This issue of ‘Nite Owl’ marks the first ‘Before Watchmen’ title to wrap things up (besides ‘Moloch’). After what seems like forever, we finally get to the end of this story featuring Danny Dreiberg and his early exploits as the high-tech hero.
In the finale of J. Michael Straczynski’s tale, Nite Owl, The Twilight Lady, and Rorschach discover who’s been behind the recent prostitute killings in their own ways. While the two lovebirds went through more traditional routes to track down Reverend Taylor Stone’s church, Rorschach went in undercover, but got caught, which resulted in the brooding vigilante getting trapped inside a burning church.
First and foremost, it’s a total hassle that this series let three months pass in between issues. I completely forgot what happened in the last issue since so much time had passed, so I had to go into the old white box to dig it out. After I caught myself up, I remembered how good issue three was. However, that meant that issue four had a bit to live up to and unfortunately it just didn’t get there.
The conclusion to this story also marked the end of Nite Owl and Twilight Lady’s relationship. I found this aspect of the book to overshadow the superheroics of it all, which were pretty run of the mill. It was almost as in it was just in there to be a reminder that this is a superhero comic. The romance was the most interesting storyline in the whole series to me, but at one point I thought that the Rorschach and Nite Owl pairing would be better than it actually turned out to be.
That partnership, however, did bring about the best part of this book, which was the flashback inserted into the conversation between Rorschach and Nite Owl before they go their separate ways. Danny has always been portrayed as a goodie goodie who gets involved with some pretty ladies from time to time, but that flashback showed a whole new side to him. That’s the sort of thing that I wanted to see in this whole ‘Before Watchmen’ thing. Unfortunately, it took entirely too long and ‘Nite Owl’ is one of the few if not the only title that I’ve been picking up that does that.
It’s also worth noting that the second best part is a cameo appearance from another Watchmen team member at the end of it all as sort of a tie to the years of this universe that we’re all a bit more familiar with.
Overall, this book and this series were just okay. As the story moved into the second half of Act II, things got a lot better, but the ending was nothing spectacular. That could attribute to the fact that this is a prequel and we already know where everyone ends up, but even despite that, things just ended up being okay. The great thing that it did do though is show that Nite Owl is much cooler than everyone really gave him credit for. I enjoyed reading his story of the one that got away and how this is sort of reflective of what happens to him later in his life.
Looking back, I would recommend that Watchmen fans wait until the trades for ‘Before Watchmen’ to come out to read this story. As much as I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t call it a must-read title.
BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL #4
Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI
Art by ANDY KUBERT, JOE KUBERT, BILL SIENKIEWICZ, and BRAD ANDERSON