BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN! REVIEW

 

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: JG Jones
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Optimous Douche

 

WATCHMEN was more than a deconstruction of capes, it also served as an indictment of society. As the clock wound down to doomsday in the comic world it was representational of the fear and terror we all felt during the waning days of the Cold War. It was a spectacular piece because we believed capes could exist thanks to all of the grounded in reality sociological elements that served as a back-drop: If not for Watergate Nixon’s megalomania could have easily drove him to repeal terms of office. Vietnam would have been a relative cake walk if we sent in capes instead of children. In our ultra-politically correct and overly litigious society, legislation like the Keene act is far more believable than any tolerance of vigilantism.

While last week’s SILK SPECTRE went balls deep into the characterization of Laurie Jupiter and her Mommy/Daddy issues, THE COMEDIAN goes just the tip with Eddie Blake the man, whiel focusing more on the dirty deeds he performed to help keep America’s squeaky clean façade during the time of Camelot.

I’ve always been enamored with the Kennedy’s, long holding to the belief that the assassination of JFK sent the country into a tailspin of malaise and disillusionment that still grows exponentially with each passing year. Obama may have told us to hope, but that’s a mere waft of the actual mission Kennedy set before us as a nation to dream bigger than ourselves. Our faith in God, Country and possibly humanity was splattered across Jackie O’s pretty pill box hat that fateful day in 1963. Azzarello must feel the same, because this beginning of t8eh end for the Kennedy’s is the catalyst that leads us to the alcoholic, cynical, son-of-a-bitch COMEDIAN that greets us on page one of WATCHMEN.

Taking a page from Life Magazine, the book opens with Eddie Blake enjoying in the famous Kennedy touch football games. Blake is one of the fold; a Brother from another Mother to be sure, but his love of women, alcohol and power earn more respect from JFK than the man had for Ted and Robert combined. This chumminess between the two sets Blake in a very different light than we saw in WATCHMEN. Blake was an antagonist in WATCHMEN, the fulcrum of the dystopian undertones in the book. Yes, Blake was a bastard during WWII with all the rape and killing and what not, but he wasn’t a cynic. Yet…

We all knew that Blake was t8he government’s go-to guy for covert ops, so it makes sense he would have a relationship with Kennedy. The fact Azzarello made it an honest-to-God friendship was a nice twist, but what truly kept me glued to the page was Blake’s time spent with Jackie O as she discusses Jack’s dalliances with a certain peroxide D-cup that will destroy this country. Everyone always thought Jackie knew where little Jack went at night, but the fact she put the hit on Marilyn – fucking delicious. There’s a moment between the COMEDIAN and Marilyn’s corpse that speak more volumes about him as a man than every page combined in the original WATCHMEN.

All right, I don’t want to ruin too much of this thing. You have all the basics you need. COMEDIAN, Kennedy and yes issue one ends on November 22, 1963.

JG Jones has been gone from the DC fold for too long and it’s a travesty. The way he brings history alive in this book from the real-life visages of the famous, to the backgrounds, to the cars, everything is simply 100% authentic. What he does with those faces from an emotional stand point is simply poetic and gut-wrenching.

Some folks seem put-off by Azzarrelo’s style of clever conversational word play. Personally I love his work on books like SPACEMAN and WONDER WOMAN, but to each their own. I would caution any naysayers though to remember this is not just another comic on the shelf. The big Azz had to go for historical accuracy, so yes his style is there, but it is greatly tempered for the sake of realism and authenticity.

I was soft on MINUTEMEN for the reason I LOVE LOVE LOVE SILK SPECTRE and COMEDIAN. Give me the story of the characters I truly care about, not their parents (or the COMEDIAN eating a fucking pickle).

All I can say now is…

So, Mr. Nite Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the center of Laurie Jupiter? I can’t wait for the answer next week.

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4 Comments to “BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN! REVIEW”

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  1. kcviking says:

    Another week, another great review, douche.

    Only complaint about the book was the ending. Maybe my memory is going, but that differed from the original work. I’ll have to go back and find out.

  2. optimous_douche says:

    Thank you sir, I’m taking canon at face value with these and trying not to find strong correlatios back to the original OR the movie.

    At least that’s how I sleep at night.

  3. jaydee says:

    Nice review, Sir Douche!

    I didn’t dig this issue as much as I would have liked though. I love me some G J Jones, but I felt like this issue’s artistry came across as static, and the words on the pages didn’t really connect with me. But Azz can have that effect on me. I have trouble with Azz’s words in the mouths characters of historical fiction. I think the word-play detracts from the emotional resonance of the scene.

    But it wasn’t a BAD issue, and I’m curious to see where it’s headed.

  4. optimous_douche says:

    Yeah, I pointed that out in the review, Azz definitely tempered his style, but there’s no doubt it’s still there.

    It doesn’t have the same personal emotional impact as SILK, but the real historical usage is still awesome.

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