Comedian and a military official named Benway have managed to survive their fall from the helicopter. Only now they are deep within a forest that is surely inhabited by the Viet Cong. The injured Benway manages to get more of the story surrounding what Comedian did to the village hours before as they struggle their way out of danger as quickly as they can. Meanwhile, political forces back in America figure out how important Comedian can be for the government at large.
The problem with Before Watchmen: Comedian is how it contradicts so much from continuity. As good of a writer as Brian Azzarello has been, I can’t help but feel that he really hasn’t done his homework with regards to how to charactierize Comedian. The idea that the horrors of Vietnam shaped him into the monster that he has been portrayed as in Watchmen, not just in the other Before Watchmen books, doesn’t quite add up. There’s always been something wrong, something sinister about him. Furthermore, this whole venture in Vietnam itself has been dragging on for so long that even if the pace finally does pick up, it doesn’t have the flair or spark it needs to make the book anything special.Ã‚Â It’s just another war story and not a particularly good one at that.
The illustrations by J.G. Jones do hit the dark and gritty style that makes for dramatic and disturbing war comics. However, it’s not entirely consistent. There are panels that do close ups where the drawings are really good and evoke emotions that fit with the scene.Ã‚Â But then in the next page, there are panels with a close up that doesn’t quite fit with the tension and atmosphere. It doesn’t help that it doesn’t look quite as clean or as sharp as the previous panels. The coloring by Alex Sinclair is fine, except for the dialogue boxes. There is an exchange between Comedian and Benway as they go over what happened in the village, but the boxes have the same coloring, making it difficult to figure who is saying what.
While I won’t necessarily say that Before Watchmen: Comedian is a bad book, it’s hardly a good one either. It’s barely decent at best. Brian Azzarello ends up writing a cliche war story that contradicts the established characterizations of Comedian. The artwork by J.G. Jones look good in some pages, but then are not in others. The inconsistency that that is happening throughout makes it very difficult for any one, Watchmen fan or not, to understand or enjoy. As such, I cannot recommend this book.
What do you think of the way Brian Azzarello has been writing Comedian? Comment below and follow me on Twitter @LordAkiyama.