Written by Jason Enright, Fanboy Comics Senior Contributor
Thursday, 18 October 2012 04:26
The comic book event of the summer is nigh! Before Watchmen, the much-anticipated prequel series to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen, will consist of seven limited series and an epilogue one-shot. Stay tuned, as the Fanboy Comics crew will be reviewing each title as it is released. Hurm.
We have now reached the fourth issue of Before Watchmen: Minutemen by Darwyn Cooke, and I can safely state that if you are not reading this book, you are not missing anything worthwhile. I wondered from the beginning whether Before Watchmen would actually seek to tell good stories that expanded and improved upon Watchmen, or whether it was nothing more than an attempt by DC to cash in on the Watchmen property. Four issues in, it is clear to me now that this book doesn’t really have anything to add to the Minutemen subplot of Watchmen. It is simply retreading old ground and painfully trying to be shocking at every turn. It plays more like a bad Dateline exposé of the Minutemen than a thoughtful comic exploring one of Watchmen’s many subplots.
Luckily, this book benefits from great art and good writing by the very talented Darwyn Cooke; otherwise, it would have no saving grace. Even though the overall direction they chose to go with this book isn’t very intriguing, Mr. Cooke crafts a good story, and his art is astounding. He has incredibly expressive characters and utilizes interesting layouts. Of course, his work alone is no reason to run out and buy this book. If you want to see his talents on display, then pick up Justice league: New Frontier or his adaptations of Richard Stark’s Parker series.
The biggest problem with this book is that it feels like it could have been a good two to three-issue series or even a great, oversized one shot, but, instead, it has been dragged out to this six-issue miniseries, and these middle issues just feel like they have no direction. Instead of telling a really great untold story of the Minutemen, we are given this poor fill-in that makes sure it hits all the major scenes we see from Watchmen, but never really explores the heart of its titular characters, the Minutemen.