I’m a little surprised, but I only have one problem with Minutemen (at least the Darwyn Cooke material). Who the hell is Hollis Mason talking to? He’s basically summarizing his book, right? It doesn’t make any sense.
The only surprises are Silk Spectre and the Comedian–she’s a model faking being an adventurer and he’s already a vicious psychopath. The revelation of a rough childhood reads like giving his behavior an excuse, even if Cooke doesn’t intend it. But it doesn’t really matter because it’s Darwyn Cooke doing period superhero art.
There’s not much better, except maybe Darwyn Cooke doing really violent period superhero art and he does that art here. The issue’s a feast for the eyes and Cooke’s got the time period down.
The pirate backup has good art from John Higgins, but two pages isn’t enough space for Len Wein to do anything in terms of writing.
The Minute of Truth, Chapter One: Eight Minutes; writer and artist, Darwyn Cooke; colorist, Phil Noto; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, The Devil in the Deep, Part One; writer, Len Wein; artist and colorist, John Higgins; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Editors, Wil Moss, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.
Without giving the details, by it’s finish, it doesn’t matter who Hollis is talking to. If I had one thing I took away from Before Watchmen as a plus (all the titles), I would say these are fun, yet desperate looks at what fucked up lives these people lived as costumed superheroes. It ranges from the more optimistic(Silk Spectre) to the most miserable depths of despair(Comedian and of course, Rorschach). Yes, they don’t all work very well, but are still far, far, above what DC has been publishing lately. For me, I guess that gives them a bit of critical leeway. But I don’t read your reviews for that.
The Wein pirate tale is a misnomer, as the tale is published sequentially among the different titles as they came out, killing any sense of continuity if your reading them now as a Minutemen unit (never MIND if you didn’t collect all the books!). They also made no sense to real time readers, as the books published later and later and then out of sequence, as deadlines got blown. The Higgins art was pretty cool, though, but how DC expected us to follow it was bewildering.