Due to my hectic finals schedule, I was unable to review comics last week, so I read last week’s comics this week instead. After an intriguing first issue, Tom King’s Rorschach left me hopeful that it would be the first comic to feel like a faithful continuation of the universe Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created.
Following the events of the first issue, the police go searching for the history of William Myerson, the man they believe to be the Rorschach that attempted to kill President Robert Redford. Myerson created Pontius Pirate, a popular pirate comic in this universe (since superhero comics weren’t popular due to the heroes being real). As I mentioned in my review of the first issue, Myerson appears remarkably close to Steve Ditko, both in design and background. He was a recluse artist who didn’t have many friends, spending most of his time drawing comics as seen in this issue. However, Myerson seemed to have some deep-rooted psychological trauma that could explain why he took up the mask.
The only issue is that Rorschach’s fingerprints matched that of the original Rorschach, Walter Kovacs, who is kind of dead (Dr. Manhattan turned him into an actual Rorschach ink blot in Watchmen). So while his age and background make it seem like he is Rorschach, the concrete evidence makes this hard to prove. However, the detective still searches for evidence linking Myerson to the crime.
Throughout this issue, artist Jorge Fornes and colorist Dave Stewart do an excellent job portraying the bleakness of modern New York after the events of Watchmen. The destruction wreaked by Ozymandias’s fake aliens has left a lingering mark on the city. This is likely why the flashback panels showing Myerson’s past are colored brighter than the modern day. To the people of New York, despite the threat of nuclear war, the world seemed brighter and more hopeful than it did after the city was destroyed.
The panels showcasing the comic Myerson last worked on gives us an introspective into his psyche, both with the way its drawn and the words spoken in the panels. This is a peculiar idea that I’ve never really seen before in a comic. Tom King’s choice here is quite meta. Jorge Fornes and letterer Clayton Cowles did an excellent job executing this interesting idea.
While this second issue did not move the plot forward as much as I had hoped, it was really interesting. The way King went about telling Myerson’s story is different than how most writers would have likely tackled it, making for a unique second issue. The world of Watchmen is rich in story-telling potential, and Tom King is making excellent use of it to tell this small-scale detective drama. I am certain that the larger meaning of this story will be fully realized by the end, but for now it seems like a mini-series full of potential. I am interested to see where King takes the story in the next issues now that I know what to expect.