Rating: 4.5/5 – A Unique Twist on the Superhero Genre Set in 1962 Chicago.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
In 1962 Chicago, superheroes have been gathered together under a Union called the C.O.W.L., the Chicago Organized Workers League. Guided by Union Chief Geoffrey Warner who used to fight crime as the Grey Raven, a group of superheroes and union workers fight to keep Chicago safe. It’s a fantastic premise that writer Kyle Higgins came up with in 2005, that actually originated in a short movie that he wrote and directed for his college thesis. After Higgins found popularity writing comics for DC, known mostly for his work on Nightwing, he’s now revisiting his 2005 idea along with co-writer Alec Siegal in the pages of an all new series from Image.
The story opens with C.O.W.L. chasing after a member of the villainous Chicago Six known as Skylancer after he kidnapped a local alderman. It’s here that we first see some of the heroes that make up the C.O.W.L. organization and the surprisingly brilliant art by Rod Reis. Best known for his color work, it was surprising to see his name credited for all the art. After this first issue though, people will see just what he’s capable of. His art definitely has a Bill Sienkiewicz influenced line, but cleaner. His sequential storytelling has a creative way to show the use of powers by using lines and colors, and he captured the feel of Chicago with his design and character work.
This first issue introduces us to plenty of characters, but the two most interesting are the ones not in costume. The Union Chief/ex hero, as well as the primary investigator John Pierce who seems to be the moral center of the story steal a lot of the scenes and deservedly so. Higgins and Siegel have balanced C.O.W.L.’s heroes and regular people effectively which ultimately make this series all that more interesting. This first issue provides a unique twist on the superhero genre, and gives us an art style that’s both fresh and exciting to look at. I’m on board for this all new series and you should be too!
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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