I had sworn to myself that I was gonna stop reviewing Comedian by writer Brian Azzarello and artist J. G. Jones, because after just two issues I knew it wasn’t working for me, and even that damnation with faint disappointment was only possible when the book wasn’t actively pissing me off.
From the beginning, Azzarello has made Comedian a story where Watchmen continuity is optional on a good day, where consistency of character with any prior depiction of Edward Blake was problematic, and where Azzarello seemed less interested in telling a story about The Comedian than he did in telling a story about shit that happened in the 1960s where The Comedian happened to be. Sure, The Comedian was an active part of the story, but it wasn’t so much about him; imagine Mad Men if Don Draper was selling anti-Kennedy ads to Donald Segretti, or if he was running a pro-segregation focus group with James Earl Ray as a member: all of Mad Men‘s elements are there, but it ain’t really a story about a conflicted advertising executive anymore, is it?
That tendency continues in Comedian #5, which, as per this book’s norm, is less a story about The Comedian than it is a story about Vietnam and My Lai, where The Comedian just happens to be. Which, again, I’ve learned to expect from this comic book, and which is something that I didn’t think needed further reviewing. However, Azzarello added one thing to this books that boiled my blood. It’s not much – just two words – but to my mind, it put a stamp on the book stating Azzarello’s intentions toward the book, and it’s a check that the series just doesn’t cash. And while there’s a possibility that I’m wrong, and that those two words might just be a simple Easter Egg to observant readers or maybe a nod to placing Comedian into a Wold Newton-style shared universe, it blew me out of the book as effectively as would have seeing Blake throwing the meat to Trudy Campbell. Or even Pete Campbell.