Sunday, August 11, 2013
Before Watchmen is the "prequel" series to the graphic novel Watchmen, and for my birthday, one of my pals gave me the combo pack of my two favorite characters: the Comedian & Rorschach! Even though I am always really excited about prequels or retrospective stories about characters, I was leery of this series because it has nothing to do with Alan Moore, the original author of Watchmen.
I read the entire book in a sitting so it was definitely entertaining enough, but it wasn't really what I expected. I was under the impression that "Before" Watchmen would be a genuine prequel, showing the experiences that formed the Comedian and Rorschach into who they are, or the events directly preceding them joining the Minutemen or Watchmen.
The Comedian's story takes place in the 1960s, focusing heavily on Camelot and Vietnam, which is between the original 1940s Minutemen group and the second wave of Minutemen in the 1970s. It is definitely interesting if you are into that era of history, especially the many governmental conspiracies and cover-up stories surrounding the Kennedys and the war. My main complaint is that the Comedian's involvement with some of these topics are nowhere near in line with the canon of the original book or even the movie.
Rorschach's story takes place in 1977, the same year as the Keene Act, which was the piece of legislation that outlawed vigilantism and masked "heroes". His story was much more interesting to me, probably because it was more personal to Rorschach and less focused on alternate historical timelines. It takes place over a few days, featuring him trying to take down a small criminal ring in the city. But what I really enjoyed was that it shows him as the real man, Walter Kovacs, in his personal life.
I suppose both of these stories take place before 1985, so it still counts as "before" Watchmen, technically. I thought they would take place long before the events of Watchmen, but the stories were still great!