!
BOTTOM LINE: A NEW VIEW ON SUPERHEROES
There’s a lot of story to be mined and told here, so I’m very excited by the possibilities that C.O.W.L. gives us, especially when it comes to giving us a good idea just who heroes would function in “our” universe. That’s always something I’m interested in, so C.O.W.L. has me hooked and hooked good!
If you haven’t read this comic yet, I highly encourage you to dive in and at least give it a try. With only two issues out, you should be able to catch up easily. And with the gritty city and its heroes taking center stage, it should give you a new longjohns experience!