The Internet has cried “save us” and DC has said “no.”
After more than 20 years of speculation and fervent protests from fans, DC has finally announced their plans for a sequel to Alan Moore’s landmark comic series, “Watchmen.” Hours after the announcement Wednesday morning of the prologue series, “Before Watchmen,” fans were up in arms about the series, prompting even non-comic fans to take the defense of the landmark title.
The fans sort of have a point. Despite some valid criticisms, “Watchmen” is an undisputed classic of the form and the book that singlehandedly brought the industry into the more self-aware Bronze Age. Even Zack Snyder’s respected movie adaptation was met with protest in 2009.
“Watchmen” inspires such loyal defense from fans just because of how much it meant. The twisting, self- referential narrative was something brand new to the medium and the way that Moore and artist Dave Gibbons used classical panels to tell a nuanced story was able to show comics could be considerably more than entertainment for children.
That being said, DC seems to have quite a bit of respect for the property. Despite treating Moore terribly during the production of the original series, “Watchmen” has become one of the most profitable properties the company owns and they’re putting some of the best writers and artists on the miniseries.
Brian Azzarello of “100 Bullets,” “American Vampire” and more recently, the outstanding “Wonder Woman” is slated to write the
books in two series, focusing on the hyper-violent black ops agent, The Comedian, as well as books on the vengeful Rorschach. Multiple Shazam Award winner and “Swamp Thing: Dark Genesis” writer Len Wein will tackle the Ozymandias miniseries and Darwyn Cooke who has had tons of experience with crossover events such as “DC: The New Frontier” will write the prologue story for The Minutemen as well as a miniseries based on the deeply disturbed Silk Spectre.
Despite an impressive amount of talent in the editorial and art department, “Before Watchmen” still just doesn’t feel like a story that desperately needs to be told. The original “Watchmen” delved into the character’s back-stories fairly succinctly, setting up the actions that drive the plot as well as revealing their mental and physical inadequacies. Additional stories are going to feel inconsequential at best and like deadweight at worst. Coming off of DC’s massive financial success with The New 52, this seems like a move motivated by little but being a cash grab, even if it’s something that robs the classics of its uniqueness and charm.