Sunday, August 12, 2012

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #2 Reaction

Minutemen #2
The sixth comic to be released for Before Watchmen and the first of the second issues, Minutemen #2 picks up with Hollis continuing to refine his tell-all book in 1962. This then leads Hollis back to thinking about 1939 when the Minutemen were forming.

The formation of the Minutemen with the tryouts is funny to see. It's kinda like America Idol - for every person with actual talent you have 25 that are less than spectacular. Then the fully-formed Minutemen go on their first mission. It's a... success, but instead of illegal munitions, they raid and destroy a fireworks factory. They then lie about it to the public and it lays a tainted foundation for the team.

It quickly becomes apparent that, as a super team, the Minutemen, will do good when they can but they are more concerned with their public image. When it is suggested that they investigate a child trafficking ring it is shot down because it wouldn't make for good press. Likewise, Hooded Justice is counseled to spent time in public with Sally to draw attention away from his affair with Captain Metropolis.

The last three pages are the real heart of the story, however. Three scenes are inter-cut on top of one another. In one, Mothman, Silhouette, and Nite Owl attempt to track down the child trafficking ring only to find a body strung up. In another, the poem, "The Unseen Playmate", by Robert Louis Stephenson is used to creepy effect to illustrate a child being abducted to panels eerily shaded all green. The third scene is Captain Metropolis, bound by Hooded Justice and begging him to stop. The effect of the three scenes has an almost mesmerizing effect.

Darwyn Cooke is having his way with the Minutemen and doing a brilliant job at it. His art style is reminiscent of the Batman: The Animated Series style but the subject matter is much darker. Writing wise, he can capture the essence of a character in a single line. The Minutemen have a wide variety of personalities and motivations and he somehow grasps them all simultaneously - from the Comedian to Night Owl.

The backup story, part six of the Curse of the Crimson Corsair, is really only six panels long and takes the main character from his raft and onto a ship where he meets the title character - The Crimson Corsair!

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