Comic Books


“The hero known to the public only as Nite Owl announced his retirement today.”

Plus: Don’t miss the CRIMSON CORSAIR backup story by writer LEN WEIN and artist JOHN HIGGINS!

Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Backup Written by Len Wein
Art by Andy Kubert & Joe Kubert
Backup Art by John Higgins
Cover by Andy Kubert & Joe Kubert
Variant Cover by Kevin Nowlan & Jim Lee

Price: $3.99
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 0.2%


ghostmann06/30/12NoRead Review
Avg Rating: 3.6
Users who pulled this comic:


  1. I pulled this comic initially, then i realized it was by JMS… unpull

    • I was about to pull. Then I saw JMS. Now, not so sure. I was okay with his Thor stuff but, man, his Superman stuff really sucked. Also, is he actually going to finish this?

  2. pulling it for Kubert art, hope it’s stronger than his Flashpoint stuff

  3. That seriously looks like a Batman cover.

  4. JMS did a good job on the Twelve, and I seem to remember enjoying his Nighthawk series well enough.

    @USPUNX – Isn’t Nite Owl basically Batman? Or should I say, isn’t Blue Beetle basically like Batman? Or isn’t Nighthawk basically like Batman?

    Oops, I’m confused again and need my medication.

    • Haha yeah they are all similar. That cover just struck me as a very “Batman-y” cover. Except Batman would be squatting ready to pounce on evil. Nite Owl looks way too calm.

    • I always that Nite Owl and Rorschach were two sides of Batman – the billionaire playboy side but without the ruthless ethos and with a high morality versus dirt poor but a vigilante without any sense of mercy, justice without compassion.

    • Interesting interpretation. I didn’t realize Nite Owl was rich.

  5. Nite O

  6. Sorry, Nite Owl got an inheritance from his dad. That’s how he paid for Archie, and all his other stuff. Also why does everyone keep ragging on JMS? I’ve enjoyed everything of his that I’ve read; including his Thor run, Spider-man run, and Superman:Earth One. I don’t get the complaints.

    • So this is about Nite Owl II then, not the original Nite Owl?

    • of course it’s about nite owl II. he’s on the cover. i going to go out on a limb here: you’re not a big watchmen fan, uh?
      it’s all good. the water is fine. jump on in! and if you’re interested in nite owl I, then you might want to check out minutemen which is being produced by the great darwyn cooke. on sale now!

    • I’m actually a huge Watchmen fan but I haven’t followed the development of these new series very closely. I haven’t read the book itself in probably five years so I don’t have the Nite Owl vs. Nite Owl 2 costumes memorized. But thanks for the invite to jump on in.

    • Why on earth would it be about the first nite owl? Obviously these Before Watchmen minis are about, you know, the actual watchmen.

    • @agentgraves: Except for the Minutemen mini right?

      Look it was just a simple mistake/question, sorry to offend all the Before Watchmen fans out there. There is a whole series dedicated to the Minutemen (which Nite Owl I was part of if I remember) and I believe the Silk Spectre book is about both Silk Spectres, so based on those examples I didn’t think it was too crazy to wonder which Nite Owl this was about. Apologies for asking.

    • I thought it was a fair question. Watchmen is one of my top 3 books ever, and I don’t necessarily know who I’m looking at when it comes to these books. Like you, I haven’t read it in a handful of years. And HA! It IS about both Nite Owls…

    • it’s in your top 3 but you don’t necessarily know who you’re looking at when observing the characters?
      that’s sounds strange to me.
      it’s kinda like saying “a death in the family” is my favorite batman story, but i’m not sure which robin dies or recall what he looks like. and who’s the guy with the huge smile and crowbar?
      and of course hollis mason is a character in the story, it’s an orgin story and he has to pass the torch as it was implied in moore’s original. it’s expected. but this mini is clearly nite owl II’s. i mean, rorschach is probably going to be an important character because of his partnership with Dan, but i wouldn’t say this mini is ABOUT him or any of the other secondary characters who make appearances.

      not trying to crusify anyone, just pointing out what i perceive to be odd and having fun with words.
      no worries, gents. enjoy your books however you see fit.

  7. Midnight Nation is one of the best comics ever written so I never diss JMS. Very much looking forward to this.

  8. *Casually poops down chimney*

  9. Having Kubert on art overcame my JMS misgivings – fingers crossed!

  10. I guess I don’t understand why all the hate towards JMS. He’s a pretty creative guy from what I have read of him in the past. I also picked up his Brave and the Bold run in trade last week and read it over the weekend. Some really great stories in there, couple ‘so so’ ones as well but it got me looking forward to his Before Watchmen runs.

    Also can someone explain to me this concern over the creative teams ‘not finishing’ their Before Watchmen runs? I guess I was under the assumption that with a project of this magnitude and under this scrutiny that every effort would be made for everyone to finish and to put 100% effort into these issues. Are people just getting dramatic in these claims that these won’t get finished or finished on time?

    • It’s just people tryin to be funny because JMS is known to not finish stuff. I imagine these before watchmen minis are already finished.

    • i hear(read) similar things about JG jones. that he’s not going to be able to finish comedian. but this is a huge project that they have been working on for at least six months. as mentioned above, it’s probably already finished.
      no worries here.

    • Not to snark, but Final Crisis was an even bigger series with solid lead time (more than a year?) and Jones didn’t come close to finishing that for a variety of reasons. As for JMS, he’s failed to complete his last several monthly projects in anything resembling “on time” – if at all – so the reputation is well earned. But I agree that the joke’s gotten old.

  11. I dont hate JMS and I’m loking forword to this. I usally give his stuff a shot but he can be hit or miss for me. I liked his Spiderman at first because it was different. He totally lost me however with the Norman/Gwen relationship. Thats up there on the all time worst Spidey stories list.

  12. Haven’t had the chance to read the two previous BW issues yet… (I’m getting there, haven’t had the time to grind my stack like I always do!) but I’m eager to read this mini about Nite Owl II! 😀

    I loved the character in Watchmen, he’s the normal guy who decides to pursue his dreams and his inspirations because he has the money to do it!

  13. Tempted for the Joe Kubert art, but at the same time other comics out there are FAR more deserving of the support

    • how would you know what it deserves if you haven’t read it, yet?
      how do you judge it’s merit simply by looking at the cover? there’s an old saying…

  14. Ah… the sweet relief of not buying any of these BW series… It’s gonna be interesting never to have read them and just have the original Watchmen series as a memory. A bit like being able to UNWATCH episodes 1 – 3 and the Matrix sequel etc. Painless.

  15. The best part of the Before Watchmen comment sections are the poorly constructed piffle disguised as ‘creators rights’ slacktivism.

    Instead of pretending to care about others who do not care about you (…Alan Moore), put your comic book money where your mouth is and donate $139.65 to a comic book-related charity as a protest (That’s the cost of buying all the BW).

    Cheap, unintelligible, ‘feel-good’ comments are no substitute for substantial action in regards to creators-rights.

  16. Maybe I am reading the vibe wrong, but I think most people are just upset with a corporation tampering with a piece of art not for the sake of more art, but just to squeeze more money out of it. And more personally, readers are concerned that they are going to buy these issues hoping for a portion of that original magic, but get something bland instead that leaves a taste in their mouth that might even effect their enjoyment of the original or at the very least dilute the brand.

    I am sure a subset does care about creator’s rights, but I don’t think Moore’s Watchmen are really the place to plant that flag. Moore has been very well compensated for work that he did For Hire. As opposed to cases of poor Kirby, Siegel, Shuster, Ditko, & folk, the ownership rules were very well laid out by the mid-80s as were many revenue sharing schemes. And of course the Watchmen are so based on the Charlton characters that if Moore had done this independent of DC, DC probably could have sued him.

    I have sympathy for the notion of not messing with perfection, but am not naive enough to think any corporation would abide by that. I am honestly surprised DC took this long to cash in on more Watchmen. And yes, I am buying them, but because I like the creators. These are stories inspired by Watchmen, not an extension of Moore’s story.

    • Not being funny but DC (and Marvel) have been squeezing more money out of characters for decades and decades. It’s what their whole business model is based on.

  17. Can anyone comment on how this book was that read it other then talking about JMS or that the book is getting published at all?? Just curious the comments are fine but I wanted to know if this was worth picking up or not since I passed on it

  18. I really enjoyed this issue. Maybe it’s that my expectations were lowered, but I went in expecting to hate it and have instead decided to definitaly check out the next issue. Not quite as good as Silk Spectre, but a good read, which always makes me less worried for Dr. Manhatten.

  19. I found this to be the best BW so far. While I really enjoyed Silk Spectre, this played into the Watchmen mythos more and revisited some scenes from the original material. Pleasantly surprised!

  20. This issue played it very safe, and gave us a great down-to-earth story about the origins of Nite Owl II. The story seemed like the JMS of old, immersing us into a world of drama and conflict without rewriting years of history (Gwen and Norman) or reworking what makes a character tick (Superman walking). Good stuff, and a much needed win for JMS with his recent track record.

    The real stars of this book, however, are Andy and Joe Kubert. The father and son pairing is an inspired touch, what with all of the various father/son themes weaving their way through the story. The fact that it also happens to be two industry legends in charge of the storytelling, well that just makes it even better. The full page spread with the debut of Nite Owl II standing on top of Archimedes with the rioters below was simply gorgeous.

    I was silently hoping that this mini would over-perform, and I’m glad that initially, at least, it appears to be doing so.

  21. This issue was pretty bad.

    I’ve liked the other 3 so far and I was weary of the JMS issues. This issue confirmed my weariness. The other issues have been mostly new stuff and have steered clear of territory covered in the original series. Half of this issue was JMS rewriting scenes from Watchmen. Why do we need his take on the Crimebusters meeting?

    Also, his gratuitous use of “hurm” was awful…just awful.

    • I thought the lead in and exit from the Crimebusters meeting was great. I mean, if these books are supposed to tie in or lead up to the Watchmen, there needs to be some of this. It’s continuity, weaving it into the larger fabric.

  22. Seen mostly poor write ups of this issue (from other less open minded sites 😉 but decided to pick it up anyway as I have enjoyed the other offerings so far. Have to say I enjoyed this book… up to a point, the point being the introduction of Rorschach which did not work for me at all. The ‘voice’ was just off and makes me fear that the characters is probably the one element that should be left alone. May be Rorschach’s own book will prove me wrong.
    Everything prior to that was actually pretty good imo, the Kubert’s work suited the characters and it was nice to see them work to their own strengths.
    Glad I picked it up and got to make my own mind up.

  23. I liked the issue. It looks to me like this series might focus mostly on serving up some good old-fashioned Nite Owl and Rorschach team-ups, which is ok by me. I don’t need all the BW series to be dramatic psychological pieces, and of all the hints of stories in Watchmen, I think it was easily more tales of Rorshach, or Rorschach and Nite Owl, that I wanted to see more of.

    @Gaviin – Is this an earlier, less beatdown Rorschach. I mean, you have to reconcile his seemingly loner voice in Watchmen with the fact that he did have a partner history with Nite Owl, and his first move in that book is more or less to recontact Nite Owl.

    Hurms were overdone, but it was trying to build to the joke when Nite Owl says it instead.

  24. I liked this issue, but one thing that bugged me was the way Rorschach spoke, in. that. broken. speak. of. his.

    If you go back the original series and read issue 2, page 10 you will see the scene with the Crime Busters that Nite Owl #1 showed. But here, in the original series, Rorschach spoke perfectly well. Here is what he said…

    “Obviously, I agree – -but a group this size seems more like a publicity exercise somehow. It’s too big and unwieldy…”

    Not a “Hurm” in sight there. No broken speak at the Crime Busters first meeting. Rorschach didn’t start speaking that way until the kidnapping case – where the little girl was fed to the dogs. He even tells Dr Malcolm that, “It was Kovacs who said mother then, muffled under latex. It was Kovacs who closed his eyes. It was Rorschach who opened them again.”

    You’d think editor Len Wein would have caught this.

  25. @ghostmann

    Rorschach speaks perfectly well in a lot of other sections though, he didnt just limit himself to broken speech after the kidnapping case. When he talks about opening his eyes as Rorschach, he’s talking about changing into a more hardened crimefighter….not changing the way he talks lol. One sentence during the crimebuster’s meeting isnt enough to say he never used broken speech before the kidnapping.

    Anyway, this is a great comic so far. I’m surprised it got such a low average rating when compared to the heavy re-treading in batman inc. #2.

    • Actually smo5000 that scene is the only time we see/hear Rorschach speak “normal” in the entire original series. Also, if you notice in that scene Rorschach’s word balloon is done in a normal “round” way – whereas his word balloons for the rest of the series are rough and jagged.

      In issue 7 page 9 of the original series, Dan talks about how Rorschach use to be normal….

      “I mean Look at Rorschach, the condition he’s in. He was normal once. Sure he was quiet. He was grim, but he still had all the buttons on his overcoat. Soon after I started out, we blitzed the Big Figure together. Tactically, Rorschach was brilliant. He was so unpredictable. What I’m saying is, he was rational then. Over the years, that mask’s eaten his brains.”

      The kidnapping case is what sent Walter Kovacs over the edge and changed the way he spoke as well has changing the way he fought crime – no more compromise, as he says many times in the series.

      So, JMS got it wrong in Nite Owl #1. Rorschach should have talked normal in the issue. He didn’t. He was talking as if that kidnapping case already took place – it hadn’t yet.

    • ghostmann is right.
      rorschach’s broken speech is a direct cause of his dissociative disorder which manifested because of the psychological trauma experienced after committing his first murder.
      JMS fucked up. so did dc editors.
      it’s still a fun book. 4stars.

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