Silk Spectre prowls groovy San Francisco during the swinging sixties!
Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #2
Laurie tells her “Uncle” Hollis about how life is going for her in a letter. She tells him about why she left, who’s she is with and the good she’s trying to do to those around her. Despite her desire to be free of her family legacy, the desire to fight scum ingrained into her by her mother pokes through when she overhears four guys talking about murdering someone. She asks a friend to make her a costume to use and Silk Spectre heads out to track down a criminal known as Gurustein. The crime boss has hooked up with a recording mogul to get kids hooked on a drug that will force them to consume and spend. Laurie finds that Gurustein has made an appearance at a party at her place, but it’s too late as she’s taken the drug that’s going to turn her to a slave of capitalism.
I have to admit, this is some serious weirdness going on in these pages. You have a record mogul that goes by “the Chariman” who is hating the new message of peace and love of the current era’s music. You have a big, afro-sporting crime boss going by “Gurustein” who’s funkily handing out drugs to do what? Make kids spend money. It’s a little than trippy, but it actually turns out pretty groovy when you look at what Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner is doing.
There’s two ways you can look at this story. The first is placing this comic in the time that it takes place. This feels like a pretty bad issue of Wonder Woman from the late 60s. It’s waaaaay over the top with the drug culture, the pushers, the hippies, the swinging parties, the mini-skrits, the bell bottoms and so on. You see a lot of this type of stuff in the Marvel Comics of the era, not dismissing the aforementioned Wonder Woman books of the time. This story has that feel of that ideal the pulp culture had of the drug craze. Yeah, it’s silly as all get out in some ways (I mean, Gurustein is both ridiculous and incredibly ingenious), but that’s where the real heart and charm is in this issue.
The second way to view this story is through the eyes of a teenage girl living a fantasy. Intermixed into pages are images of how Laurie is seeing this adventure. She’s in love and out on her own, away from her mother’s oppressive roof. She sees herself as the lead characters in her boyfriend’s comics as if this is all some sort of amazing dream world. Ultimately, for her, it is and, through that, the story takes on a much more phantasmal feel. Of course drugs are big, so because this is more of a fantasy, the drug pusher is using them as a mind control device.
The book is absolutely bonkers. You have to wonder if Cooke and Conner, themselves, hit the sauce or the pipe a little bit to piece this whole thing together, but it’s so far outside the expectation of Watchmen that it works. The story and art has everything from the bizarre to the straight-laced and from sweet to flat out sexy. It’s not at all like the other books of this event, but maybe that’s why I have such a soft spot for it.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|The story is so far out there that it makes you think while it makes you laugh. The art is drop dead gorgeous.||Some will likely think the book is too silly and too much out of the scope of what they want or expect.|