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First Impression: BEFORE WATCHMEN Limited Series

We visited the DC Entertainment office to get an early look at all 7 BEFORE WATCHMEN limited series. That's right, we've read all the #1s (and some of the #2s)!

WATCHMEN is seen by many as the comic book everyone should read. There's no questioning its importance to the genre. When it was announced that DC Entertainment had plans to do a set of prequels under the BEFORE WATCHMEN banner, there was a lot of discussion about it amongst fans. Some readers are against the idea while others couldn't be more excited. With the inclusion of some of the industry's top talent working on the titles, it started to become a little difficult to be too skeptical. But seeing will be believing.

And that's exactly what we (Tony Guerrero and Sara Lima) did.

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Upon receiving an invitation to visit the Burbank office of DC Entertainment to check out BEFORE WATCHMEN, it didn't take us long to start making plans to fly down. That's right, we flew down to LA just to check out the comics. Let me tell you, it was well worth it.

After our remarkable tour of the office (more on that later), we were left alone with a giant oversized binder containing all the first issues of BEFORE WATCHMEN along with some of the second issues all in various stages of development. Some of the issues were complete while others weren't available for viewing in color, etc.

While we did read every single #1, we're not going to get into the specifics of each issue. We'll save that for the reviews when the issues begin hitting store shelves in June. For now, here's our quick first impressions on each series. If you've had mixed feelings before, perhaps this will help you decide on purchasing the titles.

== TEASER ==


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Written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke. On sale June 6.

Little did we know that the poor boy would lead to the end of us all.
  • Beautiful book. Darwyn captures the era and time period brilliantly.
  • Cooke is the perfect choice for this title.
  • Hooded Justice feels very creepy
  • Issue #1 serves as a fantastic introduction to all of these characters, and is a great origin story of the team


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Written by Darwyn Cooke with art by Amanda Conner. On sale June 13.

Oh sweetie, you're too young to hate. Wait until you're older and the world gives you a good reason. Trust me, it won't let you down.
  • Cooke captures the relationship between mother and daughter
  • Conner's art could tell the story on its own even without text.
  • Conner delivers animated panels that give the reader insight into the mind of an adolescent Silk Spectre who doesn't get along with her Mother.
  • There's an interesting parallel in this issue between the older Silk Spectre reminiscing about her past as a crimefighter, and her young daughter who is daydreaming about the future.
  • Lot's of flashbacks in this issue.
  • This comic exudes fun.


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Written by Brian Azzarello with art by J.G. Jones. On sale June 20.

I'm a funny guy...
  • Saw some colored pages, read the uncolored version
  • Comedian is friends with JFK and with Jackie Kennedy, mention of Marilyn
  • Takes place in the 1960's
  • Lot's of use of iconic cameos, people, pop culture references from the time
  • Azzarello seems to play with history by integrating the Comedian in these historical moments/playing up these historical relationships
  • The use of so many iconic figures in this book makes it feel forced and over saturated; like the writing is trying too hard to make the character seem relevant to the time -- the result is that the story felt a little flat.


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Written by J. Michael Straczynski with art by Andy and Joe Kubert. On sale June 27.

The hero known to the public only as Nite Owl announced his retirement today.
  • Colored pages, no text. Some lettered pages.
  • Feels like a Batman story in part because of Kubert's art, and also because the story is so tragic.
  • Looks great. Definitely a different feel from the other titles.


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Written by Len Wein with art from Jae Lee. On sale July 4.

I have goals to achieve. Dreams to make come true.
  • This issue is like one big Norman Rockwell painting. The art is absolutely breathtaking. The visuals are amazing.
  • Read penciled and inked versions.
  • Really great layout -- very different from the other books.
  • Flashbacks to his youth.
  • Colored version not available. Wonder how the colors will affect the art.


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Written by Brian Azzarello with art by Lee Bermejo. On sale August 15.

What made you this way?
  • Very graphic, more so than the other books.
  • Dark, grim, highlights the seedy, dirty underbelly os a society engulfed in pornography and drug addiction. Bermejo's usually angelic visuals capture the grit and grime of this story.
  • Is Azzarello capturing the sheer essence of Moore's Rorschach, or is he simply playing with the audience by attempting to shock them as much as possible?
  • Very adult themes.
  • Bermejo's art is phenomenal.

Dr. Manhattan

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Written by J. Michael Straczynski with art by Adam Hughes. On sale August 22.

I watch as a box containing a mystery is lowered into the soil.
  • Very pretty
  • We only saw the black and white inled version of the book, no lettering
  • Feels like a Dr. Manhattan book
  • The issue really captures a sense of sadness, loneliness and complete isolation that the character exhibited in the original Watchmen series.
  • Does it feel so lonely because of the lack of text? The fact that you can tell what's happening in each panel of the book by simply looking at Hughes' pictures is proof enough that the art in this issue is breathtaking.
  • How will Hughes' interior art look when colored?


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Back up in each issue. Written by Len Wein with art by John Higgins.

  • As beautiful as John Higgins' art is in this story it, of all of these books, this story seems the strangest to read. This, more than any other, feels too much like Alan Moore and thus, felt like a violation of Moore's ideas more so than the expansion of the Watchmen Universe.
  • The CRIMSON CORSAIR is a back-up story you can find at the end of MINUTEMEN, and the story will move from one issue to another, forcing the reader to go out and buy issues they may not have wanted to pick up initially in order to continue the story.

That's our first impressions. Have you decided where you stand with BEFORE WATCHMEN? Are you planning on giving each title a try?

If our thoughts weren't enough, click here to check out what our friend Joey Esposito over at IGN thought (we ran into him at the office as well).

109 CommentsRefresh

Avatar image for cainpanell
Posted By CainPanell

@CrimsonCake said:

Before V for Vendetta...Anyone?

Actually I'd like to see a sequel where Evey Takes on the Mantle as V, And hunts down those who were left of Larkhill and those Left of Norsefire.

Avatar image for lady_toyano
Posted By lady_toyano

im buying everyone save for Comedian, Dr. Manhattan, and maybe Silk Specter.

Avatar image for theheat
Posted By TheHeat
@Billy Batson said:

Might get the Comedian and Rorschach as trades.

Same here.
Avatar image for crimsonalchemist
Posted By CrimsonAlchemist

Definitely getting Rorschach & Comedian the rest could make good toilet paper

Avatar image for batfan1939
Posted By batfan1939

@TheHeat: Awesome RandomGuy ref!

On-topic, I think this looks interesting, and it sounds like the art will be amazing.

Avatar image for marssolesurvivor
Posted By Marssolesurvivor

hmmm...I'm sorry but no. Watchmen has transcended comics and went into literature. I wouldn't read a prequel to Moby Dick or Stephen King's IT. Won't read these. I also sincerely hope that this isn't some attempt at trying to work these characters into the nDCU.

Avatar image for chaosagent
Posted By ChaosAgent

@Apis: I get where you're coming from, but it's interesting to see the characters of the Watchmen universe being explored more. Alan Moore/DC controversy aside, I was a huge fan of the story and characters, but always felt as if there was something more to it that we weren't seeing. Perhaps this sense of ambiguity is better left alone, but I'll certainly being looking forward to how this pans out.

In regards to your analogy, some people love prequels/revelation stories and the like. Take Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core. It came out years after Final Fantasy VII. Everybody knew Zack was going to die in the end, but they still bought it. Just like with this story. We know what happens. All of the Minute Men besides Sally will still die. Ozymandias will still kill The Comedian. Rorschach will still die by the hands of Manhattan in the end. But the final outcome to a story isn't what a prequel is about. It's about character development. Seeing things we haven't before, or seeing them in a different light, from a different perspective.

Avatar image for apis
Posted By Apis

Just not sure its a good idea. It's like reading the Middle of a story when you already know the begining and the end.

Avatar image for bamaboykmb
Posted By bamaboykmb

I'm really curious about minute men

Avatar image for sekele
Posted By Sekele


Not sure if V had much of a career before that series

Avatar image for black_lantern_mar_vell
Posted By Black Lantern Mar-vell

I might pick up Rorschach, Nightowl, & Dr. Manhattan. Lack of cash will prevent me from getting all of them though.

Avatar image for cavemold
Posted By Cavemold

Will be getting nite -owl

Avatar image for olddude
Posted By OldDude

Thing is I am not buying any of these series. Too expensive and looking pretty much pointless. Maybe will wait for the reviews and if they are unanimously good I will get the books on e-bay, if there is any ridiculously attractive offer, since I avoid buying trades. But right now, it's thanxs DC, but no... (plus if people buy these, DC will incorporate Watchmen in there main universe, where pointless and crappy stories are bound to occur...)

Avatar image for zombiebite1888
Posted By Zombiebite1888

I am definitely excited about all of them. The ones I am having any reservations about are The Comedian and Rorschach. Those are the two that giving their extreme natures can be written out of proportion very easily. Hopefully Azzarello will give us convincing and satisfying characters and not just Batman and Punisher extremes.

Avatar image for kidsupreme
Posted By KidSupreme

i doubt i'll pick it up

Avatar image for feargalr
Posted By feargalr

Hmmm I'm suspicious of that link to Joey Esposito at the bottom.... perhaps the world of comic book journalism isn't as cut throat as I thought :/ or perhaps Tony is trying to poach him... which I wouldn't be opposed to

Avatar image for ZZoMBiE13
Posted By ZZoMBiE13

These are just "event" type books, right? I mean each of these is a mini-series unto itself, not something that is going to go on and on over years or anything, yes?

Either way I'll probably just wait for trades or hardbacks or whatever collected versions come out down the line. I would like to read them, sure. But I don't care much for DC's digital options and I don't want to start collecting that many books. I'm happy with my 3 or 4 regulars.

Avatar image for morlockmartyr
Posted By MorlockMartyr

Boycott this crap!!!

Avatar image for wonder_princess
Posted By Wonder Princess

So glad to see a positive response from someone who has actually seen these. I am very excited and look forward to them all but my Most Wanteds are "Minutemen", "Dr Manhatten" and "Silk Spectre".

Avatar image for crimsoncake
Posted By CrimsonCake

Before V for Vendetta...Anyone?

Avatar image for sekele
Posted By Sekele

Will give them a try

Won't refer to them as canon when referring to the actual Watchmen, but will enjoy them on their own terms if I like them

Also hope DC has enough dignity not to make this an ongoing

Instead, they should rather just make a team of Captain Atom, Question, Ted Kord, Phantom Lady, Judomaster, and The Shield

Avatar image for zuckuss_02
Posted By Zuckuss_02

I wish Nite Owl looked more like the movie version

Avatar image for unclewalker
Posted By unclewalker

i dont like the concept of prequel but im gonna buy all o'them anyways...

Avatar image for fullmetalchobit
Posted By FullmetalChobit

Gunna get the Minutemen.... I love Rorschach but I don't know if this series is going to add for my love or just make me think less of him AND it's gunna sell out like crazy.

Dr.Manhattan's gunna be pretty cool too, I might grab that 'en all :)

Avatar image for static_shock
Posted By Static Shock

@taku128 said:

Sorry, I didn't know it was against the rules. I mainly browse Giant Bomb.

It's all good. Just be mindful of what you say in future.

Avatar image for taku128
Posted By taku128

@Static Shock said:

@taku128 said:

These shouldn't exist, **** DC.

No cursing, please.

Sorry, I didn't know it was against the rules. I mainly browse Giant Bomb.

Avatar image for redheadedatrocitus
Posted By RedheadedAtrocitus

Wow, I had no idea that DC had a Burbank office! Pretty cool. So jealous that you guys got to see this stuff but this is great!

Avatar image for cerial442
Posted By cerial442

I think I'll get all of these. I'm glad they are releasing this one a week though.

Avatar image for warriorpk39
Posted By warriorpk39

I really want to get my hand on the Rorschach's comic.

Avatar image for theoptimist
Posted By TheOptimist

@lifeboy said:

Thanks for that epic melt down:) I wish there would be a discription as to how these are being released. Afew days ago, i thought it was a total of 7 comics. One for each month. Now im reading into this article that its going to be 7 in one month followed by the #2's?

It is a total of 7 different titles. One book will be released each week, at no time will there be more than one book shipping in a week. In the first month of debut, there will only be four titles releasing the first issue. The releases are staggered. Hope that helps.

@taku128 said:

I will buy all of these and am enthused to show my support for the creative teams! So much so that I joined the site to express my feelings!

Wonderful, welcome to the Vine! Glad you're so excited for the books, I am as well. Side note also: watch your language please.

Avatar image for theoptimist
Posted By TheOptimist

@ThomasElliot said:

This has been my argument the whole time as well. Alan Moore, its whatever. But to me, it would be like reading Romeo & Juliet, and then thinking, "Man, I sure wish there were more stories abut Tybalt or Lady Capulet". If that's all I come away with, then I'm sort of missing something there.

You should totally check out Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are dead then, by the way. It might not be R&J, but I'm pretty sure substituting Hamlet wouldn't diminish the response.

Avatar image for aarny
Posted By aarny

I'm glad these are turning out better than I thought.

Avatar image for ganthetsward20
Posted By Ganthetsward20

I'm so pyched up for this now. I had some doubt but if your opinions are true I think this will be awesome!

Avatar image for lifeboy
Posted By lifeboy
Thanks again epicmeltdown. You have given me all imnformation i wanted to knoe about this. Im contacted my closest comic shop to saave me ozymandias, rorshach, and dr manhatten. I love rorshack, jea lee and the science associated w dr manhattan. But i dont like brian azzelarno because of how he and chiang messed up wonderwoman for me. Thanks again.


Avatar image for cbishop
Posted By cbishop

@ThomasElliot said:

This has been my argument the whole time as well. Alan Moore, its whatever. But to me, it would be like reading Romeo & Juliet, and then thinking, "Man, I sure wish there were more stories abut Tybalt or Lady Capulet". If that's all I come away with, then I'm sort of missing something there.

Well, yes and no. I'm not saying it won't be a good project - I'm just saying it doesn't excite me, and I don't think it was a needed project. But that's how I feel about it. Putting my opinion aside though, DC felt there was enough demand for more Watchmen material to do it. It might just be a cash grab, as someone else said (kinda feels like it, when you go the multiple mini-series route). However, it can often be fun to read a retro-fitted story, picking up on a thread, or in this case, starting the thread that leads to an established ending.

Moore has proved on more than one occasion that you can take characters with well established, stand-alone stories, and do more with them. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen shows that. So does Terra Obscura, although those characters' stories weren't finite. This pre-Watchmen stuff will probably be fine, and worth a read at some point (I may ask my library to get the trades). I just think DC is wasting a lot of energy on a Watchmen project (that they should have done when the movie was coming out) when the New 52 has afforded them the chance to reboot their Charlton characters within DC continuity.

Avatar image for the_stegman
Posted By The Stegman

To be honest at the risk of being ostracized and hated...I didn't really like Watchmen that I won't really be getting these.

Avatar image for enemybird
Posted By Enemybird

Juspeczyk FTW!

Avatar image for epicmeltdown
Posted By EpicMeltDown

@lifeboy: I guess my name would lead people to believe I would fly off the handle a bit more. I'll try to take my name more literally in the future. :) In any case, I believe DC is trying organize this into a weekly event. It's actually a total of 35 comics. Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan, Nite Owl, and SIlk Spectre are getting 4 issue mini series and the Comedian, Minutemen, and Ozymandias are getting 6 issue miniseries. And a final one shot. I don't think it'll actually go 35 weeks though. But I'm not 100% sure on the release structure. I won't be getting any of it anyone though.

Avatar image for fuchsia_nightingale
Edited By Fuchsia_Nightingale

i'll wait on this, but looks interesting. <3

Avatar image for DanialCarroll
Posted By DanialCarroll

I've never read the comic and hated the movie, so I doubt I'll even bother with these.

Avatar image for mucklefluga
Posted By Mucklefluga

Its too hard to decide which ones i want from theae first impressions, imma wait till the full reviews come out

Avatar image for kal_smahboi
Posted By Kal'smahboi

I think I may get the Minutemen title in TBP. We'll see though.

Avatar image for urthiln
Posted By Urthiln

I will check them out at the comic shop when they are released but they would have to be really good for me to pick them up. We will see, I'm still on the fence.

Avatar image for combatspoon86
Posted By CombatSpoon86

Most of these look all good. Trade Pickup on most of these to add to my Absolute Watchmen.

Avatar image for komickev
Posted By KomicKev

TPB for me for all of them . . . . if the reviews don't, you know, suck! :)

Avatar image for batwatch
Posted By BatWatch

I don't believe in sacred cows. Give us more Watchmen stories. Those who are purists can just refuse to think of it as cannon.

I think the new series look great.

Avatar image for webjaker
Posted By Webjaker

Thank You. Im not really 'on board' with this, but I will check them out - I was LEAST interested in the comedian's backstory and seems you backed me up on that

Avatar image for divinity
Posted By Divinity

This is unbelievably fantastic. Something I've been waiting for from this series.

Avatar image for red_robin212
Posted By Red_Robin212

I'll wait for the trades.

Purely For aesthetic purposes

Avatar image for dedpool
Posted By Dedpool

Buying these as Trades.