This article containsSPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Spencer: I wasn’t even five years old when the Cold War officially ended, so I can’t really comment on what it must have been like to live under its omnipresent dread. I have plenty of first-hand experience, though, living in 2017, a year where each and every moment has felt like it may be the world’s last, a year which has seen a constant struggle against tyrannic forces just to keep vital freedoms alive. If Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic Watchmen channeled the Cold War’s constant unease into its narrative, then Doomsday Clock does the same thing with the chaotic political battleground of 2017, creating a fraught, tense world that feels mere moments away from ending. Continue reading →
Patrick: You can’t understand Rorschach. Sorry, it’s true. The character is designed to defy your analysis and your close reading. So why attempt to explore the character’s past in Before Watchmen? What do we stand to gain from exploring the abyss? Brian Azzarello and Lee Barmejo bring the Rorschach mini-series to a close without answering these questions, leaving us to ponder what we expected of this whole experience.
Patrick: As the year comes to a close, we tend to look back favorably on what we experienced in the last 12 months. There have been some highs and lows, but through the goggles of nostalgia, I’m mostly going to remember how much fun we had starting this site and cultivating this little community of comic book nerds (hi guys!). It’s been over three months since we last saw an issue of Nite Owl, and I guess some of that rose-tinted optimism crept into my memory, momentarily distorting the quality of this series in my head. Luckily, this issue was kind enough to feature crazy, murderous Reverend Taylor Dean on page one. That’s the confused, pedantic narrative I remember! Oh, Nite Owl, it is so miserable to see you again!
Shelby: One of the many intriguing aspects of the Watchmen universe is the view of our actual history it offers. Alan Moore took the world we lived in and tweaked it just enough to allow for caped superheroes and one very real Super Man. It’s my favorite kind of science fiction; as much as I like far-flung fantasy, I’m most affected by books and stories set in times and places I believe in, that I can personally relate to. Looper is a great example; set about 40 years in the future, the people live basically the same lives we do now, the wealthy just have nicer phones and toys. Brian Azzarello has already shown us he’s very adept at blending history into the Watchmen universe with The Comedian, and with issue 3 of Rorschach, he shows us he’s actually been doing it the whole time here as well, we just didn’t notice.
Patrick: Look, not everyone’s a superhero. Right? That’s the point of Watchmen — it takes a special psychology to don a cape and cowl and fight crime by night. With each character-revelation, Alan Moore seems to say “look how fucked up these people are.” Moore employs some pretty blunt tactics to deliver this message, going so far as to devote an entire issue to Walter Kovacs’ therapy sessions. J. Michael Straczynski attempts to explore Dan Dreiberg’s mind with a similar blunt force, but ends up losing Nite Owl and Twilight Lady in the process.