Watchmen

Before Watchmen: Moloch 2 (February 2013)

Straczynski turns Moloch into the martyr of Watchmen. And he gets away with it. Moloch’s such a broken soul, it’s feasible he’d bend to Adrian’s will. As for Adrian, who practically gets more page time here than Moloch, Straczynski seems to recognize what he and Moloch have in common… they’re both illusionists. Adrian’s convincing Moloch […]

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Before Watchmen: Moloch 1 (January 2013)

Even though Moloch appears in the original Watchmen, there’s a lot more talk about him than show. J. Michael Straczynski turns the character into a quintessential sympathetic villain. He was born with deformed ears, leading to teasing in childhood and other tragedies later in life. Straczynski uses first person narration, making the reader identify with […]

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Before Watchmen: Dollar Bill 1 (March 2013)

It’s Steve Rude doing forties superheroes, so Dollar Bill always looks phenomenal. But it’s Len Wein writing and apparently he had a bunch of homophobic statements he wanted to make so he gave them to this forties superhero so he could get away with them. Lots of anachronisms–oh, and some good, old fashioned Jewish banker […]

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Before Watchmen: Comedian 6 (June 2013)

I’ve got to give Azzarello credit. He doesn’t just let Comedian get a little loose. He runs it entirely off the rails; with integrity, though. Definitely with integrity. Even when Rorschach and Nite Owl show up, Azzarello never lets the comic become a cheap tie-in. Jones, on the other hand, probably never has a worse […]

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Before Watchmen: Comedian 5 (March 2013)

Azzarello finally pushes too hard with the political history lesson and loses control of the series. It’s not a bad issue, just mediocre. Jones can’t draw Nixon, which is a problem. Eddie barely figures into the comic at all. He’s trying to get through the jungle, fighting some Viet Cong–there are flashbacks to atrocities–but Azzarello […]

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Before Watchmen: Comedian 4 (December 2012)

And another good one. Azzarello likes doing war comics; he should stick to them. Even though there are some confusing parts to the narrative–Azzarello fractures it without establishing the bookends–and the song lyric excerpts don’t work, it’s a successful issue. Towards the end, Eddie and his gang drop acid before going on patrol. If Azzarello […]

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Before Watchmen: Comedian 3 (November 2012)

It’s another surprisingly good issue. Eddie’s on leave in Hawaii after he aggravated a riot while on leave in L.A. Azzarello structures the whole issue around him telling Bobby Kennedy (his strongest government supporter) about it. Going between race riots and war protests, Azzarello manages to look do a nice little history issue. There’s not […]

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Before Watchmen: Comedian 2 (September 2012)

Yeah, Azzarello definitely enjoys writing Comedian. There’s a lot of Vietnam War history here, a little American political history and almost no Watchmen connection. The Comedian could just be anyone. Azzarello never gives him anything superhero specific. So, as a comic, it’s good, but–and I can’t believe I’m saying it–it fails as a Before Watchmen […]

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Before Watchmen: Rorschach 4 (April 2013)

So Rorschach really became Rorschach after the serial killer went after his girlfriend. While this event occurs–which Bermejo shows from the serial killer’s perspective, because he’s apparently supposed to be someone recognizable–the other bad guys are torturing Rorschach. He gets away because of a coincidence. The one interesting thing Azzarello does is rip off “Kraven’s […]

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Before Watchmen: Rorschach 3 (January 2013)

Travis Bickle guest stars in this issue. Azzarello’s deep, man, he’s really deep. He also sets up Rorschach’s girlfriend to get killed, which will undoubtedly explain why he loses himself completely in the mask. The Before Watchmen editors clearly didn’t coordinate or they just gave Azzarello free reign. He uses it to write a really […]

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Before Watchmen: Rorschach 1 (October 2012)

Wait, am I really supposed to take Rorschach seriously? Brian Azzarello’s writing of the narration suggests he’s never even seen the Watchmen movie, much less read the comic. It’s like he heard there was crazy narration and did a terrible job approximating it. The series is set in 1977, in New York City. Taxi Driver […]

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Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan 4 (April 2013)

More 2001 visual references–heck, maybe even a 2010–and Hughes gets over his aversion to Jon’s big blue penis… but it’s a lackluster finale issue. Straczynski has to tie into the original series, which means bringing in Adrian, and the whole thing becomes a bore. He not only doesn’t do anything interesting with Jon–the monolith epilogue […]

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Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan 2 (December 2012)

Straczynski and Hughes aren’t satisfied with just playing with Watchmen here–Hughes does a lovely montage featuring imagery from the prequels and the original–they also feel the need for a 2001 reference. Dr. Manhattan is interesting because of that ambitiousness. For example, Straczynski’s writing is concerned with being smart and thoughtful. The series is an informed […]

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Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan 1 (October 2012)

There’s something cool about Dr. Manhattan. Not just because Adam Hughes does the art–though the way he’s able to be stylized and still fluid is impressive; I wasn’t expecting him to do sequential so well. And it’s not cool because J. Michael Straczynski tries so hard to ape Alan Moore’s “voice” for Jon. It’s cool […]

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Before Watchmen: Ozymandias 6 (April 2013)

So Adrian has constant video surveillance of Dr. Manhattan but he gets important news from the newspaper? Shouldn’t he have agents or spies or… own a newspaper? I’m being too kind. I mean, if one assumes the finished scripts represent edited versions of Wein’s original draftings–assuming this situation might be a stretch, given the terrible […]

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Before Watchmen: Ozymandias 5 (March 2013)

A few issues ago, Wein did a bunch of foreshadowing of the eventual reveal in Watchmen–Adrian’s master plan. This issue he has Adrian trying to figure out that master plan, which means all the obvious details from before were just for the reader’s benefit. Wein never can figure out how or when to make Adrian […]

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