(Straczynski, Kubert, Kubert)
Eh - that's about the best and worst description I can give Before Watchmen: Nite Owl at this point in it's run. J. Michael Straczynski hasn't penned a bad story, by any means, but it also doesn't have the same emotional or narrative weight as Minutemen, Silk Spectre, or Doctor Manhattan, relying mostly on it's fan-service tendencies that feature Rorschach quite a bit. Dan Dreiberg may be a bit less hard-nosed than the other members of the Watchmen, but nearly every issue of Nite Owl presents Dan as more pathetic than effective - even when he's got his costume on, Dan comes across as skittish and nervous, which isn't who he is. Overall, Nite Owl isn't the weakest series in the Before Watchmen gamut, but it's down there with Comedian and Ozymandias.
(Bedard, Kuder, Bressan, Adams)
(DeFalco, Higgins, Barrows, Ferreira)
Another fantastic Bat Family "Issue Zero", Nightwing #0 delves (obviously) into Dick Grayson's past, giving readers a thorough new backstory for the original Robin, The Boy Wonder. While the death of his parent's remains the same, Dick's involvement with the Batman comes about in a new and different way courtesy of Tom DeFalco (scripting only) and Kyle Higgins - instead of immediately being taken in by Bruce Wayne, Dick strikes out on his own to hunt down his parent's killer, often running into Batman who continually looks the other way. Eventually, Bruce adopts Dick as his son and begins to raise him while keeping his superhero identity a secret, only to have Dick discover it's Bruce under the cowl after reading Batman's body language. At first, it's only a monitor duty gig, but in the face of death, Dick springs into action with a self-tailored Robin costume (which we get to see for the first time this issue) that brings about the first era of Batman's sidekick - it's a hugely satisfying issue that should be read by any Batman or Robin fan.
Red Hood and The Outlaws #0
Wonder Woman has already been praised up and down for it's dramatic and groundbreaking re-envisioning of the Diana, Princess of the Amazons, and Wonder Woman #0 takes things to the next level with Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang offering up an updated tale from Wonder Woman's adventures in the 1940s! Diana is approached by Aires (War) who wants to turn her into the greatest warrior the planet has ever seen, meeting under the full moon each month to train in the ways of battle. In the end, when forced to kill to complete her task, Diana refuses and goes from being War's star pupil to being his greatest failure, only now she's a fully-trained, battle-ready warrior. Wonder Woman #0 is not only one of the best issues of the series to date, it's one of the best issues from the 'New 52' so far - Azzarello and Chiang hit a brilliant chord with this innovative decision, it pays off in spades, and it shows how creators can tell interesting, meaningful stories without all the intricacies and complexities that are standard protocol in today's comic book industry (just look at the chaos that is Teen Titans and Superboy).
Spider-Men #5 of 5