Darwyn Cooke has made the past two issues damn entertaining. They played with what we already knew about the Minutmen, but it was clear Cooke had something up his sleeve for the rest of the series. We get a big glimpse of that in this issue. The big rifts between the team had their seeds sown in the previous two, and come up here. They develop organically, thanks to Cooke’s excellent pacing. The juxtaposition of Mason’s comic book against what is really happening helps sell how far the team has come, even if it is a little on the nose metaphor wise. Cooke jumps through time quite often in this issue, without ever needing to explain to the reader when in time they are. That’s damn strong storytelling, and something we don’t get often. The darkness has crept its way into this story, and Cooke makes sure it gets under your skin. While child pornography should always get under your skin, it’s the subtlety in Cooke’s writing that left a lasting impression. He lets the art paint an atmosphere instead of having a group of old men grunting in the theater.
One thing that would have made this issue a perfect 5/5 would be the balance of the characters. This is told from the perspective of Hollis Mason, so it is natural that he’d get more time than other members. But Ursula has received more time than most. If the issue was slightly bigger, the balance could have been worked on. But this is a small gripe in an otherwise great issue. With each issue somewhat focusing on a different character, it’s something that will be fixed when reading these issues together. The new material doesn’t stray far from what we know already, but it’s written well. The platonic relationship between Ursula and Hollis (even if he doesn’t know it’s platonic) is sweet, and a nice addition. Cooke writes Ursula especially well, painting a real picture of a woman who pities the society she sees.
Cooke’s excellent art has only improved this issue. Ursula’s run through the theater has a haunting quality, with the almost black and white color scheme showcasing the screen. Cooke sticks to the nine panel structure again this issue, which works rather well. Having the characters bleed into other panels changes it up enough to keep the panel scheme from becoming boring. With the jumps in time, Cooke adds slight changes to each character. They weren’t that noticeable until I read through the issue a second time. Phil Noto’s colors are absolutely brilliant. They perfectly convey how dark this world is, no matter how bright everyone wants it to be. These two should collaborate on another book as soon as possible. One thing that could have changed was the lettering by Jared Fletcher. By the end of the issue, it can become hard to tell who is talking. The coloring for the two people is ever so slight, which had me confused. It seemed as if one person was talking to themselves and getting answers from themselves.
Minutemen is still the only Before Watchmen title that I suggest fully. It’s worth your money.
Before Watchmen Minutemen #3 gets 4/5.