Publisher: Evil DC that completely disregards the Snake God Alan Moore‘s wishes.
A while back I was given permission by my editor to occasionally tackle books by the big two mainstream publishers of Marvel and DC. I hadn’t really taken him up on that (and for some reason I don’t count Vertigo) but being that there are sequels written about arguably one of the best written comics properties of the last half century I thought it was to time to exercise that option. So, here are my reviews of all the Before Watchmen books I can get my hands on.
As usual, I will rank them from one to five but since this is Watchmen, a book I actually reviewed back in the 80s (thus beginning my long and distinguished career as a comic book reviewer, ha.) here are the stars with appropriate dialogue from the Watchmen.
5 Sometimes the night is kind to me.
4 Out of my way. People have to be told.
3. Morally you’re in checkmake. like Blake. Let’s compromise.
2. If reading this now, whether I’m alive or dead, you will know truth.
1. “I’ll look down and whisper…”No”.
I should also note that this a book I’ve read about a dozen times. I’m also a huge Alan Moore fan even if he hates the people who are putting out these books, probably personally and professionally. (For the record, I kind of side with Michael J. Straczynsk on this one. If they offered Moore his original rights back then, hey, he should have taken that deal.)
And here’s the review:
Darwyn Cooke is one of the most gifted artists of this generation. . And because his style is such a carefully constructed homage to that EC/Eisner crowd it makes perfect sense for him to do a book about heroes in the 1940s. Look, here’s the thing: Watchmen may have been written by one of the greatest living writers on the planet but the original was drawn by a guy who’s top one hundred at best. The artwork here is outstanding.
The premise here so far seems to be building on how Moore described the original Minutemen as parts publicity, parts function. Notice the use of that one promo picture of the Minutemen as the focus. But a lot of the missing pieces are put in place. We learn that Captain Metropolis is the rich Bruce Wayne of the group (Actually Mothman has money too…) and was more of an organizing force behind the outfit than the Nite Owl. We get a peek at the old Comedian and learn that he was always kind of a psychopath. We learn that the original Silk Spectre used a rope. Interesting. We learn how completely dangerous it was for Mothman to actually fly although I always wondered if he could actually fight. Here’s a scene:
Beautifully drawn. Just a gifted artist. I mean, Eisner is gone but we still have Darwyn Cooke. He’s that good.
The writing isn’t bad either and its written by Cooke. He seems to have ripped off “LA Confidential” for dialogue as opposed to anything that you would have seen in actual 40s comics. It looks like all that work doing the Richard Stark books has paid off. I also respect writing that acknowledges racial and class frictions in the past. Yeah they beat the Nazis but were they anti Semitic racists? Probably mostly…Here’s the dialogue in question between Larry, whose Jewish, and a cop he’s paying off who’s Irish.
Larry: Look, Chief, I know you have your people to worry about, but this is extortion. The price has doubled in the past four weeks.
Chief: Well, Lawrence it would appear that the widows and orphans have considerable needs we hadn’t accounted for. You do want to help your community, don’t you Lawrence? That, or I could run your kike ass in and lock you away til the second coming.
Larry: Relax, relax. Honestly, where you Mick bastards get the nerve to call us cheap, I’ll never know.
Chief: On behalf of the wee orphans, I thank you Lawrence. Now get out of my sight.
Final verdict: Well its not revolutionary ground breaking writing even though the art is breathtakingly good. But it is interesting and the writer makes logical plot assumptions based on the works we’ve seen before. 4.2 out of 5 stars and probably the best of the lot I’ve read so far. I definitely want to see where this goes.
- Before Watchmen TV commercial debuts(robot6.comicbookresources.com)
- “Before Watchmen” Variants Feature Hooded Justice and Minutemen(comicbookresources.com)
- MTV Geek Goes Behind ‘Before Watchmen’(geek-news.mtv.com)