If you’re a geek-culture aficionado (and face it, you are) you probably already know Zack Snyder’s highly anticipated Watchmen movie (based on the universally-revered graphic novel by Alan Moore) has been abruptly beached on the desolate sands of Studio Lawsuit Hell.

While Fox and Warner Brothers duke it out, nerds across the nation are biting their keyboard-stunted nails over whether the film will ever see the light of day.

If you haven’t already, I’d take this opportunity to watch the Watchmen motion comic, produced by WB digital subsidiary Warner Premiere, in case it gets caught up in the crossfire and taken down.

Each episode covers one issue of the twelve-part series, and though the show was launched in July, so far only the first episode has been released (perhaps the hold-up has something to do with the lawsuit?). You can purchase it for less than a cup of coffee at the iTunes store, or you could just watch it in low res bootleg-o-vision on YouTube…

Like Stephen King’s N, the Watchmen makes an excellent transition to a motion comic. Dave Gibbons’ art has been meticulously lifted and edited so that we can experience the comic in the cinematic language of zooms, pans, and dramatic cuts.

The script is delivered audio-book style, all by one actor who says his lines with a campfire-storyteller theatricality, which isn’t completely out of place in a mystery about renegade superheroes. It’s more than a little jarring the first time he does a woman’s voice, especially when we can see the silk-draped bombshell on the screen in front of us and she suddenly sounds like Roger de Bris. I can stomach it, but I imagine this will be a dealbreaker for some.

The most valuable thing this series offers is a director’s hand to guide your attention to subtleties you might miss on a first-reading of this brilliantly layered story. I’ve read the graphic novel through at least twice, but watching the first episode still made me understand things about Moore’s story that I didn’t even realized I’d missed.

It’s not a substitute for reading the comic, but it’s a welcome companion piece.

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