Before Watchmen: Moloch #1 Review

A late addition to the Before Watchmen run arrives this week. It’s villian time!

Marcus Doidge


Comic: Moloch #1

Written By:  J Michael Straczynski

Pencils By: 

Publisher: DC Comics


[rating: 3]

After a couple of weeks off, Before Watchmen is back and with an all new two part title as well. Moloch was of course a reformed criminal in the original Watchmen and despite his fairly small part in the overall story is still quite an important cog in the Watchmen ticking clock. The first part of his own miniseries is an accelerated trip through his origins. Bad parents (a theme that comes time and time again in Watchmen) a bad childhood, due to his rather unique looks and a feeling that he would never fit into the world of the normal people around him.

This all begins as a fairly heart breaking tale of a young man trying to just get along. A young man who is passionate about the wonder of magic and of course a young man that uses his love of magic to get the things he never had. Money, affection, respect, Moloch steals all of this for himself and when the age of heroes arrives the Minutemen soon put a stop to his antics only for him to escape and begin the cycle again.

This is a fast moving piece but it’s a good look back at the golden age of super villians with their silly crimes, flamboyant costumes and repetitive lifestyle of crime and capture. J Michael Straczynski fleshes out the edges with a deeper, darker look at Moloch’s troubles and his conflicts with the world around him but really this first issue feels like the set up to what should be the pay off in issue #2.

***Slipping into spoiler territory now … you have been warned.***

This issue builds and builds drama and adds weight for Moloch to carry on his shoulders and we find ourselves on the day of his parole as the issue comes to an end. He wants to be a better man, he’s more timid like he was in the original Watchmen and his life is one of regret and shame. He’s going to change his ways. He’s going to lay low. He’s a free man that wants to be a better one. However it’s the impact of a certain purple and yellow costumed villain in the making, who is waiting for Moloch at the prison gates that makes the prospect of what’s to come in the next issue a way more tantalizing prospect and the point of this squeezed in miniseries suddenly becomes a little clearer.

Before Watchmen: Week 20 Overview:

This first issue of Moloch is more of what Before Watchmen has offered in the previous first issues from the series. It fleshes out what we already know, adds a broken family backstory and leaves us with a cliffhanger that promises a background to key events in the original Watchmen. There’s a real sense that Before Watchmen is now really getting to the good parts and the point of what DC are out to achieve with this series could very well be about to reveal itself. Of course there’s been that feeling for a while now but with the second half of the series about to get up to full momentum, as the regular titles continue again next week, the making or indeed breaking of this series has never felt to close. The overall rating, loses half a smiley face for the two weeks break in publishing. That was just annoying DC)