THE OWL opens with deliciously retro panels; flat and clean and straight out of the 1950s. It evokes a sort of nostalgia, even if you weren't around for the Golden Age, and The Owl's "owl bombs," "owl roadster," and even his partner, Owl Girl, are perfectly simple and sentimental, and a little bit kitschy.
That sentiment is, of course, short-lived, and we're thrust into a fully-rendered, modern, brutal world with meaner criminals that don't have a sense of the Golden Age's honor code. Remember when Captain America woke up? It's like that, but more grim, and riddled with mob crime.
JT Krul and Heubert Khan Michael are a solid team; Krul has dreamed up a compelling character in Nick Terry, and Michael brings him to life on the page, in both eras of his story. I love the visual shift from flat to rendered, and I love how Terry isn't quite caught up to his new surroundings yet; there's a definite contrast, and it's a great starting point for his character arc. There's plenty of tension already -- between Terry and the police department who can't hire him, Owl and the mobsters, and Owl and the new Owl Girl -- and so much potential for exciting things for our hero to work through.
That magical urn gets us from Point A to Point B, but it's probably my least favorite part of the story. I love the man-out-of-time aspect of THE OWL, but in a weird way, I want the rest of it to play straight, without the interference of magic. Krul delivers a cop-who-loves-justice-so-much-that-he's-also-a-vigilante story so well that I don't even necessarily need the time-magic to enjoy it (although maybe the magical elements will come into play again later?).
Once again, Dynamite delivers a strong pulp revival. I've been enjoying BLACK BAT, and I'm happy that THE OWL is another strong title in their slate. In contrast to Black Bat, The Owl is a hero with an incredible sense of duty, and far less moral ambiguity, so we're getting a different flavor of hero with just as much pulp. As far is series debuts go, this one did it by the numbers -- solid introduction to the hero and his world, immediate action, and groundwork for exciting future issues. I'm in for Issue #2 -- I want to know what's going on with the new Owl Girl, and how Terry is going to handle the cops' overflow (because we know there's more to that story!).