Of all the Before Watchmen titles this one appears to be the frontrunner for best of the lot. At the same time if you lined up all the books in the series and asked me in which order I'd like to read this would probably be towards the back of the pack. I like Darwyn Cooke well enough as a creator, though I'm no devotee, and his often prickly personality causes one to incite the old "separate the person from their art" scenario. Amanda Connor I really should love more than I do. I have a deep appreciation for her work and one of these days I just know I'm going to fall madly for what she does and start digging up all her past works. But I'm just not there yet. I've seen a lot of her work but it's just not been tied to a series that inspires fervent fandom, at least not in me, not yet. She needs something epic like a Y The Last Man or something utterly endearing like a Hawkeye or Justice League (seriously, she sometimes out Kevin Maguires Kevin Maguire) to really set her in the upper esehelon (some I'm sure think Power Girl was that), because she's ready. But Silk Spectre is just not a character I key into at all. She has the most intricate ties to the heroic legacy of the Watchmen universe, her Mother and Dr. Manhattan and the eventual reveal of her father but she always seemed a character defined by her connections, Night Owl included. There's an absence there in Moore's original script regarding Laurie (an intentional one, mind) that leaves the character open for such a prequel exploration... but she was still left too vacant and largely ineffectual in Watchmen form to care.
This "early years" series tries exceptionally hard to get me to care, and comes closer than I ever could have predicted, but even with a Freaks and Geeks- level quality script about teenage angst and unusual living situations and some of Connors' best work (and Paul Mounts' colouring, wow!), toying expertly with the 9-panel grid, it still didn't bring me in from the cold. To be honest I would probably like it countless times more were it not a Watchmen book and just something brought up from scratch.