The Minutemen continue to fall apart as the Silhouette continues her personal mission.
Before Watchmen: Minutemen #3
In 1962, Hollis Mason is approached by a “friend” of Nelson Gardner (aka Captain Metropolis) about the book Mason is trying to get published and its truths inside the pages about the members and the team itself. Hollis realizes that brightly colored history painted by Nelson’s media persona of the team is just a lie he can’t live with. As we are taken back to the past, we witness the expulsion of the Comedian for his attempted rape of Silk Spectre. Later, Dollar Bill and Hollis have a discussion about the sin Hooded Justice and Metropolis is committed in their homosexual acts. Later that night, Silhouette continues to take her fight to those who exploit children, but she’s nearly killed when rescuing a girl – a girl that is killed when a bullet passes through Ursula’s shoulder and into her chest. Hollis barely gets there in time to take Silhouette to her own private “nurse” who is able to remove the bullets.
Darwyn Cooke’s linchpin series is strange, but in the right ways. It’s not told in the most linear of ways as we often have bounced from the story’s present to the past and the heyday of the Minutemen. Even in this issue we find ourselves in four different years from 1962 when Hollis is trying to get Under the Hood published to 1940 when Comedian is kicked out to 1941 when Silhouette and Silk Spectre have a spat over their sexualized photo shoot for the war effort to 1942 when Dollar Bill speaks about the sins of some of the team members and Silhouette’s near death experience trying to save a little girl.
The way this works for the story is pretty simple but it plays well in the quick hit style of setting used. All we’re seeing is how absolutely dysfunctional and impractical the Minutemen were as a concept. Literally, for years, these heroes were stuck together and it didn’t seem that many of them cared for each other at all. In a lot of ways, and not in the bigoted ways, but the overall feeling, Comedian is right. All of these people are playing themselves up as these righteous, holier-than-thou, jerks. They are living a lie. Hollis begins to understand this as his relationship with Ursula grew, but the rest of the team never seemed to get that they were nothing like their public appearances, or comic books would show.
Speaking of their comic books, I loved the juxtaposition Cooke used with snippets of Golden Age style comic panels in each scene. When Comedian is expelled for attacking one of the female members, he’s shown as a real man loved by both female members. Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis are seen as these wholesome heroes despite their behind the scenes activities and the fact that Hooded Justice is just scary looking. Finally, Silhouette is shown as a hero to the children, but in fact, she’s not really saved many despite her best intentions and efforts. The only change in this is the bondage-filled, lesbian fantasy shown when Silhouette and Silk Spectre are fighting with each other. The main difference in that scene is that their war of words is actually quite civilized while the juxtaposed scene is fueled and much sexier that what you might expect when these two girls are actually having a “catfight”.
While this book’s overall feeling is much more straight forward than the others, Cooke’s telling this story in much better than a lot of these stories. Like the Silk Spectre series, this book really has a great big heart underneath all we’re seeing and it makes for a nice read that is as fun at times as it can be heartbreaking.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Great use of happy comics slapped into the middle of some pretty bad times for the team. Great art and a lot more personal than the other Before Watchmen stories.||The bouncing from one era to the next might irritate some who want to see more of each time frame shown.|