After what seemed like an eternity, the last issue of ‘Before Watchmen – Rorschach’ has finally hit the shelves at our local comic book stores. Though it wasn’t spectacular off the bat, things started to pick up in issue #3. Did the series finish with a bang? Or was it as disappointing as the earlier issues? Well, I’ll get to that.
When we last left Rorschach, he was hot on the trail of the prostitute killer known as The Bard that was plaguing the city and his search lead him to Rawhead, who didn’t take too kindly to Walter Kovacs’ meddling. So to get the hero off his back, Rawhead captured Rorschach, causing him to miss his date with the nice waitress from the diner that he asked out (yeah, that’s still weird to me). But while Walter was detained, another man stepped in to take his place: The Bard.
Now, in the conclusion to the series, Walter is being held captive and tortured by Rawhead’s goons while the boss joins the city in the looting and pillaging, all while wearing Rorschach’s mask. Meanwhile, the Bard closed in on the waitress.
So, to answer your question from the introduction, I’ll be blunt. I was pretty disappointed in the ending of this series. Rorschach is one of my favorite Watchmen and I didn’t feel like the series as a whole did him justice. I think one of the major problems is that there was too much going on. Juggling the Bard and Rawhead made things complicated, and not in the good way. If Brian Azzarello focused more on Bard instead of Rawhead, then I think the series would have been more interesting. I wanted to hear about the Bard and his serial killings and Rorschach’s plan to stop it. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t succeed in the way that he wanted or that he made a mistake somewhere. That would have been interesting. What wasn’t interesting was this random Kingpin wannabe roughing up the dark vigilante for some reason. It just wasn’t working for me. But I will give the writer some credit. Of his two ‘Before Watchmen’ titles, this one was way better. It was more focused and it was able to keep my attention better. It would have kept my attention even better if they didn’t come out every two months, but that’s not really the writer’s fault. Also, it probably wasn’t his fault that there was no credits/recap page either. That’s an editorial thing, I think, and it’s a little weird that one was left out of this issue.
When ‘Before Watchmen’ first started, I was optimistic about it. I know that many considered it to be sacrilege, but I really thought that if it was done right, then it would have been okay. Well, fast-forward to now. Almost all of the titles are wrapped up and the whole thing has met with mostly negative reviews. I know that ‘Silk Spectre’ and ‘Minutemen’ were pretty good, but I wasn’t reviewing them, so I didn’t pick them up. Of the ones that I did pick up, ‘Nite Owl’ ended up being my favorite, which I was not expecting at all. I thought that some good would come out of Rorschach and the Comedian, but I was pretty wrong there. Looking back on it now, I kinda wish that I waited for the trades to check out ‘Before Watchmen’. Reading them as they came out was pretty disappointing, which is a huge shame. Maybe DC should have listened to Alan Moore when he put down the idea for this event.
The last thing I’ll say about ‘Rorschach’ and ‘Before Watchmen’ is that I hope that they leave the characters where they are now. It was a failed experiment, so accept it and move on. Please leave Watchmen be, DC. Go ahead and reissue the original in a special edition reprint, but don’t go adding more to the story again. As for fans who are curious about it, the trades come out in July. Definitely get Volume 1 featuring ‘Minutemen’ and ‘Silk Spectre’, maybe get Volume 3 for ‘Nite Owl’, but other than that, pick up the other two at your own risk.
BEFORE WATCHMEN – RORSCHACH #4
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO
Art by LEE BERMEJO & BARBRA CIARDO