Not since the launch of Image Comics do I recall the amount of public discussion and debate for several months prior to the release of the actual first issue. Now that the first of the actual comic books has hit the stands, I thought it might be nice to have a thread to discuss the comics themselves, rather than the controversy surrounding them.

MINUTEMEN #1: Elsewhere in this forum, Cap has posted a review of this first issue of the first prequel mini-series. I don’t know whether or not he plans to review each issue of every series individually, but if not, here’s a place to discuss them all. For my own part, I liked the way Darwin Cooke has begun to delve into the origins and backgrounds of characters which had only supporting roles in the Moore/Gibbons original. He’s even manage to successfully mimic some of the storytelling tropes of the classic groundbreaking series.

“So far, so good,” says I.

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DC were in a bit of a cleft stick going in.

 

Do they try to ape Gibbons and Moore's techniques (and plot points and dialogue) and at best provide some pale heartless pastiches of a 20 year old comic, or do they copy Watchmen's innovation, engagement with the times and clear-eyed critique of what the superhero comic had become in its day, in which case they'd have to produce something that had nothing to do with Watchmen.

 

That's a hard circle to square.



Border Mutt said:

I can understand feeling the Before Watchmen titles don't measure up to the original.  I can also understand not enjoying the Before Watchmen titles or having an ethical problem with them, but I am curious, which stories need telling?


Well, certainly not stories they've already told, which a lot of these seem to be. Minutemen, for example, specifically spells out a lot of stories that were merely mentioned, or alluded to, in the original series.... To no really great effect. I'm left thinking "yeah, I knew that". The Ozymandias and Dr. Manhattan series, in particular, seem to spend most of the time reselling scenes from the origional series from a slightly different POV.

It's like having leftovers two nights in a row.

I don't really see how Silk Spectre's journey of rebellion and self discovery is a story that's already been told... at least not in Watchmen.  Likewise, I see Minutemen as a new story that's working around a couple of significant moments, much like any historical novel would; this doesn't really seem to me like a twice told tale.  So, while one could argue the others borrow more heavily from Watchmen lore, (although in a couple of cases it seems to be so that they can subvert it), I can't just dismiss all these series' as just fluffed out expansions and repetitions, but YMMV.

So far (as of September 19) I’ve read three issues each of Minutemen, Comedian, and Silk Spectre; two issues each of Nite Owl and Ozymandias; and only one issue each of Dr Manhattan and Rorschach.  I think each series improves as it adds more issues. As someone pointed out, Rorschach is only approaching the bend, not having gone around it yet. It’s a little early to condemn the Dr Manhattan title. I thought it was interesting that he had a learning curve with his abilities. The Minutemen series continues to impress me, further fleshing out some of the early supporting players. The only thing we knew about Silhouette  up to now (book and movie)  was that she was a lesbian. This shows that she was also an heroic character, saving and trying to save exploited children. I have yet to see anything that in any way diminishes or contradicts the original Watchmen material.  I went into this with an open mind, giving the various very talented writers and artists the benefit of the doubt. As you can tell by my avatar, I greatly admire Watchmen. If Before Watchmen was poorly executed I wouldn’t be defending it.

I find it more rewarding not to consider Watchmen much while I'm reading the Before Watchmen series. That way they can be judged for their own merits, not if they do or do not match up with the classic.

It's like watching Son of Frankenstein without comparing it to Frankenstein. It pales when seen in conjunction with its predecessor but is a very good film on its own.

BTW, what will DC do as a follow-up? Before Before Watchmen? Pirates of the Watchmen? The (Mis)Adventures of Moloch? Before Minutemen? Secondmen?

Watchbabies:



Philip Portelli said:

I find it more rewarding not to consider Watchmen much while I'm reading the Before Watchmen series. That way they can be judged for their own merits, not if they do or do not match up with the classic.

It's like watching Son of Frankenstein without comparing it to Frankenstein. It pales when seen in conjunction with its predecessor but is a very good film on its own.

BTW, what will DC do as a follow-up? Before Before Watchmen? Pirates of the Watchmen? The (Mis)Adventures of Moloch? Before Minutemen? Secondmen?

I don't disagree with you, David, that "Before Watchmen" pales somewhat in comparison to the original, but the series stand head an shoulders above most other mainstream superheroes these days. Philip has the right idea: don't compare them to the original, but rather let them stand on their own merits.

For those who haven't seen it, here is the (quite amazing) Saturday Morning Watchmen cartoon.

Has to be in the worst taste/tounge in cheek that I have ever seen.

Watchmen in the form of Superfriends.  Now I can die in peace...

I think I'm taking a similar tack, and so far--with the exception of the Dr. Manhattan series--I'm enjoying these series.  The characters are fascinating to me.

Philip Portelli said:

I find it more rewarding not to consider Watchmen much while I'm reading the Before Watchmen series. That way they can be judged for their own merits, not if they do or do not match up with the classic.

Personally, I think it's absolutely brilliant.

Kirk G said:

Has to be in the worst taste/tounge in cheek that I have ever seen.

Watchmen in the form of Superfriends.  Now I can die in peace...

Love that Watchmen cartoon. To me, it's a little TMNT-y -- probably all the pizza, but it's the animation style, too -- not nearly so stiff as Superfriends. 

And as for DneColt's Beatles-pastiche tangent, check out "Kate Winslet" by the Silver Brazilians. It's like someone got a time machine and brought the mop tops to the present, or sent Kate back.

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