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Watchmen: Doomsday Clock

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Warning: Contains Minor Spoilers For Both The Original Series And Issue #1 Of Doomsday Clock.

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Never was a truer word said Doc… since DC Comics and sensational scribe Geoff Johns are once again returning us to the dystopian landscape of Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins’ original groundbreaking 80’s maxi-series.

I am a self confessed Watchmen fanboy, it is without a shadow of a doubt my favourite comic-book series of all time. When I first read Alan Moore’s trailblazing series in 1986, I was blown away, it was a unique and contemporary take on the Superhero genre, a treatise on social anxiety and a complete deconstruction of traditional Superhero conceptualisation, it was different in every single way possible to everything that came before it, and is almost single-handedly responsible for completely transforming the face of the comic-book medium for future creators and readers… a veritable masterpiece.

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Since that time we have been regaled with a scant few other forays into Moore’s apocalyptic vision, from director Zack Snyder’s masterful cinematic adaptation in 2009, a motion comic version of the original series also released in 2009 to coincide with the film, through DC’s prequel series ‘Before Watchmen’ released in 2012. And though some fans revelled in the new material presented to us (myself included) others believed that the original story should have always been left as a standalone project, with whom co-creator Alan Moore has always sided.

I personally believe that any beloved piece of creation, be it film, novel and comic-book should always be given a chance to grow and present itself to a new and modern audience, Snyder’s movie was the first instance of this for Watchmen, opening up the material to new fans, but at the same time being honest and respectful to Moore’s original vision. Watchmen is a world that has so many more tales to tell, and even more lessons to bestow upon its readership, and with Geoff John’s new 12 issue ‘Doomsday Clock’ series DC are doing just that… oh, and it also means a return of irascible masked vigilante – Rorschach, but not in the way any of us were actually expecting!

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Yay, Rorschach’s Rambunctious Return… But Wait A Minute, Didn’t Doc Manhattan literally Explode Him At The End Of The Original Series!? The Answer Is An Intriguing Enigma For Sure!

Doomsday Clock #1 is our first foray back into the pandemonium that is the world of Watchmen, a direct sequel to the iconic 80’s series, and as controversial as that seems to some fans, as I stated earlier, I’m more than happy to once again step into the chaotic and dystopic world of the titular crimebusters. Sequels, movie adaptations etc do not dilute the original works, and if done correctly can only add more layers to the existing whole, plus if the idea of a Watchmen sequel is in any way sacrilegious to you, then you can always ignore it and continue to enjoy Moore’s sterling original tale in all its well deserved glory.

The series is initially set seven years after the end of the original story, it’s 1992 and the world is still in turmoil after the event set into motion by Ozymandias, but, with his scheme now laid bare, the world is once again on the brink of nuclear armageddon. With this premise Geoff Johns and artist Gary Franks effortlessly transport us back to the wonderfully dark and grimy world set up by Moore, stylistically the comic evokes the original material beautifully, from the dialogue set through to the originals nine panel grid layout, visually this feels perfectly at home with its predecessor.

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And I haven’t even mentioned the ‘Rebirth’ connection to the DC Universe that started this soon to be iconic pairing of two distinct comic-book worlds, if you have been following along with the unfurling tale of Doctor Manhattan and his apparent meddling with the classic DC heroes, then prepare yourself for a series that will hopefully snake its eventual way to the answers behind the cryptic clues already let loose.

If you’re a fan of Watchmen, and can get past the apparent controversy that a sequel to the seminal original exists, then I say definitely pick this up. Johns has presented to us a well written, dark, but at times, also amusing return to the world of masked vigilantes, chaos and deep rooted fears and anxiety, and I for one am glad to continue my protracted stay in its fatalistic presence. Recommended.

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My copy of Doomsday Clock was purchased at my very favourite comic-book emporium – Final Frontier, located in Fore Street, Exeter in the UK.

Watchmen And Images Copyright: DC Comics.

 

 

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The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

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Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of  ‘The Week In Geek’  where we love to share our favourite – Comic Book, Video-Game and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so once more unto the geek dear agents, once more…

Lara Croft Triumphantly Returns To The Silver Screen In First Trailer For Her New Movie…

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Quintessentially English archaeologist and raider of tombs, Lara Croft will triumphantly return to the big screen in 2018, with Swedish actress Alicia Vikander portraying the much loved iconic video-game heroine. It has actually been an astonishing fourteen years since the much beloved character was last seen in a live action role, as depicted by Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider: Cradle Of Life, so let’s be honest, a new movie following our favourite globetrotting, relic hunting bad-ass superheroine is looooong overdue!

We are huge fans of the lovely Lara here in the Precinct and have been ever since we got our hands on her original video-game outing way back in 1996 on our my highly missed Sega Saturn. The original game by British developers Eidos Interactive revolved around the exploits of super archaelogist and adventurer Ms Croft and tasked the player with guiding the titular heroine through various tombs and ruins searching for long lost mythological artifacts whilst avoiding death traps, wild animals and solving puzzles.

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The new film is based upon the 2013 reboot and is looking really rather wonderful, one of the things we were worried about was whether or not Alicia would be able to nail Lara’s extremely British accent, but judging by the first trailer for the film, it’s sounding pretty damn good (being English myself, I approve!) Revel in the first trailer for the film (below), and then lament that we have to wait until March 2018 to see it:

 

Shazam Movie To Start Pre-Production Early 2018

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“SHAZAM!!”  *looks at self, realises nothing has happened* “dammit, it doesn’t seem to work for mere mortals such as myself (sigh)…” you see whenever classic DC character Billy Batson utters the magical phrase ‘Shazam’ he turns into the iconic and mystical superhero… uh… Shazam! (formerly known as Captain Marvel) 

Shazam’s first appearance was in Whiz Comics #2 in 1940, and revolved around the adventures of 12 year old Billy Batson, who upon speaking the magic word of the six immortal elders: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury transformed into the adult Superhero with powers that include, flight, super strength, super speed, magical lightning and spell casting. The long awaited movie adaptation has been waiting in the wings for what seems like forever, but news has emerged that principal photography will begin early next year. Apart from that little else is known about the project including casting details… more as we hear it fellow fans of fantastic fiction.

HBO Confirms Watchmen TV Pilot Episode…

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Yes, yes, yes… YES! I love Watchmen, it is without a shadow of a doubt my absolute favourite comic book series of all time, the Zack Snyder directed 2009 movie adaptation was a masterpiece, and now it seems we are going to be getting an episodic TV series based upon the masterful 80’s series, and by HBO no less… so quality is mostly assured!

The Cable network company has officially ordered the pilot and also commissioned extra scripts from screenwriter and producer Damon Lindeloff (Lost, Star Trek) for his take on Alan Moore’s iconic series. Lindeloff is a huge fan of both the original source material and Zack Snyder’s own take, and mentioned in a recent interview with Hollywood Reporter that – “The original comic series continues to influence my work, from the flashbacks to the non linear storytelling, to the deeply flawed characters, these are elements I try to put into everything I write”  Soooooo exciting, I literally cannot wait for Rorschach’s rambunctious return!

Why not join us again next time friends for more Week In Geek.

Precinct1313’s Heroes From The Dark Side: Rorschach

Warning: Contains spoilers for the original comic series and movie adaptation.’

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“Because there is good and there is evil, and evil must be punished, even in the face of Armageddon I shall not compromise in this” – Rorschach, 1985.

 

Comics changed inextricably in the 1980’s, they matured into a more complex and intricate form of literature. Now this isn’t to say that previous to the eighties the stories and characters contained within the pages of this popular graphic medium were badly written or simplistic, there are many instances of fantastic character depth and sagacity from earlier decades.

Yet, the 1980’s was a significant time of fundamental change in the way people approached not only the entertainment medium, but also politics and their place in the world itself. Here in the UK the revolutionary, anti-establishment Punk Rock movement, which rose out of the peoples’ inherent distrust of their government and the way the country was being run opened a lot of eyes to what the average person could actually do to show their frustration and disappointment of the direction their lives were being taken. I truly believe that the maturation of comic books themselves began here in Britain, thanks to Punk, and the general feeling that the population had with their governance. 

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It was the weekly anthology comic 2000 AD that initially led the way, thanks to characters like Judge Dredd, who were directly influenced by politics and social movements of the late seventies and early eighties within the United Kingdom. Both writers and artists began to use the medium to more freely explore their attitudes and perspective on the way the real world was unfolding before them. Arguably the most famous and outspoken was Alan Moore, this literary genius has bestowed upon us such luminary and dissenting works as V for Vendetta (which unreservedly drew upon the 70’s Punk rebellion and previous anti establishment works such as George Orwell’s dystopian “1984”), and of course the seminal Watchmen.

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Watchmen originated from the mind of comic-book writer extraordinaire, Alan Moore in 1986 with artwork by Dave Gibbons and John Higgins. Published by DC Comics, the project was originally submitted to them using the Charlton comics characters that they had recently acquired the rights to – Captain Atom, Blue Beetle and the Question amongst others were going to be the basis of the Watchmen themselves, but DC were reluctant to use any of it’s current characters outside of their existing timeline. Instead executive editor at DC at the time, Dick Giordano proposed the creation of new characters for the story and so, Captain Atom became Dr Manhattan, Blue Beetle became Nite- Owl, and the Question gave birth to the ‘paranoid, sociopathic’ masked vigilante… Rorschach. 

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Rorschach is the lead protagonist of the Watchmen, with the audience following along with him throughout the story through the use of both his monologues and regular diary entries. You could say that of all the Watchmen Rorschach is the true hero of the piece, though at only a cursory glance he seems a very one note character, callous and sociopathic.

Rorschach initially comes across as an unapologetic vigilante who perceives the world around him in very black & white terms, there is only right and wrong, no middle ground, though under the surface he is very much a deeper character. Rorschach is the most relatable and empathetic of the group, the downtrodden everyman who has finally reached the point where he’s had enough of the cruelty, unjust and indifference of society at large, deciding to fight back and adopting a persona that would enable him to do just that.

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Rorschach was born Walter Kovacs in 1940, his father was unknown to him and he lived solely with his mother Sylvia. His mother was a prostitute who regularly entertained her ‘clients’ in their run-down home, she was abusive to her son both physically and mentally. At the age of eleven Walter got into a fight with two local neighbourhood bullies, unwilling to tolerate their abuse anymore, Walter fought back for the first time in his life, battering the two older bullies, leaving them hospitalised and in one case permanently scarred. Upon looking into Walter’s home life, the authorities saw the conditions that he was forced to live under and removed him from his mother’s care, and he was resettled in a local boys home.

Walter excelled from a young age at sports and was also a very gifted boxer. He left the boys home at the age of sixteen, and found a job in a dress shop where he would cut and fashion fabric for the clothing, it was here that he came across the unique fabric that would eventually become his famous ink blot mask.

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Throughout the 1960’s Walter would fight crime as the masked vigilante Rorschach, and though his methodology was ruthless, he never killed any of the criminals, they would end up most of the time brutally beaten and hospitalised, but very much alive. The incident that changed Rorschach and ultimately sent him down the path of his own destruction was the kidnapping case of  Blair Roche. Tracking the killer to an abandoned shop, Rorschach found the the young girl’s charred clothing in a stove and observed the killer’s two dogs chewing on a human bone. This was a turning point for Walter’s fragile psyche, unable to hold in his rage and having no belief in the justice system at large, he killed the girl’s murderer and would from that point on continue to do so to all of the most violent of criminals he encountered.

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Rorschach occasionally teamed up with another costumed crime-fighter, Dan Dreiberg, aka Nite-Owl to take down more prolific and dangerous criminals and organisations, and then eventually alongside Nite-Owl he joined the newly formed superhero team- the Crimebusters. This group reintroduced the idea of a team of crime-fighters, the first mass team up since the original Minute-men team from the 1940’s, the Crimebusters consisted of Dr Manhattan, Ozymandias, Captain Metropolis, Silk Spectre, the Comedian, Nite-Owl and of course Rorschach

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After a public outcry against masked vigilantes, the government eventually passed the Keene act which outlawed unsanctioned crime-fighters, the Crimebusters disbanded, except, of course, Rorschach himself who refused to give up the mask and retire from crime-fighting, both Dr Manhattan and the Comedian would continue to work covertly as government agents in various conflicts and war zones around the world.

Whilst investigating the murder of Edward Blake, Rorschach discovers that Blake was actually the civilian persona of the Comedian, concluding that he was probably killed in revenge for his role as a member of the Crimebusters. Convinced there is a ‘mask killer’ on the loose, Rorschach decides to warn his ex team-mates and investigate the case further. During this investigation, Rorschach is framed by the killer of the Comedian after an unknown tip places him at the home of murdered reformed Super-Villain, Moloch. Rorschach is captured by the police and incarcerated.

A dangerous place for any crime-fighter, especially Rorschach, considering half of the current inmates were interned here through his direct actions, this sequence of events is what elicits Rorschach’s famous and much loved quote – “None of you seem to understand, I’m not locked in here with you, you are locked in here, with me!” When the prison erupts into a violent uprising, Rorschach uses the resulting confusion and chaos to escape, with the help of recently out of retirement Crimebusters, Nite-Owl and Silk Spectre.

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Rorschach, reunited with his crime busting partner Nite-Owl, continued his investigation into Blake’s death, which would lead him not only to the shocking truth of who was actually behind the murder, but eventually his own demise. Rorschach left the world as he entered, uncompromising and implacable. A violent, pitiable man, shaped by his unfortunate past who fought for what he perceived was right and just. He is the epitome of the anti-hero archetype, a self righteous persona residing in a morally grey area of vehemence and rage, though through his often inexcusable actions he did manage to offer some hope and aspiration to a world seething in corruption and deceit, and ultimately ended his life… A Hero.

Rorschach’s Quote Of The Week…

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Who said Rorschach doesn’t understand subtlety… Whoever it was, is probably in intensive care right now!!

‘Rorschach – bringing unstable masked vigilantism to the masses since 1986!’

 

Rorschach is copyright: DC Comics.    Rorschach Quotes are copyright: Precinct1313’s Ninja Squad (and you really, really do not want to upset them!)

Seven Years Of The Watchmen

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“Rorschach’s journal – April 6, 2016. Seven years ago I starred in one of the greatest cinematic triumphs of all time. In it the streets were extended gutters, and the gutters were full of critics, and when the drains finally scabbed over, the fans looked up and shouted save us, and Zack Snyder whispered “Yes”.

Seven years ago today, the greatest piece of comic book fiction ever wrought was finally released on film by visual auteur Zack Snyder. His triumphant cinematic reworking of the supposedly unfilmable comic series from the eighties was hailed by the fans as a masterpiece of modern dystopian Superhero cinema, but received tepid reviews from critics (Mmmm, now this seems familiar).

(Warning: Spoilers ahoy)

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Who watches the Watchmen?  Ozymandias does…

The Watchmen limited comic series was released by DC Comics in 1986, it was a collaborative effort of three superstar British comic book creators, Writer Alan Moore, Artist Dave Gibbons and Artist/Colourist John Higgins. Moore originally posited to DC that he wanted to use their acquired Charlton Comics characters as the basis for the story, but DC’s managing editor of the time Dick Giordano, persuaded Moore to create new characters instead, as the usage of DC’s now integrated (into the DC universe) Charlton heroes would have rendered them almost unusable in future timelines because of the direction they would have taken as a result of Moore’s suggested storyline. 

Alan Moore is widely regarded as the greatest comic book author of all time, apart from Watchmen, Moore also introduced us to V for Vendetta, Batman: The Killing Joke and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but it is Watchmen that propelled Moore to the rank of numero uno in the highly competitive comic book market.

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Protagonist Rorschach narrates the story throughout with regular diary entries and monologues

Alan Moore’s writing usually takes a dark and dystopian route through pre-existing tropes, subverting and twisting characters to fit into his alternate timelines. Watchmen is a satirical look at superheroes, that reflects the era it was written, be it through the politics of the time (80’s Britain was a particularly political hot-bed) or emerging trends and people’s apprehension of the future.

Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985, and follows masked vigilante Rorschach as he and other retired members of the Superteam – Crimebusters, investigate the murder of one of their former colleagues – The Comedian. In Moore’s universe, costumed heroes first appeared in the 1940’s, and were a collection of former Police officers and disgruntled citizens who ‘masked up’ to take down an increasing number of criminals who had taken to wearing costumes to disguise themselves from recognition.

In the early eighties with the world on the brink of a nuclear holocaust, and with an outcry by the general populace against masked vigilantes, costumed heroes were outlawed, and most faded into retirement or (in the case of the Comedian and Dr Manhattan) went to work covertly for the Government. Rorschach though continued to fight crime unsanctioned, wanted by the Police he refused to abandon his principles and castigated his former team-mates for their cowardice in the face of the costumed vigilante ban.

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After the murder of The Comedian, Rorschach manages to convince former team-mates, Nite-Owl II and Silk Spectre II to come out of retirement and help investigate what he believes is a conspiracy to kill members of the Crimebusters. Moore’s take on Superheroes is not for the faint of heart, it is a mature and sometimes shocking take on a popular medium, set in a totalitarian, regressive society consumed with fear and anxiety.

Unto this premise comes visual mastermind director Zack Snyder, riding high on his successful conversion of Frank Miller’s “300” graphic novel, he set his sights on DC’s Watchmen, and in 2009 presented us with perfection in comic book to film form. His film mirrored its source material beautifully, condensing the story somewhat, but still supplying every nuance and important depth of plot that the original comic series conveyed. His choice of actors were astonishingly close to their fictional selves, especially the casting of Jackie Earle-Haley as titular protagonist Rorschach. This film has ultimately become the cornerstone of Zack Snyder’s career, only recently equalled (in our humble opinion) by his take on DC’s Trinity in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, which shares many similarities to Watchmen in both tone and visual style.

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Seven years on and Watchmen is now more highly regarded amongst its former critics, still loved by the fans and is one of the first ‘R’ rated (18 rated here in the UK) Superhero movies, long before characters like Deadpool were ever conceived for the big screen. Snyder’s film is visually enthralling, deep and concise in its portrayal of the original classic series, as much a must watch now as it ever was, not only one of the greatest comic book movies of all time… but literally one of the greatest movies of all time! 

watchmen emoWho Watches The Watchmen?… You Should!

 

Rorschach’s Quote Of The Week

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Rorschach giving the finger to technology…

‘Rorschach, bringing unstable masked vigilantism to the masses since 1986!’

Rorschach Returns?

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Who Watches The Watchmen? Hopefully We Do!

To an interminably die-hard Watchmen fan like myself, there can be no greater news than the live action return of Alan Moore’s fabled comic characters, and you know what, it’s looking like we are one step closer to seeing just that. Zack Snyder, director of the fantastic 2009 film adaptation of Moore’s groundbreaking graphic novel, has approached studio HBO with the (really rather marvellous) idea of a weekly Watchmen television series.  

As to what form the series may take, it’s rather early to predict at this time, but considering we have already been treated to the original 80’s tale, the series would more than likely take inspiration from the 2012 comic prequel series “Before Watchmen.”  These consisted of eight separate mini-series each following one of the main characters from the Watchmen and served as a forerunner to the original Moore series. Of course it could go the other way and create a wholly original story involving our volatile team of heroes, whatever form the show may take however, it is still exciting news. More Rorschach?… oh hell yes!

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Rorschach’s Quote Of The Week…

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Well this is pretty damn profound for a character that everyone believes is just a psychotic, sociopathic masked vigilante, just goes to prove that you should never judge a book by its cover… oh and if you disagree with him, he will literally break every bone in your body!!!

Rorschach; bringing unstable masked vigilantism to the masses since 1986!

 

Rorschach; Copyright DC Comics.

Rorschach’s Quote Of The Week…

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Next time you find yourself incarcerated in a maximum security prison full of Supervillains and crazies, use this classic Rorschach quote and everything should be fine*

 

*By ‘should be fine’  we mean it absolutely won’t be, and you should probably put your head between your legs and kiss your arse goodbye!

Rorschach – Bringing unstable masked vigilantism to the masses since 1986!

Rorschach’s Quote Of The Week…

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Are Supervillains getting you down?  Tired of having sand kicked in your face by the Joker? Well we have you covered, next time Bane gets in your face just quote a line from Rorschach’s limited vocabulary and watch as those masked villains run for the hills. Rorschach: bringing unstable masked vigilantism to the masses since 1986!

New Comics Spotlight: Pax Americana #1

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Blue Beetle: The original Nite-Owl

Pax Americana #1 is another chapter in DC Comic’s ongoing Multiversity saga, the multiple universe spanning story that takes place on alternate Earths, giving the reader variant versions of their favourite characters, Pax Americana tells the story of Earth 4’s heroes and villains.

Written by Grant Morrison, this is definitely his version of the classic 1980’s award winning comic The Watchmen. Set on Earth 4, it tells its story in an intriguing new way (which I won’t spoil here – go read it friends), when the President of the United States is assassinated, heroes Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, The Question, Nightshade and Peacemaker come together to unearth the truth behind the secrets and lies of his assassination.

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The Question in full on Rorschach mode

What really cements it as a Watchmen homage are the DC characters chosen to star in this new Multiversity story, The Question is the original template for vigilante Rorschach, Captain Atom was the original Dr Manhattan and Blue Beetle is the character that Nite-Owl was based upon.  Morrison’s love of Alan Moore’s Watchmen shines bright in this comic, a fantastic story in its own right, and a must buy for all fans of The Watchmen.

Pax Americana #1 is written by Grant Morrison, with cover and interior art by Frank Quitely.

 

Precinct1313’s all time favourite comic-book characters..daily countdown.

Welcome back…

NUMBER 7 is: Rorschach.

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Walter Kovacs aka Rorschach was created by Alan Moore for the 1986 comic-book mini series ‘the Watchmen’. Rorschach like the other members of the Watchmen, is based upon other earlier Charlton comics characters..with Rorschach being inspired by the Question. The Watchmen is a ground breaking series of comics that introduces us to the darker more violent psyche of the superhero , and none are as dark or as psychotic as Rorschach. Rorschach grew up in the slums with his mother who was a prostitute, seeing the seedy side of life at an early age changed him and as he grew up he vowed to bring the guilty his own brand of violent justice. Wearing his infamous ink blot mask, Rorschach wreaks vengeance upon the criminal underbelly and though he has no super-powers he is an extremely gifted combatant, intelligent and sociopathic..Rorschach is a very dangerous and volatile foe, feared by many.

In 2009, the film version of the Watchmen was released..directed by Zack Snyder it was a fantastic translation of the original comic series, Rorschach was played brilliantly by Jackie Earle Haley. The film is very close to its original source material and is highly recommended.