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Comic Books - Before Watchmen - Rorschach

rorschach before watchmen


Before Watchmen: Rorschach
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Lee Bermejo
Colorist: Barbara Ciardo
Publisher: DC Comics
2012

This is a comic book in which Rorschach fights one of the gangs from The Warriors: and it’s so underwhelming.

I don’t know how this happen. Brian Azzarello is a great crime comic writer and the first issue of his Before Watchmen: Comedian was really good, developing not only its titular character but also the world of the original comic.  In this book, I would’ve never known it was him if his name hadn’t been on the cover. The plot is basically the opening line of this review with an added sub-plot of serial killer, but the dialogue is just bad. I thought it was due to taking place before Walter Kovacs became Rorscharch, before the incident with the little girl, but no, this comic takes place in 1977, two years after the mental transformation.

By the by, if you haven’t read Watchmen, this made no sense to you and you need to read Watchmen. No, really, read Watchmen, you uncultured cur.

Rorschach’s dialogue is short, direct and cold. This comic sometimes gets it right, but most of the time it feels like parody. The only time it feels right is on the last two pages. I want to believe Azzarello was warming up and only then found the right voice.

The book is not a total loss, Lee Bermojo and Barbara Ciardo deliver big time with  the art. Beremejo’s style is always great, with intense details on skin and clothes giving the panels a feeling of life, but it’s Ciardo’s colors that truly bring everything together. The colours reflect the dangerous atmosphere of 70s New York and the lighting accentuate the mood so much as to make every page a collectable. It’s almost worth buying just for the art.

The last thing I want to bring up with the book is how Rorscharch’s journal is represented. In the original comic, it was hand written, but here it looks typed. It’s nothing so bad, and the contents are true to the spirit of the original, but it’s true that the hand written journal does feel different. A type journal means that Kovacs sat down and thought about it, tried to make it look good. The hand written journal is more visceral. It’s the sinister flow of consciousness of a bugnut insane racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic who believes he is New York’s redeemer.

Lambert Muir

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