Before Watchmen Minutemen #2 Review

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Before Watchmen Minutemen #1 was a great introduction to the event.  It had almost everything you wanted in a Watchmen book.  Now that the team is set up though, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty.  And I mean that in every way possible.

Darwyn Cooke’s script was very wordy in #1.  It didn’t break the issue, but it was a problem.  Cooke tones it down this issue, and knows when to turn off Hollis Mason’s narration.  It’s at this point that Cooke adds a little levity into the proceedings.  It’s welcomed, considering how dark this issue gets.  Cooke slowly delves into the dark nature of the crew, and how they borderline didn’t care about saving people at times.  The child pornography ring is a saddening plot point, and Cooke hits the reader that much harder by having The Unseen Playmate from “Children’s Garden of Verses” in these scenes.  It fills the reader with terror, almost shouting at the boy on the page to run away.  A lot happens in the issue, but Minutemen #2 never feels cramped or rushed.  Cooke balances all the story lines well, giving each their own time to shine.  Not one character is left out of the spotlight.  On writing alone, Minutemen continues to be the best of the bunch.  Thankfully it’s one of the longer series.

Cooke develops one of the long standing mysteries of Watchmen: the relationship between Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice.  Alan Moore stated that they were both homosexuals, that they were in a relationship, and Hooded Justice abused Metropolis.  It’s one thing to say Hooded Justice was abusive, but showing it, and making the reader see it, makes it hit a lot harder.  Cooke juxtaposes Metropolis and the rest of the crew finding the child pornographers, which makes the reader saddened at how quickly these optimistic heroes have fallen.  Some can assume what the ending means, but I won’t spoil that here.  It’s a sad ending, that ruins any good mood you might have been in before.  Cooke expertly goes into the past without compromising the history.  It’s still the biggest worry for Watchmen fans, and Minutemen continues to cure that fear.

Cooke sticks to the nine panel pages more than the previous issue.  But he still makes the pages his own, having one big panel broken up into three smaller panels.  It sometimes gives a group of panels a sense of motion, which is what Cooke seems to be going for here.  His Silver Age style of penciling continues to fit the atmosphere of the time that Cooke is writing about.  Even when Sally is sad or upset, she still has the look of a 40’s pin up girl.  Characters are expressive, even when in the background.  Phil Noto colors the issue beautifully.  He compliments Cooke’s pencils and inks perfectly.  Some of the pages look a tad rushed, but it’s hard to tell if it’s the penciling or inking that made the pages look this way. There were few color smudges on the final page, so this very well could be caused by the printer.

Before Watchmen Minutemen #2 gets 4/5.

Now that six parts of the Crimson Corsair back up have be released, it’s enough to finally read and review.  After reading six parts in a row, it’s an insanely fun read.  Len Wein’s writing is great, making the narrations of Gordon McClachlan never seem over done.  Most of the dialogue on these two page stories is from McClachlan, which could get boring, but never does.  John Higgins’ art has also been good, but not great.  Considering that Wein and Higgins have to pack a lot into a couple of pages, it’s not surprising that Higgins’ art is going to feel cramped on some pages.  Especially in the first few parts, where Wein is setting up the entire thing, it’s hard to comprehend what is going on.  This just further proves that this shouldn’t have been a two page back up, and it’s own miniseries.  It could have had more room to breathe and bring life to what is becoming a great story.

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