Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre Issue 1 review

Cover for issue 1, detailing both Silk Spectres, key people in their lives and the all important snow globe.

After a solid first issue of Minutemen last week, I have been looking forward to see what Darwyn Cooke has in store for the Silk Specter, both Jr. and Sr. DC played it smart by having Silk Spectre as the second release, since the writer is the same. However, the artist Amanda Conner’s work is vastly different to Cooke’s. But before we get into that, let’s talk about the story and writing.

The issue, overall, was a step down from last weeks great Minutemen. I do think the story telling is better in some places, especially the ending which leaves you wanting more, but in general, it lacked spark. The story basically deals with a young Laurie feeling like her mother is controlling every aspect of her life. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s already a plot point of Watchmen, so we know that no matter what gets resolved in this series of books, the mother complex isn’t going to be fully dealt with. To counter that, Cooke’s writing is just as sharp this time around, and the actual tale being told is intriguing. Again, it feels familiar for reasons other than Watchmen, but  Laurie’s interactions with her mother, other girls her age, and her crush are lovely, and it sets up nicely for what I think will be another solid series of books.

In addition to this, there are moments that feel very out of place for a Watchmen comic, particularly where it becomes almost like a cartoon showing what is going on in Laurie’s head. If you guys have seen the new Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It just didn’t feel right, regardless of what information it brings to the table.

The art, compared to last weeks issue of Minutemen, is extremely different, both in the drawing and coloring. Where as Cooke’s art evokes the feeling of 80’s comics and the look of WatchmenSilk Spectre very much looks like a modern comic. With glossy colors, and cartoonish-style drawings that look like something out of the Ultimate Marvel universe, it is a little jarring. However, this is countered with the old-school panel layout, which you can definitely tell is being implemented in the same way as Watchmen.

This is not to fault the artist. Conner’s work is great stuff, and even know it doesn’t evoke Watchmen, that’s pretty much taken care of with the characters and story. The level of detail and craft is noticeable, and very much appreciated. It would just fair better with something other than Watchmen.

In the end, Silk Spectre is worth the buy if only for the fact that it’s more Watchmen. But beyond that, Cooke has laid out a promising beginning for the series. My only hope is that it doesn’t rely too heavily on the Sally/Laurie conflict, as this was already done so well in Watchmen all those years ago.

Oh yeah, baby!

I am VERY excited for next weeks issue, as it revolves all around the Comedian, arguably the fan favorite of both the Minutemen and Crimebusters groups. Comedian’s vignette in last weeks Minutemen was one of the best, and Azzarello has a good track record of writing anti-hero’s. Check in next week with my review of Before Watchmen: Comedian issue 1!

P.S: Silk Spectre also features another installment of The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, but I had to reread part 1 from last weeks issue to even remember what happened. So I’m going to hold off on reviewing that until we have all the pieces, and do one big review!


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