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Chicago gets its own league of superheroes in 'C.O.W.L.'

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C.O.W.L. #1 (Image Comics)

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Image Comics has had great success offering bigger names in comics an outlet for passion projects away from DC and Marvel. Matt Fraction ("Hawkeye") and Rick Remender ("Captain America"), in particular, have created some riveting series for the company. Add Kyle Higgins to that list. Coming off of his innovative run on "Nightwing", Higgins and co-writer Alec Siegel give us "C.O.W.L.", a series about a superhero union in Chicago.

The book is a little bit "Watchmen" as there is the notion of super-powered people working together in the 60's but it really delves into the notion of unions. Why would or should these people put themselves in harm's way without compensation? Police officers don't. Firefighters get paid. So it's only fair that superheroes get proper remuneration just as anyone else should for their own skills. This is the vision of Geoffrey Warner, formerly the Grey Raven and current leader of the Chicago Organized Workers League.

Warner is no longer actively fighting crime but he works with local government to ensure C.O.W.L.'s present and future. The idea for the series came along six years ago with Higgins and Siegel's fun short film, "The League". Readers may want to avoid watching it before reading the book as it may contain future spoilers. The advantage of the comic is that the authors' story can be told in longer form with more detail, not to mention the lack of CGI constraints that an independent film may have. Long time DC colorist Rod Reis gets a chance to spread his wings as sole artist. His work compares favorably to that of Ben Templesmith and Bill Sienkiewicz.

Amid the super action is some obvious friction within the organization behind-the-scenes and things aren't exactly how they seem. The series promises to offer a new side to the same old spandex fare. "C.O.W.L." #1 is on sale now.

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