In the latest of Digital Spy's comprehensive series of reviews of DC Comics' Before Watchmen prequels, we take a look at Minutemen #5.
Who's it by?
Before Watchmen: Minutemen #5 is written and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair back-up is written and drawn by original series colourist John Higgins.
The miniseries continues its steady progress through the history of the world's original superhero team, detailing its slow decline in the post-war years of 1947-55. The heroes achieve their biggest - and most secret - victory and Nite Owl comes tantalisingly close to solving the longstanding mystery of the missing children.
The flashforward framing sequence also returns, with Hollis Mason upsetting former teammate Sally Jupiter with his plans to publish the tell-all memoir Under the Hood.
What's the verdict?
Minutemen has probably been the Before Watchmen title that has most consistently impressed us, and it shows no sign of slackening its quality in this penultimate issue.
The title's chief qualities have been praised before - Darywn Cooke's gorgeous drawings, the excellent pacing and the feeling that, out of all the other miniseries, this is both a story worth telling and a story well-told.
Cooke has also managed to make Hollis Mason's voice the most effortless and authentic throughout the whole prequel project, making this feel like a natural extension of the original Watchmen series itself.
The pace of the issue is nicely balanced, keeping a swift pace without feeling rushed and never dropping the tone of slow but steady decline as the characters approach the 'modern' Watchmen era. It is tied in nicely with the through-line of the kidnapped children case, which promises an intriguing conclusion in the final issue.
One slightly worrying question mark left over this issue is whether the series might tarnish the reputation of one of the characters who was otherwise painted as a genuine hero in the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons original. We will certainly be checking out the last issue and hoping not to be disappointed at the final hurdle.
This project has offered its fair share of unimpressive storytelling, but barring a horrible train wreck in issue #6, Before Watchmen: Minutemen is likely to stand as a facet of the prequel that is worth celebrating.
> Buy the digital version of Before Watchmen: Minutemen #5
> Read our review of 'Before Watchmen: Minutemen #4'
> Read our Before Watchmen interview with Dan DiDio
Watch a trailer for Before Watchmen below: