It seems that DC has been having a sudden infatuation with the universe of Alan Moore’s Watchmen over the last few years. Between Geoff Johns’ Doomsday Clock, the HBO Watchmen series and now Tom King’s Rorschach, DC seems to be diving further into this world. Hopefully Rorschach will be more consistent than Doomsday Clock was.
Rorschach begins just like the original Watchmen comic, with a murder. Two masked people, one dressed as Rorschach, have been killed at a presidential event. The two appeared be anti-fascists targeting the President of the United States, Robert Redford. The comic follows a detective investigating who they were underneath the mask. It seems the man underneath the Rorschach mask is quite a mystery, being a recluse shut-in (similar to Question creator Steve Ditko, the character Rorschach was based on in the original comic).
The comic is an interesting take on what the world of Watchmen would be like in the modern day. It seems the comic will be tackling modern politics, primarily anti-fascism as it is portrayed here in the United States. The story Tom King is telling here is an interesting one, but it does not get fleshed out much here as King spends most of this issue re-introducing the world. Much like the world of Watchmen, the political climate feels bleak. The colorful presence of the presidential event greatly contrasts the bleak world outside, and while King intended this to be the case, it is Rorschach‘s artist team that brought this world to life.
On the surface, the art by Jorge Fornes and Dave Stewart seems simple. Upon second glance, the story told through their art and the way they command the eye is brilliant. It reminds me greatly of the original Watchmen comic without using its iconic nine-panel grids. The 12-panel grid pages were likely a nightmare to work on, but they paid off by drawing the reader’s attention to small elements, swapping focus between the radio and the visual environment surrounding the detective. These panels perfectly display how much the world, especially New York City, has changed in the 40 years since the events of the original Watchmen.
This first issue of Rorschach does an excellent job introducing us to a story, but it is not quite as interesting as the world around it. Hopefully this changes in the next issue, as the reveal at the end definitely left me excited for what’s to come. Tom King is one of my favorite comic writers right now and I am certain he is telling this story for a reason. Unlike Doomsday Clock, Rorschach is not trying to be a sequel to Watchmen and what a blessing that is.