We’re into week two of Before Watchmen, and the first issue of the second series, Silk Spectre. Of all the books, it’s the one DC insiders have told me stands out as the most impressive of all the series. Plotted by Darwyn Cooke, written and drawn by Amanda Conner, it’s also the only book that sticks to the original’s nine panel grid. And for all those boycotting the series, this might be the one that could push you over the edge. It’s the bacon sandwich of Before Watchmen comics. And here are the first five beautiful pages.
Minutemen #1 has the In Gratitude trophy, Silk Spectre has the snowglobe. In the original, it is the memory of knocking over and breaking a snowglobe as a child, while her parents fight that changes the way she perceives the world, as if a fantasy, another time, another way of being was trapped within it.
This, and the sledgehammery bottle of Nostalgia perfume falling and breaking are two moments of her life, joined, that help her realise who her true father was. But we then see moments we didn’t see in the original retelling with Laurie and her mother.
And amid the natural, normal suspicions and resentment of any child, and images of the past preserved in photograophs, we hear the truth and see a broken future world, even from her beginnings. Transitionary scene shifts are part of the language of Watchmen, but in Before Watchmen: Minutemen, they were rather clumsy. Here the use of light from one scene to the next is subtle and graceful. And clearly the subject of Laurie’s lineage is going to be a thing. We know she grows up to think she was Hooded Justice’s child rather than the man her mother claims is her father. And later we discover it to be the Comedian. But here… who knows what she believes? Others seem to have theories however…
And even a book professing to stick to the nine panel grid doesn’t… one scene showing a potential future lives not in the panel but in the gutters, divorced from out time. Forshadowing of her future partner, Dr Manhattan, and for her journey to Mars in Watchmen.
Silk Spectre is published in the US and Canada on Wednesday and in the UK on Thursday. Art courtesy of Hero Complex and a little URL farming.