Previously, “C.O.W.L. #3”
This series has settled into a smooth rhythm where each issue ends up ostensibly being a showcase for one character. The previous issue highlighted Kathryn Mitchell (aka Radia), and this issue puts the spotlight directly onto Reginald Davis (aka Blaze). It’s through a conversation between he and his sister that we’re given what would ostensibly be the theme of the month: Chain-of-command.
Following the events (read: office meetings and contract negotiations) of issue #3, C.O.W.L. is now in full-blown strike mode; that means they’re picketing and marching and all the usual strike things. What I love is there’s dissension in ranks, and this is juxtaposed with Reginald’s stalwart support of C.O.W.L. Chief Geoffrey Warner, despite the questions Davis’ sister has about whether Davis’ support of Warner is warranted. The reason I love this is because it feels very true to the dynamics of a striking union.
While that’s going on, Radia and Eclipse are still out doing “scab” work that’s not really “scab” work because it’s sanctioned. This is fantastic because you see what is, on the surface, a locked down union that must maintain a certain image, but underneath, the union’s duck legs are still flapping away trying its best to keep the whole thing afloat.
Obviously, I feel the writing from Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel is continuing to excel in its accurate portrayal of how superheroes would actually be forced to deal with unionization and subsequent negotiations. Now that the plot has extended several tentacles, the team is expertly handling them without having any story feel as though it has been ignored.
The terrific artwork of Rod Reis continued in this issue, as well, with an assist from Stephanie Perger. This issue held steady with Reis’ unique style of mixed-medium illustrations, but it also brought in a good helping of what feel like more traditionally animated comic panels; the mixture is fantastic, as it feels as though he has developed a distinct dichotomy between his drama and his action.
This series just keeps getting better, and in this month’s Union Dues letter section, Higgins notes a few things worth relaying here. First, after the magnificent essay from Sarah Jaffe in issue #3, there are definitely plans to include more things like that in the future. Second, there is potential for C.O.W.L. merchandise; of course, that depends on demand, so I’m gonna need everyone to help out so I can get a chance to buy a shirt with the C.O.W.L. logo on it. Lastly, next month’s issue will bring an end to the series’ first arc, and Higgins promises that it’s going to be a big one. I cannot wait.