Published on May 29th, 2014 | by JCDoyle0
C.O.W.L. #1 – Comic Review
The Chicago Organised Workers League is an organisation of super powered agents who protect the city like a special section of the police force. The reader is introduced to the active team during an operation to bring down Skylancer, possibly the last of the Chicago Six. Not everything goes to plan and there are casualties among the innocent crowd.
After this a range of characters are introduced, from city officials to hard working police officers to thuggish coppers pissing on suspects in the street. There is a wide selection of characters to follow and this is not always easy to do. The story by Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel is bursting with ideas and they have tried to cram as many as possible into the first issue. Some of these elements work better than others. Geoffrey Warner, aka The Grey Raven is the Chief of C.O.W.L. and, despite his resemblance to Ozymandias from Watchmen, is one of the most interesting characters. He has an image to live up to but also a serious job to do. There are moments where his subordinates appear to disrespect him but he allows this to pass and is always in control of his surroundings. It is not clear yet if he will turn out to be a hero or a villain but that just adds to the depth of his character. Unfortunately, some of the other characters barely rise above a two dimensional stereotype. Marlow and Samoski may get a chance to grow over time but in this first issue they fall a bit flat.
The art work has as similar issue to the script, at times it’s perfect, fitting the tone of the story and providing wonderfully realised scenes, such as the confrontation between Warner and the boy, but at other times it’s uncontrolled and difficult to follow. Rod Reis has a talent for the painted image which is best seen in the more static, conversation heavy scenes but this does not always translate so well during the action.
C.O.W.L. has a lot to offer and a concept that is very interesting. The artwork is challenging, in that it’s not the usual imagery used in superhero comics but this is as much a blessing as it is a curse. I think that despite a few problems in this first issue, it is worth reading and watching out for in future.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kyle Higgins/Alec Siegel
Artist: Rod Reis