Friday, August 23, 2013

Booknote: Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach

Brian Azzarello,, Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach. New York: DC Comics, 2013. ISBN: 9781401238933.

Azzarello was certainly the author suited to write these two tales. Both tales deal with dark, gritty individuals. In addition, Bermejo's art catches the urban grit and weariness. His art also captures Rorschach's extreme, obsessive nature well.

We get two stories in this volume. The first is the Comedian's tale, covering his days as a soldier and spook mask for the U.S. government first in Vietnam and then back in the U.S. A man who was friends with the Kennedys, Comedian was the man sent when a dirty job needed to be done. I did find the alternate history elements in this story of interest. Rorschach's is the second tale. He is a man tormented by a rough childhood featuring an abusive father. He is also obsessed with punishing evil as he sees it no matter what. Remember his line from Watchmen about not compromising on this even in the face of Armageddon. We get an early tale here where he confronts a prostitution ring and its ruthless leader.

Overall, the tales add some background and layer to these characters. However, as in other volumes, much of the insights here may be things we already knew if we read Watchmen. Fans who feel a need to complete the circle will probably want to pick this one up. Libraries that already have Watchmen will want to pick this and the other volumes in the series for their readers.

I'd give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Note to appease The Man: I read this as an electronic galley provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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