Who's it by?
Before Watchmen: Minutemen #3 is written and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair back-up is written by Len Wein and drawn by original series colourist John Higgins.
Minutemen #3 starts out in the 1960s with Hollis Mason on the verge of publishing his tell-all autobiography 'Under The Hood'. He is approached by a shady lawyer type who warns him that he is running the risk of a backlash from two of his former Minutemen colleagues by releasing the book.
Back in 1939, tensions are flaring and relationships are fraying following the Comedian's attack on Silk Spectre. The friendship between Mason's original Nite Owl and the Silhouette is the focal point of the issue, and readers gain insight into the latter character's fate.
What's the verdict?
Minutemen remains the jewel in Before Watchmen's crown with a solid third issue. Darwyn Cooke continues to enrich the world created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons with only minimal rehashing, a feat few of the other series have managed.
What makes Minutemen stand out over the other Before Watchmen titles is that there is actually a story to tell here. The majority of the eponymous crime-fighting team had only bit parts in the original series, and Cooke has done a great job of giving them their own distinct voices and personalities.
Readers are given insight into Dollar Bill's homophobia, as well as the layered friendship between Nite Owl and the Silhouette. Tempers flare in this issue and Cooke handles the inter-character friction well, while hinting at darker times to come for the main players.
Juxtaposition is used to great effect in Minutemen #3, with Cooke placing idealistic propaganda material depicting the titular heroes alongside panels spotlighting their decline. This creates a paradoxical effect that ties in well with the series' bittersweet tone.
On a less positive note, the latter pages of the book are slightly incoherent thanks to random flash-forward panels detailing the Silhouette receiving medical treatment for an injury she doesn't sustain until the end of the comic. This may be in keeping with Watchmen's traditional ambiguity, but it's also distracting.
Cooke's artwork continues to be one of the comic's major selling points. He blends golden age optimism with muted colours foreshadowing the darkness that has begun to creep into the story, and he's equally adept at capturing that World War II era zeitgeist.
In closing, Before Watchmen: Minutemen #3 maintains the high standards of the earlier chapters and continues to avoid the pitfalls several of the other titles have plunged into. Cooke still has a big job on his bring the series to a satisfactory conclusion with the remaining three issues, but we believe he is up to the task.
> Read our review of 'Before Watchmen: Minutemen' #1
> Read our review of 'Before Watchmen: Minutemen' #2
> Read our Before Watchmen interview with Dan DiDio
Watch a trailer for Before Watchmen below: