Before Watchmen

Starting at the beginning of June, DC Comics has finally begun releasing the much talked and debated about comic book series, Before Watchmen. After the massive success of the 2009 film adaptation of The Watchmen, DC began thinking about ways it could further monetize the series with the surge of new fans. I didn't even realize these comics were finally out until I visited my local comic book store.

Before Watchmen is a series of 7 separate comic book series where each series focuses on a single character from The Watchmen, except the comic series, The Minutemen, which focuses solely on the original group of masked vigilantes that preceded The Watchmen. Each comic explains the origins or motives behind the character leading into the story of The Watchmen itself.

The idea is that a new comic will come out each week from June until January. You can find the schedule from this website here. The Minutemen, Ozymandias, and The Comedian all are 6 issues series, whereas the other 4, Silk Spectre, Nite Owl, Dr. Manhattan, and Rorschach are all 4 issues series. All in all, there are 34 issues, and plus an extra 48-page one shot to tie everything together at the end. We are 3 weeks into June, and as such, there have only been 3 issues released so far.

Controversy

The most vocal person against the idea of more Watchmen comics is one of the creators, Alan Moore. In 2009, just as DC was about the launch the movie, Alan Moore spoke out about how this film was nothing more than a money making scheme. DC had run out of ideas, and the only way to make money was to take projects with integrity that stand on their own, and somehow cash them in.  He even refused to accept any royalties he would've received from the creation of the film.

In that case, I think any complaints he had about the idea of a film were quickly drowned out by the overwhelming positive praise of the film's execution. For years, people said you couldn't do a Watchmen movie because it was too complicated, but Zack Snyder pulled it off, in my opinion and many others. It was fantastic, and (mostly) stuck strictly to the script of the comic.

Alan Moore is back again in the spotlight as a HUGE dissenter of Before Watchmen. A few years after the original comic of The Watchmen was finished in the 1980s, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were thinking about how they might expand the series. They thought about having a story focus on each character, but didn't really think it would work. They really wanted to do a full story about The Minutemen, though, but DC weren't interested at the time. For years, DC shot down any ideas Alan Moore brought up about a revival of The Watchmen, and created some rather bad blood between the two.

So when, DC finally came back to Alan Moore about expanding The Watchmen in the mid-2000s (citation needed), Alan Moore refused. And he has been incredibly against the idea of Watchmen revival ever since.

So, the actual controversy of these books is "will they actually live up to the original comics." Is this just another ploy for cash they will ultimately cheapen The Watchmen franchise. Or are these new books actually just? Are these worthwhile reads, and important to the overall story.

The Minutemen #1

For The Minutemen, I think this issue matches the expectations. It focuses on the development of The Minutemen as a group, framed in Hollis writing his novel. It introduces all the characters, their psyche, motives, and personalities, and ends on the catalyst that brings them all together.

While I'm not a huge fan of the art in the original comic, I can definitely respect the art in The Minutemen. It's carefully constructed in such a way you feel like you're reading the original. The dialogue is set up the same. The art is the same. And the flow of the comic is exactly the same too. It's a new Watchmen comic. All the pieces are there. And the story is pretty solid so far.

I think it's pretty good :)

Silk Spectre #1

On the other hand, we have Silk Spectre. The art does not mimic the original, and neither does the story telling. It's a completely new comic. And I think this is what Alan Moore was afraid of.

Silk Spectre #1 tells the story of Silk Spectre II in high school, and her first romance. As indicated by the second photo, occasionally a panel will have a Chibi version of the character expressing an inner emotion. The type of thing you'd find in a comic designed for girls.

Also, the story is a typical high school girl rebel story of falling in love, and doing anything to be with that unrequited love. Romeo and Juliet, and so forth. Another easy stereotypical plot device often used in story designed for girls.

So, Silk Spectre #1 is pretty dumb, and shameless. It's specifically trying to pull in the female audience through the ONE female character in the story. Ohhh, since she's female she's gotta have a high school love story. And she's a tomboy, so all the other girls make fun of her. Blah blah blah... it's so cliche.

But I do like how the comic has its own identity. This is Silk Spectre's story, and it's completely framed using her personality. The art is different and unique compared to the other comic, and so is the story.

The Comedian #1

The Comedian follows the same suit. It's written and drawn by different people, so it has a look and feel and storytelling style of its own.

The story of the comedian so far is a bit boring. But it's building to something quite a bit larger. In the beginning of the comic, Eddie Blake is playing football with John F Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy on the White House lawn. It establishes that they're all very good friends, and they know each other pretty well.

Spoilers, but at the end of Issue #1, Eddie corners Moloch, and Moloch shows Eddie the TV. JFK has been fatally shot. Eddie is surprised and shocked, and looks for the nearest amount of alcohol to calm himself.

Do you remember the slide show at the beginning of The Watchmen film when it goes through the background stories of The Minutemen, and formation of The Watchmen? There's a scene that shows Eddie Blake as the second gunman behind the grassy knoll during the assassination of JFK.

So, if that was canon, why would he be surprised when hearing about the assassination from Moloch? This doesn't seem to make sense. Though, this might've been something they just added in the movie, and it's not actually canon with the book. But I don't think Zack Snyder was adding in random shit at the beginning.

I'm curious to see how this continues.

More to come!

Looking at the schedule once again, Comedian #6 is one of the final comics to be released, along with Ozymandias and The Minutemen. It feels like those are the 3 PRIME story driven comics out of all of these.

I mean, who really cares about Silk Spectre when she's not around Dr. Manhattan or Nite Owl. I want to know more about The Minutemen, and the pure motives behind Ozymandias' overall deceit. Though, I'm sure Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach's stories will be very entertaining on their own.

Anyways, a new Watchmen comic every week for the next 7 months? Hell yeah, why not.




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