Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1 of 4
Azzarello & Bermejo
When Before Watchmen’s list of titles was announced I had very high hopes for this title in particular. Of all the characters in the original work I felt Rorschach was the one that was the least defined of the bunch. I also felt his story had the most legs and seemed like could be something different if fleshed out. This comic book delivers a great visual story about a character that looks like Rorschach, but doesn’t have the same magic in terms of characterization as the original work. Make no mistake, the comic book would be a success if Azzarello brings something interesting to the character, even without a compelling story. This is a good start, but the parts feel too generic at this point for me to get jazzed up the remaining issues.
This comic book is basically Rorschach finding some drug dealer den and getting mercilessly beaten up. He manages to drag himself up and escape with his life. This seems to provide a new sense of strength and determination on his part to complete his crime busting crusade. In between the panels we get little snippets of his back story, but nothing Earth shattering.
As I mentioned, the story is generic. The villains are just nameless, ugly thugs that Batman beats on just about every issue. In this case, it seems the cast of bad guys lured and trapped Rorschach, but this isn’t explored at all. The down side to having Rorschach getting duped and then beaten is that it makes the character less cool and imposing. It takes something away from the original Watchmen I feel.
The delight of the comic book is seeing Rorschach in action. Not only is the script telling a badly needed Rorschach in action tale, but Bermejo’s visuals deliver something very special to look at. The artwork has a shiny and glossy look to it. Sure, you might expect to see a greasy book with Rorschach in it, but this glossy look gives the book such an epic feel to the whole issue. The details are meticulous which also helps make the story a great read. Rorschach getting his head handed to him in the sewer is a very memorable scene indeed. I can’t rave enough about the visuals.
The reason to pick up this book is the artwork. The story feels like any super hero character could be in Rorschach’s place and we would have the same story. At the same time, much of actions that Rorschach takes don’t feel like they fit in with the character. However, the book is a fun read and definitely takes me to the kind of story that I imagined but never saw while reading the original Watchmen. This is worth checking out.
3.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles