Before Watchmen is a new mini series acting as the prequel to the widely acclaimed ‘Watchmen’ by Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Batman: The Killing Joke etc). By widely acclaimed, I mean it has been voted as THE best graphic novel in comic history and you can pretty much guarantee that for all those who have read Watchmen, it is at least in their top 3.
Apart from me.
As much as I know I will get a lot of stick for this (and have already from many of the geek community), I really didn’t like the graphic novel. In my own opinion, I found the comic slow, boring and for the most part, really difficult to follow. It dragged liked hell. I hated Dave Gibbons’ art work as there were a few characters who looked really similar, which was even more confusing when it jumped backwards and forwards in time and ‘old’ characters who were younger in the past, looked similar to young characters in the present. To cut a long story short, I thought that the idea of the story was great, but it wasn’t implemented well.
Then came along the movie adaptation. Which I absolutely loved! True to form, Alan Moore didn’t want to have anything to do with this adaptation. Yet I loved the film a million times more than the graphic novel. I finally thoroughly understood the storyline, it was visually stunning, the pace fitted well and I finally found out how to pronounce ‘Ozymandias’. Ironically, director Zack Snyder looks to have used the comic strips as a story board and has made a literal jump from paper to the silver screen. Which as an afterthought, my disliking to the paper form of Watchmen might have been more to do with the art direction – not necessarily to do with Moore’s writing or Gibbons’ composition etc – but it may have just been more suited to screen.
So coming back to the focus of this blog post, I am intrigued by these Watchmen prequels. Firstly, because I want to know more about the Watchmen world and the back story to certain characters, but most importantly because Alan Moore isn’t having anything to do with them. My workings of this are that I didn’t like the graphic novel that Alan Moore doesn’t want anyone else to touch, yet I liked another person’s take on the story in the form of a movie. Maybe it will be the same with the Before Watchmen mini series? I get the feeling this won’t be the case, but I’ll give them a try!
This was a really good introduction to the different masks who were lightly touched upon in the original Watchmen. Feels like the ‘weird’ different people’s points of view story arch type structure the Batwoman comics are going for, which can be quite difficult to keep up with if you have an awful memory like me. Illustrations look like something from an old Warner Bros. / Flintstones type cartoon, but it fits well within the context of the comic.
Silk Spectre #1
Maybe it’s because I’m of the female persuasion, but I really liked this issue. I can relate to it and am genuinely interested in what will happen next to Laurie. This had a more emotional grab to the character, where we watch the difficult relationship between mother and daughter, and the difficulties that come with being bullied. The artwork in this issue was the best out of the three first issues that I read.
Couldn’t give a damn about the character and he didn’t really interest me as a character in Watchmen either. The Comedian issue hasn’t changed my opinion.
Curse of the Crimson Corsair – part 1, 2 and 3
This is the prequel to the Watchmen mini series, Tales of the Black Freighter. The illustration in this mini series is fantastic; really dark and detailed. The story is intriguing but it is really way too brief for me to judge. This for me is annoying as I know by the time the next issue comes out I’m going to have forgotten it and will have to re read the others.
Overall, they were all nice little reads but nothing that has really grabbed me as other comics have. I think because they are coming out as mini issues, in a way I’m treating them like that. They might be better off reading as a compiled graphic novel than as separate issues.