With The Kid's background squarely in his pocket, what will our Unnamed Detective uncover about her plot that turns the entire case on its head? And what does it have to do with Rorschach, the Crimebusters and The Squid itself?
Tom King has a strange way with making basic characters unreasonably interesting.
From Kite-Man, to Mister Miracle, Adam Strange and now Laura Cummings, also known as The Kid, King has managed to somehow make this character someone worth keeping an eye on. Coming off of an amazing last issue, we get to learn more about Laura as she steps into the world of adulthood as a carnival attraction and eventually begins to reveal more of what her own personal motivations are and how she could potentially be either a hero or an insane villain in the world of Watchmen.
Running with the theme of paranoid radicalization from the last issue, King begins to weave in the idea that William Myerson was only one in a potentially long line of men that The Kid seems to have convinced to be Rorschach. By planting the idea that Doctor Manhattan destroyed the other members of the Crimebusters bodies and placed their souls in new bodies so that the Squids couldn’t control their heroic and capable minds like they did others, Laura was able to build strong relationships that made those men more able to commit violent acts than they might have been before.
There can be a few ways to interpret this, but one of the ideas that I find likely is how the worm of certain political ideologies is able to make its way into people’s brains, convincing them that the other side is being brainwashed and that the only way to get through to them is with violence and death. Dressing as a once beloved hero (or barely tolerated anti-hero) whose ideals resonated with a lot of people is one way to do just that. You act as a symbol, a way of showing people that there’s a way to fight against that brainwashing, but the problem lies therein – The Kid, herself is a product of this exact type of methodology.
Tom King understands that and shows us the consequences of her actions as our Unnamed Detective questions a Circus Strongman that had committed a series of murders as Rorschach and then was abandoned by The Kid when he was caught, still believing in her story and conspiracy even when he’s told that she was killed while trying to assassinate Candidate Turley. The worm made its way into his ear and no amount of convincing will show him otherwise and he’s convinced that whoever’s soul inhabited her body will transfer to the next person and continue her mission.
As always, Jorge Fornes, Dave Stewart and Clayton Cowles bring this issue together with their fantastic art, colors and lettering.
Jorge Fornes has a way of adding this weird charm to each scene that only makes Laura’s deception all the more devious and still believable. The way she smiles and looks at the Strongman and the way he looks at her, longingly, but knowing that she doesn’t like him or likely anyone else in the same way just feels so real. Fornes draws him with such a quiet aura, such as a scene when Laura confronts him, in the rain, about killing a man that drunkenly confesses to beating his wife. He looks almost expressionless, like he doesn’t care that he’s guilty of that crime, but does care that Laura had been avoiding him after. That air is then horrifically peeled away when he begins to savagely murder and kill the people that Laura wants him to after she tells him about her conspiracy theory – and that’s only one example of how powerful his scenes are.
Stewarts colors give these same scenes the power they need to move forward. In the aforementioned rain scene, Stewart colors it with a sort of teal-ish hue, typically symbolizing open communication and clarity, given that this is the first the paid had talked since the Strongman murdered the drunk. Which also likely means that this is the time when she begins to explain her line of thought to him. Stewart peppers these similar moments throughout with red sprinkled in certain scenes that Laura’s in or that Rorschach is killing people, possibly symbolizing a religious fervor for their mission.
Clayton Cowles is a phenomenal letterer. The book has no semblance of a misplaced word bubble, bad sound effect or anything of the sort. Everything is in a good place, not obscuring the action, taking up all of the empty space in some panels and even finding ways to make almost paragraph long monologues seem like a breeze to read. The sound effects are excellently used, especially one where a supervillain is thrown down an elevator shaft and his AHHHHHH, spins and shrinks downward as he falls – even the small SRRKKKK with the closing of the elevator door is a nice touch.
While not on the same exact level as the last issue, Tom King and his creative team continue to weave the mystery of The Kid and the Squid, making the hole deeper and more interesting with each entry in the story. So far, the book is far more than a cash grab on the Watchmen name and is slowly living up to the pathos of the titular character and all those cursed to wear his face.
Rorschach #4: Mind Controlling Squids and…Soul Transference?
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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