Darwyn Cooke uses Minutemen #4 as the big downfall of the Minutemen. Ursula is dead and the team is disbanding. While the darkness has been seeped throughout this series, it comes front and center with #4. Cooke paces it brilliantly, making the downfall feel natural and organic. With the expansive cast, it would have been understandable if the voices had blended together. But it’s easy to read the script and guess which character is talking. The reader can really feel how much Hollis loved Ursula, even though it is unrequited. #4 gives an amazing amount of backstory for Ursula in a very small amount of time, which is a testament to Cooke’s writing ability. These small bits of backstory are the exact reason that Before Watchmen was created. Ursula’s backstory is quick, to the point, and doesn’t leave unnecessary lose threads. The advantage of the nine panel structure is the amount of story that can be crammed into these pages.
The plot is a little scatter brained, trying to cram a lot into one issue. With Ursula and Comedian’s story taking up the majority of the issue, Hollis takes a back seat in what has become his story. Mothman’s descent into alcoholism is rather quick, even though the plot point has been teased. It’s one of the casualties when writing a story with a large cast. Considering that Comedian has his own story, giving him the majority of the story might have been a misstep. It’s worth noting that the Comedian’s scenes in Vietnam are the best written Comedian scenes of Before Watchmen, but they could have been in his book.
As with the past three issues, the art is simply astounding. I think the faces on the characters have become more expressive than they originally were. I did like how certain panels would bleed into others, but still keeping the nine panel panel structure. Having one scene per panel doesn’t give as much as space for Cooke to stretch out, but they still look great. Cooke subtly ages the characters throughout the series. They are tiny things that are almost impossible to tell if you haven’t read the first couple of issues since they came out. Phil Noto’s colors continue to be beautiful. The seeping darkness is felt throughout the colors.
I feel like a broken record at this point with this series. Read Before Watchmen Minutemen. If you were on the edge of the entire event, Minutemen will show you why this event was made.
Before Watchmen Minutemen #4 gets 4/5.
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