Nite Owl meets his one true vice, the Twilight Lady.
Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #2
Nite Owl and Rorschach are full on crimefighting partners. On a particular sting operation, the duo takes down a gang with the help of someone neither one knows what to think of – a madame who is only know as the Twilight Lady. When they first meet, Nite Owl is caught unexpected as she “works over” a client… In the nude. When Rorschach makes his judgment that this lady is a “whore” the rift between the two heroes starts to show itself when Nite Owl punches Rorschach to prevent him from getting to Twilight Lady. The following day, the duo investigate the case of a beaten and murdered hooker. When the police admit to not caring so much about one more dead slut, Nite Owl pays yet another visit to Twilight Lady who was expecting the hero to return to her lair.
The first issue wasn’t entirely spectacular. I was disappointed how much it relied upon things we got enough of in the original Watchmen story. This time, we finally get something new and original. It still launches off of things we knew before about Dan’s undeniable attraction to the bad girls like Twilight Lady. We also know that the short-lived partnership between he and Rorschach hit a rough patch that eventually found them splitting. Here, we get to explore that a bit.
Knowing that both heroes came from homes that didn’t exactly foster the greatest of upbringing for young boys, the murdered hooker comes just after seeing Rorschach taking in some good old timey religion and remembering the more seedier moments of his life with his mother, but conjures up painful memories of Dan’s mother being constantly beaten by his father. This new case seems to reveal where this rift between the two heroes comes from. Both have not too different childhoods but their views come from completely opposite angles. Rorschach sees how his mother is treated and sees her as a stain and a harlot that is straight out of evangelical preaching. Dan sees the violence against his mom as both of them being victimized by a truly bad man. Where Dan detests violence against women based on what he saw his mom go through, Rorschach is becoming more and more deeply rooted in an ultra-religious idea that those who do anything off center from piety must be evil and they must be punished. In the first couple of pages, we already see Rorschach questioning Dan’s resilience to deliver justice. Later, Dan begins to wonder what is going on beneath Rorschach’s mask and how long will it be before he cracks completely.
The odd thing about these first two issues is that the relationships between the characters are far better than the actual plot. In the first issue, J. Michael Straczynski’s plot was almost entirely saved by the moments between Dan and Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl. The plot of bringing Nite Owl and Rorschach together, and the first meeting of the Crimebusters, felt more contrived. Here, the paths of Dan and Rorschach is far more interesting than Dan’s attraction to Twilight Lady. I feel as though something pretty damn amazing needs to surface in these next two issues to really make me believe that this exact moment in Dan Dreiberg’s career as Nite Owl is worthy of an entire mini-series.
If there’s anything that makes this series worth your $4 an issue, it’s the art of Andy and Joe Kubert. Andy’s pencils through out these first two issues have been amazing. It’s dynamic and exciting. It sets the mood brilliantly for this story. Andy’s dad, Joe, inks the book so well on top of those great pencils. It’s a superb pairing that gives the series a look that is not just dark and moody, but also gives an all around feel that we’re in the gritty underbelly of the 60s. It sets such a perfect tone that it actually elevates the script.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Phenomenal art from the Kuberts. The spectrum of Nite Owl and Rorschach and their strained relationship makes for an interesting story.||Unfortunately, outside of the character studies of the Nite Owl/Rorschach duo, the rest of the script is a little mediocre.|