See all reviews of Before Watchmen (2)

Before Watchmen is finally here after months of hype, speculation and trailers. Yes… trailers.

Love it or hate it, whether you stand with Alan Moore in frustration of this creation, or simply can’t wait for more stories out of this universe I imagine you’re curious just what this beast brings. Before we get into the heads of the main characters in the original Watchmen, DC is starting with the original Minutemen. Is it an abomination or sweet action? Better yet, Is It Good?


Before Watchmen Minutemen #1 (of 6) (DC)


The story begins with Hollis Mason, otherwise known as the original Nite Owl, who is reveling in his past superhero exploits, largely because he’s just finished the first draft of his book. Love or hate this book, the book is honest with the reader. Right up front the narrative is about perceptions. As anyone knows, an autobiography may not tell the whole truth, half truth or any of the truth.


I honestly thought that was a baby coming out of vagina…but it is actually a bun in the oven. Symbolism!

It makes sense to open this series about the meaning of truth intermixed with perceptions. Watchmen was a mystery on top of mysteries, be it the human condition or any one character’s motivation. While this issue is a tad wordy, writer and artist Darwyn Cooke lets it be known in a very clear way what exactly this book is going to be about.


The gang.

It was a genius move on DC’s part to put Darwyne Cooke in the driver’s seat to begin this prequel series. The man who gave new life to Golden Age DC heroes in New Frontier and is simply dazzling in the Noir Parker series, Cooke adds a great sense of history to every panel. Watchmen, and in particular the subjects revealed in this series and as seen in flashbacks in the original series, played with the concept of memory and our relationship to the past. We might remember things from newspaper clippings as good times, but Watchmen exemplified what it means to reveal the veiled truth. It’s done quite well here.


I guess brutality was in the cards even back then.

Little touches like magazine and newspaper cutouts help deliver this message perfectly.


I’d wager anyone reading this book or half interested in it has already read Watchmen. If not, you’re going to be at a loss for why you should care or what the hell is going on. Of course, having read Watchmen you’re going to be asking yourself that same question, but at least you have your bearings as far as the perspective of the series. That said, I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone unfamiliar with the series.


Hey it’s the Comedian, you know, from the movie.

I’m not so sure this story is something that needs to be told. Essentially this issue introduces each character and at the same time reminds us they were just as brutal as the heroes in Watchmen in many ways. The world too, is just as brutal, but it’s still innocent in many ways. This largely because heroes are a new thing. That’s all well and good, but what does this series matter in the grand scheme of things?


Fans of Watchmen will find this to be familiar.

There’s also a 2 page backup story titled Curse of the Crimson Corsair by Len Wein and John Higgins. It’s almost unnerving how unoriginal this hearkens to the Black Freighter from the original Watchmen. At two pages it’s tough to say how good it really is.


Fans of Pirates of the caribbean should be ecstatic. <-Snarkiness.

It’s going to be a lot more interesting to learn the backstory of RORSCHACH, DR. MANHATTAN and the rest, but as far as the Minutemen I couldn’t really care less. The photograph pictured above appeared in Watchmen, so if you want a backstory on who they were by all means dive in here. The art is glorious, and there’s plenty of story, but I can’t find myself caring one bit about these characters. I doubt this book will fit it in our 10 dollar budget over in ComiX Weekly later today.

Is It Good?

Meh. If you’re into Watchmen mythos by all means. Everyone else? Pass.