Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Before Watchmen: Comedian #1
"You never struck me as an idealist, Eddie." Thus speaks First Lady Jackie Kennedy as she urges Eddie (The Comedian) Blake to assassinate Marilyn Monroe in the third chapter of the DC Comics' 35-part event. The 20-page lead story ("Smile") by Brian Azzarello (writer), J.G. Jones (interior and standard cover artist), and Alex Sinclair (colorist) may be the best chapter yet.
As a stand-alone tale, the readers are led through a tale of political intrigue as the middle-aged (about 40) but not-yet-jaded Blake is a trusted confidant of the First Family, playing football at Hyannisport between hit jobs. Azzarello throws several curves in this issue, as Blake is portrayed in a sympathetic manner, palling around with Jack & Bobby, swigging drinks with his old enemy Moloch, and exchanging banter with J. Edgar's g-men. Not only was the Comedian an antagonist in the original series, Darwyn Cooke also played up Blake as a sadistic juvenile in BW Minuteman #1. Here though we see Eddie's softer, gentler side. Well, after we first see Blake's hard nude body sitting next to Monroe's corpse.
The art by the usually polished Jones is less detailed than his usual work, though still adequate. His skill shows in capturing the various characters' conflicting emotions, be it JFK's sunny discipline, Moloch's tears of tragedy, or Jackie's homicidal seduction. The action scenes are laid out well, be they Eddie's sportsplay or with Blake defying the FBI agents in a hormone-filled rage. And Sinclair's colors take advantage of the palate options available to set the perfect ambiance for Jones' illustrations of '60s ambivalence.
And this chapter is the perfect encapsulation of '60s contradictions: Love vs. devotion. Hope vs. heartache. Duty vs. calling. Law vs. justice. As always, here's hoping next week is as good or better!