Review: RORSCHACH #4
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Jorge Fornes
Colours: Dave Stewart
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Rorschach #4: At last, it’s time for Laura’s story. The detective following Rorschach’s trail turns his eyes toward the vigilante’s female companion. Who is behind that domino mask, and what led her to team up with an old comic book creator to try to assassinate a controversial presidential candidate? These are the threads the detective must unravel-and they lead him to a circus side show and the strong man she once convinced to kill for her.
Last issue, our nameless detective started exploring the background of Laura Cummings, a.k.a. “the Kid”. In Rorschach #4, we learn that the incident shown in issue #1 wasn’t the first time she had teamed up with someone in a Rorschach costume. The detective visits that earlier Rorschach and listens to his story.
This Rorschach was a strongman at the same circus where the Kid performed as a markswoman. The strongman reveals that Laura believed that Dr. Manhattan destroyed the bodies of most of the world’s masked heroes so that they could inhabit other bodies. This would allow them to fight against the telepathic alien squids in secret.
Laura came to believe that Rorschach’s soul was inhabiting the strongman’s body. So, she convinced him to dress up as Rorschach and kill criminals who she believed were being controlled by the squid aliens.
Is it possible that the soul of Rorschach could been controlling the strongman? And was Will Myerson, the Rorschach killed in issue #1 was likewise inhabited by the soul of Rorschach? It seems ridiculous, but as the strongman says, “There are blue men who control time and there are squid invaders who kill millions with mind powers”. While we know the latter was an elaborate hoax, the former is true enough. So, in a world where Dr. Manhattan can exist, can we definitively say that the spirit of Rorschach lives on, possessing others?
The scenario shown where Dr. Manhattan destroys the bodies of the other heroes didn’t happen, but he did destroy the original Rorschach’s body. Can Dr. Manhattan destroy a soul, though?
I think it’s more likely that the spirit of Rorschach lives on in a more metaphorical sense. Others are inspired by Rorschach and Laura Cummings has gotten them to buy into her belief that Rorschach’s soul literally lives within them. But I wouldn’t put it past King to end the series with us wondering if the spirit of Rorschach’s continued existence is real or metaphorical.
There are some nice callbacks to the original Watchmen series that I appreciated seeing. This issue’s Rorschach being a circus strongman is rather reminiscent Hooded Justice. In the original series, it was hinted that Hooded Justice was also a circus Strongman named Rolf Muller.
Also, the incident with this Rorschach dropping a costumed villain down an elevator shaft brings to mind a similar incident. In Watchmen, Nite Owl mentions that the original Rorschach had done the same to a masochistic villain named Captain Carnage.
I haven’t yet found any faults with King’s story. But, I have faith in King’s writing that this series will end on an unsatisfying note, but I have no clue what conclusion he’s steering us towards. I think it’s going to be impossible to adequately judge this series until we reach that ending. But so far, it’s a fascinating tale that has me hooked.
In Rorschach #4 the mystery deepens even further The story just keeps getting more intriguing the further King takes us down the rabbit hole. This is some damn fine writing, paired with equally fine artwork from Jorge Fornes.