DC Comics' Rorschach #1 is now on sale, and needless to say Watchmen fans have some burning questions about the series (and why it even exists). The story of Watchmen has grown into an entire universe in recent years, thanks to the DC Comics "Doomsday Clock" event and HBO's Emmy-winning Watchmen limited series. The HBO series revealed itself to be a clever sequel to the original Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons Watchmen comic; now writer Tom King and DC Comics are embracing that Watchmen TV adaptation, by having Rorschach #1 slyly confirm that it is basically a sequel story to the HBO Watchmen series!
Warning - SPOILERS for DC's Rorschach #1 Follow!
The much-debated first issue of Rorschach functions more like an episode of Law & Order than something set in the Watchmen universe. It starts with a political rally that turns into a thwarted assassination attempted by two costumed perpetrators - one in a Rorschach outfit. The cop and FBI agent assigned to the case spend most of the issue doing some hard-boiled digging into who is trying to kill a presidential candidate, without stirring up media controversy. Along the path of that investigation, Tom King weaves in brushstrokes of where this series fits into the larger Watchmen universe.
When the lawmen get to the examiner's office to take a look at the costumes the would-be assassins wore, we get this interesting bit of conversation, regarding the iconography of the Rorschach costume:
"What about the masks?"
"Store-bought. Just Halloween stuff. Made in China, like everything else. We're trying to track where they were bought. They probably paid cash, but maybe there's cameras. You can get lucky. But there's a million of these things. It's a pretty popular costume. Even after Oklahoma."
The mention of "Oklahoma" is a big ringing bell for fans who watched HBO's Watchmen. That series was set in Tulsa, Oklahoma and followed how a local policewoman/vigilante named Sister Night (Regina King), who gets caught between protecting her lover, Doctor Manhattan (hiding in human form), and stopping a nationalist fringe group who use the Rorschach mask as their uniform. So with this comic book mention, Tom King effectively makes the events of the HBO Watchmen TV show an official part of the DC Comics canon, and sets this Rorschach series as a sequel to both the original Watchmen comic, and the TV series.
So far, the connections between these Watchmen projects are tangential - we'll see if that continues.
Rorschach #1 is now on sale via DC Comics.