I finally found where I packed my old trusty blue background. It could use a good scrubbing, but that’s nothing new. Since Uncle Sam was done on the fly, I’m calling this my first official 2013 review and what better way to kick things off than with an all-new line that I’m really excited about?
If you’ve just come out of a thirty-year coma or only recently gotten over some allergic reaction to all things geek, then you might not have heard of Rorschach or the story that spawned him, Watchmen. It’s doubtful that’s the case, but in the name of thoroughness…
Walter Kovacs was given a raw deal when he came into this world. He never knew his father. His mother was an abusive prostitute. And for the first few years of his life, things only got worse from there. After he was removed from his mother’s case, things looked up for Walter. He grew up, excelled in school, held a normal job, and ultimately embarked on a superhero career to help others as Rorschach. But he was never able to escape his origins. When we find him at the start of Watchmen, the abuse and suffering as a child coupled with the darker side of the world he would see as Rorschach to leave him either insane or ultra-sane, depending on your interpretation. Rorschach isn’t the protagonist of Watchmen, I’m not sure there really is one, but he’s integral to the story as the voice of righteousness; his sense of right & wrong providing us one viewpoint on the morally-conflicting events that unfold throughout the story.
While I find Rorschach fascinating as a character (I often wonder if Moore even intended for us to like him), it’s also interesting how he came about. When Watchmen was conceived the intention was to use the characters DC had acquired from Charlton. At that stage, there was no Rorschach, only Charlton’s Question. At some point, DC directed Moore to create all-new characters for his story. That ended up being a boon for Watchmen if you ask me. The story excels partly because of the “mostly” original characters. One small tangible example of this is Rorschach’s mask. The constantly changing inkblot mask is genius and visually sets Rorschach apart before you even get into the story.
The first thing that surprised me about the figure was the packaging. As you all know, I’ve been crazy busy since probably November. It’s been one thing after another and my time to browse my favorite toy sites has been limited. As such, I hadn’t seen a single thing about Rorschach’s packaging when the January Matty box appeared. I opened it up expecting the usual sea of white boxes, but instead was greeted by this slick, black box featuring Watchmen iconography on nearly every side.
Inside that box was another surprise, a clamshell package that featured a few more things to look at including a strange, but neat coaster-type piece that features some new art and a Rorschach biography on the back. The depiction of Rorschach is a little more cartoonlike than I’d care for, but I love how everything is put together. This is a real problem for me because I delight in recycling packaging. It takes up space I don’t have; even when it’s beautiful, it’s beautiful trash at best, right? But I haven’t been able to toss this one yet. This may be one of those rare times where I simply have to make room to store the packaging. We’ll see if I change my tune when I’ve got a hefty pile of all six, but for now they did a great job and it gets to stay.
When it comes to the figure itself, I should point out that when I said “all-new” in the opener, that’s kind of a misnomer. Yes, the 6” comic-based Watchmen figures represent a new toy line from Mattel, but I think a lot of us might just see the line as six additional DC figures, particularly when they’re going to be largely built with parts long-used in the DC Classics’ offerings.
In fact, Rorschach’s “Question origin” comes into play in this way as well. He is largely the Question figure, requiring only new forearms, the soft plastic trench coat, and the new head. Despite the reuse, I think the figure pulls off the look masterfully. I’ve heard some complaints about the re-use, like the figure looking fat from the layers, but it falls on deaf ears for me. I was downright giddy when I freed Rorschach from the box. I’m still giddy playing with him at my desk while I right this. He looks fantastic. This is pretty much what I’ve always wanted. Continue to Page 2…