Saturday, June 30, 2012

Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #1 (of 4)

For this issue of Before Watchmen, let's avoid the controversy and focus on the most important thing about it - the phenomenal artwork!

It starts with the excellent Andy Kubert - one of the most talented craftsmen working in the industry - and then adds a true living legend, one of the last of the Golden Age artists still making his mark on the industry.

I'm talking about Andy's dad, Joe Kubert - and he elevates already-excellent art up to the next level.

I can't remember a comic in recent memory where I couldn't wait to turn the next page to see what the Kuberts would create. The art is always in service of the (quite excellent) story by J. Michael Straczynski, but it goes beyond that. The emotions are intense, the action brutal and real, and the characters and settings seem real (without being photographic).

There are three full page (or nearly full page) splash panels, and they're a wonder. One depicts young Danny's shrine to his favorite hero, one covers the sanctum of the hero Nite Owl, and one shows the second Nite Owl's first dramatic appearance. Each one is a delight - they'll bring you to a stop as you soak in each detail.

None of this is to slight the story, which relates how Danny met and became the successor to the original Nite Owl. It's a smart, sharp story with some Easter eggs for avid fans.

All credit to the creative teams behind this series of Watchmen-based comics - so far, they've all been strong entries. But nothing beats a pair of Kuberts.

More of this, please.

Grade: A


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