Story: Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel
Art: Rod Reis
Cover Price: $3.50
C.O.W.L continues its spectacular debut with its second issue this week. The first issue was strong, and this second issue is on par if not better!
We see a lot more character development with issue 2, which was really the only thing that was missing from the first issue. With such a large cast of characters and so many stories to tell, it’s only understandable that it takes a couple issues for the reader to familiarize themselves with the players. Already after 2 issues, I have a better grip on identifying characters and their abilities/personalities.
Higgins and Siegel then give us some back-story on the original team The Grey Raven (Geoffrey Warner head of C.O.W.L) and his partners Sparrow and Blaze. The heroes had fought in the big wars overseas, but had lost Chicago to organized crime, so they returned and formed C.O.W.L to take their city back. They would fight for Chicago like they had before the war.
This issue focuses a lot on Grant Marlow and Eclipse. We see the two taking Marlow’s son to school. Marlow’s kid had something nagging at him last issue, and it’s revealed that he’s embarrassed of his dad. His dad is associating and working with C.O.W.L and all these superheroes, but has no powers or costume. Not even a nickname, just a sharp shot. When Marlow and Eclipse go to take down a big thug with enhanced strength, Marlow lets his kid’s insults get the best of him and goes after him alone. This ends as it does for everyone without powers who takes on a juiced up thug (unless you’re part of the Bat family), with Marlow getting beaten to what looks like death. C.O.W.L might have finally taken out the Chicago Six, but we are watching the beginning of the end.
Detective John Pierce is racked with guilt. He’s still looking over the C..O.W.L file that he sound in Skylancer’s hideout. If this file is what he thinks it is, that means somebody inside C.O.W.L could have been providing the Chicago Six with intel and tech designs to benefit their organization. Somebody at C.O.W.L could be a rat, or somebody could be looking to prolong this war to keep C.O.W.L a viable organization for the government. What if somebody was trying to keep The Six a threat so C.O.W.L would still have work? Pierce talks to Archlight about what’s troubling him, but Archlight only warns him that unless he has something conclusive, what Pierce is proposing could make him a lot of enemies.
Higgins, Siegel, and Ries are delivering on all fronts with C.O.W.L. With 2 issues, they’ve already built a world and a cast that feels authentic. Having a lot of characters is always a balancing act, but Higgins and Siegel have already made it easy to identify them. It also helps that Ries’s art is spectacular and defines each character with unique features. The way he draws the cityscape grim and dreary also perfectly complements the tone that Higgins and Siegel have set with the story.
I see C.O.W.L as a book that is going to explore futures. What happens when the war is over? When the curtain falls? Is there a way to assimilate yourself back into reality, or do you just need to find another enemy to fight?
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