In Rorschach #8 by Tom King and Jorge Fornés, the Black Label comic reveals the continued effects of the events of HBO’s Watchmen television series.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Rorschach #8 by Tom King, Jorge Fornés, Dave Stewart and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
When the Black Label series Rorschach began, it was confirmed to take place in the universe of HBO’s Watchmen. The television series, which ran for a limited, nine-episode run in 2019, took place in the present day, 34 years after the events of the Watchmen comic by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins. It served as a modern-day sequel to the comic and now, Rorschach is following suit. While the new comic series isn’t exactly a sequel to HBO’s Watchmen, it does take place in the same universe, a year later.
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Rorschach may not follow the story threads that were established in the television series but, on multiple occasions, it has made some discreet references to HBO’s Watchmen. Now, in Rorschach #8, the trend continues — and this time, the comic reveals the continued effect of the television show on the Watchmen universe.
In Rorschach #8, the still-unnamed investigator continues to try and unravel the full story of Wil Myerson and Laura Cummings, and their attempted assassination of presidential candidate Turley. Over the course of the past seven issues, the investigator has uncovered a wide tapestry of a mystery that involves a new Rorschach, his sidekick the Kid, legendary comic book creator Frank Miller, and even the potential return of the alien squids and the Watchmen themselves.
Through careful evaluation and deduction, the investigator has determined that the mystery is really only about Wil and Laura. But there are still a lot of questions left unanswered. Now that he has found Frank Miller, the investigator interviews three persons of interest who are connected to Wil and Laura: a lawyer, a psychiatrist and a young handyman. Every page of Rorschach #8 is separated into three segments, each detailing the account of all three men being questioned.
During these interviews, the investigator asks the men about the time they spent on Wil’s farm, the place where he and Laura planned the attack on Governor Turley. Of course, talk eventually turns to Wil’s mask. Myerson had begun to wear the mask of Rorschach, and the investigator asks all three men why they didn’t find that suspicious. The handyman explains that he didn’t ask any questions because Myerson was a strange person, and because masks are not that uncommon anymore: “There’s cops who wear masks in Middle America now.”
While the reference is once again discreet, it proves to be yet another nod to HBO’s Watchmen. In the television series, Angela Abar served on the police force of Tulsa, Oklahoma as a costumed individual. In fact, police officers in the city all wore different masks, creating “superhero” personas in order to hide their true identities. This came as the result of the “White Knight,” a lethal attack that occurred three years prior, when members of the white supremacist group known as the Seventh Kavalry simultaneously attacked and killed police officers in their own homes.
Thanks to the Defense of Police Act, police officers and detectives were now given the right to conceal their identities in Tulsa, as well as several other cities as part of this “pilot” project. This was part of the larger Keene Act, which itself was part of the larger conspiracy at the heart of HBO’s Watchmen. The latest issue of Rorschach confirms that the Defense of Police Act is still in effect in the American heartland.
By confirming that police officers are still wearing masks in Middle America, the handyman reveals that the “pilot” project is not only still running, it might have gotten even bigger. Although the full picture has not yet been exposed, there is still a lot of story left to tell in this expanding universe.
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