Friday, August 2, 2013

Review- BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN/ RORSHACH

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN/ RORSHACH (DC, 2013; Hardcover)
Collects Before Watchmen: Comedian Nos. 1-6 and Before Watchmen: Rorschach Nos. 1-4 (cover dates August, 2012- June, 2013).
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artists: J.G. Jones (Before Watchmen: Comedian) and Lee Bermejo (Before Watchmen: Rorschach).
Colorists: Alex Sinclair (Before Watchmen: Comedian Nos. 1-6), Tony Avina (Before Watchmen: Comedian No. 3), Lee Loughridge (Before Watchmen: Comedian No. 6), and Barbara Ciardo (Before Watchmen: Rorschach).

The Before Watchmen: Comedian mini-series is pretty lame. I am not familiar with Azzarello's writing, but this particular run seems like nostalgia porn. The Comedian in inserted into way too many historical scenarios for my tastes. Couple that with the fact The Comedian is an unlikable son of a bitch and you have an underwhelming read.
Azzarello also pens the Before Watchmen: Rorschach mini-series, and that one is a much better read. I could read a hundred prequel issues of Rorschach and never get tired of it. The character is the main reason I bought the Action Heroes DC Archives which collect Steve Ditko's the Question, whom Rorschach was based on.
We see Rorschach's sanity begin to crack, hinting at what was coming in the flashback sequences of the original series. I find the character to be the most interesting because there is a lot of nuance under his seemingly two-dimensional exterior. It's his ticks and convictions that always draw me back to him. Whether or not you agree with him or his motives is irrelevant. 
I'm not sure if the thrill of reading more Watchmen stories is wearing off or if the Comedian mini-series was just so uninspired that it left me cold. I actually put this book down 4 issues into the Comedian and picked up something else to read. Three down, one more hardcover to go.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.75 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Aside from the warped paper (see below), these DC Deluxe Edition hardcovers are really nice. The image is printed on the hardback itself, with no dustjacket included.
DVD-style Extras included in this book:
Before Watchmen: Comedian No. 1 Jim Lee with Scott Williams & Alex Sinclair variant cover
Before Watchmen: Comedian No. 1 Eduardo Risso variant cover
Before Watchmen: Comedian No. 2 Tim Bradstreet variant cover
Before Watchmen: Comedian No. 3 John Paul Leon variant cover
Before Watchmen: Comedian No. 4 Brian Stelfreeze variant cover
Before Watchmen: Comedian No. 5 Gary Frank and Brad Anderson variant cover
Before Watchmen: Comedian No. 6 Rafael Albuquerque variant cover
Before Watchmen: Rorschach No. 1 Jim Lee with Scott Williams & Alex Sinclair variant cover
Before Watchmen: Rorschach No. 1 Jim Steranko variant cover
Before Watchmen: Rorschach No. 2 Jock variant cover
Before Watchmen: Rorschach No. 3 Chip Kidd variant cover
Before Watchmen: Rorschach No. 4 Ivan Reis and Joe Prado with Rod Reis variant cover
Rorschach statue design by Lee Bermejo
Before Watchmen promotional poster art by Lee Bermejo (2 pages)
Cover sketch to Before Watchmen: Rorschach No. 1 by Lee Bermejo
Cover sketch to Before Watchmen: Comedian No. 4 by J.G. Jones
Comedian statue designs by J.G. Jones
Comedian statue designs by J.G. Jones with Alex Sinclair
Paper rating: 4 out of 5. This book is made in the United States, which is a huge part of the problem. I'd love to see everything made in the USA once again if the products are as good as what we get from the Chinese sweatshop printing presses. US paper mills use trees which are not allowed to cure properly once cut, which means that the trees are green when they are made into paper. The result is shitty, warped paper like the stuff found in this book. My books are all stored in a climate controlled environment, and yet this one has warped paper all over. Books made in China from virgin Amazon rainforest trees do not have this problem.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Glued binding in hardcovers this thin is not a deal breaker. The book lays reasonably flat.
Hardback cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. This has a super thick waxlike coating which is impervious to damage when handled as the product is intended. The black Beyond Watchmen band, spine, and section of equal measure on the rear cover have a different, dull texture which is really nice.


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