Before Watchmen: Rorschach begins as the anti-hero prowls the gritty streets of New York.
Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1
Rorschach roams the red light district looking to break up a drug ring only to be led into a trap as a gang mercilessly beat him and leave him for dead. Meanwhile, a murderer is leaving naked women around town with messages carved into their bodies. Rorschach is able to pull himself out of the sewer where he was left by the gang where he goes to a diner to let people know that these “muggers” made a huge mistake by not killing him.
I have to admit that I have some mixed feelings about this first issue. It’s not so much the two plots that are running side by side with Rorschach tracking down a drug dealer and the murderer leaving the rhyming verses on naked bodies. If there is anything that Brian Azzerello can capture, it’s the seediness of the world in which Rorschach inhabits. Lee Bermejo’s art is absolutely gorgeous. Every page is beautifully drawn even in the ugliest of settings. Combined, this makes this first issue a great read.
However, there is one thing that kept nagging at me. It’s the narration from Rorschach. It feels a little overwritten. It doesn’t really sound like Rorschach. His sentences are too well connected. He curses. It’s not as short and sharp as we were used to in the original. As perfect as that narration from his journal was in the original, Azzarello almost writes it too well here. Rorschach’s journal was always a window into his black and white thinking and his psychosis. I understand this is 1971. I understand it’s before he truly snapped, but he just sounds too sane in this first issue.
The real funny thing was when I started reading this, I was already expecting this to be much like a few of the other books (i.e. Azzarello’s Comedian) and be more than we need from a character that was one of the main driving forces of the original. When I saw the combination of the murder mystery and Rorschach combing the dirty streets to find drug dealers, I wanted the noir elements to elevate this book to the top of the list within these prequels. Now, I’m just not entirely sure how much I liked the book and how much I didn’t like it.
I think I’ll end this review with this… If you look at Azzarello’s ability to tell the gritty noir style crime story and Bermejo’s spectacular art, it’s fantastic. Beyond that, it’s up to you to figure out how much you like the narration.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Solid story from Azzarello and drop dead gorgeous art from Bermejo.||I really didn’t care much for Rorschach’s narration.|