Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel
Art, Colours: Rod Reis
Lettering: Troy Peteri
Cover: Trevor McCarthy
C.O.W.L., the Chicago Organized Workers’ League (a “super-hero labor union”, in their own words) is still on strike because the Mayor seems to be planning to be giving more responsibilities to the regular Police, thus undermining C.O.W.L.’s monopoly on law enforcement.
In issue #7 we saw robberies and petty crimes being committed by superpowered villains; in issue #5 we had seen C.O.W.L. leader Geoffrey Warner, the Gray Raven, talk to local mobster Camden Stone, who in the past had been known to employ supers for his criminal activities, asking him to restart doing so in order to make clear to the whole city that C.O.W.L. is indeed necessary. But in issue #7, unaware of this, C.O.W.L. members Eclipse and Radia have started targeting Stone in order to persuade him to stop this crime wave – and they have done so despite the strike.
Issue #8 opens with Arclight being questioned about his role in the death of John Pierce, who was ready to blow the whistle on some illegal stuff happening within C.O.W.L.; we know he actually murdered him, but of course he’s trying to prove that something else happened. Meanwhile, Alderman Lawrence Hayes is kidnapped from his own home, in front of his family, by a super with powers over sound.
Yes, a long summary, but things are quite complex in this series.
Authors Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel are slowly but steadily building a powerful and compelling story, in which every single detail counts. Tiny, apparently throw-away scenes link to something that eventually happens several issues later, characters gain and lose importance issue after issue. The early 1960s atmosphere is perfectly recreated, too. And I’m not talking about 1960s comics (that happened in issue #6, a splendid one-shot): they created a story that simply seems real, despite the superpowers.
Rod Reis’s art is something else: everything is (or at least looks) painted rather than drawn, and there are no inks to be seen. Except for the black-and-white sequence depicting the kidnapping of the Alderman, that appears drawn in pencil only.
Another outstanding issue for C.O.W.L.