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Major Story Arcs

Grant Marlow is a member of C.O.W.L., the superhero union in Chicago in the 1960s. His partner is Eclipse, who has powers, but Marlow is "merely" a sharpshooter. "Merely," because his twelve-year-old son is embarrassed at his father's lack of powers in a superhero union, and starts getting rebellious with him about it, even telling his boss, Geoffrey Warner, that his dad thinks he's a jerk.

Marlow, Eclipse, and fellow non-powered member John Pierce start tracking down the weapons storage location of now-dead villain Skylancer, while Marlow complains about his son. They find the site and take down the random criminal who found it, with Eclipse getting most of the glory.

His frustrations with his son continue to distract him. When he and Eclipse hear that mobster Camden Stone has an enforcer running wild near them, they investigate. They realize that it's Michael, one of Stone's super-powered villains who don't wear costumes and thus don't officially fall under C.O.W.L.'s jurisdiction. Marlow, however, is fed up--and determined to prove himself a hero--and runs after him. Michael beats him down with his enhanced strength, but Marlow shoots him in the groin, killing him.

Grant is so badly hurt that he ends up in the hospital for some time. The investigations unit says the killing was justified. However, his actions do put pressure on the union, which is renegotiating its contract with the city. The union goes on strike for a better contract.

Eclipse and fellow member Radia decide to get revenge on Camden Stone on Marlow's behalf and start roughing up his illegal enterprises. They're breaking the strike so they do it in disguise, but Stone and union boss Warner know what's going on.

Marlow eventually gets out of the hospital and Eclipse and Radia pick him up. Eclipse, formerly hard-nosed enough to casually urinate in a suspect's face, now tells off Marlow when he makes an offhand sexist remark about Radia, who is somewhat taking Marlow's place as Eclipse's undercover partner. Overall, though. Marlow is excited about his new hero status and is ready to get back to working for the union.

Soon he is practicing on the shooting range, although his aim isn't as good as it once was. He wants to be ready to help fight the new supervillains that have been popping up recently. Unknown to him and the other union members, however, these supervillains have been arranged for by their own leader, Warner, who is concerned that the union won't get a good contract without any new villains to fight.

While some things are working out for Grant--his son is now proud of him for what he did to Michael--Eclipse is less happy with him. He thinks Grant is taking Eclipse and Radia's efforts against Stone on his behalf for granted. They're getting a lot of pressure about it from Warner, and Eclipse is now second-guessing their activities against Stone.

The union gets its contract with the city, but when the members go to celebrate, Grant finds a letter telling him that he has been fired--that his killing of Michael has been found to be "unnecessary force" after all. Eclipse knows that this is revenge by the union for Eclipse having not bowed down to their requests on another matter. Eclipse argues with deputy leader Blaze, and in the end quits himself--as does Radia, for her own reasons.

Radia and Eclipse end up starting their own detective agency, and seem to have a fine future ahead of them.

Marlow, however, seems to be going in a different direction. He is seen sitting around on the couch, drinking beer now that his mission in life is gone. Then a box arrives with a note that says, "If you really want to get them back..." The box contains a gas mask similar to that of Skylancer, who was once a member of the Chicago Six, and one of C.O.W.L.'s worst villains. The note is unsigned, and it is hard to say who might have sent it, since there are not many people left with a grudge against C.O.W.L. There is Detective Hewitt, who was investigating them for murder, but she wouldn't sanction being a villain. Camden Stone seems unlikely, considering that Marlow killed his muscle. Perhaps it was Sparrow, who left C.O.W.L. years ago and is now a much darker kind of vigilante with a grudge against the union, although one would think he wouldn't suggest taking over a villain's identity either. Whoever did send it, it seems likely that Marlow may become one of C.O.W.L.'s new enemies, using Skylancer's costume.


Marlow is a sharpshooter. He often uses rubber bullets in his guns, although not always.


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