Zachary Clayton

C.O.W.L. #1 cops with more power

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Writer: Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegel
Artist: Rod Reis
Publisher: Image Comics cover image via

The beginning of this series starts mid-stride, with the action already underway.  After a few pages of action, the story shifts down to “cop-drama” mode, and we get to listen to characters we barely know the name of bicker like children.  In fact a little kid even shows up at one point to call an adult a “self-centered asshole”.  It all starts in Chicago where readers are introduced to a slew of characters who, by all appearances, are cops with powers.  What those powers are exactly, I have no idea.  As each of the cast are only briefly explained, we are instead subjected to more of how they don’t get along and act like jerks, than who they actually are.  One character simply explains, “Anti-Kinetic powers, asshole”, before blowing a criminal out of a window and leaving the crime scene to go to a bar.  I’m left feeling like I need a great deal of assumption reading a book like this, as most of this book was spent throwing you from one conversation in progress to the next.  Everything moved very quickly, which can be good if everything is explained in part.  But it wasn’t.  Instead we’re given snippets of arguments.  As I said above this felt like a cop-drama, so if you like cop-drama’s this book might be for you.  I on the other hand don’t like cop-dramas.  I think they’re as played-out as Adam Sandler. (Jack and Jill, ’nuff said) But it definitely strikes the same vein as CSI, or one of the many cop shows that use an acronym for the title, with some meta-human characters at the center of it all.

Now all this title needs is a hipster lab-jockey with no powers that every one relies on, and the formula is complete.  Besides C.O.W.L. having an extremely annoying name to type out, this title just tries to hard to be gritty.  It’s set in Chicago, there’s crappy weather and dark office buildings, everybody wears a suit & tie or a trench-coat, everybody smokes, everybody drinks, the boss is a womanizing ass of an alcoholic, and again…Chicago.  Bleh.  It’s about cops…who have powers.

With the artwork, I’m torn about Rod Reis.  I really like his color work for Justice League etc, but I just really don’t care for the art in C.O.W.L.  I don’t really know how to explain it.  It feels a bit surreal and oddly layered.  As though they’re cut n pasted, the different objects in any given panel are all receiving light from different sources.  And at times it feels as though the panels were drawn with charcoal and water-color, giving a contrast that clashes with itself.

My thoughts?  Leave the cops out of it.  I really don’t want to read about a bunch of fascists with powers.  I give this title a thumbs down, it just isn’t my bag.  But, hey! Don’t take my word for it!

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