With Minutemen #2 being slightly better than #1, I was hoping that Silk Spectre was going to do the same. Sadly, the quality stays the same. Silk Spectre #2 is a good comic, yet still needs some work in the story department.
Every Before Watchmen book has needed to establish why it exists. Why does this particular story need to be told? Most of them have done that well, except Silk Spectre. Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner have made an interesting story about why Laurie ran away from her mom, but it never goes beyond that. The letter to Hollis Mason at the beginning was a nice way make this title, which feels in a little world of it’s own, apart of the bigger universe. It’s also the only tie into the overall plot established in #1. Silk Spectre #2 is more interested in the atmosphere. #2 skips the hokey dialogue that plagued #1. Characters talk in a way that feels normal for the time, but the vernacular isn’t over done. The plot itself is quite trippy. That’s not a pun either. Giving kids drugs which will make them want to buy things seems like something out of a normal comic book. Watchmen has always been about superheroes in the normal world, with no powers or outlandish plots. I feel like these issues should be above this type of plot.
The script is still very wordy, with all but a couple of panels having some form of dialogue. Having the characters talk a lot is fine, but having random people shouting things to emphasize it’s a rally doesn’t work. We can see that it is a rally. Let the artist do their thing. The script slowly creeps the idea of Laurie being more mature than the people around her. She seems more responsible, especially in her relationship with Greg. It shows her how much she is like her mom, no matter how much she hates it. This mini-series is heading towards “character has a hard realization that makes them go back to their parent”. Not entirely surprising, given the relationship of Julie and her mom’s.
The story might have some faults, but Amanda Conner’s art is beautiful. She sticks to the nine panel set up more than the previous issue, and uses it perfectly. The few fight scenes gain the most from the structure, and never feel cramped. Like the script, the surroundings feel like the times, but never feel gimmicky or cliché. She trades the clean-cut nature of the 50’s for the trippy 60’s here. The look of the characters is gradual, which is a great touch. As the hippie atmosphere becomes a bigger part of these character’s lives, they look more like them. The panels with Laurie showing the reader what she is thinking are mostly gone. They pop up, but seem oddly placed. There is little to no context with them though, so they are confusing. Alan More has said that in the Watchmen universe, people would want to read pirate comics more since super heroes existed. Conner gives a nice nod to this, with Laurie imagining herself as a pirate. Nice addition of The Beatles, or it’s safe to assume they are The Beatles. If you have been on the fence about buying this series, Conner’s art is reason enough alone.
Silk Spectre #2 gets 3.5/5.