Who's it by?
Before Watchmen: Comedian #2 is written by Brian Azzarello and pencilled by JG Jones. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair back-up is written by Len Wein and drawn by original series colourist John Higgins.
Edward Blake meets old friend Robert Kennedy at the Miami Beach Convention Centre. Against a backdrop of Muhammad Ali's victory against Sonny Liston, the pair discuss RFK's campaign plans and the Comedian reveals that he will be joining the struggle in Vietnam.
Jump to the conflict, and we see Blake inspiring the troops the best way he knows how - with some extreme violence against the enemy. As the US government struggles to keep the war going, the Comedian hatches a plan to ensure funding and the continued support of the American people.
What's the verdict?
Before Watchmen: Comedian #2 passes in a flash past the reader's eyes. While not a terrible comic, it suffers from a vagueness and failure to centre on the larger-than-life character himself.
While the first issue disappointed many with its surprising take on the anti-hero's history, this misses the mark regarding his character altogether. He drifts through the quasi-historical events of this comic, occasionally breaking out into his lusty and gleeful violence but never quite seeming to be the focus of the story. This is a missed opportunity, if not to expand on the character, to at least have some fun with him.
Azzarello is known as a writer who refuses to hand you a story on a plate. Frequently it takes a bit of head scratching to get to grips with his work. This is not in itself a problem (and has resulted in some fantastic work in the past) but in Comedian #2 there is a distinct sense of wooliness to the proceedings. It is all too easy to lose track of the narrative, and the effort of concentrating on it does not really deliver.
Jones's art is solid and satisfying, perfectly suiting the setting and era and combining with a story which, although it may lack strength or originality, does manage to capture the tone of the conflict. This inches it out ahead of certain other issues, where the tone has been flat or just plain bizarre.
Comedian #2 is probably not the worst offering of the prequel project so far, but there is little here to excite the reader or expand on the mythos of the violent and unpredictable hero. It may read better as a tone-setting piece when read as an entire series, but on its own is unlikely to elicit more than a shrug.
> Buy the digital version of Before Watchmen: Comedian #2
> Read our review of 'Before Watchmen: Comedian' #1
> Read our Before Watchmen interview with Dan DiDio
Watch a trailer for Before Watchmen below: