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Dollar Bill. You know the name but if it doesn't ring a bell, he's the guy from the original Watchmen who got his cape caught in a revolving doors and then ended up gunned down by the crooks he was chasing. It's a small part of Watchmen but somehow that image sticks and has followed through other superhero comics and a films as something that could very well happen to a caped hero.
This one shot, which feels distinctly old school with it's art and writing style, tells the tale of Bill Brady. A failed athlete and failing actor who becomes the poster boy for some big money men to cash in on the current super hero craze. His popularity leads him on to joining the Minutemen . This small story is a nice side order to the Minutemen run and like most of this Before Watchmen run expands upon elements we know.
Of course with Dollar Bill we're meeting a character we're not all that aware of beyond his revolving door legacy and that makes this story feel a little fresher than some of the lesser issues of Before Watchmen have felt. This genuinely feels like we're in the world of Watchmen but in an area we've not seen from every angle over the Before Watchmen run. This raises an interesting question of could DC continue to tell these sorts of stories? Are their stories to be told outside of the central Watchmen characters that could add to the Watchmen collected works as a whole? I'm not sure Dollar Bill is the best One Shot to make the answer a 'yes' but it certainly had me intrigued. Could a Hooded Justice spin off work? A young Laurie tale where we witness the Minutemen from a child's point of view and travel through her mother's relationship breakdowns? Could we have a series revolving around Doctor Manhattan's colleagues at the lab? I'm not entirely sure but maybe. Dollar Bill and to a degree the Moloch mini series indicate this could maybe work.
Dollar Bill ends up being a tale about a man who's job made him want to be a better person. A man that overcame his limitations and decided to embrace his path and be the best he could be at it. Of course we know how that ends but it's still enough to inspire and makes for a good little single issue story that adds a little bit of depth to a tiny part of the Watchmen world that managed to stick with its readership over the years.