When DC announced that they were going ahead with a prequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ groundbreaking Watchmen, I thought the same thing most people did: cash grab. But after reading the first effort, I’m slowly changing my mind.
I first read Watchmen for a class in English Literature. I remember starting it and finishing it all in one epic night (pirate story included) so I was very much against the idea of tarnishing the legacy with a group of prequels no matter the level of talent they’ve assembled. The amazing Darwyn Cooke has been entrusted with Before Watchmen: Minutemen and he does a hell of a job hooking readers in.
It starts off with a line that summarizes my thoughts: This is terrible. The Nite Owl, Hollis Mason narrates us through the story and introduces us to each of the characters that will make up the Minutemen. If you know what happens to these characters, there’s a bit of looming tragedy as you go through each story. Each character introduction is unique with some being more interesting than others. In particular, I loved The Silhouette’s story and I can already tell she’s going to be a favorite of mine. Sally Jupiter having a press agent was brilliant and so was the Comedian’s story, which is disturbing considering his age but fitting knowing where he ends up. Some like Nite Owl’s and Dollar Bill’s are a little on the bland side and then there’s that pirate story again which will more than likely make sense only when completed.
Cooke is the man when it comes to tales of the past as he proved with The New Frontier. He tends to be a bit wordy when it comes to the story, but his art is some of the best in the business. The animation-like style of the art fits the book perfectly and when scenes of violence do come up (and you know they will) they’ll no doubt be much more striking.
Before Watchmen: Minutemen is a good start to the event. Darwyn Cooke does a great job with the huge expectations that are put on his shoulders and he delivers for the most part. I am very interested in seeing where this goes now.
Final Rating: 8/10