I can remember reading Alan Moore’s Watchmen for the first time and falling absolutely in love with it. If that comic were a person, I’d take it out to dinner, a movie and hope for a good night kiss. Okay, that may be a little much but I’m a huge fan of Moore’s book. It redefined comic books, so when I heard about DC’s plan for prequels, I couldn’t help but shudder. I know Alan Moore would probably slap me across the face right now, but while as unnecessary as the series is, Before Watchmen isn’t terrible. They’re like the new “Star Wars” compared to the originals; fun in their own way, but nowhere near the originals.
This week is the second issue of Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre and so far it has been one of the stronger issues of the series. The story so far shows us a teenage Laurie, upset and resentful of her overbearing mother – the original Silk Spectre – running away to discover herself. While out on the open road with her boyfriend Gregg, Laurie decides to use her training to help people. After setting up shop in San Francisco, Laurie takes up her mother’s mantle as the new Silk Spectre and she’s hot on the tail of psychedelic drug lord Gurustein.
There are things I think Darwen Cooke and Amanda Conner have done quite well crafting a fun origin story and blending it with art that really complements the source material. Of all of the series already released – Minute Men, Ozymandias, Comedian and Night Owl – I think Silk Spectre is by far the most consistent.
One of my favorite parts is the beginning of issue two because Laurie is pinned by a group of thugs and in each panel there is a snippet of a letter Laurie has written to Mason Hollister – the original Night Owl. It was a lot of fun to read the Laurie’s letter home contradicting what was actually going on. She talked about how safe she was and how she was finding out who she was as a person, all the while, fighting a group of gang members using a few interesting fighting techniques.
If you’re totally against the very existence of the Watchmen prequels, then you are by no means going to enjoy this book, but if you’re willing to have an open mind and give Silk Spectreand other titles a shot, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised. Alan Moore has set the bar so high, that these books have a pretty high jump to make.