Sunday, July 22, 2012

Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #1 Reaction

Night Owl #1 is the fourth book to be released in the Before Watchmen series.

Of all of the issues released so far, I think this one may be the most cohesive. Allow me to explain.

First, it tells a great origin story for the second Night Owl. Characterization is crystal clear. You really get a sense of Danny's motivations and background.

More than any issue prior to this, the characters of the Watchmen universe start to come together. This issue sees Captain Metropolis's dream of forming a super-group come to fruition, tying the characters together in continuity for the first time in Before Watchmen. It starts when Nite Owl teams up with Rorschach and then they both answer Captain Metropolis's invitation to join the Crimebusters. The character dynamics between the various heroes are evident even in background images, such as Dr. Manhattan's instant attraction to the Silk Spectre and the Nite Owl's jealousy. Sometimes the words and pictures tell a very different story, which is just brilliant scripting by J. Michael Straczynski. 

The issue's title is "No Such Thing as a Free Lunch" and this is a motif throughout the story, from the very first page to the last.

The two-page backup feature, Crimson Corsair, slows the pace slightly as the main character narrowly avoids drowning after his ship is destroyed and takes a makeshift raft from a dead shipmate. The end is a bit of a false tease, however, as the next issue will show. I wish that these backups were somehow more thematically linked to the issue's main story. I also wish that the storyline seemed to have a more defined direction. At this point the main character has simply been thrown from one deadly scenario to another...

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