Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 (of 6)
A day that comic fans have long awaited (or dreaded) is finally here: the release of the first of DC’s Before Watchmen titles. Written and drawn by the great Darwyn Cook, Minutemen tells the story of the original Nite Owl and his adventures with the Minutemen, the team of heroes that predates the characters of Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach, and others in the Alan Moore’s Watchmen.
Framing the narrative around Hollis Mason’s book Under The Hood, this first issue of a planned six issue miniseries serves as a reintroduction of the main characters from the Minutemen team. While Watchmen readers are familiar with snippets from the original Nite Owl’s tell-all, Cooke effortlessly fills in the gaps on some of these characters that we though we already knew, and does an admirable job of adding to the already fleshed out Watchmen universe. Seeing Hooded Justice and other characters through Mason’s eyes really adds to the notion that these “superheroes” all have some sort of damage to their persons, something that Mason even admits to himself when we are shown one of his first nights. He admits that there’s no reason for him to put on a mask and punch criminals in the jaw, he’s already a cop. But, he gets a kick out of putting himself directly in harm’s way.
Cooke’s writing is the cake of this issue, but his artwork is the icing. While he’s never been a slouch in the art department (in fact, he’s one of my favorite artists), Cook really outdoes himself here. Everything about the art is perfect here. From the quiet moments of Hollis Mason trying to finish his book, to the dark and moody appearance from The Comedian. That scene in question is one of the highlights of the book, as it presents in two pages everything that is fascinating about the character, and what makes him tick. There’s also a great nod to some classic Watchmen imagery at the beginning of the issue, as well as some nods to where these heroes end up in the original story.
There’s a lot of talk on the interwebs regarding Before Watchmen still, and I hate to say it haters, but Before Watchmen: Minutemen is a great comic. While it (and it’s fellow titles) probably won’t usurp Watchmen anytime soon, it’s still a great comic, and as I said months ago, the best possible creator has been tapped for this book, and if this is any indication of what we’re going to be getting this summer, then we’re all in for a treat.
Earth 2 #2
Ah, Earth 2 issue two. Or, as it will forever be known as: “The Gay Green Lantern issue”. Yes, the second issue of James Robinson and Nicola Scott’s alternate DC universe does feature Alan Scott kissing –SHOCK!- a man, but it also continues the story hints that were dropped in the previous issue. Opening on Jay Garrick, the older Flash in our world, meeting the Greek god Mercury was very cool, and the moments where he is bestowed the god’s power and becomes the Flash were a lot of fun. As for GGL, he’s not Green Lantern yet, and his story doesn’t really go anywhere other than the fact that he has a boyfriend now instead of a girlfriend like his old, pre-relaunch counterpart. Those expecting some sort of crazy “he’s gay” reveal will be disappointed, as it’s handled really well, and not to be preachy, but should it really be that big of a deal what a character’s sexual orientation is anymore?