Over the next several months we are going to be discussing one of the most controversial decisions at DC Comics in the last several years.…..the attempt to tell the story of the Watchmen in the prequels aptly titled Before Watchmen. You might notice that this week’s Post is a bit different from previous ones. Once again, Before Watchmen released not one, but TWO titles: Comedian #4 and Minutemen #5. Good or bad, here we are and we are going to cover it. (I am using the Royal “We” in this instance).
Rorschach #3 Written by Brian Azzarello with Art by Lee Bermejo
In previous “Were Watching…” columns, I have come and flat out said that this book is by far the weakest book of the bunch. After reading issue 3, I have to pull back on that statement as the plot and pacing really took a turn for the better in this issue. The story begins with Rawhead’s goon trying to take out Rorschach in his apartment but this does not go as planned. After a tussle, Rorschach is able to make his escape and grab a taxi. The cab driver is a supporter of vigilante’s….abit too supportive in my opinion. The next day, Rorschach in his Walter persona returns to the Gunga Diner to thank Nancy for getting to the hospital in the last issue. He wants to take her to dinner as a thank you. They make plans to meet after he shift at 11. Meanwhile, Rawhead is trying to smoke out Rory by making him self very visible on the street. Rorschach sees it’s a trap and won’t take the bait…..at first. He ends up taking a shot at one of Rawhead’s establishments and things don’t end well. Things don’t go well for Nancy either but we’ll probably get to that next issue. What made this issue different from the previous 2 is that it was the first one that didn’t feel like an attempt to just regurgitate what we’ve already seen. This felt like a new story. Also unlike last issue, the moment between Walter and Nancy felt real. There was immense strength in the development of the characters. The plot flowed better than it has before. It is leaps and bounds above the first two issues. While I still think Rawhead is a terrible villain, he was used convincingly. And we finally got a little more plot involving the Bard than just the teases we got previously. What hasn’t changed at all is the phenominal art by Bermejo. His rendition of 80’s New York is so perfect it’s like you’re there. I finally felt like this was a series worth reading. Unfortunately, to understand this issue, you have to have read the first two less than stellar offerings that preceded it. I’m on the fence on whether I should recommend this book because of that.
Dr. Manhattan #3 Written by J. Michael Straczynski with Art by Adam Hughes
While my co-host, Mr. Green has not really had a good time reading the Dr. Manhattan series, I have been largely indifferent. In this issue, Doc figures out that his choices and alterations to the timeline have created a large number of alternate realities and possibilities. After thinking back to the sacrifice his mother made when he was a child so that he and his father could escape occupied Europe during WWII, Manhattan decides to take responsibility for his own time manipulation. So he goes back through each of the time lines and eliminates all variations that are not “right” ones. This brings him to the events of that fateful day where he is transformed. This book has gotten much tighter as the story is now coming to conclusion. Much like the subject matter, the storytelling in the first two issue was very broad. This one centers in on what Doc Manhattan must to do to ensure a strength in the timeline. There are still a number of references to schrodinger’s cat and other theories but for the most part, the book doesn’t get distracted from it’s main narrative like it did before. The artwork by Adam Hughes is very clean and sleek and the colours by Laura Martin give a very cool feel as very little warm colours are used. Even with all this going for it, the fact remains that there isn’t really much to this series. When approaching this character, you have to make sure you have something specific to say. Otherwise, you get stuck in the trap of philosophical exploration with no real point. Many have made the same mistake when writing the Silver Surfer. It’s not enough to point out that these characters are searching for answers. They have to find answers or they’re just sitting on the fence and being boring. When it comes down to it, it’s a pretty book that doesn’t really have much to say but is trying to act like it does. I can’t really see this series having much more to it when it concludes next issue. The premise is fine. The execution of this premise is what’s off. But who knows. Maybe things will turn around in issue 4.
Finally, we get to the part where I usually express my lack of interest in The Curse of the Crimson Corsair. But guess what? I’m not going to that this week. I actually enjoyed this week’s two installments. Why? Well they finally did something I was hoping they were going to do. They gave us a recap issue. It laid out exactly what had happened thus far and they did in under a page. What’s great is that the recap felt more like the character was going back trying figure out what went wrong. It felt natural and not at all forced. Bravo. Now I might not be so lost when I read it.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!
Next Week’s Issue: Moloch #2 Written by J. Michael Straczynski with Art by Eduardo Risso