By Kyle Higgins, Alec Seigel & Rod Reis
The launch of C.OW.L. signifies two landmarks: the first creator-owned book from Kyle Higgins and Alec Seigel and Rod Reis’ first foray into sequential artwork. The original concept for this comic came from Higgins’ senior thesis film The League (visit www.theleaguefilm.com) in 2007. Several characters introduced in the short film are present and elaborated on in this book. A union of superheroes known as C.OW.L. (Chicago Organized Worker’s League), protect the city in 1962. The story opens with the team taking down the last member of the villainous Chicago Six. After the intense event, the relevance of COWL is called into question.
There was a lot of buzz surrounding this new title from Image and it does not disappoint. Seigel and Higgins take the material seriously and make the character relationships/dialog intriguing and believable. Despite them being heroes, they each have flaws because they are human; they are deep and sometimes troubled characters. Seeing the heroes struggle to take down one criminal with no superpowers (think Firefly) was really refreshing and presented actual stakes and consequences. All this allows the reader to buy into this alternate 1962 reality; alternative history tales can make for milestone works (Watchmen immediately comes to mind). This is a prequel to The League, so reading this first is highly recommended. I will say it is a nice companion to the comic.
Rod Reis is known mostly for his color work on titles like Geoff Johns’ current run on Justice League. Seeing his artwork in this issue was quite a surprise. It has a rough, sketch-like appearance for the character designs. It’s a bit jarring at first, but it definitely makes the material pop as a whole. The coloring and backgrounds have a painted texture that bring focus to the characters and their facial expressions/actions. Reis’ art grew on me one panel at a time. Let’s see what surprises he delivers next!
This book was such a treat. Original story and artwork in one title is rare these days, so readers should pick up this book and support such creativity. Oh and the short film is also well done and worth watch/purchase… A C.O.W.L. TV series would be awesome!
Don’t forget about our C.O.W.L. giveaway either. Higgins and Seigel signed copies of #1. Head over to our giveaway page for more details.