Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Lee Bermejo
Company: DC Comics


Okay. Got that out of my system. There's a quota that you have to meet with the word Hurm, and I've probably exceeded my allocated amount. But what they hey, you only live once, right? I think that's how it goes at least. Anyways...Again, another Before Watchmen book hits the stands, and again, it's a pretty good one. When these books were announced, this creative team made the most sense to me. Azzarello seems a perfect fit for Rorschach. The bleakness and the darkness and the sense of doom and gloom; all of it spoke to ideas or themes that he's played around with before.

The story itself is actually the most straight forward of the Before Watchmen titles. It focuses on our character, his views on the world, and how the criminal element that he seems so keen on getting rid of responds to people like him. There are other things at play, but the arrow like nature of the tale was unexpected and worked quite well.

Azzarello perfectly captures Rorschach's voice. To the T. He, like you would expect, narrates the tale through journal entries, like he did in the original Watchmen, and you can quickly tell what Rorschach that you're dealing with. There are some fun touches to the journal entries, scripted almost like it had been produced on an old style typewriter, in the form of strike outs and changes. It really does feel as though you're leafing through the man's personal belongings, which is kind of cool.

The writer also reminds you why this character is such a force of nature and why he's feared through small bits and scenes, most dealing with dope peddlers. There's also a moment, a moment that has a funny resolution almost, that also reminds you that this guy really is just a human being. He may act scary and crazy and wear a costume, but he doesn't have any superpowers. Despite the weirdness of how that particular scene plays out (and you'll know it when you read it), it's a very interesting thing for Azzarello to reminds us of. It gives the story more oomph.

What really surprised me was the art. Bermejo is not typically an artist that I care for. He's great at what he does, but he over-complicates a lot of the superhero work that he does with complicated costumes that are adorned with buckles and folds and all manner of things. Details are great, but there's a point where they become distracting. Here though, in Before Watchmen, the work is tremendous. There are numerous scenes that play with the Rorschach Ink Blot test, but there's also the insane amount of detail that pulls you into the slime and the grime and the guts of the tale being told. He captured this world of Watchmen so well (if you pay close attention, you might even catch a few places you might recognize) and brought it to life in a great way. The backgrounds are amazing and his action, the brutality of the violence, is so in your face that you can almost hear the bones cracking. It's the best work that I've seen from him. It's detailed, not stiff, and is absolutely perfect for the property.

So yes, another Before Watchmen title and another title that I think you should snag. People have been waiting for this one, and let me tell you, it was worth the wait.


  1. Are you getting all the Before Watchmen miniseries or just a few?

    By the way, great blog man, I especially liked your post about Hero Worship # 1. If you want to read my comments about it please visit my blog (and leave me a comment!): www.artbyarion.blogspot.com

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