With the mystery of who the cartoonist William Myerson was in his back pocket, can our unnamed Detective find out any information on his accomplice, the masked woman known as The Kid? What will he discover about Laura Cummings in the Midwest of America and how does it fit in to the greater mystery of Rorschach fingerprints?
One of the best things that came out of the Watchmen TV show was seeing how the Squid affected the lives of the citizens of America.
While some people were dedicated to the betterment of humanity as a whole through scientific innovation and the “Redfordations” on the show, one side we didn’t get to see much was that of those in the Midwest of the United States, the Heartland of America. This issue of Rorschach expands on some of the ideas set forth in the TV series but flips the perspective towards those who were never quite able to get a grip on their lives, who did nothing but prepare for the inevitable war between humanity and the squids and how their paranoia shaped the future would be assassin of Candidate Turley – Laura Cummings A.K.A. The Kid.
Tom King’s writing seems to stun in this issue as we see how Laura was raised by her father from possibly about eight years old to twelve. What makes this so great is that It builds upon the notion that the squid attack gave certain people a sort of PTSD after its emergence and her father coped with that by murdering his wife, thinking she was mind controlled by the squid and becoming a doomsday prepper. As the story moves, we see that Laura was never able to adjust by having a normal childhood and that she’s been radicalized since her early years.
It’s jarring the entire time as our Unnamed Detective sits at a diner in the middle of nowhere and tries to piece together what her motivations might have been. It seems as though the area that she came from was fully in support of Turley over Redford and her father voiced how the latter was in league with the Squid somehow, but why did she try to assassinate Turley instead? It furthers the mystery behind what she truly felt before the attempt and her death and why she ended up taking arms with the liberal cartoonist in Wil Myerson.
So far this is King’s strongest writing in the series as he furthers the themes of radicalization in a polarized America and the lengths people will go to to “protect their country” from the enemy. Laura being shown as an unemotional vessel for the beliefs of others works in that there’s a line that can be drawn as to why she chose to join the new Rorschach as both versions seem to have strong ideological pulls for her to gravitate toward.
This issue also has some of the best art and colors of the series thus far from Jorge Fornés and Dave Stewart respectively.
One of the many things that excited fans when this series was announced was that Jorge Fornés would be doing the art and he has not managed to disappoint at all and this issue, he gives us some of the most striking visuals that he’s done in any series he’s had. His faces are fantastic as he gives Laura an almost expressionless face throughout the entire issue as other people’s emotions are projected on to her except in the two cases where she shows aggression during combat training and laughing with her father’s conspiratorial friends.
Jorge Fornés has a knack for panel structure and I never felt lost reading this issue, even in the moments where King’s word vomit filled the panels. Fornés works around this and manages to stun with intense close up shots, chilling single page spreads and beautiful landscapes of the American plains. I have criticized Tom King in the past for his overreliance on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ famous nine panel grid, but he directs Fornés very well in this issue by giving them meaning in their framing and impersonality despite them being insanely intimate moments.
Dave Stewart was the PERFECT colorist for this book. From the bright yellows and dark browns used, he really captures the feel of the Midwestern US. I can almost feel the hot and dry air from the page, the intensity of the sun, the chill of the winter snow with light but cool blue tones alongside the utter terror and agony of a bunch of miners trapped under rock, clawing their way out as a deep red covers the panels. Even in the moments before Laura’s death, there’s an inevitability in her fate with the glaring reds coloring her as she gets shot.
Together, these two make this a worthwhile experience in what I was sure to write off as a nothing story. I don’t know what it is, but if I had to vote on art alone, this might be one of the best looking and put together comics to come out in the last year or so, even in a year that’s had many great series, Fornés and Stewart knock this book out of the park.
I don’t know if Tom King made a secret pact with Alan Moore, but this book was absolutely fantastic. Fornés and Stewart’s visceral art only helps to elevate a well written story that had me on the fence, but managed to pull me back in. Tom King and his team have managed to get me invested and hopefully future issues can keep up this high quality of work.
Rorschach #3: Heartland Paranoia
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9.5/109.5/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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