Writer and artist: Darwyn Cooke

It seemed like everyone was skeptical when DC announced Before Watchmen earlier in the year, and, to be honest, they had every right to be. The story that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created in the original Watchmen is still the preeminent work in the history of the medium, and no matter how hard the company tries, it won’t live up to it in the eyes of most fans. But make no mistake about it, Before Watchmen: Minutemen isn’t just good—it’s superb.

Easily standing out from the rest of the Before Watchmen books so far, Minutemen succeeds in capturing the feel and tone of the original while also being completely unique. Told through the eyes of Hollis Mason, the original Nite-Owl, Minutemen details the formation of the country’s first superhero team. But they’re not the altruistic dogooders that they should be; rather, most of the team is simply in it for fame and money, at the behest of their sleazy agent.

After only two issues, Cooke has completely sold us on this project thanks to his great characterizations and nostalgic art. Before Watchmen: Minutemen is a callback to the Golden Age of superheroes, but with a jaded edge that brings these colorful characters down to our level. It might be a mixed bag so far (although Ozymandias and Silk Spectre did have superb debut issues), but we can easily see Minutemen rising above the rest by the time the epitaph is written on this controversial project.