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The Owl #1 Review

4

Nick Terry is an old-school detective in a city that's anything but.

The Good

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.

The Bad

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?).

The Verdict

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!).

11 Comments
Posted by chalkshark

I find it impossible to believe that Krul could actually write a comic story worth reading. There's no way I'm picking this book up.

Posted by G-Man

@chalkshark: Thanks for sharing the negativity. I thought this was pretty rad.

Staff
Edited by NovaRichRider

@missj: Your reviews are as beautifully written as you are to look at. Psyched to read The Owl!

Posted by MissJ
Staff
Posted by chalkshark

@g_man: Negative experiences breed negativity. Krul burned me on Rise & Fall of Green Arrow, Rise of Arsenal, and the "new" 52 relaunches of Green Arrow and Captain Atom. How many more chances am I expected to give this guy? I have no faith in his ability as a writer.

Posted by NightFang

@chalkshark: That sound like you're problem and something you need to get over or don't I really don't care. Me i'll give this issue a chance and if it's good i'll read #2.

Edited by owl

@missj: Superb review, Miss J. This issue was a real hoot!

Edited by jwalser3

Going to pick this up now.

Edited by tim_mik

@chalkshark what bothered you about the Arrow storyline?

Edited by chalkshark

@tim_mik: Krul's re-imagining of the Green Arrow, for DC's "new " 52 initiative, jettisoned absolutely everything that made Green Arrow... well... Green Arrow. He was no longer a social crusader. He was no longer a loudmouth. He was no longer a liberal firebrand. He was no longer the hero so rooted in his humanity, that he made it a point of keeping his godlike teammate's feet planted firmly on the ground. Instead we're given a retooling of the Smallville version of the character, that manages to, somehow, be even blander. At no point does Krul ever establish any real reason why Oliver Queen puts on a costume and fights crime. This Green Arrow is then saddled with the most cliched supporting characters ever to be put on paper. It comes as absolutely no surprise that the first thing Lemire did when he took over the series was to murder the majority of them, and erase the whole Q-Corp setting. They were deadwood weighing the series down from day one. Krul then creates a series of incredibly pedestrian super-villains to challenge Green Arrow, all of whom are instantly forgettable. I guarantee, not a single one of them will ever be seen again, unless it's to add to the body count for some big event story. DC moved Krul off the series after only three issues. It's the first title in the "new" 52 to, essentially, be rebooted, by Lemire, who's completely changed the tone of the entire series. That such drastic measures had to be taken speaks to how terrible Krul's launch of the character was.