Tagged: New Frontier

U.D.’s Review-Dees

Before Watchmen Minutemen #1, Darwyn Cooke (W/A), DC

When a crime is committed, the courts attempt to find a jury comprised of impartial citizens with no knowledge of the people and the events involved to guaranteed a fair, unbiased trial. To review Before Watchmen Minutemen #1 with full impartiality, one would be required to find someone who hasn’t read a comic book in roughly 30 years.

The title alone illustrates why. As an unasked and controversial prequel to Watchmen, the 1987 graphic novel which redefined comic books, Before Watchmen cannot escape the magnitude of its source material.

Since its debut, Watchmen has never been matched for complexity, nuance, nor story; though not for lack of trying. It is hard to repeat true innovation.

No comparison between Before Watchmen and Watchmen could be made. That would be like swatting a fly with a nuke.

Darwyn Cooke, the talented writer/artist of Before Watchmen Minutemen, rose to prominence thanks to New Frontier, a spiffy DC graphic novel which mined the fifties and forties for retro super hero fun. Darwyn has since become to “Go-to” guy for a modern take on past flavors, and has become a fan favorite with his brisk, “Simple made complex” approach to storytelling. He seems a natural fit for a look back on Watchmen’s characters.

But again, we bring to our review of this title our love and understanding of Darwyn’s past body of work. Is it fair to compare Before Watchmen to New Frontier?

Fair or not, it doesn’t relect well. Next to Darwyn’s other titles, Before Watchmen fills you with the disappointment of a good creator treading thin water, repeating himself with every shallow stroke.

DC recently made vast headlines by rebooting their entire universe and starting over all titles with shiny new #1s. How does Before Watchmen Minutemen #1 contrast with DC’s other #1s? Does it inspire the reader to pick up another issue? Are we left with a desire to follow the story?

What is the story? Continue reading

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Ten-tinnabulations

Things happen fast in the world of comics, and we fans are fickle friends to the trends. Before we can blink, the San Diego Comic Con is upon us, as is the much ballyhooed “Before Watchmen.” Many who said “Avengers” was the best movie of all time can now only think about “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20th.

Meanwhile, some of the biggest stories of this year, that of DC’s New 52 and Marvel’s Avengers Vs. X-Men are nearing completion. Who’s going to remember them in the wake of this week’s big SDCC announcements?

TEN OUT OF TEN

Let us take a pause and breath in the current, the happening and the now. MANY big books are celebrating breaking double digits this week. Dark Horses controversial bad girl Buffy has her latest milestone with Buffy Season 9 #10, and many of the DC books do the same.

Batman #10, Batgirl #10, and Deathstroke #10 all have a number ten this week. The Deathstroke title seems particularly fun as Rob Liefeld will pit Sir Strokes-a-lot up against that intergalactic bastich, Lobo. In this fight there will be no good guys, only carnage!

Green Lantern and Grifter both get #10s, as well.

And they’re not the only ones! Image has Invincible #10 (well, #92 actually) and Marvel has Powers #11 (Missed it by THAT much) plus The Amazing Spider-Man #687 (Which is 10×68.7, so that sort of counts).

I’m looking forward to Spidey #10×68.7. Spidey is going to fight the Avengers, of whom he’s currently a member, and with whom he is currently fighting the X-men across the country (Specifically in the pages of this week’s AvX Vs #3). He does get around, that guy…speaking of which Continue reading

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Percent of a Watchman

Statistics is fun, let’s try some. 100% of you are reading this sentence….see how that works? 75% of those reading this sentence comprise 3/4ths of my readership. 12% are dying for a drop of 100 proof, which is to say 50% alcohol by volume, meaning that 12% want 50% percent while 88% could care two cents about the whole dang thing.

Now unless you’ve been living in the French Legionnaires for the past week you are aware via the internet (a series of tubes) that the Watchmen Prequel comic books have been green lit. We’ll soon have the adventures of Baby Rorschach, Nite Owl, and Silk Spectre from a variety of creators, none of whom are Dave Gibsons or Alan Moore.

There are only three aspects I want to focus on:

1) THE NUMBERS

This purely financial maneuver by DC, the comics company with the new, boring logo, may lead to some good books. With eight new titles, statistics make it hard for them all to be crap.

I’m very surprised that they had the wherewithal to re-team Brian Azzarello with Lee Bermejo from their fun graphic novel Joker onto a Rorschach book. Azzarello writes engaging crime comics full of losers, tough guys, and snappy banter…and he is the ONLY writer capable of making Rorschach, or his other title The Comedian, worth reading.

I’m THRILLED Adam Hughes will return to sequential art in Dr. Manhattan. I’m less than thrilled that J. M. Straczynski will be penning many of these new titles. Darwyn Cooke was the right guy for a Minutemen book…but let’s look at what they’ve done.

Get the team behind the grittiest crime comics to work on your gritty crime comic. Get the best post-modern, yet nostalgic, team book writer to write your nostalgic post-modern team book. Hire a big name to handle the rest and dole out art to whomever you can. I’m not saying go outside of your comfort zone, DC, I’m just asking you to show your cards a little less.

This is “Moneyball” for comics, a game DC has been playing for some time. They’ll have some hits, they’ll have some creative misses. They’ll make money…but will they burn bridges? Continue reading

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