Thursday, 16 August 2012

New Beginnings - Before Watchmen: Rorschach

This week we are once again dipping back into the world created by Alan Moore to view a well known character from the Watchmen. Many have seen Rorschach as the central point of the book and film due to his narrative throughout and also the added sidenotes. This is a theme that Brian Azzarello has continued to use throughout this new stand alone miniseries for Rorschach.

The story is a look at where Walter Kovacs has come from without revisiting his childhood too much, as it has already been covered in the original book. Instead this picks up more from when he was becoming the cutthroat detective that he is now known as. The peculiar twist to it is that this isn’t a shiny glorious story studded with moments of victory and triumph. Instead it’s more grimy and dirty - a tale that's been tainted by the surrounding city. Underlying it is also a secondary plotline that will no doubt develop, revolving around “The Bard” a serial killer who is carving quotes into his victims.

Rorschach is on the hunt to bust a drugs ring which has links to prostitution as well (an obvious motivator for him). By using his well known and direct approach for acquiring information he sees himself falling foul of an ambush. His resilience and drive keeps him alive and focused on his task at hand. Although he as to cover up the event to those who know him, he makes it very clear that his “muggers” didn’t make the mistake of attacking him, but instead the far more dangerous mistake of leaving him alive.

Another strange twist to this, and another mark of the time, is that we see Rorschach as Walter by choice. This is indicative of a time when his alternate persona hasn’t taken as much of a grasp on him and almost taken over using his paranoia and cynicism to fuel itself.

For the artwork throughout the issue Lee Bermejo has teamed up with Barbara Ciardo. Personally I have found this to be an equally crucial part of the issue with the actual writing; it has kept the feeling of the comic constant and enhanced it. When I first started reading it, I was reminded of the gritty style that first drew me into reading Detective Comics, but to its credit as well there is a feeling of age to the comic too. This is set in the Seventies and the comic feels like that further adding to the issue.

This is a cracking little comic delving into a much loved anti-hero. For fans I think this is an absolute must to read and you can see that it is going to grow rapidly into something even though it is a short four issues long. As a story, as an insight and as a collectors piece I would get on board while you can.

Matt Puddy is glad he missed sitting opposite "tubby Rorschach" at the cinema back in 2009.

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