Review: Before Watchmen – Minutemen/Silk Spectre

Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre (2013) DC Comics. By Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner.

before watchmen

The critically acclaimed and Eisner Award-winning creator of DC: THE NEW FRONTIER Darwyn Cooke lends his talents MINUTEMEN. As the predecessor to the Watchmen, the Minutemen were assembled to fight against a world that have more and more rapidly begun to spin out of control. Can these heroes from completely different backgrounds and with completely different attitudes on crime come together? Or will they fall apart before they begin?   SILK SPECTRE takes an introspective look at the WATCHMEN feature player’s struggles with her overbearing superhero mother and her scattered path toward taking the mantle of the Silk Spectre. With gorgeous art by co-writer and illustrator Amanda Conner (POWER GIRL, The Pro), SILK SPECTRE takes a very different perspective at the world of BEFORE WATCHMEN. Collects BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN 1-6 and BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE 1-4.

I was wary of reading any of the Before Watchmen comics after hearing how strongly Alan Moore was opposed to them. I love the original and I wanted to respect the creator’s wishes. But ultimately curiosity got the better of me and I decided to check out at least one volume. I chose this one because I always wanted to know more about Silk Spectre (since it seemed like she got a raw deal overall) and I enjoy Amanda Conner’s artwork.

The first half of this collection is the story of the Minutemen – the group of heroes that proceeded the Watchmen. It’s narrated by Hollis Mason, who has decided to write a first hand account of their adventures and wants to make sure it’s ok with the rest of them. I found it a bit hard to follow at first but before long I was caught up in all the twists and turns and scandals. Seriously so much scandal.

before watchmen

The Silk Spectre half is significantly less dark and is really more of a coming of age story than a superhero tale. We watch her grow from just another flower child to the hero she was trained to be. It’s a interesting story, though a times a bit fluffy and the secondary characters are a tad forgettable. The artwork is fantastic thought – bright and energetic and it makes up for the weak spots in the story telling.

If you enjoyed Watchmen and aren’t ready to leave the world and the characters behind this collection is worth a shot. It’s not as brilliant as the original but it is a compelling and fun read, and much better than I expected it to be.

3.5 out of 5

– Christa

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