Thankfully, Darwyn Cooke’s entry to this series is very good. He handles the story and art in this book, and his style is reminiscent of his New Frontier: Justice League series. He utilizes the character of Hollis Mason, who we know from Watchmen to be a retired hero who used to be known as Nite Owl, as a narrator as he finishes his book Under the Hood. Cooke spends most of this book setting up who his characters are and why they become superheroes, with subtle hints throughout to the revelations we know about them from Watchmen. This book reads like an incredibly interesting documentary on the rise of the superhero. He takes characters that were cameos in Watchmen and expands them into compelling, flawed, and surprisingly heroic characters.
Best of all is Cooke’s detailed, nuanced art. He utilizes a layout style that pays homage to Gibbons' work but doesn’t feel like an imitation. He even plays with this style by splitting images across panels but leaving the thick gutters to maintain pacing. Best of all, his unique character designs harken back to the style of golden and silver age comics which fits the story wonderfully, but he plays that against the often dark and at times scandalous material in the book.
Whatever your thoughts on DC’s release of Before Watchmen, Minutemen is an incredible comic. Cooke has respected the original work and expanded upon intriguing aspects of that work that have never been fully explored. This first issue is very strong, and, should it find its way into your buy pile, you will not be disappointed.