Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach by Brian Azzarello
This was really cool to read. I am a big fan of Watchmen. I think it is the type of graphic novel that should be read by every comic book fan no matter if you prefer Marvel, or Dark Horse comics over DC. The writing is spectacular and it has always been a story that has stuck in my mind.
When these books started to come out I was really excited to see a little more of the characters I loved from Watchmen. It has been a long time since I have bought monthly issues, but I have been trying to catch up with graphic novels. This was graciously given to me by DC comics through NetGalley for an honest review. I can’t tell you how excited I was to read this and review it. The Comedian and Rorschach may not have been my favorite characters from Watchmen but I have always wanted to know more about them.
The first part of the book is issues 1-6 of Before Watchmen: The Comedian. In these pages we get to see a softer side to Eddie Blake. His early days playing football with the Kennedys on a sunny afternoon, are a complete opposite to his character in the Watchmen book. Finally a glimpse into what made him so angry and dangerous. Of course these books try to mesh in some aspect of history during the time period and Eddie Blake gets sent to Vietnam. He is sent to be a spokes person to boost the war effort. Troops’ morale is boosted by having a real life superhero helping in the trenches. That’s when things begin to go horribly wrong. War changes people and Eddie isn’t the exception, he becomes more angry and driven to win the war at any cost. He begins to become the very thing he is fighting. This was a very interesting story and it finally gives us a look into what made him. Eddie Blake always irritated me in Watchmen and I was ok with the fact he is killed early on in that book, but after reading this I feel for the guy.
The second part of this book collects issues 1-4 of Before Watchmen: Rorschach. Rorschach’s story was a little different. This wasn’t so much of an origin story; at least I didn’t think it was. We kind of see why he is so violent towards criminals but really this was just an early instance in his career as a hero. Rorschach is trying to protect a city he hates; he is digging into a drug ring to clean up the streets. At this point Rorschach is violent but not homicidal which is not like his character in Watchmen. While trying to stop the drug ring he heads to the sewers to take out the supplier. In no time he is beaten nearly to death and left in the stinking sewers to die. Of course this doesn’t kill our hero and he rises with a new out look on the city. Its true colors are black and red, pain and suffering is everywhere. Being soft is not what is going to fix this. To make matters worse, while trying to stop the drug kingpin who left him for dead the city is gripped with fear while a serial killer is on the loose.
The serial killer sub plot is my only hang up. It had potential to be such a great story or case for Rorschach to be apart of, but instead it was just background. Killer kept offing victims while Rorschach pursued his target. Rorschach and the serial killer meet at the end but it felt like this was an after thought. The book was ending and there was still this loose end so in a few pages it got wrapped. This was a great book and I really enjoyed reading it. I am looking forward to reading the other graphic novels with the other characters in the future.