Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Before Watchmen: Minutemen #6 of 6
The Darwyn Cooke written and illustrated Before Watchmen mini-series wraps up with an unimaginative and lackluster effort. While fans of Cooke’s art will find a lot to like in this issue, fans of Watchmen and general high quality storytelling will find this issue to be unsatisfactory conclusion to a very poor mini-series. Sadly, this one was one of the better Before Watchmen series thus far.
The dwindling number of Minutemen attempt to reign in one of their own as the team grapples with their emotions, age and substance abuse problems. The surviving members end up with a dramatic confrontation that is too similar to the ending of Watchmen. In fact, it comes across as trying too hard to run alongside as parallel that creates a feeling of forced irony. It’s very unoriginal.
The hook is that a character swoops in at the end to reveal the entire plot development that occurred over the last couple of issues in the same way an episode of Scooby Doo would end. The ending would have been better served as an essay or excerpt from Mason’s novel as had been done in Watchmen.
The book (and all the Before Watchmen comics) has an enormous editorial flaw when it comes to the Comedian. He’s presented too differently across the board and gives off too many jolting agendas. In this book, he’s the defender of the American flag with a gangster’s edge. His attitude is eye rolling when you consider he rapes or attempts to rape someone every couple of decades. Editorial, DC needed to figure out what the Comedian was all about when they planned to have him appear in each series. He’s a caricature of Wolverine at this point.
Unfortunately the rest of the cast feels hollow and uninteresting. Cooke manages to scratch the surface on the key personalities but none of them feel alive at all. They all seem to be on the downside of substance abuse problems before this book even starts and their ends aren’t sad so much as shoulder-shrugging in an “oh-well” kind of way.
Cooke’s art is fantastic as he captures the period piece very well. He has a simplistic way to his art in this book but captures nice facial details to bring a lifeless story some level of energy and emotion. It is the lone bright spot, especially if you a fan of his style.
The book is a mess in a lot of spots. It’s never explained how one of the characters magically appears at the climax of the book while the other two characters are forced to climb through the rain and mud to get to the ending location. Secondarily, the characters that crawl through the mud show no signs of being wet or dirty two panels after getting out of the rain. Sloppiness like this is simply inexcusable in a book of this high a profile.
Before Watchmen is a controversial idea with a lot of great creators attached. Cooke is a huge name to add to the mix and he delivered on artwork just as he has in so many of his projects. However, this comic is a bad ending to a poorly told story. This is not Cooke’s finest hour and he had the largest, most unexplored area of continuity to leverage. This is a big disappointment on a lot of levels.
2 out of 5 Geek Goggles