'Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #1' Review

BW Dr. Manhattan 1The comic book event of the summer is nigh!  Before Watchmen, the much-anticipated prequel series to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen, will consist of seven limited series and an epilogue one-shot.  Stay tuned, as the Fanboy Comics crew will be reviewing each title as it is released. Hurm. 



Let’s get one thing straight before I delve into my reviews of this series: I’m not a Watchmen fan.  I’ve tried reading the comics, and I’ve tried watching both versions of the film, but it just didn’t hold my interest.  That’s not to say that I don’t like Alan Moore’s work—I believe he has done some really phenomenal stuff in the past—it just wasn’t something that I caught onto.  But, I picked Dr. Manhattan mainly because I’m a fan of J. Michael Straczynski’s writing and was eager to see what he’d do in this prequel series to impress even a non-fan like me.  I have to say, I am intrigued by what I’ve read.


Jon Osterman (Dr. Manhattan) is fascinating, both as an individual and as a created character.  He’s powerful enough to be able to travel back and forth in the timestream—within his own life observations—but is still very unsure of his own nature within existence.  Nothing seems to be boring for him, be it is a mundane activity like fixing a clock or fighting evil as a member of the Crimefighters.  Ever the scientist, giving himself over to the observational efforts of the Schrödinger Theory, Osterman is rather detatched from the emotions and events that “normal” people experience, even before the accident that changed him into the precursor to the Blue Man Group.

Throughout the issue, Osterman continues to question his own existence—in the past, present, and future—and takes a hard look at the various events that brought him to where he is “now.”  Several times he’s been put into a position where he’s chosen science and mechanics over spending time with friends and a pretty girl, even when he’s in an established relationship, and has paid the price.  He comes across as a loner, an “intellectual,” and someone who would most likely be more comfortable with the Large Hadron Collider than a girlfriend.  In fact, about the only time he seems to be okay with other people is when he’s around the other heroes.

There’s not what I would consider a lot of action, or even character interaction or dialogue with others; instead, Osterman spends most of the time with an inner monologue that surprisingly does not bore me.  He talks about how he most likely will not age, how there will always be different versions of himself living out other plans that he could have made, and realizing that he can view his life from any point in time.  In fact, at the very end, he “travels” back in time to see when he has the accident that makes him Dr. Manhattan . . . only to see himself not have that accident.  The issue ends with Osterman perplexed by this information, wondering if he didn’t have the accident, then just how did he become the atomic wonder?




Last modified on Thursday, 27 December 2018 17:21

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