Warning: Spoilers for Minutemen #1 ahead.
Before Watchmen finally begins after months of hype and speculation with Minutemen #1 written by Darwyn Cooke. Darwyn also serves as the artist for this six issue series. The first issue is priced at $3.99 and was actually given a mature rating. Hollis Mason, who is also known as the original Nite Owl serves as the narrator for Minutemen #1. The readers are introduced to the origins of all the Minutemen members through Mason’s point of view.
Cooke starts off the issue with a wonderful opening that shows the recently retired Mason finishing his controversial autobiography Under the Hood. Mason then begins telling the tale of how superheroes first emerged starting in 1939 with Hooded Justice. Readers can quickly see that Hooded Justice is no Batman as he throws a thug outside a window to his death. Readers can also see that Mason pulls no punches as he explains how Sally Jupiter became the Silk Spectre. Mason is also not afraid to pull punches about his own reasons for becoming a superhero as he explains his own motivations.
Cooke shines as a writer in the two pages he describes the origin of Byron Lewis becoming Mothman through the eyes of Hollis Mason. The same can be said for the four pages that introduce The Silhouette to readers. Hollis’s narration of her strength and integrity certainly make her a sympathetic but powerful character in only a few pages. Cooke also takes the time at the end of the issue to explain how Captain Metropolis originally assembled the Minutemen.
Readers also get to read the first two pages of the backup “Curse of the Crimson Corsair”. It’s difficult to judge the quality of the backup only based on two pages. However, each issue of Before Watchmen will include two pages. It certainly gives readers something else to look forward to.
Cooke’s art for Minutemen #1 is nothing short of fantastic. The cover is wonderful and the inside art does a good job of giving the reader that late 30’s feel. Issue one sets up what looks to be so far an excellent series. Some readers will likely be left disappointed due to the amount of hype behind the book and Watchmen history. However, the book certainly makes for a great afternoon read despite not being revolutionary and is certainly worth the $3.99 price tag.