Watchmen

Before Watchmen: Ozymandias 3 (November 2012)

Len Wein has been writing comics for decades. He’s definitely an adult. Why does he write dialogue Yogi Bear would find infantile? Except the stuff with the Comedian making gay jokes about Adrian. Those comments read a little meta given Wein’s awkward handling of Adrian’s sex life. Though Wein does write Eddie’s double entendres like […]

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Before Watchmen: Ozymandias 2 (October 2012)

Wein seems to think giving Adrian very purple narration suggests intelligence. It doesn’t. Adrian’s of “sleek” as an adjective is laughable. Then there’s the problem of the thugs oscillating between ostentatious dialogue and traditional moronic thug dialogue. Wein is trying really hard; it kills any chance the series has–which isn’t much, given Lee’s painfully static […]

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Before Watchmen: Ozymandias 1 (September 2012)

I don’t know what’s more amusing in Len Wein’s wordy exposé of Ozymandias–the idea of majoring in Alexander the Great in post-graduate work (seriously, did no editor explain to Wein how higher education functions) or Adrian being ashamed of his homosexual dalliances. Wein has Adrian recording his memoirs during the final events of the original […]

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Before Watchmen: Nite Owl 4 (February 2013)

Once again, I’m left wondering if there’s some intentional misogyny in these Before Watchmen series just because it would horrify Alan Moore. This issue we learn Nite Owl has this costumed madam–something Straczynski never makes feasible–in love with him and he’s in love with her but he later mocks her in Watchmen to Laurie. I’d […]

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Before Watchmen: Nite Owl 3 (November 2012)

Well, Straczynski doesn’t spend too much time with Rorschach this issue, just enough to remind everyone he’s around. He also doesn’t continue the narration from Dan. Why? Because Straczynski doesn’t go for any kind of narrative continuity; Nite Owl’s an editorial disaster. I guess no one told Straczynski to at least be consistent in his […]

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Before Watchmen: Nite Owl 2 (October 2012)

Why didn’t they just combine this series with the Rorschach one? Straczynski probably gives Rorschach a third of the issue anyway. He’s juxtaposing Dan and Rorschach’s differing Mommy complexes, which would work for a combined book. But for one called Nite Owl? Doesn’t make any sense. There’s not a lot of callbacks to the original […]

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Before Watchmen: Nite Owl 1 (August 2012)

Given the problems, Nite Owl is a lot better than it should be. Straczynski writes Rorschach and Nite Owl well together. The humor of a gentler Rorschach helps it. Now for the problems. It’s trite and obvious; no surprise from Straczynski. He’s got Dan blathering about his fate with Laurie. Then there’s a line to […]

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Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre 2 (September 2012)

Cooke and Conner set up Laurie as a hippie superhero; it’s kind of cool and definitely a decent look at sixties San Francisco. What’s interesting–and something I don’t think the original series ever established–is Laurie goes the “with great power” route. She turns into Silk Spectre because she can help people if she does. It […]

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Before Watchmen: Minutemen 6 (March 2013)

Cooke plays both Hollis and the reader. We all find out at the same time–maybe Cooke’s trying to show Hollis made the same negative assumptions the reader does, but I don’t think so. Cooke’s been intentionally fooling the reader for at least three issues and in ways he doesn’t fool Hollis. The comic still somewhat […]

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Before Watchmen: Minutemen 3 (October 2012)

Poor Hollis, in love with a girl who doesn’t know he exists. Strangely, Cooke doesn’t narrate the book well when Hollis–in the sixties–is commenting directly on his younger self’s actions. The narration does work otherwise though. The charm of Minutemen is gone. Once again, there’s a meta reference to it in Hollis’s opening narration. What […]

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Before Watchmen: Minutemen 2 (September 2012)

And now I’m not sure with where Cooke takes things. He turns Minutemen, in its conclusion this issue, into a really tough, uncomfortable book. It’s like I can’t decide if it’s homophobic, if Cooke’s just using the material or if he’s just being straightforward about it. There’s probably no comfortable way to handle it. I’m […]

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Before Watchmen: Minutemen 1 (August 2012)

I’m a little surprised, but I only have one problem with Minutemen (at least the Darwyn Cooke material). Who the hell is Hollis Mason talking to? He’s basically summarizing his book, right? It doesn’t make any sense. The only surprises are Silk Spectre and the Comedian–she’s a model faking being an adventurer and he’s already […]

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Watchmen 12 (October 1987)

Moore finishes Watchmen with two obvious questions. There’s the big one the final panel closes on and a smaller, cuter one from a couple pages before. But there are a couple other questions he raises this issue. Two people, who have no reason to lie to anyone, lie. It’s as though Moore gives the more […]

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Watchmen 11 (August 1987)

Adrian revealing his master plan, or just rambling on about himself, takes up most of the issue. At first, the amount of ego Moore gives him is a little jarring, but it soon becomes almost soothing, all because Moore understands the importance of a great final gag. Even when it’s about the end of the […]

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Watchmen 10 (July 1987)

Moore wastes no time investigating the series’ mystery and resolving most of its questions. He took two issues to set up the conspiracy and less than one to resolve it. There’s a lot with Nixon and “The Black Freighter” here, so Rorschach and Dan’s investigation isn’t even the issue’s focus. The character stuff sells this […]

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Watchmen 9 (May 1987)

It’s the Laurie issue, finally, and guess what? The Laurie issue doesn’t work. Moore opens the issue with some more of the layered, simultaneous present action between issues, moving Laurie and Jon to Mars–and the issue does have the wonderful moment of “Oh shit, I’m on Mars,” but Moore doesn’t do anything with it. In […]

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Watchmen 8 (April 1987)

This issue is mostly action. Or the Rorschach jailbreak makes it feel more like action than any other issue so far. There’s still a lot of content, with Moore playing around with the issues’ present actions, overlapping them. As a narrative move, it isn’t exactly profound but it creates a sense of events jumbling. Events […]

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Watchmen 7 (March 1987)

And here’s the Dan and Laurie–sorry, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre–issue. It’s an exceptionally strong aside from the rest of the comic. Moore sticks to only the two characters. The rest of the cast is either on TV (Rorschach and Adrian) or just present in the air (Jon). It’s a gentle issue, full of humor–and […]

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Watchmen 6 (February 1987)

And now the Rorschach issue. Even though Moore borrows the hacksaw from Mad Max, a lot of people have borrowed the vicious vigilante in jail from him so it evens out. It’s an excellent issue with one little problem. Moore’s too hard on the psychiatrist. He’s supposed to be this goofy happy guy–one’s got to […]

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Watchmen 5 (January 1987)

Given how much effort Moore puts into giving away Rorschach’s identity before the final page’s unmasking, it’s embarrassing I didn’t know the last time I read Watchmen. Or, more to the point, the first time. Any twelve issue series, even Watchmen, is going to have a bridging issue or two. This issue is the first […]

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Watchmen 4 (December 1986)

This issue of Watchmen, with Dr. Manhattan heading to Mars, giving up on the human experience, has always been my favorite. Moore does a bunch with it–he uses Jon, who’s deliberating on how little people matter to him, to better introduce the cast and their histories. But Moore also brings in watches. Watchmen is a […]

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Watchmen 3 (November 1986)

There’s a lot this issue, a whole lot. Moore introduces some characters and implies some back story, but he really is just bringing the world powers situation into focus. While there was talk of the Soviets before, this issue–especially the ending–finally establishes the ground situation. Moore had been keeping it a little bit of a […]

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Watchmen 2 (October 1986)

I found another issue with rereading Watchmen after knowing so much about Moore’s writing process on the series. I keep thinking about the structure, particularly this issue, since it has flashbacks and Moore added those later. Rorschach’s investigation closes the issue, but lots of flashbacks open it. Laurie goes to visit her mother, giving Gibbons […]

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Watchmen 1 (September 1986)

Before starting Watchmen this time–at least my third time reading the series, if not fourth–I wondered how many times one can read it and still get something out of it. The second reading, of course, is to see how Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons layered it all, with Rorschach’s early appearance, and then the final […]

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