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Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan Paperback – June 24, 2014

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Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan + Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach + Before Watchmen:  Minutemen/Silk Spectre
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Product Details

  • Series: Before Watchmen
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (June 24, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401245145
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401245146
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Signing up two generations' worth of legendary artists [Joe and Andy Kubert] is a wise move for DC Entertainment."—NY Daily News

"J. Michael Straczynski's writing is crisp and keeps the story moving -- he's clearly not trying to "rewrite" the original Moore material, but instead builds off on it."—Mtv Geek

About the Author

J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI has worked in television, comics and, most recently, motion pictures. In comics, he is known for The Amazing Spider-Man, The Twelve, Thor and Silver Surfer: Requiem, as well as SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE Volumes 1 & 2 and BEFORE WATCHMEN for DC Comics. He is the creator of the hit TV series Babylon 5, and was nominated for the 2009 Best Writer Eisner Award. In movies, he is known for writing films including Changeling, Thor and a forthcoming reinterpretation of Forbidden Planet.

More About the Author

J. Michael Staczynski was born in Paterson, NJ in 1954, from a lower-middle-class blue-collar family that moved 21 times in his first 18 years. He began writing in earnest and selling at the age of 17 and hasn't stopped since. He graduated San Diego State University with degrees in Psychology and Sociology.

As a journalist, he has written over 500 published articles for such periodicals as The Los Anglees Times, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Penthouse, Writer's Digest, San Diego Magazine, the San Diego and Los Angeles Reader and TIME, Inc. He has also published numerous short stories in Amazing Science Fiction Magazine, Pulphouse, and various anthologies.

As a television writer and producer, he has written over 200 produced episodes, including workj on The New Twilight Zone, Nightmare Classics and Murder She Wrote. He also wrote, created and produced the series Babylon 5, Crusade and Jeremiah.

Moving from TV to film, he wrote Changeling (directed by Clint Eastwood), Ninja Assassin (produced by the Wachowskis), provided the story for Thor (directed by Kenneth Branagh), wrote Underworld 4 (starring Kate Beckinsale), and has written numerous other films that are currently slated for production.

He has won the Hugo Award (twice), the Saturn Award, the Eisner Award, the Inkpot Lifetime Achievement Award, the E Pluribus Unum Award from the American Cinema Foundation, the Space Frontier Foundation award, the Ray Bradbury Award, the Christopher Award, and over a dozen others.

He was also nominated for a British Academy Award (BAFTA) for his screenplay for Changeling.

He writes ten hours a day, every day, except for his birthday, New Year's Day and Christmas Day.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
The story all together was great and just tied to Watchmen so well.
The tongue-in-cheek tone that characterizes Nite Owl's story gives way to achingly serious writing when the story shifts to Dr. Manhattan.
This is an excellent expansion to the early years of the Watchmen series and I highly recommend any fan new and old to read this book.
Darnell E Banks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In the great debate regarding DC's decision to launch "Before Watchmen," I remain committedly agnostic. I understand the view of those who see Moore and Gibson's creations as unique, not only for their place in the evolution of the comic as an art form but also, perhaps, as characters meant to occupy a singular storyline and go no further. And yes, one should understandably fear the possibility - hyperbole intentional - of these stories feeling like "Hamlet - the Prequel." At the same time, characters passing from one creative team to another lays at the very DNA of superhero comics, part of what makes it a form unlike any other. After all, Moore and Gibson originally imagined their story populated by the Charlton Comics' characters (The Question, Blue Beatle, Captain Atom, etc) before deciding on creating a cast all their own. Just as Gaiman "adopted" the New Gods and made something new and exciting, and Kirby and Shuster's Captain America passed into Brubaker's loving hands, should The Minutemen be any different?

So how is "Before Watchmen: Nite Owl & Dr. Manhattan"? Not as bad as many feared, but given the talent of those involved, probably not as good as it should have been. Indeed, of the "Before Watchmen" books, no other so combines the good and the bad of the effort.

Nite Owl certainly represents a missed opportunity. Michael Straczynski, usually one of my favorite comic writers for his excellent dialogue and bright characterizations here mostly just seems to phone in a prequel/origin story. Wealthy Daniel Drieberg's motivations for donning the cowl read like boiler plate serial stuff. His early days being trained by the original Nite Owl give the reader a similar sense of having "been there, done that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Henry Dowell-Playwright on July 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is my first review of the BEFORE WATCHMEN series. Let me establish a few things quickly.
1. I love Watchmen. Even though many young, internet savvy twenty-nothings refer to it as a "graphic novel", it wasn't. Not originally. It was a twelve issue comic book series published in 1986-87. It WAS collected into one volume in 1987 and has seen many subsequent reprinting's since that time.
2. I love Alan Moore. Watchmen. V for Vendetta. The Killing Joke. Swamp Thing. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He brings a sophistication to comic books that it usually reserved for more serious works of fiction. He wasn't the first to do this and he most certainly wasn't the last but he was and is an excellent writer who not only takes his job very serious but believes comic books can be much more than a few minutes worth of escapism. He deserves all the praise that has been heaped upon him for his work. However, having said that...
3. Alan Moore can be a real jerk. Much of the work he has built his career on has been taking other people's characters and presenting them in a new fashion. There's nothing wrong with that. BUT BOY DOES HE GET TICKED IF SOMEONE ELSE DARES TOUCH HIS WORK!
4. Alan Moore didn't create these characters. Every one of the WATCHMEN are modified versions of the Charlton characters. Some are modified only slightly. Not to take away from what he did do with them, which was to craft a very elaborate murder mystery and deconstruct the idea of the superhero and make them real, living, breathing human beings with all the baggage that goes along with that. But he didn't create them.
5. I hate what DC Comics has become. I haven't purchased a single New 52 comic and was content not to support the destruction of a comic universe I had followed for nearly 40 years.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Scott Knight on July 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Nite Owl story was the origin of the second Nite Owl. His relationship to the original Nite Owl, his motivations for becoming Nite Owl, and his membership in the Crimebusters are all presented. There is quite a bit dedicated to Dan Dreiberg (Nite Owl II) and Hollis Mason (Original Nite Owl) as the torch is passed and Dreiberg is trained. There is a very cool dynamic there. Additionally, the team-up relationship between Dreiberg and Rorschach is explored. It is these two relationships, as well as Nite Owl's romantic interest in Silk Spectre, that drive the story. They really add to Nite Owl's character development and provide a nice lead-in to the original Watchmen series.

The Dr. Manhattan story was very interesting. It included the origin of Dr. Manhattan, his introduction to the Silk Spectre, and the ramifications of physics, time, and the consequences of making choices. It seemed very philosophical and dealt with the ramifications of Dr. Manhattan's powers. It also showed some background into how Ozymandias manipulated Dr. Manhattan in order to execute his plan in Watchmen, serving as a nice side story to the opening chapters of the original story.

I really enjoyed these this book, and the approach that Straczynski took to the characters. They were very true to the spirit and character of Watchmen. I would highly recommend this to any fans of the original.

I received a review copy of this book from Netgalley and DC Comics in exchange for honest review.
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