Before Watchmen: Minutemen #4 © DC Comics

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #4

Written by: Darwyn Cooke

Art by: Darwyn Cooke

Backup Written by: John Higgins

Backup Art by: John Higgins

Cover by: Darwyn Cooke

“You tell them, Hollis. Tell them all what they did to us!”

Before Before Watchmen began I queried the project. Had I been offered the reigns, I would have baulked but of the books announced, I thought the potential for great storytelling lay with Dr. Manhattan. That is until JMS butchered the character in what was his ‘reimagining’ of my favourite Watchmen issue (#4). How wrong I was.

Darwyn Cooke was initially hesitant in advance of tackling Before Watchmen and rightly so – the original is a masterpiece, a tour de force of storytelling and in my opinion has yet to be surpassed, surprising given it was released 25 years ago.

Whilst Moore denounced the venture as “completely shameless”, presented with the initial issue of Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 I yielded and forever sullied myself, may Alan Moore and Glycon have mercy on my soul.

However, the series, along with Silk Spectre, has been exceptional. I implore you to ignore the existential debate regards their existence and celebrate their quality. It is noteworthy that the only other successful, for which read enjoyable, Before Watchmen title is the one he wrote, with Amanda Conner on art.

Perhaps the success of this series when compared to the others is that it is completely new, as the original contained very little material regards the Minutemen, which Cooke has profited from. However, his genius and deft handling of the characters cannot be denied, along with his artwork, which is perfectly suited to ‘the Golden Age’.

Cooke somehow manages, in 32 pages, to deliver memorable moments for each key character in his troubled band of heroes. Whilst Hollis Mason is still the tool for the story, and what a tale of woe it is, the issue follows the lives of the Minutemen post-WWII. The tragic death of The Silhouette acts as the binding agent, as disenchantment among them is rife. It successfully bridges the gap from the optimism of his earlier issues and the first issues of Moore’s story.

Philo Noto’s colour palette reminded me of the excellent Human Target: Final Cut graphic novel and the truly amazing, Oscar nominated Chico & Rita. Had it not been for Cooke, I’d have happily passed on the whole series of books.

Does it sit nicely with the original? Does it expand upon Moore’s seminal work? Does it matter? Cooke has told one hell of a tale. He imitates Moore, as he adds details which are only hinted at in the original graphic novel – details which are entirely in keeping, which don’t compromise the mythology.

US residents should consider entering DC’s competition for the chance to win a Minutemen card signed by Darwyn Cooke, see HERE – you have until 5pm (PST) on Monday, October 22nd to enter.

Return to your store and buy.

Published by Mark Brassington

Father and Husband. Works in Corporate Banking. Loves Books, Comics, Cycling, Music, Games, going to the Gym and Writing.

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