Comicscape: Moloch #1 - Mania.com



Comicscape: Moloch #1

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Comicscape: Moloch #1

I spy with my third eye

By Joel Rickenbach     November 14, 2012
Source: Mania.com

 We're now very deep into the Before Watchmen experiment, in fact, the end draws neigh. There was a lot of talk questioning whether or not these books should even exist. Many Maniacs expressed their adamant refusal to even give the books a chance in our comments section. Nevertheless, the books were released throughout the summer and fall, and the Mania collective of writers deemed them worthy of review. Whether you loved or hated the idea, they were far too big of a geek culture event for us to ignore. Much to our surprise, the books ended up being rather good, and in some cases, great. Each one had a unique flavor brought on by a pool of very talented writers and artists. Their necessity is still up for debate, but we've been treated to some very good comics. We have a few more character issues left, a Dollar Bill one-shot, the epilogue, and of course- Moloch. It may seem like a bit of a stretch to try and flesh out such a minor character, but maybe there are some choice revelations to be had. As we've done for the rest of the Before Watchmen first issues, I'm enlisting the help of my fellow Mania writers to see if Moloch is a worthy addition to the line.
 
My review:
Grade: C+

Sadly, for the second time, J. Michael Straczynski comes up with a story that's by the book to a fault. All the clichés are here- A kid with a deformation is picked on, bullied and tricked. He finds his escape- Magic, and uses it to gain some modicum of popularity. Of course, this backfires on him, the other kids had no intention of actually befriending him, so he gets his first taste of murder, and it's down the winding road of crime from there. This could all be interesting if Moloch's internal monologue revealed something other than emptiness. He just sort of coasts through life, locking into a routine battling the Minutemen. The most interesting part is when he actually acknowledges it. The bright spot is Eduardo Risso's art. He's in my personal top five artists, and he brings a lot of his trademarks to the table here. His unbelievable use of shadow, his deep character expressions, and his little visual stories that play out through the panels. It's not his very best work, but a merely "good" Risso trumps most other artists any day. The frustrating thing about Moloch is that it's not bad, it's just uninteresting. I was hoping for a nice twist on who we assumed he was, but as of now he's exactly who we expected. Hopefully the second issue will take a few turns towards the unexpected. 

Robert T. Trate - Columnist and Critic    

Grade: A+


This was the one book I didn’t expect or know about. A book about the only true villain in Watchmen saga. Hell, yes. What I didn’t expect was how sucked in I was by Straczynski’s work. The confessions of killer and madman always make a great tale, but here it was as sorrowful as Matt Frewer’s performance in the film. His tale is one of a man spurned by the world and his attempt to make something out of it. Eduardo Risso’s art work paints a picture of a different time and twisted world truly allowing us to see Moloch’s perspective. What I found odd was that this book could have been a stand-alone tale. A one shot and nothing more. Moloch’s fate is interwoven into the Watchmen characters so well, that another issue isn’t necessary. However, what I got was so rich and layered that I welcome where Staczynski is going to take us next. 

Chuck Francisco - Columnist and Critic    

Grade: C+


Before Watchmen: Moloch is a study in duality. It works very hard in establishing a menacing persona, penning a compelling origin story for a character we've only ever seen as infirm. In this way, it's much clearer why the Watchmen view this malformed man as such a threat, when he seems anything but in the original source material. The story almost feels like an origin story from The Joker's point of view, though Moloch is more like Mysterio then the clown price of crime. 


While the tale is strongly told, the art leaves something to be desired. It's sufficient to the task, but offers little more. The pallet is muddy; the colors come off uninspired. Perhaps it was a conscious choice, to reflect the tediously ugly nature of Moloch's existence, but knowing that doesn't make the artwork anymore fun to look at. Moloch #1 is worth it for the story alone, though you might be better off waiting until this two issue series is collected into a trade.


Jarrett Kruse - TV Critic

Grade: A-


In an origin tale of the not-so-super villain Moloch the Watchmen fan is given a peek behind the magic cloak of the B-List villain. In this age of anti-bullying it was interesting to see a sad tale of young boy that looked different and was treated horribly by both his peers and his family. During the 1930’s, Moloch barely made it through the giant cracks in the system and was feared by children and adults alike. But like many born with a problem they cannot change Moloch was determined to change his circumstances. To change his luck via magic would be his ticket out.

After becoming Moloch the Mystic, Edgar was able to live the life that he thought would fill the void of what he missed growing up. All of the personal relationships and guidance that he was not equipped with was something he would now acquire by force if necessary. It was amazing to see JMS paint this picture for us with the moral that if you do not like who you are on the inside then there is nothing that money or crime can do to change that. However Moloch refused to accept any of his flaws and only cared about what others thought of his appearance. He truly never thought that he was not worthy of anyone’s love. By the time The Minutemen and eventually Dr. Manhattan stop his reign of crime, they are almost like the extended family that he never had. 

Heartbreaking to read and hear an older Moloch in confession regaling his awful tale for a priest, the large-eared criminal did not mean to set on this path. He just wanted to be part of the team. Or at the very least, he did not want to be chosen last.  Unfortunately his ticket was punched as soon as he exited the birth canal based on what he looked like on the outside and not what kind of person he was within.

New Releases for November 14th, 2012

 

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COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 2 of 2
1 
millean 11/14/2012 10:08:52 AM

I read it.  It wasn't too bad.  If you like the other books, you should like this one.

jedibanner 11/14/2012 3:17:24 PM

Somehow I feel the article points at me....I don't know why....

1 

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