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Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #1

BW Silk Spectre 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. 

When the head honchos here at Fanboy Comics told us that they wanted each of us to review a title in DC’s Before Watchmen series, I was stoked. Watchmen was one of the first graphic novels I ever read, and the book stuck in my brain for quite some time. It’s a lot to digest, I’m sure you’ll agree, and this summer we are being given even more food for thought.

As my FBC cohort Jason Enright said in his review of Before Watchmen: Minutemen last week, our goal is not to delve into all of the controversy surrounding DC’s big event, but to simply give you our honest opinion of the quality of the issue we are reviewing. So here it is: I give Silk Spectre a resounding thumbs-up. (My thumbs make loud noises when vertically extended—it’s a medical condition.)

First of all, judge this book by its cover: it has a bright and colorful ’60s pop art feel, peppered with the faces of important adults in the life of young Laurie Jupiter, and that’s a pretty succinct summation of the issue’s contents. Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner are not telling a superhero story; instead, this is an account of Laurie’s lost teenage years. If you’ve read Watchmen, you already know that Laurie has a strained relationship with her mother Sally, the original Silk Spectre, and this issue digs a bit deeper into the complexities of their relationship, on both ends. From the very first page, the theme of the story is prominently presented, and a charming narrative device reinforces that theme throughout the issue. This first issue is reminiscent of many other coming-of-age stories set in the ’60s, and has a light-hearted, youthful feel; however, there are some very dark moments peppered throughout (there’s a scene between Laurie and one of her witchier classmates that is exceptionally mean-spirited), and despite the fairly optimistic tone, this is the Watchmen universe we’re talking about—nothing good can last.

I’m really digging Amanda Conner’s art, as well. All of the characters have such expressive faces that it’s easy to key in on exactly what they’re feeling and thinking in each frame, and it helps to drive home the more emotional moments in the story.

For those of you wondering whether or not Silk Spectre can be enjoyed without having ever read Watchmen, I would say yes. There are a few finer character points that might not be immediately clear, and you will definitely miss the issue’s subtle nods to its source material, but I think the book is strong enough to stand on its own merits. If you are on the fence about Before Watchmen in general or Silk Spectre specifically, I would say give it a shot. It’s a solid first issue that lays the groundwork for a bittersweet story set in a harsh world.

And now it’s time for:


This first time it will be a little easier, since I’ve only missed the first two pages in the back of Minutemen.

Ok, so McClachlan is our protagonist, and, apparently, Captain Chane is not a super nice guy. He had some dude named Vole dragged behind or on the ship for some reason (probably petty), and now Vole is not in great shape. McClachlan tries to call the captain out on his cruelty, but whoops! Looks like the crew is too afraid to stand behind him. Seems like poor (first mate?) McClachlan is headed for a mutineer’s fate . . .



Jordan Callarman, Fanbase Press Contributor



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