Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1 – Putting Rorschach To The Test

Being a huge fan of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic mini series; Watchmen, I like many others was rather sceptical about the release of the prequel series; Before Watchman, but I chose to reserve judgement until I had the chance to read them, and so far I can happily say that I was wrong. Each of the individual story arcs have thus far been superb, even if many of them do seem to re-tread old ground. Much like the rest of the comic reading world, Rorschach has been the one issue that I have really been looking forward to, and as the other characters reach their second issues; we finally get to feast our eyes of Brian Azzarello’s incarnation of the unstable vigilante; Rorschach. As a youngster I was always taught, that to read another’s diary/journal’s, would be morally wrong, but when it comes to Rorschach’s journal, well, it would be rude not to.

From the opening page, you are pulled into the gruesome and hopeless streets of New York City, where a drug dealing serial killing crime lord, known as The Bard has come to town. The Bard is clearly a nasty piece of work and seems to get off on writing riddles and messages on the corpses of his victims. This has caught the attention of Walter Kovacs, who has taken it upon himself to send his dark and disturbed alter ego Rorschach, to chase him down and deal out some of that uncompromising punishment that we have all come to know and love, but nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems.

Rorschach’s first solo outing may not be the best of the Before Watchmen series so far, being that it lacks a little in storytelling, but I still enjoyed it, and there are so many positives. The first of which would be the artwork from Lee Bermejo. Bermejo has done a wonderful job of bringing this dark and hopeless world to life with his stunningly cinematic art, without having deviated from the design of Rorschach that Dave Gibbons made so iconic in the original Watchman. Another big plus for me would be the lettering, done in the style of an old typewriter and containing intentional spelling mistakes and crossed out words, Rob Leigh has done a great job of making us feel as if we really are taking a sneaky peak at ‘Rorschach’s Journal’ (which by all intensive purposes, we are).

Azzarello may not have delved too deeply into the disturbed psyche of Rorschach in this first issue, but what he has done is write an enjoyable story that anyone can jump into whether they have read the original Watchmen, or not, and let’s not forget this is only the first issue.

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