Of all the Image Expo announcements that were made back in Janurary, this was the only book to actually capture my interest right off the bat. Written by Kyle Higgins (Nightwing) and Alec Siegel and drawn by Rod Reis (the colorist for Justice League), C.O.W.L. #1 should be a rather interesting experience. Is it good?
C.O.W.L. #1 (Image Comics)
It’s 1962 on and above the mean streets of Chicago. A special labor union called C.O.W.L. is made up of superheroes who fight crime and patrol certain districts to ensure the safety of the public. After the recent and brutal attack of possibly the last super villain in the city, Chicago may be heading for peace after so long. Of course, who’s to say that’ll last long in a superhero universe?
Well she does have that flashbang now sir. That’s certainly something.
As I mentioned before, this was my most anticipated title from the Image Expo; I am happy to report that my hopes were not dashed at all. It was a solid first issue overall for a brand new series. It does bring some familiar elements that I have seen in other indie-ish superhero books, but the story came together very fine regardless.
C.O.W.L. #1 feels like the opening of a movie or a TV pilot, with the big action set piece that hooks the audience and gives them a feel for the world. Then it’s followed by the opening credits (AKA the title of the issue) and a calmer bit of narrative with something building in the background to let the audience take it in, but also make them curious. The issue transpires like this and reads great, really pulling you in with the plot revelations and feel of how the world is at the time. While a main story hasn’t really gotten going, there is still plenty going on here and an interesting hook that should keep you around for the next issue at least.
Your dad sounds like a wonderful man little Timmy.
In regards to the characters, they aren’t too bad themselves. We don’t know a lot about them so far, but they are all genuinely good people with a bit of gray and shade splashed all over their actions/ideologies. The dialogue, the interactions between the characters, and how they react and deal with criminals offers enough insight into them so they all feel diverse and interesting.
I’m also hoping to see some more developing and fleshing out of the concept of our protagonists living in the early 60’s. On a personal level, the 40’s to the mid 60’s is my favorite time period of American History and I hope to see some exploration of the themes and ideas that were happening and evolving during this time in the book. It might help make the world feel more authentic and accurate to the time period.
When it comes to the rest of the writing, it’s perfectly fine overall. While there are some odd lines at one or two points, the dialogue reads pretty well and I do like the character-building in it. The pacing is nice with no odd moments where it speeds up or slows down too much. Overall, it reads very well and I hope the writing continues to be on this level.
I so don’t need help! I’m not a villain’s charity case!
The artwork is possibly the most interesting and memorable aspect of the comic. In some areas, it’s reminiscent of Phil Noto’s work, with the way the colors go, the faces, and some of the action; considering how good Noto’s work is, having more people evocative of his style may not be too bad of thing. The characters look good for the most part, but there is one section where two characters look almost identical in the same scene and it lead to a bit of rereading to make sure I was following everything correctly. The action is stellar to look at in the opening and the artwork is great at capturing the right moods and tones at ideal moments. The coloring was also very impressive and eye-drawing (it was drawn by a colorist after all). Fantastic looking book that is almost worth the price of admission itself.
Is It Good?
C.O.W.L. #1 is a fantastic and gorgeous looking period piece/superhero tale. This series is off to a great start already with an intriguing setup, interesting cast of characters, great feel and tone and absolutely beautiful looking artwork. This could be one of the best indie superhero comics coming out, so be sure to not miss out!