c.o.w.l

Writers: Kyle Higgins


and Alec Siegel
Artist: Rod Reis
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.50
Buy on ComiXology

C.O.W.L. is the Chicago Organized Workers League and has the proud distinction of being the world’s first labor union for superheroes in this Image Comics title written by Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel. Eight issues into the series and costumed super villains have returned to cause havoc in Chicago while C.O.W.L. still remains on strike.

In the aftermath of the murder of one of their own, John Pierce,the members of the organization must put their differences aside in order to catch his killer. As long as it doesn’t threaten labor negotiations within the city.

The second story arc is starting is starting to pick up momentum. Geoffrey Warner’s (the Grey Raven) partnership with the local area crime boss, Camden Stone, reintroduces more super-powered criminals to make C.O.W.L. necessary again. About time too!

C.O.W.L. is ripe with potential but was seriously lacking a good old fashioned Rogue’s Gallery. Not anymore. With all the back room politics and action heating up, now is a good time to get caught up before this title takes off.

Preview

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KYLE HIGGINS TALKS C.O.W.L. AND THE COLLAPSE OF THE FIRST SUPERHERO LABOR UNION

By Andy Khouri

Available for pre-order now from finer comics shops, COWL is a forthcoming series from Image Comics which stylishly depicts an alternate history Chicago of the pre-”swinging” 1960s, when the (in)famously political city experienced all manner of socioeconomic upheaval — including the dissolution of the Chicago Organized Workers League. Also known as COWL, it’s a union for costumed superheroes, and its days are numbered.

The first issue of COWL avoids some traps into which most non-Marvel and non-DC cape comics fall. Most obviously, COWL is not a Marvel or DC superhero book in disguise. Its characters aren’t similar-to-but-legally-distinct versions of heroes we might know from the Avengers or the Justice League, but distinct, original creations of writers Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegal and artist Rod Reis. Similarly, despite its “real-world” premise and period setting, COWL is not a Watchmen cover version, offering a decidedly less dour tone and honest-to-god superhero adventure blended deftly with its dramatic take on city politics. Sometimes it’s even really funny. Finally, COWL bucks the origin fetish of the superhero genre by introducing us to its intriguing cast not at the start of their sagas, but at what might be the end.

ComicsAlliance: The first thing that struck me about COWL #1 was that unlike a lot of non-DC, non-Marvel cape comics, this was not a Marvel or DC superhero comic disguised as something else. It’s its own thing, arguably a thing that couldn’t exist in those superhero universes. 

Kyle Higgins: That’s actually something we’ve been very conscious of, not just because there are superheroes involved, but because it’s our first creator-owned series and we want to world build in different, unique ways. If you look at the structure of the first issue, the points of view are all reflective of the different divisions of COWL. The organization, how it works, its ranks, and its relation to the city and other unions are all things that Alec and I have spent a lot of time figuring out.

Alec and I have always thought about this series — and described it–  as being a character drama that happens to have costumes. If you were to think about it in, say, TV terms, it has more in common with Mad Men or The Wire than anything with superheroes. These characters, for us, are what the book is about. Their lives outside the costumes, their places in society, their interactions with each other… we like stories about people who change and evolve.

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Preview: C.O.W.L. #6 - All-Comic.com

Story: Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel Art: Joe Bennett and Rod Reis Cover: Joe Bennett and Rod Reis Imprint: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Street Date: November 26, 2014 NEW STORY ARC! Before he started C.O.W.L., Geoffrey Warner fought for Chicago as the city’s first hero, THE GREY RAVEN! But what s…

View Post: http://all-comic.com/2014/preview-c-o-w-l-6/

Writer: Kyle Higgins

Artist: Alec Siegel

Publisher: Image Comics

Cover Price: $3.99

Buy on ComiXology

The year was 1962. The city, Chicago. Kyle Higgin’s C.O.W.L. is a realistic take on superheroes that mixes politics and corruption with The Watchmen and explores the behind the scenes of the business of crime fighting.

When we last left our heroes, Radia and Eclipse were forced to cease their secret campaign against area crime boss Camden Stone due to political pressure even as his group of super-powered criminals wreck havoc across Chicago. These masked villains are taking full advantage of C.O.W.L.’s strike with the city; robbing restaurant patrons, knocking over (literally) armed cars, and even kidnapping a city alderman. Due to the nature of preps in these crimes, the mayor gets some friendly advice from the FBI to settle with Warner and C.O.W.L. if he wishes to keep his city. Warner smells blood in the water and capitalizes on his new found leverage to negotiate like the boss that he is.

Meanwhile, Radia is captivated by the news reports concerning the alderman’s kidnapping by the sound-manipulating fiend named Doppler. Suddenly, an opportunity presents itself that would give her a clean break from her stressful superhero life. She stays true to herself, dons her costume and busts in on a surprised Doppler in his hideout leading to an epic fight into the streets with Radia ending up on top.

This was a good issue with a great ending. The fight between Radia and Doppler was the most fun I have had in this series yet. Doppler has the power to manipulate sounds, and since this is a comic book, that means he can use onomatopoeias as weapons. Both characters having non-visual powers (Radia uses telekinesis) but Alec Siegal pulls off a satisfying action sequence that by the end its safe to say that Radia might be the biggest badass in of C.O.W.L. I’m curious to see the repercussions of her actions since a deal with the union and the city has not been reached yet and the alderman is out of harms way.

Preview

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The Wednesday Watchlist: Picks of the Week!

The Wednesday Watchlist: Picks of the Week! #NCBD

The amount of comics released on a weekly basis can be mind boggling for even those initiated in the ways of the Local Comic Shop. Therefore let Geeks Unleashed guide you through the essential releases this New Comic Book Day in our weekly Wednesday Watchlist feature, so whether you are short on time, dollars, or both, you’ll always be reading the Picks of the Week.

Chris – Original Sin #5.4…

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We return to the floor of the Long Beach Comic Con this week with writers Jamie S Rich & Kyle Higgins! Jamie talks about how writing fan letters to Matt Wagner got him a job in the business and his amazing new series Madame Frankenstein. Then Kyle Higgins stops in for a quick chat about all things Nightwing and praise for his new series C.O.W.L! What more could you ask for?

 

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REVIEW: C.O.W.L #1,

Writer: Kyle Higgins

 and Alec Siegel

Artist: Rod Reis

Publisher: Image

Cover Price: 3.50

Buy on Comixology

Kyle Higgins (Nightwing) and Alec Siegel (Avengers) debut their new creator owned book C.O.W.L this week for Image comics with a strong first issue!

C.O.W.L is loosely based off of the short film that Higgins made in college called The League. It follows a cast of characters in 1960s Chicago that make up the Chicago Organized Workers League, an organization of super powered individuals and detectives. It’s a labor union, but for super heroes; what could possibly go wrong? C.O.W.L is made up of a somewhat large cast of characters, but Higgins and Siegel do a good job of touching on all of the supporting cast without it feeling forced.

The book starts by dropping us into a high-speed pursuit that showcases some of the team’s abilities. It isn’t too clear how powerful the members of C.O.W.L are, but it’s established that they have super hero like powers and they operate in the public eye. I wish I could have seen a little bit more of a powers showcase to get a better understanding of the team, but I’m sure we will see this in upcoming issues. At the end of their chase, they take down the jet back toting communist Skylancer with a coup de grâce to the head. According to C.O.W.L chief Geoffrey Warner, this marks the end of the nefarious Chicago Six’s reign and that Chicago will be much safer now that they are gone. With the big threats now eliminated and peace on the horizon, will there even be a need for C.O.W.L?

Higgins and Siegel give us an inside look into the dysfunctional mess that is C.O.W.L with this first issue. C.O.W.L’s leader Geoffrey Warner is a living legend, but the members of team aren’t buying what he’s selling anymore. He’s arrogant, condescending, and seems to only be keeping up appearances of a smooth running operation to the public.

Detective John Pierce isn’t happy with Marlow, nor is he convinced the Chicago Six has been put to rest. Pierce takes a look at a report with West Side Patrollers Grant Marlow and professional muscle Karl Samoski. They stumble on a weapons hold out only to find psycho wielding a giant gun. A firefight breaks out and the assailant jumps out the window. John Pierce takes a look around the hideout and finds classified C.O.W.L documents. Is somebody leaking intelligence? Is there a rat in the group? Or has the Chicago Six infiltrated C.O.W.L?

There is a Watchmen-like tone to C.O.W.L, but I don’t see it as a bad thing. I think we are going to see this book really come into its own in the subsequent issues. Higgins and Siegel have given us a cast of characters that are a time bomb. They’ve been working together for this common goal, but now that they’ve seemingly achieved it with the end of the Chicago Six, what’s left for them? It should also be noted that Rod Reis’s art is on point and very complementary to the story. It paints a dark, grim picture that really absorbs the reader into the story.

C.O.W.L looks like it’s setting itself up for something awesome. I’m going to definitely recommend you guys pick up this issue!

Preview


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He’s back! This week we wrap up our interview with Kyle Higgins as he talks about his work with Scott Snyder and the Batman team on Gates of Gotham, as well as Nightwing and how COWL came to be. He may even drop a few hints about the future of the series. You have to listen to find out.
Did you miss Part 1? Go listen HERE

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @kyledhiggins 


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Writers: Kyle Higgins

& Alec Siegel

Artist: Rod Reis

Publisher: Image

Cover Price: $3.50

Buy on ComiXology

Higgins, Siegel, and Reis continue churn out another fantastic issue for their critically acclaimed series C.O.W.L! More character drama, more developed plot, and even a little bit more action in this week’s excellent continuation of one of this years most talked about new series!

Geoffrey Warner has pulled out of negotiations with the city for the renewal of C.O.W.L’s contract and has put every member of the workers league on the front line of a strike. Conspicuously absent from the strike, are members Radia and Eclipse, who have begun a covert mission taking out illicit activity rings ran by Camden Stone, the man responsible for putting Eclipse’s partner in the hospital. Archlight has gotten himself into trouble with a prostitute and her pimp, so Geoffrey Warner has sent faithful lapdog Blaze to take care of the issue. Warner can’t be bothered because on top of the Strike, Warner is trying to find a way to get Detective John Pierce to end his investigation into the information and weapons leak stemming from C.O.W.L. Apparently Warner was already aware of the source and has taken care of it, or at least that’s what he wants Pierce to believe…

A good chunk of this issue is focused on Reginald Davis (Blaze), which is the first we have really seen of this character outside of his part taking down Skylancer. Davis lives with his late brother’s wife and her speedster powered son Henry. We only get a glimpse into home life for the Davis’s, but in the back of the issue, Higgins and Siegel provide us a dossier on Reginald Davis, giving us a little more back story on him and his brother. Using dossiers and mission briefs in the back of the issues has been a powerful narrative tool that has not only shed more light on the cast of characters, but also given us readers more mystery to speculate on. What really happened to Davis’s brother when he left C.O.W.L? Big juicy plot seeds I tell ya! It’s fun watching Higgins and Siegel seed little plots and mentions throughout the issue, only to see the dossiers really disclose their importance. It’s obvious from the attention to detail that the creative team has put a lot of effort into building this world and these characters.

While every issue of C.O.W.L seems to have some sort of action, this issue seems to have a lot of it, which gives Rod Reis the chance to shine (not that he hasn’t already been killing it!). Reis does an amazing job capturing the dreary cityscape and tone, but his action sequences feel unbelievably visceral. Everything is so real and brutal, which perfectly accents Radia chopping dice through a gangbanger’s arms and hands or Archlight shooting off blasts of energy from his gauntlets. You genuinely feel the power these characters wield through Reis’s art.

Higgins and Siegel have yet again showed their adept skill at being able to navigate through the cast of characters and their lives while still advancing the story. Books with large casts can stall out when they try to shift focus, but Higgins and Siegel keep driving C.O.W.L forward with purpose and direction. We are almost at full steam, with tensions running high everywhere, and it doesn’t look like there are any signs of stopping.

Bottom line, you need to be reading this book.

Preview

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The point of no return is defined as the point in the journey where it is further to return to the start than it is to continue to the end. Having just passed this point in 2014, it is a good time to highlight some of the best offering of the year so far. While my eyes still look forward to the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy and 2 different Smash Up expansions, let’s spend some time looking back on the first half of this journey.

Best Comics

Cowl

Ever since I heard Kyle Higgins Mention C.O.W.L. during Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast I had eagerly been awaiting this title. Set in mid-60s Chicago, C.O.W.L. (the Chicago Organized Workers League) is the story of the goings on in the world’s first labor union for superheroes. A mix of police procedural, office drama and political wheeling and dealing, C.O.W.L. brings forth a wide and encompassing world of cops, heroes and peeks into their everyday life. It is gritty, earnest and richly developed. This is aided in no small part by Rod Reis. The artwork is gorgeous, honoring the period without being kitschy. C.O.W.L. is just about perfect. I can’t wait to see where the story takes its (many) character. Still it it’s early issues now is a great time to pick it up. I expect great things from this series.

Best Meal

Giovanni’s Pasta from Bossa Nova Brazilian

I know it may seem odd that my favorite pasta comes from a Brazilian restaurant and not an Italian one, but go with me on this. With grilled chicken breast, so-thin-it-could-melt prosciutto and fresh springtime asparagus, Giovanni’s Pasta at Bossa Nova is far and away my favorite meal of the year so far. Paired with a velvety white sauce and tossed in fresh fettuccine it is everything you want from a pasta dish. Substantial enough to be filling but not so heavy you hate yourself. Savory, salty, crisp and creamy. This dish hits all the marks. I even asked for extra bread so as not to leave any sauce behind. Sorry, not sorry.

Whatever the hell I want from Pizza Rev

Taking a cue from the many successful sandwich chains that focus on order customization, Pizza Rev borrows the “build your own” model and applies it to, you guessed it, pizza. At a flat rate of $7.99 per pie, customers choose their crusts, sauce, cheese, meats and veggies. Cooked in a brick oven, it is crispy and melty and ready to go in just 3 minutes.  My favorite so far employs a mix mozzarella and bleu cheese, topped with sausage, spicy pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, jalapeno and garlic and is finished with Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Pizza perfection. Or is it the one with BBQ sauce, chicken and crispy bacon? Perhaps it’s the Alfredo sauce, ricotta, artichoke and sun-dried tomato combo? Only time, and more pizza, will tell.

Best Movies

Under The Skin

One of my favorite things about the movie-going experience is the conversation and debate you have afterward. No movie this year has left me with more to talk about than the genre-defying Under The Skin. The film stars Scarlett Johansson in a stripped down (literally and figuratively) performance as a sexy alien who seduces men and turns them into sludge. I know that may sound like a spoiler but it’s not. This movie is markedly without a traditional plot. No mission, no real good guys or bad guys. We just get to watch the story unfold. There are disturbing moments to be sure, but real beauty too. It is a movie that makes you feel a lot while telling you very little. Some amazing “How did they do that?” special effects and very limited dialogue work to create new type of film, Arthouse Sci-fi. What happened and why and what it all means isn’t laid out for you. It’s for you to figure out and debate about. And that’s half the fun.

Snowpiercer 

Snowpiecer is the English language debut from director/co-writer Bong Joon-ho and based on a French graphic novel.  In the not-too-distant future, an attempt to combat global warming works a little too well. World temperatures plummet and we are sent into another ice age. Humanity’s last bastion? A temperature controlled train running on a perpetual motion engine. A very rigid caste system exists on the train. Substaining on protein blocks and subject to daily abuse, life is hard for the people in the rear cars while the first class passengers enjoy fresh sushi and go disco dancing. When tail resident Curtis (a bearded Chris Evans) decides he has had all he can stands and stages an uprising all hell breaks loose. Slow motion action sequences  bounce from slick flight choreography to pratfalls. Guns, bombs, fire and axes abound as Evan and his ramshackle crew fight their way to the front and hopefully, to freedom. The central question of this film is how much can a person, and a people, be expected to sacrifice for the greater good. Also addressing issues such as class warfare, income disparity and the growing climate crisis the film never forgets that we came to watch people get punched. It’s a hell of a ride. Train pun intended.

Best Board Game

Card Wars

Demonstrating how life imitates art, and also the seemingly endless potential for cartoon themed merchandise, my favorite game of the year so far is Cryptozoic’s Card Wars. In a season four episode of Cartoon Network’s mega hit Adventure Time, we see a darker and fiercely competitive side to Jake the Dog when he challenges Finn to a game of Card Wars. Now that fictional game is real. Available as two different sets, and also for iOS and Android, Card Wars is a pretty basic tabletop deck building battle game. A wide array of creatures, spells and buildings combine to defend your homeland and conquer your enemy. Nothing new or tricky going on here. If my guy attacks with 7 and your defense is only 5, you die. The major draw for Card Wars is the art. It is very distinctly from the Adventure Time house, using cards from the episode as well new pieces drawn in the same style. A must for any AT fan and also a great way to ease into battling card deck games. For the glory of Jakoria!!! , #AdventureTime, #BossaNovalBrazilian, #COWL, #CardWars, #ChrisEvans, #COWL, #Cryptozoic, #PizzaRev, #ScarlettJohanssen, #Snowpiercer, #UnderTheSkin, Adventure Time, Bossa Noval Brazilian, C.O.W.L, Card Wars, Chris Evans, COWL, cryptozoic, Pizza Rev, Scarlett Johanssen, Snowpiercer, Under the Skin
REVIEW: C.O.W.L #2,

Story: Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel

Art: Rod Reis

Publisher: Image

Cover Price: $3.50

Buy on Comixology

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?

Prievew

 


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The Wednesday Watchlist: Picks of the Week!

The Wednesday Watchlist: Picks of the Week!

The amount of comics released on a weekly basis can be mind boggling for even those initiated in the ways of the Local Comic Shop. Therefore let Geeks Unleashed guide you through the essential releases this New Comic Book Day in our weekly Wednesday Watchlist feature, so whether you are short on time, dollars or both, you’ll always be reading the Picks of the Week.

Jo – Trees #1

Warren Ellis’…

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