When it came time to split up the ‘Before Watchmen’ titles among the crew here at ScienceFiction.com, despite not really caring for the character, I jumped to take Nite Owl solely because of the team working on it. J. Michael Straczynski, whose work with Thor and Spider-Man I enjoyed very much, wrote the story. The art was handled by the Kubert Brothers, with Andy doing pencils and Joe doing inks. With an all-star team like that, I figured that this would be a pretty good book.
Well, I figured wrong.
My biggest complaint was that everything happened so fast. I was digging the stuff where Danny Dreiberg first met Hollis Mason, and I liked finding out about Danny’s home life, but it was all rushed to get to stuff that we’ve already seen in the original ‘Watchmen’ series. I could’ve done without that rehashing. This was supposed to be a prequel series that explored these characters before the events of ‘Watchmen’, so why then did JMS include Crimebusters stuff? I would have rather had the opportunity to explore Danny’s beginnings and his team up with Rorschach more. Maybe this whole issue could have been Danny becoming Nite Owl, and then the next one could have been the partnership. Instead, I think this series is just going to be a retelling of a story we’re already heard from Nite Owl’s point of view AKA exactly what detractors of this prequel series were afraid of.
I’m going to give JMS the benefit of the doubt though. Maybe he’s got something bigger planned that involves jumping around the timeline. Who knows? I’m just hoping that it gets better from here. If not, I’ll be taking it off my pull list.
I haven’t read all of the ‘Before Watchmen’ titles available yet, but of the ones that I have read, this has got to be the weakest one thus far.
BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL #1
Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI
Art by ANDY KUBERT, JOE KUBERT, & BRAD ANDERSON