With my new marching orders that I will no longer write about comic books on bad-dreams anymore, I will take my opinion to the DailySkew when need be. Well it happens that it’s time, so here goes.
Before Watchmen has been fantastic and has met expectations. Each issue gets better. A shame its Wikipedia page is all about the legal battles between Alan Moore and DC Comics. Here are my brief impressions in order of release:
Before Watchmen: Minutemen 1-2: This is Darwyn Cooke’s baby, and issue #1 was solid, and issue #2 really tapped into the dark underbelly of the Watchmen universe. The setting is 1962 flashing back to the 1940s, but instead of being an idealized Golden Age, we experience that the Minutemen’s manager Laurence Schexnayder is much more concerned about making money than fighting crime. Homosexuality, lesbianism, S&M, and poor team chemistry are prevalent. RECOMMENDED.
Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre 1-2: Cooke teams up with the amazing Amanda Conner to produce the sexist comic book. It’s a shame this is the lowest selling Watchmen comic- the fanboys have underestimated Silk Spectre II’s character. Granted she’s the least popular Watchmen character in this launch, but the comics are great, since this is her coming of age story in the 1960s (great psychedelic setting). RECOMMENDED.
Before Watchmen: Comedian 1-2: Writer Brian Azzarello and artist J. G. Jones present an ugly view of the JFK and Vietnam era. Solid, but seems to be using shock scenes for attention. OK, but not the best.
Before Watchmen: Nite Owl 1-2: ‘Controversial’ writer Michael Straczynski and artists Andy and Joe Kubert tackle a relatively weak character in Nite Owl. Sure enough, after telling his origin in #1, it turns to teaming up with Rorschach in 1966. Amazingly enough we learn tidbits about Rorschach, such as why he eats canned beans, carries the END IS NIGH sign, and no longer feels he’s a human being. Anyway, JMS shows us that both Nite Owl and Rorschach are linked due to childhood tragedies, and even when they get on each other’s nerves, they come back together again even though Rorschach doesn’t express himself. RECOMMENDED.
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias 1-2: Veteran writer Len Wein and former 1990s hot artist Jae Lee (who is now truly outstanding) teamed up for technically the best Watchmen title. Here we have the expanded origin of the main villain. The setting begins in 1986 as Ozy (with Bubastis!) is recording his secret origin with a microphone, and then we flashback across eras. Adrian Veidt’s story is breathtaking, and the revelation of his bi-sexuality fits Rorschach suspicion in the original series. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1 – Writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo have created a dark 1977 masterpiece that seems like a mature version of Kurt Busiek’s Astro City: The Dark Age. I got a kick out of reading Rorschach’s journal entries, and the pimps, whores, drug addicts, gang members on 42nd street. Not sure why any real fan of Watchmen would pass on its most iconic character. If he has his ongoing series it would be in the Top 10. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
After reading the issues twos for Ozymandias and Minutemen, and of course Rorsharch #1, I am convinced that DC Comics is shooting itself in the foot by not making these series ongoing or relaunching them into ongoings set in their periods. (I would spin off Ozymandias into a I am also sure the negative publicity of DC daring to use “Moore’s characters” without his blessing will be a dark cloud over these expanded universe mini-series, so I ask you to don’t believe the negativity that permeates from IGN, CBR, and the Wikipedia entries and try these out yourself.
Actually, based on sales figures, you ARE buying these comics even with the negativity. Ozymandias and Minutemen outsold every Marvel comic in July.