It’s time to meet the favorite punching bag of the Watchmen universe, Moloch!
Before Watchmen: Moloch #1
Just before his parole, Moloch, Edward Jacobi, is speaking to a priest looking for a new way of life. He recounts his criminal background and where it began. It started through being born different and treated with a great deal of cruelty from both his parents and his schoolmates. Later, he would be introduced to the world of magic after visiting a carnival. Just when he realized it was taking him to new places, he realized that using his tricks to pull off heists and run a criminal empire was something he enjoyed much more. As he’s released, his world changes much more than he could ever expect when Adrian Veidt shows up to talk about the future.
This is the start of a small story that was tacked on as sort of a “second wave” of these Before Watchmen stories. J. Michael Straczynski does a great job with this first issue by studying this character that we don’t really know a great deal about outside that he was essentially the arch nemesis of the entire Watchmen universe. In the original, we didn’t see too much of who this person was. We knew he was a thorn in the side of the earlier mystery men and we saw that he was involved with Ozymandias’ plot. Aside from that, what we see of him is a cancer-ridden, old man who was near death when he was assassinated when Rorschach got too close. For the most part he really seemed to be a sad character that was a little more of a joke than anything else.
Here, JMS heightens him to a level of a true monster. He’s more than just a kingpin. He’s a killer and from a very early age too. Like other characters we’ve seen in Watchmen (both past and present), he’s a complete prodigy of his surroundings. No one loved him and hardly anyone could bare to look at him. He’s about as classic a villain as you can get and that’s where this story really wins. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this little two parter. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be necessary or all that interesting. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the JMS character study.
Then there’s the art of Eduardo Risso. Again, looking back on both the original and the current Watchmen stories, we mostly have seen him to be a tall, skinny man with weird Spock ears. Risso completely twisted him. At first I wasn’t a big fan. It almost seemed as though Risso was just making him a little goblin of sorts. As I continued to read and think about it and tried to make heads or tails of the visuals when it hit me like a ton of bricks. Risso portrayed Jacobi as he sees himself – this little monster who was ugly and unworthy of attention or love. Notice whenever he was in a happier place – the carnival, on stage, etc – he was shown more normal. Whenever he wrestled with his self esteem, he was portrayed as a grotesque weirdo. It’s positively brilliant and made the book that much more interesting.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Very solid script from JMS that turned out to be much more interesting than I expected. Risso’s art is clever and brilliantly done from Moloch’s point of view more than anything else.||None! Very surprised how much I really liked this issue.|