Written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke.
The original Nite Owl, Hollis Mason, is firmly in the spotlight in DC Comics’ conclusion to this branch of the Before Watchmen series. Nite Owl and Mothman seek to stop Hooded Justice. Minutemen #6 also presents whether Mason is truly a hero. Here is where a bold-sounding piece of classical music, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, becomes unembraced. If you’re a big fan of the Silhouette, Ursula Zandt, then prepare to be disappointed as there’s very little of her presence. The emotional load is placed on Captain Metropolis as he is saddened about his comrade.
After Nite Owl is done with Hooded Justice, storyteller Cooke decides to execute his own “squid” moment. The major revelation that comes next isn’t supernatural, but one character metaphorically kicks another character’s groin to that character’s plans and outlook. There’s no doubt that Minutemen is a subversive superhero tale under the smiles.
In my character scorecard for the whole series, Silhouette is the angelic crusader, Dollar Bill is under-explored, the Comedian, Edward Blake, is proudly in on the “joke,” and Hollis Mason is almost pathetic. Some of these characters aren’t presented as obvious stereotypes (Zandt, especially in Minutemen #3, Mothman doesn’t readily run to the bottle at every opportunity). It benefits readers who really, really want to delve more into the pre-Crimebusters era of the Watchmen saga.
From a visual standpoint, Cooke’s illustrations are elegant. I could understand the action panel-to-panel easily. One sequence standing out is the approach taken to the Minutmen headquarters taken by Nite Owl and Mothman. Their muddy steps evoke World War II soldiers trudging their way into battle in order to change the fortunes of war. I also appreciated Cooke’s rendering of the future vigilantes.
I did find Minutemen impressive, but some of the characterization are iffy (Nite Owl and Mothman have a bond deeper than brothers-in-arms?) and the series needs the original Watchmen to fully understand the context, especially any time Laurie, the future Silk Spectre, is seen. I don’t hate either DC or D.C. for the existence of the Minutemen series. It’s been a pleasure reading about the men and women of action in their prime and decline.
The next Before Watchmen review will be the final part of Rorschach. Maybe I’ll read the entirety of the pirate stuff. Afterwards, I’m through with Before Watchmen.
Preview Before Watchmen: Minutemen #6 at Huffington Post.