Review: Before Watchmen: Rorschach #2

Before Watchmen:  Rorschach 2

Published by DC Comics

Written by Brian Azzarello

Art by Lee Bermejo

The Plot

The issue begins with Rorschach at the restaurant that he frequents fresh from being beaten to within an inch of his life by Rawhead and his gang.  The waitress offers an act of kindness so Rorschach being Rorschach, he abruptly leaves.  As luck would have it, he is then able to get even with one of his assailants.  At home, he finds that he has no food in the fridge, which forces him to venture outside again despite not being recovered.  The next scene shifts to a nightclub where Rawhead is confronted by one of his guys who just survived an encounter with Rorschach.  This confrontation ends up benefitting a tiger.  The story shifts back to Rorschach who goes back to the restaurant when his condition worsens.  After a few days in the hospital, Rorschach is recovered enough to seek out Rawhead and he starts with a pimp named Joe.  After torturing Joe a bit, the book ends where things are going to start getting ugly.

The Breakdown

Another good issue that actually surpassed my expectations.  That being said, I did expect to enjoy this book, but it’s gone in a couple of directions that I didn’t anticipate.  At the end of the previous issue, Rorschach was duped and walked into a trap.  From reading Watchmen, I expected him to basically Batman his way out of the situation.  However, he was bested by Rawhead and his gang.  I liked this because it reminded me that Rorschach can be vulnerable and can’t get himself out of every situation.  The part where Rorschach got revenge with the truck was enjoyable because they had just beaten Rorschach, but they were still scared of him in broad daylight despite not seeing him.  The scene with Rawhead and his crony at the nightclub had a small detail that they had served together in ‘Nam.  This was a nice touch because this story can place itself within a specific time in history without hurting the story for fear of dating itself a few years from now.  The timeline in this story is finite.  Another detail I enjoyed was when Rorschach was in the hospital and he revealed that he frequents the E.R. as motivation to do what he does.  His interrogation of Joe was more Rorschach badassery that many readers were anticipating with this book.  I’m not into graphic violence, but I have to admit that I found Rorschach’s tactic with Joe to be simple yet inventive.  I think next issue will be what many readers have been anticipating with Rorschach.  His narrative is what you’d expect (in a good way) and even though he’s a conservative, he’s not a conservative apologist.  The art is very nice to look at and it suits the story perfectly.  I honestly couldn’t really imagine another style I’d prefer to see in here.  The colours are well done and reflect the tone of the city.  Some of the layouts were done very well, especially the pages he interrogates Joe.  The facial expressions were very well done here too.  All in all this was a very good book

BUT

Being at the halfway point, it seems that this book could benefit from 6 issues.  I was surprised that Rorschach was only going to be 4 issues considering he’s a character that casual fans have embraced.  One of the taglines for Rorschach prior to it coming out seemed to imply that his backstory would be fleshed out to determine how he became Rorschach.  Being at the halfway point, I don’t see how it could be done effectively at this point.  Nonetheless I’m still enjoying this series.

Buy it, Borrow it, Shelf Read it, or Ignore it?

Buy it…if you’re a fan of Rorschach.  It’s a dark gritty story that may not appeal to some readers.  It could have been a silly story called Son of Rorschach and I would’ve read it.  Anything that has to do with Before Watchmen annoys Alan Moore so no matter what I was in to try out all of these books.  Azzarello doesn’t light Rorschach’s world on fire and he doesn’t have to either.  Fans of Rorschach want to read their Rorschach and he does a great job of seamlessly continuing his voice from Watchmen.   I thought it was cool when Rorschach talked about his disdain for the city and when he finished Joe’s sentence.  I expected some typical Rorschach moments and I was not disappointed.  I also enjoyed the typewritten narrative.  The mistakes do not detract from the story in my opinion, but I could understand if someone did find it distracting.  Some people complain that some things seem redundant in these books or that they lack originality, but DC is doing a good job of staying true to the original story by Alan Moore.

 

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