Title: C.O.W.L. #3
Writers: Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegel
Artist: Rod Reis
Publisher: Image Comics
Rating: 5 / 5
C.O.W.L. succeeds in every major way possible. The tone is gritty, dark and real; the world is grounded and believable; the plot is exciting; the characters are vulnerable and the premise is just top notch. If I haven’t bludgeoned you over the head enough already to pick up this book, I really don’t know what else to say!
C.O.W.L. #3 follows the formula set by issue 2 whereby it advances the narrative some, we gain a bit more back story, all the while focusing on a single member of the team more than the rest. This time we are treated with having the spotlight on Kathryn aka Radia. It’s hard not to see her blonde hair and blue suit as anything other than a nod to Sue Storm, but her personality and role are on different rails altogether. She’s not the calm and collected motherly spine of the organization. She’s sultry and sexy and often seen as the public face of C.O.W.L., but it’s almost as if she resents these traits and is having trouble maintaining her dominance in the “boys” world. Luckily for her, her teammate Eclipse enlists her to shake some things up with a mob boss and she’s eager to blow off steam. The first time we saw her show her her potential was when she delivered the killing blow to Skylancer in the opening pages of C.O.W.L. #1. This mob rendezvous echoes that awesomeness.
Again, I can’t say enough about the brilliant art direction this comic benefits from. The authentic-feeling attention to the era and 60s vibe is just spot on and it makes the comic shine. Everything from the vehicles to the neighbourhoods to the (of course) clothing is aesthetically pleasing. If this were a comic about a superhero union in 1994 it just wouldn’t be the same.
This title is firing off on all cylinders. We’ve got characters with real people problems in a superhero world; we’ve got an organization struggling to stay afloat amidst tense contract negotiations and we’ve still got lingering questions pertaining to possible company corruption. There is lots going on and I love it. I haven’t been so enamoured with a book since I first started reading Saga.
Review by Brent Gladney