I absolutely loved the first issue of C.O.W.L., doing almost everything right in drawing me into its world. It was probably one of the best new series to debut in Image in a long time in my mind and I have high hopes for the next issue. With it out, are my hopes realized or dashed? Is it good?
C.O.W.L. #2 (Image Comics)
C.O.W.L. is in a tight spot nowadays and the members know it. The last big major villain threat was taken care of—what is left of crime is small time at best—and their future and their use may be running out. Also, one of the members, John Pierce, has discovered a rather interesting C.O.W.L. file in an old villain’s hideout, and Grant Marlow is questioning why he is around when he doesn’t have powers.
There’s also that as well.
After the initial high of last issue, I wasn’t expecting this issue to live up to it. It ultimately doesn’t, but the comic was still very enjoyable to read. The story itself isn’t completely focused or strong yet narratively. It still feels like a collection of subplots all focused around C.O.W.L. itself and I’m honestly not sure where exactly this story will be going because of that. These side stories are generally good though and are interesting, helping to add more depth and complexity to the characters and their history. I am especially intrigued by the creation of C.O.W.L. itself that was briefly mentioned, and some of the founding members.
The writing overall is solid like the last issue. The characters are slowly being fleshed out here and you are starting to understand them a bit more, even though they share some tired character tropes that you’ve seen before in other stories. The dialogue and interactions are enjoyable, with some great lines and a touch of humor as well. The pacing is nice, the story flows well from page to page, and the ending is not too bad. I will say they sort of telegraph one scene a bit too much and you can sort of predict what happens next, but that’s pretty much it otherwise.
Look, I don’t want to be seen with the Man and you guys are totally “the Man.”
The artwork is downright gorgeous here, even if there isn’t as much flashiness to it as the last issue (there is a bit of it here though). The characters are well drawn and have a great range of expressions to them. The locations and areas are well crafted and perfectly moody, doing a great job at capturing the feel and mood that the characters are expressing or experiencing at the moment. The colors are just as good and really add even more to it all with the tones done. Just really good stuff here to look at.
Is It Good?
C.O.W.L. #2 is a continuation of the story from last issue, interweaving several interesting subplots and characters into it and creating a very engaging and intriguing experience. The main story and narrative is on the weak side admittedly, but the rest of the writing along with absolutely astounding visuals make this a very exciting and worthwhile read.