Just off the top of my head I would assume most Watchmen fans wouldn’t classify Silk Spectre among their favorite characters in the story. She’s great in the original comic of course, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed seeing her story in this week’s issue of Before Watchmen. One thing that should be kept in mind about this whole business is, yes Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons told a complete tale within the twelve issues of Watchmen; however, there is a much deeper mine here to explore with all of these characters and where they come from and that is very evident here in the first issue of “Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre.”
The man behind last week’s Before Watchmen: Minutemen, Darwyn Cooke, is around for this book as well, co-writing the story with artist Amanda Conner. What this pair have created is a good story that not only fits well into the Watchmen mythos, but could be removed from the lens of Watchmen and would still hold up. Yes, the focus is on one of the characters that not so many people would think they’d enjoy, but it will probably stand out as one of the most well written and drawn of the series. This comic is deeply embedded in the personality and definitions of Laurie Juspeczyk and that is what will make it memorable.
Conner and Cooke have taken the basic premise of Laurie’s character, a young girl who was forced into a hero life by her aging mother, and expanded on it so that we really do see the story from her point of view. Alan did it with Watchmen, but with an actual woman writing the comic it just feels more real and relatable. The only aspect of the writing that really bothered me was the way much of the story and action is framed around a song or television being played in the background and that it got in the way. Sure, the lyrics and words go along with what is happening within the story, but it clutters the images, which really are the main selling point after dissecting the book.
Amanda Conner’s art is fantastic. I’m amazed at how much detail she is able to squeeze into each panel. Conner’s art has this certain quality to it that just makes it stand apart from other mainstream books being published. Perhaps it’s the way that her drawings look more like fresh looking cartoons and not overly dark/masculine comics. One thing about her art that will cause it to be talked about is how she doesn’t sexualize the two primary female characters of the book. It should be expected given the nature of Sally Jupiter that the character would be overly sexualized but they’re not. Also, that this is a plot point in the story is a good decision.
Though I won’t spoil the ending for Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre for you, I will say that I have a fear that it will be a predictable series in the long run, but I do hope I’m wrong. I’m also afraid that even though next week’s issue Before Watchmen: Comedian is written by Brian Azzarello that I’ve been spoiled by the goodness of Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner. The product so far doesn’t rival Moore and Gibbons’ original, but it’s a very valuable companion piece and absolutely worth checking out.
Rating: 8 / 10
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