Before Watchmen – Ozymandias 6

ozymandias 6 B4WToday, Michael and Shelby are discussing Ozymandias 6, originally released March 13th, 2013. Ozymandias is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

Michael: What you don’t show is as important as what you do show. If a story is told well, you can thankfully take this writerly aphorism for granted. We’re free to focus on what we are shown, because it’s gripping and we care about these moments over others. The rest — the implied events — blends into the background. It might be important. It might be necessary we know about it, but it isn’t right in front of us, on the page, and that’s OK. Unless that story is Before Watchman: Ozymandias 6, then it’s not OK. Every grinding gear of a story must be on display. It’s my own fault. I crave the supplemental information and shifts in perspective — I’m just upset when it doesn’t work out.

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Before Watchmen – Dr. Manhattan 4

dr manhattan 4 B4W

Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing Dr. Manhattan 4, originally released February 27th, 2013. Dr. Manhattan is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

Shelby: How do you tell any kind of story about a man who sees all of  time at once? He knows his past, his future, and everything in between; how do you find a compelling narrative in the story of a man who knows his whole story? J. Michael Straczynski has tried to do that by exploiting Dr. Manhattan’s kooky relationship with time. “Doc Manhattan knows every possible future? FINE. I’ll WRITE every possible future!” JMS seemed to say. This title hasn’t been terrible (especially compared to the other monstrosities JMS had his hand in), but it hasn’t been great, either. At best, this book has been conceptually interesting, but has fallen short in execution. This issue is no different; JMS tries out something new that’s interesting, but ultimately the story doesn’t go much of anywhere. Continue reading

Before Watchmen – Ozymandias 5

ozymandias 5 B4WToday, Patrick and Michael are discussing Ozymandias 5, originally released January 30th, 2012. Ozymandias is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

Patrick: In a sequence that perfectly epitomizes how I feel about the Ozymandias mini-series, Adrian Veidt holds a press conference as his alter ego. He removes the mask and the costume, revealing to the assembled reporters that Ozymandias and Adrian Veidt are one and the same. He says that all non-Doctor-Manhattan heroes have effectively become irrelevant — a sentiment echoed at one point or another by just about everyone in the Watchmen universe. Vedit can accomplish more good as the head of Vedit Industries, which prompts one reporter to ask “So, this is all about the money?” Never mind that this isn’t at all what Vedit was saying, he addresses the question head-on, bluntly saying “In this end… isn’t everything?” That reads as a rather cynical explanation for Before Watchmen, but interestingly, Veidt can’t keep his word about staying out of costume, donning the cape again to fight petty crime during the police strike. The message? It’s all about money… except when superheroes are involved: then it’s about something else.

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Before Watchmen – Moloch 2

Alternating Currents: Before Watchmen - Moloch 2, Michael and DrewToday, Michael and Drew are discussing Moloch 2, originally released December 19th, 2012. Moloch is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

Michael: Breaking the Before Watchmen project into character-specific series makes is a novel but logical way to approach the prequel. After all, each of the Watchmen characters are their own distinct protagonists, each with a different set of skills, challenges, ethics, and goals. And while the technique might be somewhat novel in the comic book world, the last 20 years of cinema have acclimated us to disparate, chronologically skewed vignettes that reveal more of the story as they overlap. It’s a fun narrative technique that can enhance a nuanced story, allowing the storyteller to layer information and keep the reader interested with shifting perspective. But what of Watchmen? It wasn’t initially conceived in that fractured vignette style and not all the characters are equally interesting. This was my initial concern when starting Moloch/Edgar, because I barely remembered who Moloch was from the original Watchmen. Once I did recall him, I got bummed out, because he’s a sniveling pathetic character, a witless victim, and a dubious subject for a series. However, the second issue — which mercifully brings us all the way to Moloch’s death — crystalizes the series as a sober portrait of a sincere, tortured pawn amidst the narcissism, swashbuckling, and grand-scheming of the other Watchmen characters. Continue reading

Chat Cave: Late Additions to Before Watchmen

The Retcon Punchers weren’t exactly thrilled when Before Watchmen was announced. But then, against all odds, the experiment proved largely successful. The original line-up contained many titles that went well beyond justifying their existence — a few even transcend their inherently exploitative premise. Last week saw the release of Moloch #1 and the announcement of a Dollar Bill one-off. What does this mean for the legacy of Before Watchmen? Any additional titles you want to see? What if there’s a chance to get additional issues of existing titles? Welcome to the Chat Cave. Continue reading

Before Watchmen – Ozymandias 2

Alternating Currents: Ozymandias 2, Drew and Peter B4WToday, Drew Patrick and Peter are discussing Ozymandias 2, originally released August 8th, 2012. Ozymandias is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

Drew: Patrick: Surprise! It’s actually going to be me taking lead on Ozy today. Drew had both his copy of Ozymandias and his computer stolen today. And that’s enough to make me want to put on an old Halloween costume and take to the streets for some righteous vengeance. And while I don’t plan on that leading to a life of crime fighting, there’s really no saying where life will take me, and which sources I will draw upon for inspiration.  Whatever the case, I just hope it will be consistently rendered in breathtaking beauty (because otherwise, what’s the point?).

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Before Watchmen – Ozymandias 1

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Ozymandias 1, originally released July 4th, 2012. Ozymandias is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

Shelby: So far, Before Watchmen has been largely a success. Minute Men 1 didn’t really offer anything new, it merely fleshed out character traits we were already familiar with, and that was just fine. Silk Spectre 1 took character traits we knew and crafted a narrative to show us their origin; it was a new story based on old facts, and it was very good. Comedian 1 took that a step further by taking what we thought we knew and twisting it around, without losing sight of Moore’s original intent; I thought it was exceptionally good. Nite Owl 1 was a huge step backwards; it invented a narrative which didn’t match the character traits it was meant to originate. The whole thing felt forced and unnecessary. Ozymandias 1, happily, is a step back towards Minute Men; we don’t learn anything new about Adrian Veidt, and that’s completely ok.

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