Before Watchmen: Rorschach Issue #1 finds the masked trench coat-wearing vigilante hot on the trail of a heroin dealing ring. When he meets the head of the syndicate, things begin to look bleak. They beat our hero to a pulp and leave him for dead. Meanwhile, a serial killer name the Bard is leaving a trail of corpses with hints to who he is carved into the victims. Does Rorschach have what it takes to clean up the streets of New York?
Writer Brian Azzarello does a great job interweaving two different storylines together and keeping readers mesmerized by what’s taking place in the tale. He tosses us into the thick of things right from the first page. The two different plots running through the book are smart. However, they aren’t too complex for people to keep up with simultaneously.
Artist Lee Bermejo (Batman: NOEL) delivers the great illustrations he’s known for. His style of drawing is unique and contains a lot of depth. Bermejo’s work has a realistic tone to it but doesn’t resemble the penciling of any of his peers.
My one gripe about the issue is its use of slightly detailed but very noticeable pin-ups on the wall of a XXX theater’s walls. They’re in the background, but can still be seen. It seems counterproductive to what Azzarello is trying to say about the criminal Rorschach is chasing down. We’re supposed to feel sickened by what this scumbag smack dealer is doing. However, the pages hanging on the wall show us all sorts of sexual images. It just seems like they are using pornography to tell us pornography and XXX theaters are sleazy and vile.
This features the first chapter of The Curse of the Crimson Corsair: The Evil That Men Do. It takes us into the mind of our castaway as his fate is determined by the captain of the phantom ship. Wonderful ghostly images bring the story to life visually.
Before Watchmen: Rorschach Issue #1 continues the winning streak the prequels have been on since they’ve started. I find each issue of the event just as good as the original graphic novel. Loyal Alan Moore fans will never admit it. Put all the controversy and angry tirades aside and what you have is a well-written and enjoyable addition to the Watchmen lore.