J. Michael Straczynski has always been a confident storyteller. His writing is always imbued with assured craftsmanship. With that said, some may pick up BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL and feel his writing teeters on indecisiveness, but in reality the simple setup that harkens back to the original series goes a long way to what JMS seems poised to craft.
The thing about JMS, like all great storytellers, is that he understands the spectrum of human emotion and psychology. For those who may gripe about shifting story tone in this issue, JMS has a proven track record for running the gamut of any particular spectrum. That is to say, thematically, JMS understands how and when to shift gears for emotional response and subsequently the reader’s involvement.
It is also important to note that this BEFORE WATCHMAN series will be told in only four issues, rather than six as some of the other titles in this event. The point being, JMS works best in tight, economic storytelling situations. The fact that this series is finite, promises that JMS will employ strong direction.
Having Andy Kubert’s pencils inked by his legendary father, Joe Kubert, is a treat to behold. The pair breathes life into the dynamic and gritty world these characters inhabit. JMS’ writing and his grasp on strong visual storytelling are strengthened respectively by the equally strong sensibilities of the father-son team.
There are reasons to have hope for this series, besides the strong creative team. It seems to be building to a story of unrequited love, admiration, friendship, and partnership. It is a story laden with great, fascinating relationships and connections. It is ripe with story plants which in the hands of the experienced and talented JMS will most certainly payoff.
BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL is just spreading its wings. Chances are by the next issue it will begin to fly.