Thursday, July 12, 2012

Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #1 Reaction

Silk Spectre #1
Silk Spectre #1 is the second Before Watchmen book to be released.

Wow. Check out that cover. Amanda Connor and Paul Mounts put together a great image. I love the use of positive and negative spaces as well as using the black portions of the costume for a collage. There's really a lot there. But I'm drawn to the Silk Spectre's face and fist.. that speaks volumes. And, almost unnoticed, is the snowglobe in the lower center.

The snow globe is used in the same manner as the semicircles in Minutemen #1. On the first page, the narration goes on as the "camera" zooms into the snow globe. It then becomes a metaphor for the characters when the father figure is removed. On page three, the shattered snow globe lies in the foreground with a ring of light where the glove would have been highlighting the missing father and mother and daughter clutch one another on the couch. I mean... how do you draw an ABSENCE of something? The moment is brilliant and the scene hits a strong emotional cord.

Throughout the entire book I'm repeatedly blown away by Amanda Connor's art. Her facial expressions convey so much meaning. On the third panel of the tenth page of the story, the mother's concerned/desperate expression says more than ten narration boxes could. Connor's panels are full of background and foreground objects - no "motion lines" or solid color backgrounds like a lot of artists use to speed up the process. I personally am a big fan of this. She really nails a lot of the details from the 1960's such as the clothing the characters are wearing and even technology such as telephones and cars. The end result is the characters feel grounded in reality.

The writing is also nothing short of brilliant. The book is really without any "action" at all (except one brief "training exercise" the mother makes Laurie go through) but there's not a dull moment in it. The two main story threads of the issue - the tension between Laurie and her mother and Laurie's budding relationship with Greg - are both swifty and clearly defined in the first few pages of the story.

But the really memorable moment in this comic comes on Laurie and Greg's date to the soda shop. I don't want to ruin the moment for anyone who hasn't read the issue but I will say that it is quite possibly the cruelest thing I've ever seen one character do to another character in a comic. When I read it, I had to stop and share the moment with the guys I was with at that moment. When I recounted the moment, everyone's mouths fell open and their eyes bulged wide. The issue is worth triple the price just for that one moment. Just... wow.

So, as you can tell, I'm completely blown away by Silk Spectre #1. I am particularly impressed with Amanda Connor as she both did the art and co-scripted the issue. Before Watchmen is off to a very promising start.

The Crimson Corsair backup (part 2) is once again two pages. I love the coloring. The pages are almost entirely black and white except for a few muted reds such as the coat of a sailor. The art is generally capable but feels far too crowded with panels inside panels and sometimes no gutters between panels. Still, the storyline takes a dramatic turn this issue with a failed impromptu mutiny attempt... I'm interested to see where the story goes.

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