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Before Watchmen: Minutemen #4 - The Minute of Truth, Chapter Four: War Stories; The Curse of the Crimson Corsair: Wide Were His Dragon Wings, Part Two Review

5

Darwyn Cooke treks into even darker territory in the latest issue of MINUTEMEN.

The Good

I think one of the things that I haven't really enjoyed about the other BEFORE WATCHMEN titles is the fact that they all seem to just re-tell the story already told by Alan Moore in WATCHMEN. Sure, they add things to these stories and flesh out some of the characters, but they are not as interesting or as compelling, I think, as what Darwyn Cooke is doing in BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN. This series has been a complete masterpiece, and the fourth issue in this series is no different. Cooke takes the subtle hints and clues about the characters in Moore's WATCHMEN and virtually makes them his own; and this issue is proof of that fact. It feels like Silhouette is Darwyn Cooke's character the way he's taken her and molded her into this incredibly strong and compelling woman who not only stands for women in this series, but for the Lesbian and Gay community. Beyond that, she is this saint; a protector of children. It's a truly beautifully written issue.

The story of Silhouette unfolds, as well as her relationship with Gretchen. In this issue the reader discovers what led her to build a relationship with Gretchen and what eventually proved to be her downfall. Beyond that though, Cooke molds Silhouette into more than just a really great character; she becomes the glue that holds the Minutemen together. Once that glue is removed, things begin to fall apart. I think that's crucial to this story, and it really becomes evident here through this issue.

Darwyn Cooke also takes these characters that are clearly not the best people (namely The Comedian and Sally), and gives them redeeming qualities. There's a great scene where The Comedian is talking to Holly, and we see that he's no longer the punk kid he used to be -- that there is some good in him, even if he is sort of tortured and a little bit messed up in the head.

Then, there's the art. It's absolutely breathtaking. There are clues in Darwyn's panels that in themselves tell a story and leave you earnestly wanting to continue reading. This issue, like the ones before it, gets you hooked and really pulls on your heart strings. It's very sad, and poignant; and if you can read between the lines you'll see that there's a much darker story just beneath the surface. This issue is a perfect example of that.

The Bad

Absolutely nothing. Hands down one of the best comics I have read this month.

The Verdict

This isn't just a great comic, it's a brilliant story about the human condition. Sure, Alan Moore created these characters, but Darwyn Cooke has breathed new life into them and made them his own. This series has been exceptional, and this issue will definitely be hard to top. The characters are complicated, and deep; and there is this crazy, dark story just waiting to be devoured if you just look beneath the surface of what's in front of you. I love the way that Cooke uses his pencils and his art to push the story forward. To clue the reader into things that are there just beneath the narrative. I'm falling in love with these characters because of the way Cooke is capturing them in this series, and this issue is the best example of why. This comic is gorgeous, and I absolutely recommend picking up this series from the beginning.

14 Comments
Posted by zackattack529

Darwyn Cooke is Platinum!

Posted by dreamfall31

Love the original Watchmen, and definately plan to pick up this when it comes out in trade!

Posted by CircularLogic

Man, that last bit really threw me for a loop. I'm wondering what this could all mean, it blew my mind.

Posted by MisterKetch

Glad to hear the quality is keeping up this is imo the best thing coming out of Before Watchmen.

Posted by NuclearLife

Good series, glad they kept the quality up. And just loving the alternate cover.

Posted by 3rdrocket

Like I said before, it kills me that minutemen isnt a ongoing series. It is truly amazing

Edited by microwave25

This is the only "must-read" of the Before Watchmen titles. It's been so much fun and has got a lot of depth. Most of the other titles are a chore to read.

Posted by 18batman

I like how Darwyn is giving all of the minutemen memorable moments and personalities. I just hope that in #5 that something can be done with Dollar Bill as he seems to be nowhere.

Posted by RoastedRay

@CircularLogic: Me too I was hoping for a little clarity. Was The hooded man they shot at actually hooded justice?

Posted by nerdork

I completely aggre with you, in that, the 'BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN' series has been a near revolutionary tale of heroes and anti-heroes alike. You are even more correct in how Darwyn Cooke took already established characters (however brief it may have been), and completely made them his own quasi-creations. I was expecting to love Hollis Mason's character, which i do, but i was blind sided when my favorite character turned out to be Ursula Zandt. As a male, I naturally tend to drift towards male supeheroes, but The Silhouette leaves me in awe with her Batman-like determination. She is as rutheless as she is cunning. I can see why Mason is in love with her. She is the epitome of human potential for selfless morality.

I havent picked up the 4th issue yet, but i will this Sunday. I am very excited about it. Thanks for the great review.

Posted by nerdork

@18batman: i imagine that the 5th issue will be a continuation of the catastrophies that tore the team apart. I am thinking that 5 is where Dollar Bill gets shot. But, i agree with you; Cooke hasnt really established his character as well as the others.

Posted by 18batman

@nerdork: but other than that, I have no problem with the miniseries. maybe they'll say whay Dollar Bill's real name

Posted by 18batman

do you guys think that they'll show Hooded Justice's real face or name in the last issue of this series?

Posted by INLIFE

@nerdork said:

I completely aggre with you, in that, the 'BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN' series has been a near revolutionary tale of heroes and anti-heroes alike. You are even more correct in how Darwyn Cooke took already established characters (however brief it may have been), and completely made them his own quasi-creations. I was expecting to love Hollis Mason's character, which i do, but i was blind sided when my favorite character turned out to be Ursula Zandt. As a male, I naturally tend to drift towards male supeheroes, but The Silhouette leaves me in awe with her Batman-like determination. She is as rutheless as she is cunning. I can see why Mason is in love with her. She is the epitome of human potential for selfless morality.

I havent picked up the 4th issue yet, but i will this Sunday. I am very excited about it. Thanks for the great review.

I remain sad when ever I think The Silhouette and her lover's death in Watchmen. It somehow makes me a little angry.