C.O.W.L. 11 (July 2015)

C.O.W.L. #11

I guess C.O.W.L. is over. I really should be reading back matter, apparently, as I went through the issue with no idea it was wrapping up after just two arcs. Especially since the story’s weighted with an emphasis on the supporting cast and not the big plot. It seems like it’s a setup for whatever comes next.

Only nothing comes next.

Higgins and Siegel do all right with most of the issue. The last scene’s odd and a little lame and worse after realizing it’s the last scene in the series. But the rest of the comic has some good scenes and some excellent art from Reis. It’s amazing how he’s able to imply movement in his static, design-oriented work. Wish more people could.

C.O.W.L. never really hit its potential. Higgins and Siegel (and even Reis) developed over the run of the book. It just didn’t run long enough.

CREDITS

The Greater Good, Chapter Five: Coming to Terms; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; publisher, Image Comics.

C.O.W.L. 10 (May 2015)

C.O.W.L. #10

It’s an okay issue of C.O.W.L.. Higgins and Siegel are doing a bridging issue. Most of the issue is either one person being threatened or another person threatening and so on. There’s some nice art from Reis on it, but it all feels very by the numbers.

The coolest thing has to be the supervillain who looks like Nosferatu and has minions. C.O.W.L. tends not to have particularly good villains (or heroes) when it comes to concepts; Reis rarely gets to do anything exciting. Nosferatu and company, though only in the comic for a couple pages, are pretty exciting.

As for the rest of the comic–with the picket line breaking superhero in the hospital and the police detective out for the truth–doesn’t really connect. Higgins and Siegel don’t have enough material; they present it well enough, however. C.O.W.L. is getting to be sturdy, even when it isn’t compelling.

CREDITS

The Greater Good, Chapter Four: Full Disclosure; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; publisher, Image Comics.

C.O.W.L. 9 (March 2015)

C.O.W.L. #9

This issue of C.O.W.L. is an excellent bit of work from creators Higgins, Siegel and Reis. First off, Reis’s art really makes the issue. He gets to do talking heads and action, but he has a bunch of variety when it comes to the talking heads. The style fits the conversation and the players beautifully.

Since there’s so much talking heads, it’s important the conversations work and they do. Higgins and Siegel reveal quite a few things–like the murdered guy having a wise to the corruption wife; C.O.W.L. is nine issues in and the writers are still able to expand it naturally.

The sixties Chicago setting–whether in the politics or just the visuals–gets utilized quite well this issue too. It’s beginning to feel like natural. The comic has found a reliable groove.

I just realized–the lack of a frame really helps C.O.W.L.; it’s historical superhero fiction.

CREDITS

The Greater Good, Chapter Three: The High Ground; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; publisher, Image Comics.

C.O.W.L. 8 (January 2015)

C.O.W.L. #8

There are some definite issues with Reis’s art here. The people don’t look right; he’s maybe trying a new style and it doesn’t take. Or maybe there are just too many people to draw. The issue is a lot of talking heads scenes, no real action besides the introduction of staged supervillains.

Higgins and Siegel spend a little time with every character, which leaves C.O.W.L. feeling like it’s in need of a protagonist, or at least someone to follow through all these scenes. Instead, it’s a lot of different people and the writers handle those scenes pretty well, but it feels like a collection of subplot scenes thrown into one issue.

Not even the cliffhanger, with the supervillains attacking, has much weight. It’s kind of a treading water issue, kind of not. The writers are good with their characters and Reis’s art is mostly strong. The issue just feels slight.

CREDITS

The Greater Good, Chapter Two: Doppler Shift; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; publisher, Image Comics.

C.O.W.L. 7 (December 2014)

C.O.W.L. #7

The issue starts off a little rocky. Reis gets a big action sequence and it’s all style and no substance. Then Higgins and Siegel gradually ease the substance out of that scene as the rest of the comic progresses. Because they’re now introducing the supervillains, or what goes for a supervillain in C.O.W.L. and things are getting very interesting.

There’s a lot of subplot building, between the murdered union member, the union boss making a deal with the villains, the guy getting out of the hospital. There’s a lot–so much when there’s this thing with one of the regular superheroes and a cop talking, it’s just too much to track. But Higgins and Siegel keep it in line and constantly surprising.

And Reis gets another good action sequence.

Then the cliffhanger brings in a whole other issue, since it’s a reveal no one knows but the reader.

Very cool.

B+ 

CREDITS

The Greater Good, Chapter One: At the Brink; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Andy Schmidt; publisher, Image Comics.

C.O.W.L. 5 (September 2014)

C.O.W.L. #5

It’s a decent enough issue–with Reis doing a lengthy Sienkiewicz-inspired action sequence–but it’s a little light.

C.O.W.L. is a hard-sell, which makes writers Higgins and Siegel’s accomplishments more significant, because it’s a comic book about a labor union and union politics and union negotiating. The superhero aspect of the comic doesn’t come into play much throughout the issue, with Higgins and Siegel saving it for the finale.

But even then it has a lot to do with the union and its problems.

Most of the art is highly stylized, but Reis never gets in the way of the story. He keeps the talking heads scenes visually interesting. Even with its problems, the issue is impressive. Higgins and Siegel find time for character scenes, they find time for conspiracies, they just don’t have enough A plot for the issue.

Slightness aside, it’s still perfectly good stuff.

CREDITS

Principles of Power, Chapter Five: Sacrifice; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Andy Schmidt; publisher, Image Comics.

C.O.W.L. 4 (August 2014)

C.O.W.L. #4

St├ęphane Perger joins Reis on the art this issue; their styles compliment one another, but are still distinct. The art is both more stylized and emotive over all and it helps the issue immensely.

As for Higgins and Siegel’s story, it’s phenomenal. They’re apparently comfortable enough in C.O.W.L. to let some subplots rest without getting full recaps and minimal motion. There’s some quiet family drama, there’s some quiet relationship drama. It’s all very quiet; even though it’s about the superheroes picketing the police department.

Real quick–the picket lines meet a predictable conclusion when it’s one law enforcement agency picketing and another one not. Higgins and Siegel find a whole lot to talk about this comic and not much of it has to do with flying men. They aren’t turning C.O.W.L. into a history lesson, they’re instead using it as a discussion piece about history.

The comic’s really shaping up well.

CREDITS

Principles of Power, Chapter Four: Unity; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artists, Rod Reis and St├ęphane Perger; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Andy Schmidt; publisher, Image Comics.

C.O.W.L. 3 (July 2014)

C.O.W.L. #3

There’s a lot going on this issue; Higgins and Siegel move between two big plots–the super-powered guys going up against a common gangster (which is against union rules) and then the boss negotiating the new contract with the city–while there are a couple little things going on.

The first little thing ties into the gangster storyline. The female superhero is feeling discounted because of her gender and an unlikely colleague shows up and gives her the chance to work outside the norm. It’s a great little arc because there’s so much Higgins and Siegel get to comment on.

Excellent Reis art–throughout, not just on this storyline–is essential to the issue’s success.

Then there’s a little continuation on one of the previous issue’s soft cliffhangers. It’s an interesting continuation because Higgins and Siegel promote it to the issue’s principal cliffhanger, all very quietly.

C.O.W.L. is showing some definite improvement this issue.

CREDITS

Principles of Power, Chapter Three: Perception; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Andy Schmidt; publisher, Image Comics.

C.O.W.L. 2 (June 2014)

C.O.W.L. #2

This issue of C.O.W.L. doesn’t so much have scenes as it has snippets of scenes. The whole thing plays like a movie trailer for itself.

Higgins and Siegel open with the two plainclothes guys dropping on of them’s kids off for school. The kid gives his dad crap for not having a costume. Think it comes back in a dramatic fashion? Big time.

Then there’s some corruption stuff and some scheming stuff. All of these scenes hint at something ominous going on but ominous ongoings don’t make the story move. The characters should make the story move, only Higgins and Siegel barely let the characters breathe. The best scenes in the comic are the conversation scenes wiht the guy investigating the corruption. The political stuff is terrible.

“The West Wing” it ain’t.

Worse, the plainclothes guys stuff is bad because they don’t get enough time.

Luckily, Reis’s art holds up.

CREDITS

Principles of Power, Chapter Two: Self-Deception; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Andy Schmidt; publisher, Image Comics.

C.O.W.L. 1 (May 2014)

C.O.W.L. #1

There’s something really neat about C.O.W.L.. Writers Kyle Higgins and Alex Siegel don’t mess around with the setting–it’s early sixties Chicago and there’s a unionized team of superheroes defending the city. But it’s less a superhero comic than a police procedural.

For example, there’s not a lot of emphasis on explaining the characters’ powers. Artist Rod Reis does an awesome, probably digital paint thing, and his panels move fast. There’s no time to waste with exposition about who can do what. Higgins and Siegel seem happy to let the reader figure out the powers when needed, but just to fill pages.

The issue jumps around a lot, from the costumed heroes to the plainclothes ones, and it all has to do with this one case. So there’s that procedural aspect.

There are way too many balls in the air at the end of the issue, but it’s definitely impressive stuff.

CREDITS

Principles of Power, Chapter One: Motivation; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Andy Schmidt; publisher, Image Comics.

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: