Written By: Brian Azzarello
Pencils By: Lee Bermejo
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: OUT NOW IN STORES & DIGITAL DOWNLOAD (VIA COMIXOLOGY)
Well here it is. The one we’ve all been waiting for. Whatever your feelings are on the Before Watchmen series, having Rorschach in his own four issue limited series is enough to make any Watchmen fan interested but what has the combination of writer Brian Azzarello and Artist Lee Bermejo managed to deliver?
Well, as expected we are getting an account straight out of Rorschach’s journal. We’re hitting late seventies New York with all its nastiness and from the get go Bermejo’s work is magnificent. The already great artist is really bringing his A-game to this project and the level of detail within these pages is quite mesmerising at times. I guess this was to be expected because let’s face out, however successful this Before Watchmen series actually turns out to be, it’s the Rorschach issues and collected editions that will sell and sell once this is all over and done with. There’s a nice build to actually seeing Rorschach and when we do, this almost real world approach to the art works very well for the character, bringing New York to life around him in all its grimy goodness.
Anyway, with Rorschach tracking down some drug lords we essentially get to see our masked hero doing his day (or is that night) job. Beating on thugs, getting into fights he can’t possible win and commenting on the state of the world we live in. Rorschach is easy to love with his combination of Batman and Travis Bickle approach to filth on the streets. This issue portrays what we love about this character very well but given it’s a set up first issue and really we’re only given what we knew we’d get anyway, I can’t say that this was the big event I thought it would be somehow.
I don’t know whether Rorschach’s appearance in Nite-Owl stole this issue #1’s thunder a little bit but I much prefer what we’re seeing of him over in the Nite-Owl comics. Maybe it’s just something to do with the nostalgia of seeing Nite-Owl and Rorschach together or I prefer the 80s setting over in the other Before Watchmen series but beyond the dazzling artwork here, I never quite got the excitement I had from seeing Rorschach pop up in the Owl ship in Nite-Owl#1 or the “I like it when they run… but not at much as he does” moment in Nite-Owl #2.
Rorschach#1 set up the playing field, dropped a few hints about what’s to come (and I have to say, seeing two familiar detective again was great) and it looked glorious while doing so. It’s a solid first issue for sure and I’m certain that this title is one that is going to work better the further we travel into the tale. DC did well leaving this issue to so late, just to build up a second wave of excitement for these prequels but personally I came away a tiny bit underwhelmed. Dr. Manhattan teleports in next week and something about meeting up with the blue guy again has got me really excited.
Before Watchmen: Week 11 Overview: