REVIEW: Before Watchmen Nite Owl #2

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Nite Owl and Rorschach are back after a strong outing in the much talked about Before Watchmen series of books. Will issue two hold up or will it flounder in its second issue? Major Spoilers is putting on its owl googles and giving you the answer.


Before Watchmen Nite Owl #2
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Colors: Brad Anderson
Inks: Joe Kubert
Letters: Nick Napolitano
Editor: Will Dennis
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Nite Owl: Young Daniel was taken under wing by the then current Nite Owl, Hollis Mason, and was trained, educated, and, eventually, given the mantle to carry on the name sake of “The Light in the Darkness.” During his first outing as Nite Owl, Dan came in contract with Rorschach, which ended with the two becoming partners. At the end we were treated with Dan’s first interaction with Silk Spectre and the rest of The Crimebusters.

FEELS FAMILIAR

Chasing down the bad guys is what Nite Owl loves, but Rorschach loves more. Isue two opens with just that as the pair is running after three ne’er-do-wells. As they split up, Nite Owl chases his perp down an alley and through a door, when he crashes into the lair of the Twilight Lady. Great dialogue comes from Dan here as he is noticeably taken back by what he has stumbled upon and from having a conversation with a woman who is dress all natural. When Rorschach shows up things get heated as he lunges at Twilight Lady, but Dan eventually knocks him across the room to stop him.

Throughout the issue there were significant flashbacks that are used both as call backs to the original work and also to deepen back-stories. Rorschach is the focus of the first. While in his apartment watching TV, an ad for a new bra comes on forcing him to relive the moment of his childhood of watching his mother undress as she readies herself to be with another man. Dan’s flashback tended to run the course of he entire issue with tid bits dropped in throughout. Nite Owl’s, like Rorschach’s, built upon his relationship with his mother by showing how she helped Dan find a way to overcome the beatings he was taking at school. Through her advice is how Dan became to look up to Hollis Mason’s Nite Owl as a boy.

What I enjoyed about this issue was that the subplot had one of the overarching themes throughout Watchmen: sex. During Moore’s story the idea of sex, and the many facets that go along with it, are constant plot points, i.e.: Dan and Laurie, Laurie and Dr. Manhattan, the Comedian and Sally, the Comedian and the Vietnamese woman, and again Rorschach’s mom and her men. So with this following suit with the Twilight Lady storyline and the murder of a hooker, it felt much in line with the original.

I LIKE IT

The Kuberts and gang return to tackle the art in Nite Owl and do a great job. Naturally comparing this to the original is going to happen, so might as well not beat around the bush. Layout wise it has the feel of the original, but instead of using lots of 3 by 3 paneled pages they go for a 2 by 3 format. Artistic wise this issue was well done. Again, comparing it back we see many of the same techniques used, but it does seem that heavier inking was used here. What I appreciated in this issue was the upfront nature of the nudity presented. Much like Watchmen, I never had the feeling it was used for titillation, but under the notion that situations arise when people are naked and that’s okay.

BOTTOM LINE: BEST FRIENDS FOREVER

I love the dynamic that is being built between Rorschach and Nite Owl through this issue. I never picked up on how deep the relationship between the two were during my reading of the original issues, but I’m sure there was a lot of parts I missed since Watchmen was the first comic series I ever attempted to read. I hope that their partnership is stretched and deepened throughout the remaining issues as it is why this is the only series I’m still reading of the Before Watchmen line. Nite Owl #2 surpassed my expectations and earns a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆