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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The stories from the mini-series Comedian (6 issues) and Rorschach (4 issues) are collected as Before Watchmen: Comedian / Rorschach HC. These stories, set (obviously) before the events of the 25 year-old Watchmen TP International Edition mini-series slot flawlessly into the continuity. I have read three of the collected editions so far, and though the previous two volumes have contained superbly scripted stories, with excellent artwork, this collection somehow didn't work for me at all. However, all the stories have managed to capture the feel of the original, add depth to the back-stories, and contribute their own twists to the overall plot, while being excellent, occasionally brilliant, stories in their own right.

COMEDIAN
Well he didn't shoot Kennedy - not that one, anyway - but Marilyn, well, that's another story. The stories follow the Comedian from his time as close confidante of the Kennedys - really, he was arresting Moloch when the news broke; through his time in Viet-Nam, setting up the American drug trade to finance their black-ops, to actually inciting American military action, triggering race riots in the US, all the way to My-Lai, and on to Chicago. The stories may have meant more to American audiences, but they seemed to be showing a sort of growing corruption in the various American institutions, with no-one able to control, direct or stop events that were spiralling out of control, and taking the Comedian along for the ride.

RORSCHACH
This appears to be a straightforward hunt for a serial killer set against the corruption and squalor of the section of the city that Rorschach calls home. I thought his share of the Night Owl story in Before Watchmen: Nite Owl / Dr. Manhattan HC was far superior to this, and was everything we really needed to know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2015
I have mixed feelings about this book.

Judged by normal comic book standards, it's a resonable read, maybe 3.5 stars. Nothing ground-breaking but pretty well written and very well illustrated.

My problem lies with the fact that this book exists at all. The original Alan Moore comic book series sits in the top 5 of pretty much every 'Best Comic Books' list ever written, and with good reason. Its virtually perfect.

Writer Brian Azzarello had what I see as an impossible task here. To write anything which in any way tried to change the way you look at these characters would have been universally labelled sacrilege. So what we have here is a couple of tales about Comedian and Rorschach which add nothing to the characters whatsoever. To be fair to him, Azzarello clearly understands and loves these characters, they do seem very similar to the Moore versions.

But the stories feel pointless. Comedian is unhinged, he's violent and he's a misogynist. He works for the US government both in warzones and domestically but does things in his own way. Rorschach hates crime, detests criminals, he's uncompromising and a bit scary. He goes after smaller street-level villains and dishes out punishment.

In other words there is no character development, nothing which adds anything at all to these characters or how we understand them. But then that's probably better than the alternative.

If you haven't read Watchmen and are wondering if you should read these prequels first the answer is a resounding NO. Read the original. Like, now. If you are a big Watchmen fan and desperate for more Rorschach and Comedian action then this is not a terrible book by any means, but for me it just proved that DC should have left Watchmen well alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2014
Simply because of the Comedian story arc, this is probably the weakest of the 'Before Watchmen' series. The Comedian's tale simply didn't work for me, not least because it didn't seem to fit well with the continuity from either the original story, or the other 'Before Watchmen' editions. The character's experiences in Vietnam jar with the 'Minutemen' story, as does his political stance. The aim seems to be to eke out some sympathy, but it just seems forced, and is far too long an arc. I'll re-read it, but I can't see it helping.

Rorschach's arc is better, but I couldn't help feeling that superior material was used in the Nite Owl arc, which explored the character's past experiences to a greater degree, not to mention his bond with Dreiberg - which was closer to Moore's concept that the two characters were flip sides of the same coin. The story here is just a bit forgettable and doesn't add much to the overall saga at all.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 17 August 2013
Below I have given each of the separate stories a score out of five.

Before Watchmen Comedian - ****
Before Watchmen Rorschach - **

Personally the comedian story I did enjoy. Out of all the characters in the original Watchmen novel comedian, he was probably the least engaged with by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, so it was interesting to learn some of the back story here. Without spilling the beans too much, throughout Edward Blake's prequel you see an interesting relationship with the president form and relive the comedians call up and departure form Vietnam. The art is also neat, its nothing jaw dropping but certainly not bad in anyway.

On the other hand the Rorschach story felt rushed and incomplete somehow. Being probably the most popular of the bunch from Watchmen I expected this prequel to be the most developed and thorough. The art and coloring was not too my liking either, I understand the need to reinforce the dark morality and grittiness of a character such as Rorschach but I thought Azzarello and Bermejo took this a bit too far.

If your a big fan of Watchmen then I would give this a try, but wouldn't make it a must read, hopefully the other Before Watchmen novels are an improvement.
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on 6 May 2015
Great action,gives a more straightforward approach than the original and you get to see these two characters fight more than in the original comic. You also get to see more about Rorscach's personal life which really works to his advantage. As Rorscach is my fviourite Watchman (not to mention vigilante as well) I love how you get to see how good he is at fighting, yet (as meny superheroes do) not necessarily win every fight.
generally kick-ass comic ALMOST as good as the original and i can't wait to read the rest of the series.
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on 22 February 2015
I think if u don't like the Watchmen movie, u would like these comics more (especially Comedians) as they make an effort to show that its a completely separate entity to the film.
All of the stories are good (some are better than others)
Ironically the worst one is probably Rorschach, its still good, its just the worst of a great bunch, it has gorgeous art but the story is just meh
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2013
Oh dear, Really poor all round. The Comedian is as hollow a story as you'll find in comics. Really stiff art work as well . Too many photo referenced likenesses really don't help. As far removed from the original Watchmen as you will find. Rorschach is better but then it's not hard. There are better things to spend your money on. The weakest of the Before Watchmen books by far.
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on 18 February 2015
The J Witt's review mirrors my own sentiments. This was disappointing. Unlike the other "Before" titles, this edition brought nothing of consequence to the Watchmen universe. In usual comic book terms I'd give it a 2.5 perhaps but for this series it is not worthy of being part of the series.
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on 16 May 2014
Speedy delivery and great service- and I really really loved this book: a must-have for any Watchmen fan. And plus these two were my favourite characters.
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on 15 May 2015
It is what it is. Not on par with the original book by any means, but an interesting diversion. I read the whole thing during a short plane journey.
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