The comic book event of the summer is nigh! Before Watchmen, the much-anticipated prequel series to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, will consist of seven limited series and an epilogue one-shot. Stay tuned, as the Fanboy Comics crew will be reviewing each title as it is released. Hurm.
Nite Owl #2 sort of gives us that Nite Owl/Rorschach team-up we’ve been looking for. We certainly get a closer look at their friendship, the different reasons they chose to don an alternate identity, and their respective messed up relationships with women, notably their mothers. The dialogue between them isn’t as comedic as in Issue #1, but those who thought there were too many “Hurms” from Rorschach in Issue #1 will be pleased to note there isn’t a single one in Issue #2. Nite Owl #2 again makes great use of flashbacks to fill in gaps in the characters’ histories. In particular, the flashback of a young Dan first making an attachment to Nite Owl is particularly well executed.
Now, let’s talk about what’s not so great in this issue. First, not much happens. While Issue #1 was a nice, self-contained story, you can feel JMS dragging his heels in Issue #2 as he realizes he needs to have two more issues of content. While fans finally get a further glimpse into a Rorschach/Nite Owl team-up, the two spend most of the issue apart, so in the end we’re still denied much in the way of these moments. Then, there’s the issue of women. All of the female characters in Nite Owl are valued only as sexual beings, and while the similarity between Rorschach and Nite Owl’s relationships with their mothers makes for great character exploration, the mothers’ part in the cycle of abuse and having kids they didn’t want didn’t sit well with me, like their mothers were being blamed as the root of all of their problems. Introduced in this issue is the Twilight Lady, who provides an interesting twist on this idea, as she is the one delivering the beatings to men and owns her sexuality. I can see where JMS is going with her, but I still wish we had a strong female character not defined by her sexuality in this book or even one who didn’t have to be naked to be strong.
As a psychological examination of Rorschach and Nite Owl, this book really works. What’s revealed isn’t going to shock anyone already familiar with Watchmen, but for someone looking for a little more exploration of the characters’ flaws and the start to a Rorschach and Nite Owl story, Issue #2 is going to please them.