By: Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegel (writers), Rod Reis & Stéphanie Perger (art)
The Story: Blaze tries to keep the peace as a strike leaves Chicago’s superhero union feeling a little less united.
The Review: It feels like Alec Siegel and Kyle Higgins are reading my mind. After an amazing spotlight on Radia, they’ve immediately turned to the other contender for most interesting character and given us an issue heavily featuring Blaze.
To many the common denominator between these two might be their lack of privilege, but I think it’s better to look at them as unknowns. Radia’s key role in the destruction of the Chicago Six and the dramatically illustrated, but as of yet completely unsubstantiated, rumor that she and Geoffrey Warner are having an affair made her low profile in issue #2 stick out quite noticeably. On the other hand, Blaze is the deputy chief of C.O.W.L. but was one of the only characters we didn’t get to know in the first three issues. Add to that the fact that we had no idea how these characters responded to the times, with the zenith of the Civil Rights Movement swiftly approaching, and it’s no wonder that there was something of an air of mystery about them.
Thankfully this issue largely rectifies this situation. We learn a lot about who Blaze is: his background, his family, what weighs on him. More than ever the dossier at the back of the issue is essential and fascinating. Especially with the context contained in his bio, Blaze’s home life is particularly interesting. Here we’re introduced to two more instantly likeable characters in the form of Blaze’s nephew, Henry, and his sister-in-law, Anita. The resulting family dynamic is strange, personal, but still familiar. Blaze’s life seems good. He has people who love him and many who depend upon him. Still, Higgins and Siegel do a fine job of planting seeds of discord without making Blaze look bitter or suggestible.
Honestly, one of the strongest attributes of C.O.W.L. is that sense of discovery. With the series settled into a nice rhythm, the writers have given us enough to feel comfortable, but we’re still actively learning more about this alternate Chicago. Perhaps that’s why one completely reasonable twist grates so, as John Pierce’s investigation seemingly hits a wall. Of course, not all mysteries end in conspiracy, but it was such a fun one that it seems a shame to let it go. Then again, it’s possible that Geoffrey Warner, the head of C.O.W.L., is lying.
Filed under: Image Comics, Reviews | Tagged: Alec Siegel, Anita Davis, Arclight (Tom Haydn), Blaze (Reginald Davis), C.O.W.L., C.O.W.L. 4, C.O.W.L. 4 Review, Eclipse (Karl Samoski), Geoffrey Warner, Henry Davis, John Pierce, Kyle Higgins, Radia (Kathryn Mitchell), rod reis, Stéphanie Perger | Leave a comment »