Superhero Origins: Rorschach

In his debut comic appearance, Rorschach was introduced as a mysterious masked man investigating the death of Edward Blake, another superhero known as the Comedian, who was thrown out of his apartment window. Shown to be living in an alternate version of the 1980s, Rorschach’s began to theorize that someone was targeting former crime fighters. Searching for leads and crossing off potential suspects, his first action was to warn his superhero friends while his own suspicions grew that there was indeed a larger plot afoot. Join WatchMojo.com as we explore the comic book origin of Walter Kovacs, otherwise known as Rorschach.
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Superhero Origins: Rorschach


This ruthless vigilante sees morality in black and white. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will explore the comic book origin of Walter Kovacs, otherwise known as Rorschach.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline, which unfolded in 1986’s 12 Issue Watchmen series.

In his debut comic appearance, Rorschach was introduced as a mysterious masked man investigating the death of Edward Blake, another superhero known as the Comedian, who was thrown out of his apartment window.

Shown to be living in an alternate version of the 1980s, Rorschach’s began to theorize that someone was targeting former crime fighters. Searching for leads and crossing off potential suspects, his first action was to warn his friend Daniel, otherwise known as the retired superhero Nite Owl. While Daniel thought it the Comedian’s death was a political state, Rorschach’s suspicions grew that there was indeed a larger plot afoot.

Continuing to push for answers, Rorschach visited other former Superheroes, including the godlike Dr. Manhattan and the rich industrialist Adrian Veidt, formally known as Ozymandias.

During his investigation and meetings with other former superheroes, Rorschach was reminded how much everyone hated the Comedian, as though he fought for the country, was a despicable human being who went as far as attempting to rape the former hero Miss Jupiter’s mother years earlier. Though Rorschach possessed a strict black and white moral code, he excused this as a temporary lapse in judgment on the part of the Comedian.

At the same time, Dr. Manhattan, was convinced by the media to go into exile believing he was spreading cancer to those around him. This only further proved Rorschach’s theory that a major plot was in play.

One night, while returning to follow up on a lead, Rorschach was set up and arrested by the police. When the police removed his mask, it was revealed that he was the supposedly crazy person who’d been seen holding a sign that read “The End is Neigh” in a number of the earlier scenes, revealing that he was secretly watching many of the major events in disguise.

When talking to a therapist in prison, he briefly revealed that was indeed a psychopath who regarded his mask as his true face. He revealed that he had a brutal childhood as the son of a prostitute, which instilled him with a hatred for what he described as the scum of society.

This caused him to become a vigilante at age 16. While working in a garment factory, he found a piece of fabric that contained fluids between two layers that changed pattern depending on heat and pressure. This allowed him to make his famous shifting mask.

After taking up work as a vigilante, he came upon the remains of a little girl that had been kidnapped, apparently abused and eventually fed to dogs. After killing the dogs in question, he waited for the kidnapper to return, handcuffed him to a furnace and then burnt him alive. It was here that he believes that Rorschach was born. It was there that he came to realize, that like an Inkblot Rorschach test, there is no real meaning to the world other than what we project onto it, no morality that exists other than what we impose.

Following his break out, thanks to help from his friend the Nite Owl, Rorschach came to the realization that Ozymandias had killed the comedian, who knew about his plan but wouldn’t go along with it, and orchestrated the departure of Dr. Manhattan from Earth so that he could destroy New York. This was all done in order to unite the people of the world who had become hateful of each other, uniting them across borders under what they perceived to be a common enemy.

As the devastation had already been unleashed while Rorschach and the Nite Owl battled Ozymandias, Rorschach could do little but become enraged with the loss of millions of innocents.

Though Dr. Manhattan returned to Earth with plans to help Rorschach stop Ozymandias, the god like being realized that the plan had worked, and that though New York had been devastated, the world had been brought back from the edge of Nuclear war.

While Nite Owl realized that the truth would undermine the sacrifices made, Rorschach strict black and white more code dictate that the world must be told, regardless of the common good. Realizing that Dr. Manhattan would not allow him to do so, he allowed the demi-god to kill him. Little did anyone suspect that he’d had sent his journal to the press, revealing everything he had learned.

A popular and one of a kind superhero, Rorschach finally got the big screen treatment in 2009’s film adaptation when he was faithfully portrayed by actor Jackie Earle Haley.

Are you a fan of this brutal moral compass of the WatchMen series? For more thrilling comic book origins, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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