Just as soon as he appears, a new Rorschach has been killed by the FBI, but somehow his fingerprints match those of the Original. What will our Detective discover about the perpetrator and how will it tie back to Walter Kovacs, the Objectivist Crimebuster known as Rorschach?
Tom King’s best issues are the ones with very few things happening.
Far more compelling than the first issue of this series, Tom King continues his political thriller by pulling readers into a fairly interesting crime noir issue as we learn more about the potential new (and former) Rorschach, William Myerson, and the relationships he had with the other residents in his apartment complex. Through some questioning, our unnamed Detective is able to build something of a starting profile for Myerson – an introverted loner, spurned by a neighbor who he had a bad date with and angry at her new husband for poking fun at the date, then a killer motivated by that rage spilling over.
Myerson’s a bit interesting as he seems to resemble the fictionalized version of what many fans believe Steve Ditko was later in his life; a recluse, curmudgeon who continued to make character like The Question and Mr. A to tell more political stories as he wanted to get away from the things that made him famous. While looking for clues, our detective comes across a few pages of Myerson’s latest work called “The Citizen,” with a faceless character resembling Rorschach and The Question while speaking of the virtues of compromise and peace (opposite Rorschach’s ideals).
While King does a good job in these avenues, the noir storytelling and characterizations, I still don’t really get the feeling that this is a “Watchmen” related book. I know it bears the name of one of its heroes and even makes scant references to “the Squid,” and it may just be early issue jitters and Moore-fanboyism, but this template could be applied to any number of indie detective books. The only thread holding it together is the unsolved mystery of Rorschach’s fingerprints coming as a match on Myerson’s hands. This just as easily could have been a Question book about a fan going rogue, but there’s something about it that just isn’t clicking.
King’s writing here makes it seem as though some of the smaller pieces are starting to come together, and that’s only brought further by Jorge Fornés stellar art and Dave Stewart’s colors. The theme color of this issue is orange-red as that seems to be the running motif for flashbacks, symbolizing the bubbling rage of Myerson as it builds and builds before exploding into a hot red when he confronts his neighbor’s husband for his snide remarks. Stewart makes this small color change devastating and terrifying in the few instances that he uses them, but they are effective.
Fornés’ art is a sequential masterpiece. The initial pages show the Detective going through Myerson’s apartment as flashback panels are placed in between to show the state of the complex, Myerson and his accomplice, Laura Cummings, between when they were still alive and during the investigation. This gives scenes a bit of gravitas as The Detective retraces their steps and Myerson’s workspace during the search for clues. His panel composition works amazingly well as it isn’t the nine panel grid that Tom King loves so much, but different for each character.
Fornés utilizes mostly static shots to show just how much of an ordinary man that Myerson was, basic, inoffensive and standard until he dons the Rorschach mask and things take a turn for the worse with imposing low angle shots. The Unnamed Detective is given similar treatment with a lot of flat shots, but some are pulled out to show how much of a distance there is between himself and the reader/the people he’s talking to. When we do get close up shots, he doesn’t say anything and looks mostly expressionless, like there’s not much of a character to be gleaned or it’s less about him and more about the investigation itself.
Through Tom King’s fine writing and the fantastic artwork between Jorge Fornes and Dave Stewart, this issue of Rorschach was a treat. Blending gritty detective storytelling with near minimalist art, this creative team is weaving a great mystery, though as it continues, I hope it finds more ways to tie into the Watchmen universe outside of just a few references and the titular heroes name.
Rorschach #2: We Have “The Question” at Home
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 7/107/10
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