Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel
Art: Elsa Charretier
Additional art: Jen Aprahamian
Colours: Rod Reis
Lettering: Troy Peteri
Cover: Joe Bennett, Marcelo Mueller, Rod Reis
After the end of its first major storyline, recently published as a trade paperback, C.O.W.L. gives us a transitional issue (although I can see the potential for a couple more like this one): we interrupt our insightful tour through the ins and outs of superhero trade unions in 1962 Chicago to read the origin story of the Grey Raven, the not-too-loved leader of C.O.W.L. – an issue (fictionally) printed in 1962, very likely as an advertisement ploy. Yes, because C.O.W.L. (and Grey Raven) needs to win back the support of the people of Chicago.
Behind a very 1960s cover, that promises that we’ll read about “the origin of Chicago’s favourite son” (and with a price in cents, although it’s 350), we find… a very 1960s comic.
Young Geoffrey Warner grew up idolising his father, a decorated beat cop. As soon as he’s 18 he decides to follow his steps and join the Chicago Police, but just as he gets home from having been told that he has been accepted in the Force he discovers that his father is not the hero Geoffrey though he was. So he decides to start a career in boxing…
Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel recreate faithfully the atmosphere of a 1960s comic, including over-the-top monologues and allowing Grey Raven to indulge in the typical Golden Age superhero habit of describing in detail what he’s doing during a battle.
Elsa Charretier’s art is also perfectly fitting with the 1960s theme. Vaguely naïve-looking, square-jawed heroes, beautiful women with slits for eyes, eager blue-eyed children, villains with thick eyebrows… and the colours (by Rod Reis) help setting the atmosphere, with that vaguely grainy quality that they indeed used to have at the time.
To support the idea of this issue actually being a 1960s book, we also find here and there some advertisement, created by Jen Aprahamian. Of course it’s all fictional advertisement – except for one: someone has actually created a C.O.W.L.-inspired music album. Of course it’s not being sold as an LP (it can be bought on iTunes instead).
It’s a very entertaining issue, of course told from Grey Raven’s point of view (so we can expect, in some future story, someone uncovering the truth in some way). Definitely worth a read!