Graphic Review: Before Watchmen: Minutemen / Silk Spectre Deluxe Edition

Before Watchmen: Minutemen / Silk Spectre Deluxe Edition contains all six issues of Darwyn Cooke’s back-stories for the team of super heroes that inspired the Watchmen to form. Cooke then pairs up with artist Amanda Conner for four issues to tell the tale of Laurie Jupiter’s journey in taking up the costumed crime fighting life her mother left as a legacy to her.

Darwyn Cooke handles writing and the art for Before Watchmen: Minutemen. His art perfectly captures the essence of the Golden Age of comic books. I can’t imagine any other style of illustrating being a better fit. As a storyteller, he excels at penning complex and emotionally engaging tales that keep the reader engaged. In this one series he tackles issues like child sex trafficking, prejudice, regret, and more.

Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre gives Cooke a chance to concentrate completely on storytelling. While not as satisfying as Before Watchmen: Minutemen, it still does a great job fleshing out and giving the character of the second Silk Spectre clear motivation for her fight against the evils of the world. Amanda Conner’s artwork is a window into the soul of Cooke’s narrative and fills each panel with a sense of care and passion for what she’s doing.

I said it the first time I reviewed these issues and I’ll say it again. I just don’t see the need for the nudity. It adds nothing to the story. I understand the book is rated M for Mature, but I still believe it limits who’s willing to read it and that’s unfortunate. Business-wise, the point of the matter is that’s one less book being sold to someone. This is definitely not for kids and if you were rating Before Watchmen: Minutemen / Silk Spectre Deluxe Edition by movie standards, this would be rated R for Nudity, Language, Violence, and Adult Situations.

We get 20 pages of bonus material for Before Watchmen: Minutemen / Silk Spectre Deluxe Edition. They include variant covers for both series featuring work by Jim Lee, Bruce Timm, Michael Golden, Cliff Chiang, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and many more. There’s also individual character studies from Darwyn Cooke and a statue design for Silk Spectre by Amanda Conner. Two full pages of penciling by Amanda Conner and a closing statement from the artist is featured as well.

Before Watchmen: Minutemen / Silk Spectre Deluxe Edition is the perfect way for those who didn’t keep up with the individual titles throughout their initial run to acquire them all in one convenient collection. I highly recommend any fan of Watchmen to pick this up. I know there are plenty of naysayers out there still who consider Before Watchmen to be nothing more than fan fiction (I’m looking at you, Zech Bard), but it’s really not. Only one third of the creative team behind the original Watchmen series didn’t participate in these prequels. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by missing out on some great stories.

Before Watchmen: Minutemen / Silk Spectre Deluxe Edition is available now in hardcover and Kindle versions.