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First Impression: BEFORE WATCHMEN Limited Series

We visited the DC Entertainment office to get an early look at all 7 BEFORE WATCHMEN limited series. That's right, we've read all the #1s (and some of the #2s)!

WATCHMEN is seen by many as the comic book everyone should read. There's no questioning its importance to the genre. When it was announced that DC Entertainment had plans to do a set of prequels under the BEFORE WATCHMEN banner, there was a lot of discussion about it amongst fans. Some readers are against the idea while others couldn't be more excited. With the inclusion of some of the industry's top talent working on the titles, it started to become a little difficult to be too skeptical. But seeing will be believing.

And that's exactly what we (Tony Guerrero and Sara Lima) did.

Upon receiving an invitation to visit the Burbank office of DC Entertainment to check out BEFORE WATCHMEN, it didn't take us long to start making plans to fly down. That's right, we flew down to LA just to check out the comics. Let me tell you, it was well worth it.

After our remarkable tour of the office (more on that later), we were left alone with a giant oversized binder containing all the first issues of BEFORE WATCHMEN along with some of the second issues all in various stages of development. Some of the issues were complete while others weren't available for viewing in color, etc.

While we did read every single #1, we're not going to get into the specifics of each issue. We'll save that for the reviews when the issues begin hitting store shelves in June. For now, here's our quick first impressions on each series. If you've had mixed feelings before, perhaps this will help you decide on purchasing the titles.

== TEASER ==

MINUTEMEN

Written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke. On sale June 6.

Little did we know that the poor boy would lead to the end of us all.
  • Beautiful book. Darwyn captures the era and time period brilliantly.
  • Cooke is the perfect choice for this title.
  • Hooded Justice feels very creepy
  • Issue #1 serves as a fantastic introduction to all of these characters, and is a great origin story of the team

SILK SPECTRE

Written by Darwyn Cooke with art by Amanda Conner. On sale June 13.

Oh sweetie, you're too young to hate. Wait until you're older and the world gives you a good reason. Trust me, it won't let you down.
  • Cooke captures the relationship between mother and daughter
  • Conner's art could tell the story on its own even without text.
  • Conner delivers animated panels that give the reader insight into the mind of an adolescent Silk Spectre who doesn't get along with her Mother.
  • There's an interesting parallel in this issue between the older Silk Spectre reminiscing about her past as a crimefighter, and her young daughter who is daydreaming about the future.
  • Lot's of flashbacks in this issue.
  • This comic exudes fun.

COMEDIAN

Written by Brian Azzarello with art by J.G. Jones. On sale June 20.

I'm a funny guy...
  • Saw some colored pages, read the uncolored version
  • Comedian is friends with JFK and with Jackie Kennedy, mention of Marilyn
  • Takes place in the 1960's
  • Lot's of use of iconic cameos, people, pop culture references from the time
  • Azzarello seems to play with history by integrating the Comedian in these historical moments/playing up these historical relationships
  • The use of so many iconic figures in this book makes it feel forced and over saturated; like the writing is trying too hard to make the character seem relevant to the time -- the result is that the story felt a little flat.

NITE OWL

Written by J. Michael Straczynski with art by Andy and Joe Kubert. On sale June 27.

The hero known to the public only as Nite Owl announced his retirement today.
  • Colored pages, no text. Some lettered pages.
  • Feels like a Batman story in part because of Kubert's art, and also because the story is so tragic.
  • Looks great. Definitely a different feel from the other titles.

OZYMANDIAS

Written by Len Wein with art from Jae Lee. On sale July 4.

I have goals to achieve. Dreams to make come true.
  • This issue is like one big Norman Rockwell painting. The art is absolutely breathtaking. The visuals are amazing.
  • Read penciled and inked versions.
  • Really great layout -- very different from the other books.
  • Flashbacks to his youth.
  • Colored version not available. Wonder how the colors will affect the art.

RORSCHACH

Written by Brian Azzarello with art by Lee Bermejo. On sale August 15.

What made you this way?
  • Very graphic, more so than the other books.
  • Dark, grim, highlights the seedy, dirty underbelly os a society engulfed in pornography and drug addiction. Bermejo's usually angelic visuals capture the grit and grime of this story.
  • Is Azzarello capturing the sheer essence of Moore's Rorschach, or is he simply playing with the audience by attempting to shock them as much as possible?
  • Very adult themes.
  • Bermejo's art is phenomenal.

Dr. Manhattan

Written by J. Michael Straczynski with art by Adam Hughes. On sale August 22.

I watch as a box containing a mystery is lowered into the soil.
  • Very pretty
  • We only saw the black and white inled version of the book, no lettering
  • Feels like a Dr. Manhattan book
  • The issue really captures a sense of sadness, loneliness and complete isolation that the character exhibited in the original Watchmen series.
  • Does it feel so lonely because of the lack of text? The fact that you can tell what's happening in each panel of the book by simply looking at Hughes' pictures is proof enough that the art in this issue is breathtaking.
  • How will Hughes' interior art look when colored?

CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR

Back up in each issue. Written by Len Wein with art by John Higgins.

  • As beautiful as John Higgins' art is in this story it, of all of these books, this story seems the strangest to read. This, more than any other, feels too much like Alan Moore and thus, felt like a violation of Moore's ideas more so than the expansion of the Watchmen Universe.
  • The CRIMSON CORSAIR is a back-up story you can find at the end of MINUTEMEN, and the story will move from one issue to another, forcing the reader to go out and buy issues they may not have wanted to pick up initially in order to continue the story.

That's our first impressions. Have you decided where you stand with BEFORE WATCHMEN? Are you planning on giving each title a try?

If our thoughts weren't enough, click here to check out what our friend Joey Esposito over at IGN thought (we ran into him at the office as well).

109 Comments
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Edited by THEBlaqueBasterd

I have tsay, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the art in the Ozy feature....

but really &truly I dont yet think we have any idea how f*cking unquantifiably laaame this whole projects gonna be.. sure its gonna sell.. because of the name attached.. but is bottom line the be all endall in comics today? Is NOTHING sacred anymore?

Smh, they shoulda just left well enough alone.

Posted by Dark Noldor

I'll definitely read all the issues - to me, when there're characters as interesting as these, plus a whole story that connects them, it's reason enough to make me read it, sequel or prequel, I don't care - I feel this way about all the major science fiction or fantasy novels there are: Star Wars, I would love to see stuff after Return of the Jedi, Lord of the Rings, I would kill to read more of the Middle Earth, in the format of Silmarillion; Song of Ice and Fire, would be fantastic if George R.R. Martin or other writer did prequels of this book, telling more of the old reigns of the Targaeryans or the First Andals, it would be awesome. I don't have any reservations towards creators (or companies) that desire to explore further some masterpieces, expanding it's universe, I'm an enthusiast of this in fact! Great article and what a privilege to receive such an invitation!

Posted by Billy Batson

@aztek_the_lost said:

@Billy Batson said:

Might get the Comedian and Rorschach as trades.
BB

the two CV wasn't sure about, I guess that explains lack of Hellblazer love :P

like the staff knows anything :p
BB

Posted by NyxEquitis

Man, love that Rorschach cover.

Posted by Nantucket

I will probably get Ozymandias & Minutemen. I hope the art stays true to the original.

Posted by AskaniSon295

I'm not gonna get any not cause of the alan moore/dc conflict i just don't really care for any of the characters instead I'm gonna re-read Image 1963 hey maybe they will do a Before1963 series.

Posted by Eet Mor Puppee

I don't care if each issue comes with a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket and the keys to a brand new hovercraft. I won't be buying.

Posted by KingHippp0

Creators are great, but this smells like a cash grab. No thanks.

Posted by Static Shock

@taku128 said:

These shouldn't exist, fuck DC.

No cursing, please.

Posted by Dedpool

Buying these as Trades.

Posted by Red_Robin212

I'll wait for the trades.

Purely For aesthetic purposes

Posted by Divinity

This is unbelievably fantastic. Something I've been waiting for from this series.

Posted by Webjaker

Thank You. Im not really 'on board' with this, but I will check them out - I was LEAST interested in the comedian's backstory and seems you backed me up on that

Posted by BatWatch

I don't believe in sacred cows. Give us more Watchmen stories. Those who are purists can just refuse to think of it as cannon.

I think the new series look great.

Posted by KomicKev

TPB for me for all of them . . . . if the reviews don't, you know, suck! :)

Posted by CombatSpoon86

Most of these look all good. Trade Pickup on most of these to add to my Absolute Watchmen.

Posted by Urthiln

I will check them out at the comic shop when they are released but they would have to be really good for me to pick them up. We will see, I'm still on the fence.

Posted by Kal'smahboi

I think I may get the Minutemen title in TBP. We'll see though.

Posted by Mucklefluga

Its too hard to decide which ones i want from theae first impressions, imma wait till the full reviews come out

Posted by Danial79

I've never read the comic and hated the movie, so I doubt I'll even bother with these.

Edited by Fuchsia_Nightingale

i'll wait on this, but looks interesting. <3

Posted by EpicMeltDown

@lifeboy: I guess my name would lead people to believe I would fly off the handle a bit more. I'll try to take my name more literally in the future. :) In any case, I believe DC is trying organize this into a weekly event. It's actually a total of 35 comics. Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan, Nite Owl, and SIlk Spectre are getting 4 issue mini series and the Comedian, Minutemen, and Ozymandias are getting 6 issue miniseries. And a final one shot. I don't think it'll actually go 35 weeks though. But I'm not 100% sure on the release structure. I won't be getting any of it anyone though.

Posted by Enemybird

Juspeczyk FTW!

Posted by The Stegman

To be honest at the risk of being ostracized and hated...I didn't really like Watchmen that much..so I won't really be getting these.

Online
Posted by cbishop

@ThomasElliot said:

This has been my argument the whole time as well. Alan Moore, its whatever. But to me, it would be like reading Romeo & Juliet, and then thinking, "Man, I sure wish there were more stories abut Tybalt or Lady Capulet". If that's all I come away with, then I'm sort of missing something there.

Well, yes and no. I'm not saying it won't be a good project - I'm just saying it doesn't excite me, and I don't think it was a needed project. But that's how I feel about it. Putting my opinion aside though, DC felt there was enough demand for more Watchmen material to do it. It might just be a cash grab, as someone else said (kinda feels like it, when you go the multiple mini-series route). However, it can often be fun to read a retro-fitted story, picking up on a thread, or in this case, starting the thread that leads to an established ending.

Moore has proved on more than one occasion that you can take characters with well established, stand-alone stories, and do more with them. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen shows that. So does Terra Obscura, although those characters' stories weren't finite. This pre-Watchmen stuff will probably be fine, and worth a read at some point (I may ask my library to get the trades). I just think DC is wasting a lot of energy on a Watchmen project (that they should have done when the movie was coming out) when the New 52 has afforded them the chance to reboot their Charlton characters within DC continuity.

Posted by lifeboy
Thanks again epicmeltdown. You have given me all imnformation i wanted to knoe about this. Im contacted my closest comic shop to saave me ozymandias, rorshach, and dr manhatten. I love rorshack, jea lee and the science associated w dr manhattan. But i dont like brian azzelarno because of how he and chiang messed up wonderwoman for me. Thanks again.

@EpicMeltDown:

Posted by Ganthetsward20

I'm so pyched up for this now. I had some doubt but if your opinions are true I think this will be awesome!

Posted by aarny

I'm glad these are turning out better than I thought.

Posted by TheOptimist

@ThomasElliot said:

This has been my argument the whole time as well. Alan Moore, its whatever. But to me, it would be like reading Romeo & Juliet, and then thinking, "Man, I sure wish there were more stories abut Tybalt or Lady Capulet". If that's all I come away with, then I'm sort of missing something there.

You should totally check out Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are dead then, by the way. It might not be R&J, but I'm pretty sure substituting Hamlet wouldn't diminish the response.

Posted by TheOptimist

@lifeboy said:

Thanks for that epic melt down:) I wish there would be a discription as to how these are being released. Afew days ago, i thought it was a total of 7 comics. One for each month. Now im reading into this article that its going to be 7 in one month followed by the #2's?

It is a total of 7 different titles. One book will be released each week, at no time will there be more than one book shipping in a week. In the first month of debut, there will only be four titles releasing the first issue. The releases are staggered. Hope that helps.

@taku128 said:

I will buy all of these and am enthused to show my support for the creative teams! So much so that I joined the site to express my feelings!

Wonderful, welcome to the Vine! Glad you're so excited for the books, I am as well. Side note also: watch your language please.

Posted by warriorpk39

I really want to get my hand on the Rorschach's comic.

Posted by cerial442

I think I'll get all of these. I'm glad they are releasing this one a week though.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Wow, I had no idea that DC had a Burbank office! Pretty cool. So jealous that you guys got to see this stuff but this is great!

Posted by taku128

@Static Shock said:

@taku128 said:

These shouldn't exist, **** DC.

No cursing, please.

Sorry, I didn't know it was against the rules. I mainly browse Giant Bomb.

Posted by Static Shock

@taku128 said:

Sorry, I didn't know it was against the rules. I mainly browse Giant Bomb.

It's all good. Just be mindful of what you say in future.

Posted by FullmetalChobit

Gunna get the Minutemen.... I love Rorschach but I don't know if this series is going to add for my love or just make me think less of him AND it's gunna sell out like crazy.

Dr.Manhattan's gunna be pretty cool too, I might grab that 'en all :)

Posted by unclewalker

i dont like the concept of prequel but im gonna buy all o'them anyways...

Posted by Zuckuss_02

I wish Nite Owl looked more like the movie version

Posted by Sekele

Will give them a try

Won't refer to them as canon when referring to the actual Watchmen, but will enjoy them on their own terms if I like them

Also hope DC has enough dignity not to make this an ongoing

Instead, they should rather just make a team of Captain Atom, Question, Ted Kord, Phantom Lady, Judomaster, and The Shield

Posted by CrimsonCake

Before V for Vendetta...Anyone?

Posted by Wonder Princess

So glad to see a positive response from someone who has actually seen these. I am very excited and look forward to them all but my Most Wanteds are "Minutemen", "Dr Manhatten" and "Silk Spectre".

Posted by MorlockMartyr

Boycott this crap!!!

Posted by ZZoMBiE13

These are just "event" type books, right? I mean each of these is a mini-series unto itself, not something that is going to go on and on over years or anything, yes?

Either way I'll probably just wait for trades or hardbacks or whatever collected versions come out down the line. I would like to read them, sure. But I don't care much for DC's digital options and I don't want to start collecting that many books. I'm happy with my 3 or 4 regulars.

Posted by feargalr

Hmmm I'm suspicious of that link to Joey Esposito at the bottom.... perhaps the world of comic book journalism isn't as cut throat as I thought :/ or perhaps Tony is trying to poach him... which I wouldn't be opposed to

Posted by KidSupreme

i doubt i'll pick it up

Posted by Zombiebite1888

I am definitely excited about all of them. The ones I am having any reservations about are The Comedian and Rorschach. Those are the two that giving their extreme natures can be written out of proportion very easily. Hopefully Azzarello will give us convincing and satisfying characters and not just Batman and Punisher extremes.

Posted by OldDude

Thing is I am not buying any of these series. Too expensive and looking pretty much pointless. Maybe will wait for the reviews and if they are unanimously good I will get the books on e-bay, if there is any ridiculously attractive offer, since I avoid buying trades. But right now, it's thanxs DC, but no... (plus if people buy these, DC will incorporate Watchmen in there main universe, where pointless and crappy stories are bound to occur...)

Posted by Cavemold

Will be getting nite -owl

Posted by Black Lantern Mar-vell

I might pick up Rorschach, Nightowl, & Dr. Manhattan. Lack of cash will prevent me from getting all of them though.

Posted by Sekele

@CrimsonCake:

Not sure if V had much of a career before that series

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