Review by: Nick Fovargue

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Avg Rating: 4.7
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Story by Darwyn Cooke
Art by Darwyn Cooke
Colors by Phil Noto
Letters by Jared K. Fletcher
Cover by Darwyn Cooke, Steve Rude, & Glenn Whitmore

Size: 32 pages
Price: 3.99

Since becoming a parent there are certain kinds of material I really struggle with and this series has gotten progressively harder to get through on that front. But unlike so much shocking content in comics lately, the moments in this book don’t come cheaply. In fact, the most gruesome details are kept just out of sight, rather than shoved in our face, actually engaging our imaginations to fill in the blanks … which is far more disturbing. Cooke has strung together a series of powerful moments and engaging character explorations but I am not sure that a coherent story, that is greater than the sum of its parts, has come together yet. With two issue left there is still plenty of time for that, however, and so far the pitch perfect handling of these characters and their world is more than reason enough to be reading this book.

If there is one unifying theme coming through it seems to be a study on morality in extreme individuals and circumstances. A group of wildly different personalities are given the title of heroes but most are not worthy; they are instead selfish, petty, cowardly or viscous. They thrust themselves into a world of evil, war and impurity and over four issues Cooke has explored not only how these character act and react but also how they are changed by that world.

The only Before Watchmen books I am still reading are this and Silk Spectre. Darwyn Cooke seems to have brought something to this project that no one else has managed. I haven’t figured out exactly what that is but I think it might be something fairly simple, a story of his own. The work here is true to the world, characters and tone that Moore and Gibbons created but Cooke has found space to create a story that has life and space of its own. How many of the other series would be satisfying if read without any knowledge of the original material?

Story: 5 - Excellent
Art: 5 - Excellent

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