Doomsday Clock 4: Discussion

By Michael DeLaney and Drew Baumgartner 

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Michael: I’d rather not spend each issue of Doomsday Clock comparing it to Watchmen, but dammit if that’s not what Geoff Johns and Gary Frank want me to do. Doomsday Clock 4 takes a break from the new ensemble of “heroes and villains” that has been established, and instead zeroes in on the new Rorschach. Much like Walter Kovacs in the sixth chapter of Watchmen, Doomsday Clock 4 deals with Rorschach’s current incarceration, as well as his origins. Continue reading

Green Arrow 25

green arrow 25Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Green Arrow 25, originally released November 6th, 2013.

Spencer: Much like Wonder Woman or Batwoman, Jeff Lemire’s run on Green Arrow has been steadily building its own mythology that feels completely removed from anything else going on in the DC Universe. Despite that, Lemire’s still managed to make Ollie’s connections to the Justice League of America and Roy Harper work within the context of his larger saga, but he isn’t so fortunate with this month’s Zero Year story. The tie-in feels pointless, and it’s only the new character of John Diggle that anchors things to the book’s ongoing plot at all. Continue reading

Before Watchmen – Dollar Bill

Alternating Currents: Dollar Bill, Drew and ScottToday, Drew and Scott are discussing Dollar Bill, originally released January 30th, 2013. Dollar Bill is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

Drew: Before Watchmen: Minutemen was good. It helped that it was one of the least explicitly fleshed-out corners of the Wathcmen universe, but much credit belongs to the unblinking moral greyness Darwyne Cooke imparted to the series. His warts-and-all approach stayed true to the spirit of the original series, but blended it with the sheen of reverence we hold for our golden-age heroes. He gave us compelling takes on many of the Minutemen, most notably Nite Owl, Mothman, and the Silhouette, creating fully-formed characters from the brief snapshots we see in Watchmen. Minutemen didn’t bother much to explore much of Dollar Bill’s back-story, which is unfortunately the only similarity Dollar Bill has to that series. Continue reading

Before Watchmen – Minutemen 5

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Minutemen 5, originally released December 5th, 2012. Minutemen is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

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

Before Watchmen – Minutemen 4

Alternating Currents: Minutemen 4, Drew and Michael B4WToday, Drew and Michael are discussing Minutemen 4, originally released October 17th, 2012. Minutemen is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

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.

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Before Watchmen – Ozymandias 3

Alternating Currents: Ozymandias 3, Drew and Shelby B4WToday, Drew and Shelby are discussing Ozymandias 3, originally released September 26th, 2012. Ozymandias is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

Drew: Part of what made me so resistant to the idea of a Watchmen prequel series is my immense respect for the  original series. Not that it was a sacred cow — though, arguably, it is — but that anything that failed to meet that very high level of respect for the material would feel inherently disrespectful. I understood that maintaining that level of respect would be incredibly burdensome to creators, narrowing narrative possibilities to a knife’s edge. To my surprise, many titles have not only matched my respect for Watchmen, but have exceeded what I thought would be possible while doing so. Other titles have not fared as well, failing to justify their own existence, or — worse yet — failing to hold the source material in the proper esteem. Ozymandias has managed two issues without falling firmly into either category, and while issue 3 falters a bit, I’m still unsure if it is a success or a failure. Continue reading

Before Watchmen – Minutemen 3

Today, Shelby and Peter are discussing Minutemen 3, originally released August 29th, 2012. Minutemen is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

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.
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Before Watchmen – Minutemen 2

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Minutemen 2, originally released July 11th, 2012. Minutemen is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

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, Minutemen is able to start telling stories. STORIES! Can you believe it?

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