The last issue of The Comedian’s Before Watchmen saga had the man assassinating Marilyn Monroe and witnessing the death of John F. Kennedy. This issue finds Blake in Vietnam, giving tactical and physical support prior to the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Last month I wrote about how The Comedian’s inaugural issue didn’t impress me, relying on history as a device to add legitimacy to a mediocre story. After reading this second issue I feel the same. While many of the Before Watchmen books have been more impressive than I thought they’d be I still can’t get behind The Comedian series.
The only interesting thing about this installment is its suggestion that the United States government is selling drugs out of Vietnam to kids in America. This coincides a bit with the drug issues in Silk Spectre’s book, where government officials and record executives introduce a form of LSD that makes people buy things. It’s possible these books will tie together at some point, with drugs being at the forefront. Personally, I don’t think that’s a bad idea—creating an alternate version of 1960s drug culture loosely based on known facts (MK-Ultra, etc.)—and a clever way to make these comics have a degree of historical relevancy.
Unlike the last issue, this chapter has more action, with The Comedian killing scores of Vietcong and enjoying it. Artist J.G. Jones (Final Crisis, Wanted) depicts the joy on Blake’s face as he stabs an enemy repeatedly perfectly, demonstrating that he’s a decent artist. I still think Brian Azzarello’s (100 Bullets) story needs work and hopefully the next few issues of The Comedian will pull the story together, demonstrating that this venture isn’t anything more than high-budget fan fiction.