Dynamite continues its re-purposing of the Golden Age heroes with “The Owl” #1 written by J.T. Krul and drawn by Heubert Khan Michael. Under a snazzy cover by Alex Ross, this debut issue provides a snappy introduction to the Owl as a hero split between then and now. The bulk of the story is in the now, but the opening page looks like a page ripped straight from yesteryear’s comics with thin lines, deep shadows and vibrant colors.
“The Owl” #1 is a story about Nick Terry, a man out of time and out of love. At first glance, the analogy between Owl and bat seems obvious, but the weight Terry carries is more in line with that on the shoulders of Captain America tinged with love lost and feared gone. Krul makes Terry a sympathetic character, but teeters on the line of making him a lovesick whiner. Thankfully there’s some action involved to take Terry’s mind off his moping and to show readers what’s cool about this character. Costumed crime-fighting has its place in Yorktown, but in the midst of trying to quell a gang fight, the Owl’s attention is caught by a new face under the mantle and moniker of Owl Girl.
Heubert Khan Michael’s art is solid and his storytelling is exactly what a debut issue needs with just enough bite to latch onto the readership. Like a Batman story, the Owl’s adventures are richly shadowed, adding suspense and mystery. Michael balances the shadow and detail nicely, calling some of Paul Smith’s work to mind, but Vinicius Andrade’s colors are just a little too bold throughout the entire issue. Conversely, letterer Marshall Dillon’s caption boxes lack punch, but his word balloons are strong enough to carry the dialog.
Dynamite Entertainment has done a nice job of churning the public domain heroes through, getting them in front of eyeballs. Krul does a good job giving the Owl a voice that is both comfortable and fresh and the visuals on this book are better than average. The concept of a man lost in time searching for a lost love is paved over by a mystery set to drive the rest of the story forward. I might not recall the specifics of “The Owl” #1 when the next issue hits the stands, but Krul’s set up an uncluttered story that will certainly jog my memory. Hopefully he builds on that story and makes Owl Girl more than a plot device.