Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan, Before Watchmen: Moloch

Before Watchmen: Nite Owl

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Before Watchmen:  Nite Owl/Before Watchmen:  Dr. Manhattan/Before Watchmen:  Moloch

Publisher:  DC Comics/Vertigo

Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski

Artist:   Andy Kubert/Adam Hughes/Eduardo Risso

# of Issues:  10

Release Date:  2013


Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #2

Reprints Before Watchmen:  Nite Owl #1-4, Before Watchmen:  Dr. Manhattan #1-4, and Before Watchmen:  Moloch #1-2 (August 2012-April 2013).  Dan Dreiberg takes flight as Nite Owl and finds himself battling crime with Rorschach in an attempt to uncover who is killing prostitutes.  Dr. Manhattan finds his reality shattered by entering the past and wonders how to restore it.  Moloch becomes a super-villain but finds God and the opportunity to redeem himself.

Written by J. Michael Straczynski, Before Watchmen:  Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan is part of a DC project to expand the universe created by the classic Alan Moore 1986 series Watchmen.  While Before Watchmen:  Nite Owl was met with negative reviews, Before Watchmen:  Dr. Manhattan was mostly received positively.  Before Watchmen was collected in four volumes where were Before Watchmen:  Minutemen/Silk Spectre, Before Watchmen:  Comedian/Rorschach, and Before Watchmen:  Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair.

Before Watchmen:  Nite Owl was illustrated by Andy Kubert and expands on Nite Owl’s past by showing how Dreiberg took over for Hollis T. Mason, was teamed with Rorschach, and helped to explain his relationship (and fetish) for Silk Spectre.  The series was pretty weak and attempts to shock were tame.  Despite proclaiming “Nite Owl” the star, I was more interested in what was going on with Rorschach and his religious background…rather than seeing Nite Owl hook up with the Twilight Lady.  I also found the Hollis Mason stuff more interesting than Dreiberg and would have preferred Before Watchmen:  Nite Owl be about him.


Before Watchmen: Rorschach #2

Before Watchman:  Dr. Manhattan is illustrated by Adam Hughes and really expands on Watchmen #4 (December 1986) which demonstrated how Dr. Manhattan thinks and functions within time.  Straczynski’s writing is just not up to Alan Moore, but he does make a decent attempt.  It also helps that Hughes art is more creative than the art of Before Watchmen:  Nite Owl which was rather generic.  Manhattan is a dynamic character, and I’d rather read about Dr. Manhattan than most of the Watchmen (though the ending of the series was a bit of a letdown).

Before Watchmen:  Moloch was illustrated by Eduardo Rizzo and a fun, quick read.  The art is fun and the story really does expand Watchmen.  Moloch was a bit of an enigma in Watchmen and already washed up when Watchmen begins.  I like that this really is more of a tie in than a separate story, but in turn I don’t know that it reads well as a stand-alone series.

Before Watchmen really raised problems among long time comic book fans who felt Watchmen was untouchable.  With a so-so collection like this, it really is a question of it was worth it.  Granted, some of this collection is worth checking out, but for the most part, I could have done without Before Watchmen.

Related Links:


Watchmen (2009)

Watchmen:  The End Is Nigh

Before Watchmen:  Comedian/Rorschach

Before Watchmen:  Minutemen/Silk Spectre

Before Watchmen:  Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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