Review: ‘Before Watchmen: Rorschach’ #4

by Jeremiah Wallace

Before Watchmen: Rorschach part 4 (of 4) releases today, written by Brian Azzarello of 100 Bullets fame and illustrated by Lee Bermejo, whose previous works include The Joker graphic novel and Batman Noel. Just like peanut butter and jelly this writer and artist team is perfectly suited to tell a story in this seedy, crime ridden depiction of New York in the late 70’s. This conclusion to the limited series has Rorschach’s hands full as he goes up against the horribly disfigured Rawhead, his gang of drug dealers and pimps, as well as a serial killer running around New York slicing up women. All this is happening during the infamous 1977 NYC blackout.

The story has a lot of moving parts and this issue jumps right into the action. Unfortunately there isn’t much explanation of prior events, so I recommend at the least reading the previous issue first to avoid confusion. Hopefully DC will eventually release this in trade format for those of you that couldn’t get your hands on the first 3 issues.  I just re-read the series and it flows much better as a collection.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the art is one of the highlights of this tale. Once again Lee Bermejo does an exceptional job with his use of tone, colors and backgrounds of what one might think of as “Old New York” (before Times Square turned into a tourist trap), the grime and smut just leaps off the page. It is comic book illustration at its finest.

In conclusion this limited series adds a little more depth to Rorschach. This early adventure gives readers a tad more insight in regards to his view of the world, and his inability to function as a “normal” member of society. Highly recommended, if you can get your hands on all four issues.

Jeremiah is one cool guy. Ask him about the comic he’s drawing.

More from Jeremiah Wallace

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