Thursday, June 7, 2012

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 (of 6)

I have to admit that I'm torn by the whole Before Watchmen idea.

On one hand, it seems rather crass to go creating new stories using characters so intrinsically linked to their creators - Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Also, the original Watchmen is such a gem in the comics firmament - does it really need to be expanded on?

On the other hand, DC Comics owns the characters and has been sitting on a potential cash cow for decades. Also, comics is by tradition a medium that allows many interpretations of characters. Would we have the Avengers or the Justice League or Wonder Woman (etc.) if the "no one but the original creators can use 'em" concept was still in effect? And maybe it should be.

Well, whether right or wrong, Beyond Watchmen is a reality - and kudos to DC for at least turning the characters over to some of the top creative talents in comics.

Leading the way is Minutemen, written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke. And let me just say, so far I've never seen any work by him that wasn't well worth the investment.

This comic continues that string.

The story is told by the original Nite Owl, who recounts the origin of the team - and an unusual tale it is. Sometimes grim, sometimes funny, always clever, it shows us the unique heroism - and sometimes raw commercialism - that brought together the team that preceded the Watchmen.

Even more than the story, the art recalls the style Dave Gibbons perfected on the series (without being a slavish imitation), with panels that evoke similar geometry and classic film technique, all to tell a fantastic story set in the real world. It's wonderful work.

Some people will hate this series (does Casablanca need a prequel?) - and some will love it.

My gut feeling is that it's wrong to be cashing in on this classic - but I have to admit that I love this comic just the same.

Grade: A


1 comment:

El Vox said...

I can certainly understand your indifference to the idea of a Watchmen sequel, but I loved the characters and the original book so much, I was excited that DC would even try it. Darwyn Cooke is as good a writer as an artist I thought. Speaking of Dave Gibbons, did you check out his new series with Mark Millar called The Secret Service. I thought it was a fun book.