Review: ‘The Owl’ #1

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A fun reboot, “The Owl” #1 takes a surprisingly smart twist on the vigilante genre. This is a darker and more stylish approach to a caped crime-fighter who has been linked to the 1940s yesteryear. After reading this issue, readers will want to see how a forgotten relic of the past manages in the present-day.

WRITTEN BY: J.T. Krul
ART BY: Heubert Khan Michael
PUBLISHER: Dynamite Entertainment
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: July 3, 2013

After saving the world from a madman, Nick Terry, known as The Owl, has been lost across time for 50 years. Now that he has returned to the same city, Nick will never get those years back. What breaks his heart, Nick will never feel those lost moments with the love of his life, Belle. As hard as he tries, Nick doesn’t exactly fit in with the present day. He is a man who doesn’t belong here and has no one by his side. Yet Nick still puts on the cape and fights crime during the night. It is the only thing that keeps him going now. The Owl has to continue fighting crime because it is the only thing he knows how to do.

Writer J.T. Krul creates a sympathetic and relatable protagonist, who is really a fish out of water. The narrative follows Nick’s wandering stream of consciousness through thought captions. Nick is self-reflective and close to being dangerously burnt-out. The Owl saved the world but Nick doesn’t feel he ever got his reward. He has sacrificed so much and now he has returned to a city that doesn’t want him. The Owl may have been a hero before, but people have just forgotten about him.

Krul has set up interesting storylines for further down the line. Is Nick, who was a decorated police officer, going to start his own private detective agency? Is he going to work outside the law, in order to help others? I did get a kick out of The Owl’s upcoming antagonist, The Shrimp, whose name actually represents his height. In the story, the henchmen, even the other rival gangsters, take the diminutive crime lord seriously.

Artist Heubert Khan Michael does a terrific job creating a seedy cityscape with his glossy and hyper-realistic illustrations. In the opening pages, Michael captures the kicks and swings in medium shots and close-ups. The red cape shifts as if the cloak is meant to support his body, instead of being a parachute.

I really like how Vinicius Andrade uses colors to transition between the past and present. In the present, Nick is wandering across the street, thinking about Belle, the love of his life. To distinguish the different time settings, the flashbacks are always in brown and white tones, with shades of black. Notice the small differences in the panels between the past and present. In the past, Nick is taking Belle out to the movies. In the present, it’s still the same spot, but the theater has closed down.

“The Owl” #1 kicks off to a great start, while setting up more crime-fighting adventures in the next issues to come.

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis