J. Michael Straczynski is a brave and bold storyteller. And his work and talents are to be appreciated. As the second issue of BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL proves, he is putting theme and character before plot, which in vast majority of superhero storytelling is rare. For this reason, Straczynski is crafting something more than your typical smash-mouth, fantasy-adventure super-hero cannon fodder.
Although Rorschach is a prominent figure in this series, make no mistake, this is a Nite Owl series. Straczynski doesn’t use Rorschach to define who Nite Owl is by mere association, but rather utilizes Rorschach as a parallel and tangent to chronicle Nite Owl’s journey. There is a murky dichotomy that Straczynski plays with that enables the Nite Owl/Rorschach partnership to explore the vitality of the human condition while finding counter parts as companions and the completion of oneself.
Straczynski doesn’t shy away from violence or abuse in any shape or form. The poignancy of sexual violence permeates and deals with real issues and ideologies. Again, this is not your typical super-hero adventure. It is a story wrought by one of the masters of visual storytelling.
Scenes and dialogue are crafted economically. They’re tight. They resonate emotionally. As a seasoned writer who has excelled in visual storytelling across mediums, Straczynski showcases his ability to transition from scene to scene in dynamic and cinematic fashion. And a simple glace at the art shows the Kuberts pack a power punch behind Stracynski’s poignant writing.
The artistic talents of Andy and Joe Kubert, respectively and collectively, add direction and purpose to this project. They are a fitting and worthy duo to undertake such a gritty story that captures the essence of these sketchy characters.
Now at the midpoint of BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL, we see the clear personal conflicts through questioned ideologies and the inevitable ramifications of the choices that shall inherently define the mettle and character of Nite Owl.