From Comic Tropes’ YouTube description: Over 30 years after its publication, Watchmen is still regarded as one of the all-time greatest comic book stories. Recently, DC finished publishing a sequel story, Doomsday Clock. This episode compares and contrasts the two stories by very different writers, Alan Moore and Geoff Johns respectively, and looks at their different goals. The original Watchmen told a complete story but now characters like Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach exist side-by-side with Batman and Superman.
Published: November 22nd, 2017 – December 18th, 2019 Written by: Geoff Johns Art by: Gary Frank, Brad Anderson Based on:Watchmen by Alan Moore
DC Comics, 456 Pages
Well, Doomsday Clock has finally ended! This twelve issue series wasn’t supposed to stretch out for over two years but it did. I’m glad that I didn’t start reading it until it was over, as I would’ve forgotten all the details due to the delays and the dozens of other comics I would’ve read between each issue.
Now that it’s all out, I finally read it: binging through it in two days.
I guess my first thoughts on it are that it is underwhelming and that it doesn’t justify its need to exist.
I had always been against new Watchmen stories without the involvement of Alan Moore. My mind changed, however, when I read some of the Before Watchmen stories from a couple years ago.
They made me see Watchmen the same way I see other comic book properties and that’s as a sort of modern mythology that is told and retold by countless others, each bringing something new and unique to the table. Superman and Batman have had countless writers and many of them have evolved and grown the character in great ways beyond their original concept. Granted, some writers have gravely failed too.
Generally, I like Geoff Johns’ work, so I wan’t against the idea of him tackling the Watchmen property.
Ultimately, though, this took too long to come out, especially with how sloppily put together it feels.
This is one of those stories where it feels like a lot happened but also like nothing happened.
It tries to merge the Watchmen universe with the DC universe but it doesn’t work. But I’m also over the crossover trope of using inter-dimensional portals or a superbeing that basically acts as a super-dimensional portal. That being said, I don’t know how else to bring these universes together but that also makes me ask why they had to try it in the first place?
Watchmen is very much its own thing, as is DC. Hell, Marvel is also its own thing in that same regard and whenever they tried to crossover Marvel and DC, which happened multiple times, it always felt forced, clunky and weird.
The only real highlight of this was seeing how certain characters from different universes would interact with one another but honestly, none of it was as cool as I felt it should have been and it all felt pretty pointless and made me realize how bad the Rebirth era of DC Comics has been – well, for the most part, as I liked some titles in the last few years.
In the end, this doesn’t feel any different than one of any of the dozen indie publisher crossovers that pit Green Lanterns against Ghostbusters, Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Star Trek crews or the apes from Planet of the Apes. While those crazy crossovers are neat to a point, they’ve been done to death in recent years. And despite this being better written and having better art than the other franchise mashups, it feels like DC Comics were really late to the party and didn’t even realize that it was over.
Rating: 6/10 Pairs well with:Watchmen and the Before Watchmen stuff, as well as just about everything under the DC Rebirth banner.
From For the Love of Comics’ YouTube description: A look at, and inside, Watchmen Noir – DC Comics’ special hardcover, enlarged, and black-and-white edition of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic comic. Comprising a look at the physical copy, as well as some analysis and opinions on the edition.
From The Critical Drinker’s YouTube description: So is HBO’s Watchmen a worthy successor to the critically acclaimed comic book and the dark and gritty Zack Snyder movie, or just a trashy, low-effort waste of time? Let’s find out as I review Episode 1 – “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out Of Ice”.
Published: October 17th, 2017 Written by: Tom King, Joshua Williamson Art by: Jason Fabok, Howard Porter Based on:Watchmen by Alan Moore
DC Comics, 99 Pages
I haven’t started the big Watchmen-centric sequel series Doomsday Clock because I’m waiting for all the issues to come out first. Now that it is almost complete, though, I thought that I’d read the story that sets it up.
This was a four issue crossover that happened between the regular Bamtan and The Flash titles.
This also links back to the Flashpoint event and is kind of a bridge between that and Doomsday Clock. The main way it connects to the previous story is that it brings back the Thomas Wayne version of Batman. And in this story, Thomas Wayne’s Batman finally meets Bruce Wayne’s Batman.
Apart from the meeting of the two Batmen, the rest of this seems kind of pointless. It doesn’t really take you anywhere worthwhile other than also bringing back the Reverse Flash. But then you just see him die, rather quickly, due to some powerful being on the other side of a portal.
By the end of this, we still don’t know who or what that being is. And no actual Watchmen characters appear.
If you want to read this before Doomsday Clock, I don’t really think it’s necessary. Although, if you have Comixology Unlimited, it’s free to read there.
All this really did was make me want more of the Thomas Wayne Batman. I think he’s a cool character that can be explored more in the future and a Batmen team up would be kind of neat to see.
Rating: 6.25/10 Pairs well with:Flashpoint and Doomsday Clock.
Published: September, 1986 – October, 1987 Written by: Alan Moore Art by: Dave Gibbons
DC Comics, 415 Pages
After recently reading through all of the Before Watchmen stuff, I thought that I should give the original comic a re-read. It’s been a long time and even if I know the story inside and out, it’s always a good comic to revisit every couple of years.
Plus, I wanted it to be fresh in my mind before delving into the Doomsday Clock maxiseries that is finally close to finishing. Additionally, there is that HBO Watchmen TV series that starts pretty soon and even though I’m highly skeptical of it, I want to give it a fair shot.
While I do think that Watchmen is pretty close to being a masterpiece, it isn’t a perfect comic book despite what the hype says.
I love the story, the art, the characters and it really is close to being a perfect marriage between the writing of Alan Moore and the astounding art by Dave Gibbons. It is a neo-noir fan’s dream come true on paper.
However, sometimes I feel like it gets bogged down by its wordiness. Plus, even though the narrative flows along at a good pace and multiple character arcs are well balanced, it doesn’t do a great job of keeping your mind on the mystery that opens the big story. Sure, you reach a resolution and all becomes clear but what starts out as the main narrative, takes a back seat in most of the comic’s twelve issues.
I guess it works absolutely fine if that’s not your primary reason for reading the book. I’m also fine with nontraditional forms of storytelling but the opening is so good, presents a good mystery and then sort of just touches on it from time to time. My main issue with it is that by the time the pieces fall into place, the big reveal doesn’t have much impact.
This is an ensemble piece though and with that the book does each and every character justice. So Watchmen‘s pros certainly outshine it’s very few cons. Plus, Moore does a superb job at creating such a rich and lived in world in only twelve issues. By the time one is done with this book, you have a very intimate understanding of this universe. And its overall effect has been so strong that this book maintained its legions of loyal fans over several decades without any sort of follow up.
Granted, there have now been prequels, sequels, a movie and a television show. But for a very long time, this was all that existed under the Watchmen brand.
Watchmen‘s legacy can’t be denied. This is a piece of stellar work that will still touch people years after we’re all dead. It is a comic book but it is also one of the greatest pieces of literature from the 1980s.
Rating: 9.25/10 Pairs well with: Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta and Mike W. Barr’s Camelot 3000, as well as the Before Watchmen stuff and Doomsday Clock.
Published: November 7th, 2012 – December 19th, 2012 Written by: John Higgins, J. Michael Straczynski Art by: John Higgins, Eduardo Risso, Trish Mulvihill Based on:Watchmen by Alan Moore
DC Comics, 52 Pages
I’ve finally gotten to the end of the Before Watchmen series. They didn’t need to be read in a specific order, so I started with the ones that I really wanted to read and then worked my way through the rest of them. I actually didn’t even know there was one for Moloch, as it was tacked on to the end of the volume that collected the Nite Owl and Dr. Manhattan’s stories.
So this was kind of a pleasant surprise, as I wasn’t expecting Moloch to be given any sort of character development beyond how small his role was in the original Watchmen.
This, like the other volumes, delves right into Moloch’s backstory and gives him a good origin. You understand why he is the way he is and how he became a criminal and eventually was used by Ozymandias, who exploited his desire to reform.
I really liked Matt Frewer’s portrayal of Moloch in the Watchmen movie and if they were ever going to adapt the Before Watchmen series into a live action format, I’d love to see him get to return to tell this story. In fact, I didn’t much care about Moloch until I saw Frewer play him, giving him more life than the original comic did.
And that’s also what I liked about this story, is that it gives the character merit and a purpose. I’ve yet to read Doomsday Clock, which is a Wathcmen sequel, but I hope aspects of this story carry over into that.
Rating: 7.5/10 Pairs well with: other Before Watchmen stories, as well as Watchmen and Doomsday Clock.
Published: August 22nd, 2012 – February 27th, 2013 Written by: J. Michael Straczynski, Len Wein, John Higgins Art by: John Higgins, Adam Hughes, Laura Martin Based on:Watchmen by Alan Moore
DC Comics, 103 Pages
I’m almost through all of these Before Watchmen collections. While they’ve all been pretty good, this is one of the ones that fell just a bit short for me.
I still enjoyed it but it was slow and just wasn’t as interesting as the origins of some of the other characters. But Dr. Manhattan, as a a literal god, isn’t that interesting of a character.
My hopes for this were high though, as I’ve typically dug the comics written by J. Michael Straczynski and this also had the assistance of Len Wein and John Higgins, who did a lot of the art.
The problem with this story is that it didn’t feel like it had enough meat and potatoes to fill up four issues. But I guess they wanted to give Dr. Manhattan a story that was long enough to be equal to the other main Watchmen characters.
This was just lacking the depth and the intrigue I got from some of the better stories like Silk Spectre, The Comedian and Rorschach’s.
Still, for the Watchmen completist and for those who want to understand the characters better, this is certainly not a waste of time.
Rating: 7.25/10 Pairs well with: other Before Watchmen stories, as well as Watchmen and Doomsday Clock.
Published: June 27th, 2012 – December 26th, 2012 Written by: J. Michael Straczynski, Len Wein Art by: Joe Kubert, John Higgins, Bill Sienkiewicz Based on:Watchmen by Alan Moore
DC Comics, 110 Pages
I’ve only got a few of these Before Watchmen stories left but, for the most part, it’s been a fun ride so far, as this series has added a lot of context and depth to these characters. And while I was initially against this series when it was announced, I’m actually glad that it was made and was superbly handled by the creative teams involved.
The Nite Owl story is no different and this is one of the better ones. It focuses on Nite Owl as the title implies but it also has a lot of its focus on Rorschach and his history and relationship with Nite Owl.
Written by J. Michael Straczynski, who penned one of my favorite Thor runs, as well as the great Len Wein, we are given a story that understands these complex characters and presents them in a new way with great respect for the source material. It’s a rare thing to see modern comics have respect for the foundation and layers that have been built up before this decade.
The art in this is damn good too and it goes to show that DC Comics were really putting their best people on these books.
While these have been criticized as being cheap cash-in attempts, I don’t see it that way. DC wanted to do more with these characters that they own and they wanted to set up a richer mythos going forward, which would eventually lead to the Doomsday Clock event that merges the Watchmen universe with the regular DC canon.
I think fans of the original Wathcmen will always be split on whether or not these modern stories should exist but I think that they’ve certainly justified their existence.
Rating: 8.75/10 Pairs well with: other Before Watchmen stories, as well as Watchmen and Doomsday Clock.
Published: July 13th, 2012 – November 28th, 2012 Written by: Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke, John Higgins, Len Wein Art by: Amanda Conner, John Higgins, Paul Mounts Based on:Watchmen by Alan Moore
DC Comics, 126 Pages
This wasn’t one of the Before Watchmen books that I was anticipating when compared to the ones featuring the characters I like more: The Comedian and Rorschach. But man, I was pleasantly surprised by this and that has a lot to do with the writing.
Silk Spectre’s story was penned by Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke, John Higgins and Len Wein – a pretty solid team. But a lot of times, this many writers can create a clusterfuck. This wasn’t. It had a nice flow to it and it made Silk Spectre a richer character than she was if all you’ve ever read with her is the original Watchmen.
I also really dug Amanda Conner, John Higgins and Paul Mounts art. It fit well with the story and did the proper job of reflecting the era where this tale primarily takes place.
As much as I like Alan Moore’s original Wathcmen, this gives both Silk Spectre characters a deeper exploration and in fact, makes them more interesting. It’s also cool seeing how the Comedian is involved in a very pivotal moment in the younger Silk Spectre’s life.
This story is kind of tragic but it helps build more context to the character and her life. Granted, this wasn’t written by the character’s creator but I don’t think that it, in any way, diminishes Alan Moore’s overall vision. And this, like most of these Before Watchmen comics, seems to truly respect the source material while building off of it in a great way.
Rating: 8.25/10 Pairs well with: other Before Watchmen stories, as well as Watchmen and Doomsday Clock.