Apologies for the delay on this week’s Crush but, y’know, life happens. I was very busy watching wrestling, reading comics, and seeing Prometheus. All a good time.
And one more apology, for anyone who thinks that they might be a running theme, but this week’s Crush is Laurie Jupiter from Silk Spectre #1. Yes, another Before Watchmen book. It’s just a coincidence, folks, I assure you.
Anyway, Laurie Jupiter. Silk Spectre II. My initial impression of her came from Alan Moore’s Watchmen and, frankly, I wasn’t all that impressed with her. I found her whiney, selfish, and without a lot of motivation to be a hero except that she can. I know there was a subtext of her not having a choice or anything but it never really meant anything to me. I just thought she was obnoxious.
But Darwyn Cooke made magic happen again and made Laurie Jupiter a sympathetic character. And the art choices made by Amanda Conner really sold Laurie as just a girl who is caught up in a tide that was building long before she was born.
Silk Spectre #1 opens with young Laurie and her mother, the famous Sally Jupiter of the Minutemen fame, reacting to Laurie’s stepfather leaving them. The exchange is what you might expect as the two women struggle with their emotions on the issue: Laurie is glad that the man she knows is not her father has left while Sally is miserable at the rejection. We all know, from Watchmen, that Sally Jupiter’s primary motivation is to be adored by everyone. I imagine that having her husband leave, even if he’s not a fantastic man, takes quite a toll on the woman. But it’s little Laurie’s final words to her mom on the subject that are the most telling about their relationship. “We’ll be okay, Mom.”
Laurie Jupiter supports her mother, not the other way around. And that’s the first glimmer we get into the real relationship between Sally and Laurie. I’m starting to understand Laurie’s motivations far better. I can’t wait to read Watchmen again once this Before Watchmen story arc is over, especially after having read Silk Spectre. I’m sure Laurie is going to seem a lot different.
Getting back to the comic, we next see Laurie in high school. She is a star athlete but you can tell that Sally’s prior lifestyle is affecting how the others interact with her. The girls are catty and awful to her, making snide comments about her parentage (Sally being so risque in her youth and the fact that no one knows who Laurie’s father is) but there is at least one boy who makes her feel special. But Sally even tries to ruin that for her, going all cougar about the young man. At least she has the decency not to say anything to him.
The next part of the book I think is the most important of the entire comic. Laurie is just sitting at home, being a good girl, since she’s not allowed to date, when a masked intruder attacks her! In a fight that eerily mirrors the Comedian’s last battle in Watchmen, Laurie fights for her life until the intruder is unmasked, revealing it to be her own mother! It was another test.
This was one test that Laurie couldn’t deal with, however. She won the fight but knew she would never win against Sally’s insanity. So while Sally laments over the phone to Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl, Laurie sneaks out to enjoy her youth while she has a chance.
She meets up with the boy she likes at the track, beating him in a race. Fortunately, Greg is a progressive kinda guy and it just makes him like her more. They go to a diner for a late date, where Laurie is harassed by the mean girls at her high school, who insinuate all kinds of rude things about her. Greg stands up for her, because he’s awesome (she’s not with him in the Watchmen series, which makes me think he comes to a cruel end eventually), and the two decide that their lives with their parents are too hard, so they hitchhike to San Francisco.
Dun dun dunnnnnnn.
Before Watchmen, from what I understand, is to give some back story for us to get more insight into the characters that we know and love. And, for me, it made me fall in love with Laurie Jupiter a little. I’m starting to see her as more than a woman who grudgingly accepts where fate has pushed her. Instead, she’s a fighter, right from the beginning, and maybe she’s just been beaten too many times to keep fighting by the time we see her in Watchmen. And, though I still hate her attitude throughout most of Watchmen, I can appreciate what she might have gone through to get where she is.
Laurie Jupiter, you beautiful, tortured young lady, you’re my Crush of the Week. And you’ll be okay, eventually. I promise.