Conspiracies abound and one of the C.O.W.L. has had enough of sitting on the sidelines. Is it good?
C.O.W.L. #9 (Image Comics)
The second arc has finally hit its stride and gotten back to what made the first arc so enticing: strong characterization and good ole political intrigue.
The first sequence dives straight into the political intrigue, and also reveals another potential player. It peels back the onion on the happenings in Chicago to tie it to a potentially much larger narrative taking place within the United States. It’s a nice reminder that the happenings in Chicago are not self-contained and choices have ramifications.
After this return to political maneuvering, Higgins and Siegel decide to refocus on the John Pierce story, which just so happens to have its own political machinations that have been left untold. They reveal some pretty big implications, but are still keeping most of this close to the chest, only giving us information in bits and pieces that are nowhere near close to a whole. It’s an excellent device to continue to create mystery around his character and will keep you wanting to read more.
However, the best part of this issue isn’t the focus on Evelyn Thompson, Sarah Pierce, or Geoffrey Warner’s feud with the mayor. It’s the emergence of Radia. Higgins and Siegel really push the character forward and fill the gap they created with the death of John Pierce, which I addressed in a previous review. She takes risks and fights for what she believes in.
Higgins and Siegel are able to produce some of the best transitions of the series. There is one that really hits it out of the park. What makes it so great is its ambiguity. It could be the thoughts of Radia or Sarah Pierce. You just don’t know.
Rod Reis’ artwork is still good. He is a master at creating a setting. He needs one image to change the tone from hopeful and optimistic to dark and grimy. The main action sequence is exciting and is a real fight with both supers throwing everything they have at each other. His ability to show off their powers is something to behold and Troy Peteri’s sound effects really aid him in this endeavor due to the nature of Doppler’s power.
However, there is one scene where I really enjoyed the creativity, but it seemed out of place within the tone of the comic. Doppler decides to interact with the comic itself and grab the letter “D” and use it as a giant baseball bat. When you see it, you are like “Whoa! Cool.” and then your reaction turns to “What just happened?” I think it is really innovative, but would have been better used as the power of a new villain we have not yet seen rather than a character whose power is to manipulate sound waves.
Is It Good?
The last two issues were tough to get through, but Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis right the ship and bring you a compelling story full of political intrigue, conspiracy, and the awakening of a hero. Radia fills the shoes of John Pierce, standing up and taking action for what she believes in, which touches on Pierce’s idea of vigilante heroes. Reis’ artwork continues to be compelling although he does get a little too creative for my taste with characters interacting with the lettering of the comic.