Comic: Dr. Manhattan #2Written By: J Michael StraczynskiPencils By: Adam HughesPublisher: DC ComicsRelease Date: OUT NOW IN STORES & DIGITAL DOWNLOAD (VIA COMIXOLOGY)
Last months issue ended with Jon Osterman picking up his watch from the room that should have changed him forever and he obliviously walked away from ever becoming Dr. Manhattan. To make matters even more intriguing, all of this was being observed by Dr. Manhattan himself, even though if the devastating event that changed Jon Ostermans life forever had never occurred, the blue guy would never have come to be. Confused? Maybe. But with J Michael Straczynski writing as well as this, we are led through the situation with ease and that doesn't stop in this second issue. We start where we left off with this issue and Dr. Manhattan seems as in the dark as we are. How is Jon still Jon? How is this happening? Like Dr. Manhattan, we watch as Jon takes Janey Slater on another date and Adam Hughess artwork simply shines. There are some gorgeous images of Janey in this issue and when Jon proposes to her, you can understand why. Then comes the curveball. This miniseries seems to be about alternative realities. This has caused a little bit of controversy with the Before Watchmen readers because this ability was never really discussed in the original Watchmen, with Dr. Manhattans powers simply being about time and watching it play out. Additionally if this new alternative reality can happen, whats to stop DC Comics from launching an alternative line of Watchmen stories and fixing the problem of How do we make more Watchmen comics? All of this is up for debate and usually Id be pondering over what DC has in mind for us all but I just dont want to do that with this one because Straczynski is doing too good a job to take my eyes and awe away from the page. I pray that this four issue miniseries ends as well as it deserves to because Straczynski needs to get recognized for his work within these pages. No one is writing comics like this, especially in the mainstream titles. Its huge and epic and small and personal all at the same time. His ability to lay out complicated ideas and scientific theories about branching possibilities and alternate realities is quite simply astonishing. We are on this journey with Dr. Manhattan every step of the way and how were watching the branches of everyday choices made by Jon as he generates futures is mesmerizing. Jon takes a left door, the world goes to war, with The Comedian helping them along the way to destruction, he takes the right, Oyzmandias is helping the US military and the world powers take a different path. Simple choices, differing results. Were seeing it all. The well known theory of the cat in the box (which is too difficult to explain here) is laid out in perfectly understandable terms for the reader and when we see a multitude of possibilities in a spread of Hughess art depicting historical events and alternative routes (including the events in Watchmen), even Dr. Manhattan seems rocked by it. This isnt normal in a comic book, certainly not in the modern movie driven world of comics anyway. This is extremely brave storytelling and even the little bits around the edges, like the little boys changing comics or Jons father dreaming about Jons death intrigues the hell out of me. This is pure science fiction, the likes of which is rarely seen. I dont only think this is the best title in Before Watchmen, I think this is probably my favourite title in comics at the moment and if not the whole year. Titles like this make up for the overwhelming mediocre or just plain bad comics I read every month in the hope theyll turn a corner and be great like they deserve to be. Straczynski has captured what I loved about Dr. Manhattan in the original Watchmen and hes just running away it. Of course theres the concern this has nowhere to go and Jon will simply slip back to Mars and have a Ahh well, that was an interesting thought moment but I dont think Straczynski is going to let this play out as a cheap move. Yes, hes stuck between a rock and a hard place given that we know what happens next and if that changes, fans have a knack at forming lynch mobs but hes so confident in his moves its hard not to become enthralled with what hes doing.
Before Watchmen: Week 18 Overview:
"I came out of issue #2 of Dr. Manhattan the same way that I came out of #1. In total awe. How this issue filtered in images from the original Watchmen sudden made Before Watchmen, or at least this segment of it, feel like it was part of the Watchmen whole. This marks the end of round two of the Before Watchmen miniseries and at just about the halfway point. The series is at a pretty strong point here. Some titles feel like a bit of fun, others feel more focused , but theres not a single title that feels like its coasting yet. This seems to be turning into a celebration of the Watchmen characters more than anything else but Dr. Manhattan is going places and places that have me intrigued enough to let a lot slide if the payoff is as good as the set up is so far. Introduction to your list should be at least 150 words.