DC Comics And Beyond – Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1

DC Comics, Before Watchmen, Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo, Joker

I’ve been pleasantly surprised on several levels by this event from DC, so it’s time to review the latest release!

Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1. Here’s the description from dccomics.com: “Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo reunite for this Before Watchmen tale of crime and (very painful) punishment. ‘What made you this way?’ And don’t miss the latest chapter of the Crimson Corsair backup epic from writer Len Wein and artist John Higgins!”

We’ve probably all heard that Alan Moore doesn’t care for what DC is doing — revisiting the Watchmen via prequels. But several great “name” comic creators have been doing a wonderful job with the books, and I’ve been sure to get them in my weekly stack of stuff. I’m happy to say that the sales numbers have been pretty strong as well, better than I expected!

This book gives us some background for Rorschach, who has been one of the most popular Watchmen of all. Like the rest of the Before Watchmen event, this comic isn’t for the younger readers among us. It’s very adult, a place this character feels right at home in!

Azzarello is probably best known for his 100 Bullets books as well as his successful take on Wonder Woman, the first to be popular in quite some time. Bermejo created Batman: Noel, which is for me a holiday classic. The pair has worked together before on a gripping book about The Joker. So this team has quite the heavy hitters!

First off, the stunning cover for this issue is my favorite so far! You actually see Rorschach in his own mask, and I really liked that.

DC Comics, Before Watchmen, Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo, JokerThe story is a powerful one, showing us that a human crime fighter doesn’t always come away from a fight unscathed. We suffer with our hero as he literally takes a serious beating while in the seamy underbelly of crime in his city.

The most gripping part of the issue happens during a conversation between Rorschach (not wearing his mask, for once) and a waitress in a diner. After explaining his injuries by saying he was mugged the night before, Rorschach says, “The muggers … they made a mistake.” The waitress responds, “Meaning you didn’t have anything on you … .” Rorschach returns with a dramatic line, “Meaning I’m not dead.” If I were those criminals, I’d relocate fast!

Like all the other Before Watchmen comics to date, this one is a worthy successor to the original series. If you haven’t been reading them, I highly recommend that you do!

More New 52 Reviews: Here are more quick thoughts on the DC books out this week. First, Nightwing takes on Paragon from The Republic of Tomorrow. Birds Of Prey takes on Poison Ivy’s rebellion. Catwoman #12 once again has the Penguin involved. Red Hood And The Outlaws #12 continues the group’s outer-space adventure. Then came Green Lantern, with a startling revelation about Hal Jordan. Next, Green Lantern Corps #12 by Peter J. Tomasi shows the end of one of the corps ! Wonder Woman features the birth of a child! Batwoman #12 features the return of J.H. Williams III. Captain Atom focuses on the people around the character and their fondest desires. Supergirl journeys to the bottom of the sea. Legion Of Super-Heroes battles the Dominators, one of my favorite DC alien races. Blue Beetle takes on the Blood Beetle. DC Comics Presents focuses on Kid Flash. Good reading all around!

Other books worth picking up this week included Green Lantern: The Animated Series #5 and Shade #11 of 12 from DC Comics; Avengers Academy #35  and Daredevil #17 from Marvel; Extermination  #3 and Peanuts Vol. 2  #1  from BOOM! Studios; Fatale #7 and Walking Dead #101 from Image; Jericho Season 4 #1 from IDW; as well as Bloodshot #2 and Harbinger #3 from Valiant.

Before Watchmen, DC Comics, Alan Moore, Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo, Rorschach

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Comments (2)

Why exactly are you “happy to say that the sales numbers are pretty strong as well, better than I expected!”?

How does this affect you? I can’t help but see that comment as a bit snide.

The key here was that a book like this, a prequel to such a huge, genre defining series as Watchmen, could end up being pretty hit or miss. It was great to see that sales on this book were strong. It meant that at least, at that time, DC was doing something right.

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