There isn’t much middle ground when it comes to opinions towards DC’s newly polished event Before Watchmen. Once regarded as the untouchable story where no one should expand on it in any way, DC has divided fans with the decision. You have the purists, who feel like it’s an insult to the great epic created in 1985 with Alan Moore probably leading that pack and then the groups that are open to the idea of touching corners of this universe yet to be seen.
DC shook up the comic world last year with the relaunch of their entire line of comics which left people with mixed feelings, so how will another huge event like this sit with fans? If you are one of the open-minded readers to give Minutemen a chance then I don’t see how you can be disappointed with anything in the issue. I’m sure the top heads at DC carefully chose which book to display at the opening and they’ve chosen wisely.
Darwyn Cooke handles the art and writing here with phenomenal results. When he was announced for this specific book, I don’t think anyone had worries that he would fail at delivering the right tone for the time period. Drawing some inspiration from his own Justice League tale, New Frontier, Cooke gives us a quick introduction to each of the characters in the Minutemen team. You learn a little bit of a back story on how they’ve come to be the heroes they are, and get some good insight on why Hollis Mason decided to start his crime fighting regime. I really like how he explained their meeting place as connected with Captain Metropolis. Cooke’s art shines through as much as his writing and this should be one of the top sellers for this entire event.
The back-up tale, Curse of the Crimson Corsair, doesn’t get much room to breathe so there really is no fair rating to give it yet. It fits with the context of how Tales from the Black Freighter followed the main Watchmen story all those years ago though. Give it a few issues and we can come back to discuss it.
Was the decision by DC to bring this world back to life a little bit of a cash grab? That is quite possible to be sure. It’s my belief that while they gain media attention and a sales boost from this event, at its core Before Watchmen is a way to bring a new set of fans into this wonderful story and let creators add their own ideas. Some of these titles might not hit all the right spots, but Darwyn Cooke has hit a grand slam in opening the event.
Overall Grade: 10/10