Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Before Watchmen: Comedian #2 of 6
Azzarello & Jones
The second issue of the Comedian follows a similar path as the first issue only with less celebrity appearances. Unfortunately, the book drags the character into situations that make little sense and at the same time, bends the characterization of him in ways that are too divergent from the original work. The book surrounds the Comedian with no-name, generic characters that make the book uninteresting from a plot perspective. I appreciate that Azzarello is trying to distance himself from the original work as much as possible, but this mini-series is shaping up to be simply forgettable.
The book opens with Bobby Kennedy and Eddie Blake (Comedian) attending the first Sonny Liston – Cassius Clay fight. Blake continues to slurp up to Kennedy and his deceased brother. It’s a side of the character we never saw in the original Watchmen and, frankly, it doesn’t make much sense here knowing he’s already tried to rape a character and he’s a couple of years away from murdering a woman for scratching his face up. Does it sound like a character who would be so loving towards a politician?
Blake goes to Vietnam, prior to the United States’ official involvement. Blake hangs out on the sidelines and gets the gist of how indifferent most of the US troops are towards the fight. Historically I’m not sure this adds up because real history has a bit of a different view about how the troops approached the early days of the war, but I can accept some differences here.
The part where this book completely falls apart is Blake’s involvement with drug running that the US troops are apparently taking advantage of. We are supposed to believe that Blake loves the publically, squeaky clean Kennedy family, hates communism but is happy to help get drugs onto US streets to help pay for a war? I don’t think so.
The other problem with this book is the war itself. From Joe Kubert to Garth Ennis we have seen some incredible war stories in comics, especially about Vietnam. This one feels half-baked and is loaded with some of the most generic characters imaginable. Their dialogue is interchangeable and Blake only manages to standout at all because he is in a costume.
Jones does a good job of telling a fluid story for the most part. However, the characterization of Blake is impossible to read, both in dialogue and in the visuals. Is he angry, disgruntled, annoyed, fed up? I can’t get a grasp of a character I felt I knew from reading the original Watchmen. Jones has a great style but it simply isn’t used here to its strength.
I’m not sure where this series is going. I assume we will eventually get to Blake blowtorching people in Vietnam, but I really don’t see how the character’s action will line up with how these first two issues present him. I am not recommending this book, unfortunately, not even for the backup, which is getting fairly interesting at this point.
1.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles