BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN/RORSCHACH is a graphic novel collecting two series in DC Entertainment’s BEFORE WATCHMEN line, Both series are written by Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, WONDER WOMAN) with art in COMEDIAN by J.G. Jones (FINAL CRISIS) and in RORSCHACH by Lee Bermejo (WILDC.A.T.S.)
COMEDIAN follows the life of Edward Blake, aka the Comedian during the 1960s. The story reveals his close relationship to the Kennedys, both John and Robert, and his work for the CIA. After President Kennedy assassination, Edward loses himself in Vietnam, becoming more violent and unstable. He starts to see how everything he believed in was a joke and that he is the only one laughing.
RORSCHACH follows the unstable masked crimefighter and he takes on the scum of New York’s underworld. A near fatal encounter with a crime boss named Rawhead sets him off on a one man war against his gang. Meanwhile, a serial killer named the Bard is killing off women and carving words onto their flesh.
Brian Azzarello work in both book is good. He writes both characters as flawed men, both committed to doing what they think is right, no matter what the cost. With the Comedian, it cost him friends and even his sanity; with Rorschach, he is already so far gone that he doesn’t know anything else. Again, with the BEFORE WATCHMEN books, the writer is constrained by what occurs in the main series. There is no real development or surprises in this story, besides some collateral damage.
Both Jones’ and Bermejo’s art work well in their books. Both draw their stories dark and moody. Overall, the art in both books are well done.
This collection suffers from the same main problem as the rest of the series. but are by no means bad. The story is decent, though I preferred RORSCACH’s tale of urban decay to COMEDIAN’s inserting the main character into real-life horrors and tragedy, like an anti-Forrest Gump. Azzarello is a very good writer, given free reign to write the story as he see fit (check out his current run on the New 52 Wonder Woman, one of the best things to come out of that). He did not have that in these stories, which is too bad.
BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN/RORSCHACH is on sale now at books stores and comic shops. It retails for $29.99 US ($35.00 CDN) and IS SUGGESTED FOR MATURE READERS