Shelby: You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. When it comes to delicious, delicious cake, you can either have it in your hands or eat it so it’s gone forever. Sometimes, your only options are mutually exclusive of each other, and you just have to decide which option you value more. Unless you are Darwyn Cooke: then you will manage to find a way to satisfactorily appease every concern I have regarding the conclusion of Minutemen, even when the answers I want seem to contradict each other. Continue reading →
We generally avoid quantifying our enthusiasm around here — we’ll gladly praise or condemn comics as our tastes dictate, but turning that into a grade or a score makes us uncomfortable. As there are in our pull-list, there are holes in this ‘Best of’ list. Mea culpa. We’ve had some great experiences with comics this year, and these are the series that were consistently fun, thoughtful and beautiful. Too subjective for a year-end list? Ignore the rankings. Any way you slice it, these are fantastic series that deserve the scrutiny we heap on everything. Each is a rewarding read and well worth your attention. Our picks for the top 12 series of 2012:
Patrick: For all of its virtues, I don’t ever feel good after reading Watchmen. There’s beauty to be found in the way Moore and Gibbons express the fully realized psychology of their characters, but the world is undeniably grim. There’s not a single triumphant moment that isn’t heralded by some deeply disturbing underlying darkness. But in expressing this darkness, the original creative team is only exposing uncomfortable truths. It’s a rotten feeling that settles in your gut as you put the volume down and take it all in. Not many works even strive for this particular brand of profundity, but Darwyn Cooke’s Minutemen achieves this frequently. In issue 5, the gut-punch is so severe as to send me back through previous issues and previous write-ups, muttering impotently to myself “say it ain’t so.” Continue reading →
Drew: Is it fair to assume we’re all nerds here? Do you remember that feeling when C-3PO first shows up in Phantom Menace? That feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realized this prequel was going to cash in on every moment of cheap recognition it possibly could? Not only did I not care where C-3PO came from, the explanation shown in Menace doesn’t make any fucking sense. The negative response to 3PO’s inclusion probably curbed Lucas’ origin obsession a bit, but he still managed to cram in Luke and Leia’s birth AND the building of the first Death Star, turning the whole prequel trilogy into a sad game of “spot the thing you used to love.” As the world’s most ubiquitous prequel, those movies effectively set my expectations for what a prequel should be, which may explain why I was so resistant to the notion of Before Watchmen in the first place; I was terrified of the prospect of stories focusing on petty details like where Ozymandias got the idea for his TV wall, or spending four issues explaining where that one headshot in Dan Dreiberg’s apartment came from. We’ve certainly gotten some of that, but titles like Comedian and Silk Spectre have turned those expectations on their heads by largely avoiding any such references. With Minutemen, Darwyn Cooke has embraced the third option — addressing the known history head-on with such deftness to make it seem inevitable.
Shelby: Hollis Mason is a good man. He believes in the quaint and simplistic ideas of right and wrong, good and bad, as laid out in the Golden Era-esque comic books of his childhood: the heroes are upright and moral and the bad guys always get caught. You know: truth, justice, the American way, etc. The truth is especially important to Hollis. He writes his book in order to make the truth known. His time in the Minutemen taught him a hard lesson about the difference between his perceptions (and the perceptions of the rest of the world) of the caped life, and the realities. He is going to share that truth of the reality of the Minutemen no matter the cost. Continue reading →
Patrick: Darwyn Cooke is going to make the absolute most out of his Minutemen mini-series. The first issue served as an effective mission statement, nodding politely to the series’ legendary origins but striking out boldly with its own voice. But now with all that business out of the way, Minutemen2 is able to start telling stories. STORIES! Can you believe it?
Peter: Watchmen is, to many, the best comic book ever written. The trade paperback is the #1 best-selling comic book. The feature film was overall well received by audiences and critics. DC Comics has made the decision to resurrect the franchise, leaving some fans excited, some skeptical, and some outright pissed. Minutemen 1 is the first of 35 books to come detailing the prequel tales of the Watchmen Universe. Hopefully it will be as well received the original material. Several months ago, Retcon Punch gave it’s initial reactions to the Before Watchmen project that you can find here.