'Before Watchmen: Moloch #1' Review - A Magician Reveals His Secrets


BW Moloch 1The 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. 


The origins for most of the characters of Watchmen were revealed in the original graphic novel and have since been expanded in Before Watchmen, but one area had been largely ignored until now: the villains. Edward Jacobi, a.k.a. Moloch the Mystic, plays a small part in the original graphic novel, and though he was reformed at the time, in the past he was a supervillain who went up against both the Minutemen and the Watchmen. In this series, we see just what drove this deformed boy to become one of the most dangerous threats to the heroes of the Watchmen universe.

Simply put, Moloch is a well-told story. Ostracized from birth because of his unusual appearance, Moloch's struggles with his identity and self-hatred are palpable and painful to bear witness. I'm a sucker for a well-told story about identity, and Straczynski and Risso nailed it in this issue. Many scenes had me wincing at the stuff Moloch was put through just for being different. Furthermore, to the team's credit, this wasn't done by vilifying the heroes or through some other cheap trick; I felt for Moloch and understood his decision to turn to villainy, because I got to know him.

Risso's art, by itself, didn't do anything for me, but I loved the way he framed shots. Moloch's face is often obscured or in shadows, because he states that he can't bear the sight of himself. Performing magicians are framed to be larger than life, and, in many other ways, the art is expertly used to frame the story from the perspective of Moloch, which made it much easier to feel what it was like to walk a mile in his tuxedo shoes.

I have to acknowledge the length of this series. This first issue was pretty meaty in terms of content, covering a significant portion of Moloch's background, and it feels like one more issue is just the right length to tell this story. The writing and the art really came together on this to produce an excellent story about an otherwise pretty minor character. The next time I read Watchmen, I'm going to feel a lot differently when I see Rorschach intimidating Moloch and shoving him into a refrigerator.



Last modified on Monday, 31 December 2018 23:03

Kristine Chester, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor

Favorite Comic Book SeriesAtomic Robo
Favorite D&D Class:  Wizard
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:  Cookies N' Cream

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