C.O.W.L. takes a break from the main story to dedicate this sixth issue to the man behind the Chicago Organized Workers League. The head honcho of C.O.W.L. reveals how and why he became The Grey Raven. Is it good?
C.O.W.L. #6 (Image Comics)
Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel take a break from the overarching story and the ramifications the strike will have on Chicago to introduce a publication relations fluff piece on Geoffrey Warner and his path to becoming The Grey Raven.
The road to become The Grey Raven began at a young age when starry-eyed Geoffrey Warner envisioned becoming a policeman like his father to help the people of Chicago. However, the road was not as straight and true as what the young boy believed. Higgins and Siegel take young Warner on a journey through the darker side of police work and the world of bribery. These realities had the young Warner making tough decisions though his determination to do what was good and right never wavered. The principled nature for justice and doing the right thing no matter what are the biggest themes of the issue. No matter what the temptation is, Geoffrey Warner is immune to it, and why shouldn’t he be? He sat down for the interview and shaped the message he wanted to convey!
As mentioned before, the entire issue is written as a PR fluff piece to display The Grey Raven in the brightest light possible. This is inherent not only in the themes but in the tone Higgins and Siegel use. It is optimistic and always positive. Not only does it have a positive tone, but the language is very simple and the sentences easy for the common lay person in 1960s Chicago to understand.
Complementing the optimistic writing is newcomer to the series, artist Elsa Charretier. Gone are Rod Reis’ gritty pencils (which would not have fit well with this issue) and in comes Charretier’s newspaper comic strip style of art. She introduces tiling throughout the issue to give the book a newspaper-esque feel. During her action sequences she incorporates large flourishing lines to indicate movement, whether it is to indicate Geoffrey Warner’s fist flying at a thug who was threatening his PI work or Warner falling to the mat after receiving a crushing blow inside the boxing ring. The art much like the language is straight-forward and easy to follow.
One of the biggest surprises of the issue is how Jen Aprahamian designed and placed the advertisements. She is able to give the advertisements a dated feel as if the entire issue is being published in the 1960s yet still manages to keep the content modern. She even adds a couple of surprises including “The C.O.W.L. Sessions,” a complete record inspired by the heroics of C.O.W.L., as well as toys so you too can be like your favorite C.O.W.L. hero!
Is It Good?
C.O.W.L. #6 breaks away from the main story Higgins and Siegel have been weaving and introduces a bit of light-heartedness, but also reveals how involved Geoffrey Warner is in shaping his image being portrayed to the people of Chicago. The book takes an innovative look at advertisement placement to great effect and Elsa Charretier’s art matches the simple straight-forward fluff piece.