Friday, June 29, 2012

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 Reviewed

We all agree that the very existence of the entire "Before Watchmen" project is a slap in the face to poor, mistreated Alan Moore and a heretical desecration of one of the sacred texts of comics literature, am I right?
So, does the fact that I actually enjoyed the first issue of Before Watchmen: Minutemen make me a horrible person?
Hell, that surprises even me, especially after I just got done dismissing the Casablanca prequel/sequel As Time Goes By as unnecessary and unimaginative, two charges that have been leveled against this very comic.  However, about midway through reading Minutemen I found myself appreciating the issue on its own merits, something that I was never able to do with As Time Goes By.  
Of course, it is impossible to forget or ignore this comic's connection to Watchmen.  Darwyn Cooke is no Alan Moore.  The good news is that he isn't trying to be.  He is, however, one of the best storytellers working in comics today and here he tells a well written and drawn retro super hero story about a group of masked adventurers in the 1940's.  On those terms, the comic is a success.
The opening issue introduces the large cast through the reminiscences of the newly retired Hollis Mason, the former Nite Owl.  Through Mason, Cooke gives us a quick sketch of each character without simply regurgitating what Moore wrote in Watchmen
There's not really much in the way of an actual story, however, at least not until the last couple of pages, which set things up for next issue, when, I presume, the Minutemen will actually come together as a team.
I still have no intention of reading any of the other "Before Watchmen" mini-series.  It was only Darwyn Cooke's involvement with Minutemen that drove me to sample this one.  Therefore, I haven't even bothered to read the "Tales of the Crimson Corsair" back-up story, as it runs through all the books and I won't be getting the whole story.   For that reason, I don't see any point in reading it at all.
I still feel that the entire "Before Watchmen" project was completely unnecessary.  Watchmen told a complete and self contained story that really didn't need any further extrapolation.  Still, if prequels must exist, Minutemen, at least after one issue, seems like a good example of how they should be done.

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