$3.99, 32 pages
REVIEWED BY THOM OBARSKI AUGUST 31 2012
This issue of Before Watchmen brings us to the halfway point in the Minutemen series. Darwyn Cooke’s art, writing, storytelling, and imagery all continue to be excellent and moving; however, what wasn’t expected was just how powerfully unforgiving this series has been on the disintegration of the “heroic” hero. While “Minutemen #1” explored how history remembers the hero and “Minutemen #2” his sentiment of himself, this month’s issue explores how we view each other, in terms of both the past and present.
The familiar story continues to play out: Comedian leaves, some members are gay, the group spends more time quarreling amongst themselves than fighting crime, some downright hate each other. None of this is new information; what is new is the light in which it is perceived. Alan Moore’s original opus gave us all the relevant details on this backstory but let it shine through the sheen of recollection, allowing gritty details to soften and saturate over time. When the hero of a story can no longer view the actions of himself and his compatriots in terms of black and white, it is then that you realize that people don’t change. Everyone remembers the past as some place warm and soft and somehow “better.” We all have the potential at anytime to be an angel or a devil, to sit by and watch the world turn or to take action, to profit from the middle ground, or to take a stand.
History has a tendency to gloss over itself; lies are perceived as loyalty, brutality as courage , inaction as fairness. Previous generations were no better or worse than the current one; the same things that motivate todays youth were ideals shared by their parents and their parents before them. This book punched me in the stomach with this revelation. Everyone fights for what they think is “right” and no-one ever paints themselves as the villain. We desire the same love, acceptance, forgiveness, and success as the rest of the world, and when we fail at these things it hurts just as much.
This series has been perfectly executed so far in maintaing the tone and story of the original while adding a significant and meaningful contribution to the original plot and characterization. It is by no means an easy read, as it is just as unforgiving in its introspection for the reader as it is on the characters therein but by all means well worth the journey. Without a doubt the most meaningful, relevant, and artistic series I’ve read since Watchmen.