The Comedian is a character completely unlike the other Watchmen characters and this cover illustrates that perfectly.
|The Watchmen Smiley,|
First, the blog splotch perfectly mirrors the famous bloody smiley face.
But the S&M mask with those wicked gleaming eyes and that devilish, broad smile is just chilling. My local comic store has this cover hanging up in its front window as a poster and I think it might actually be giving the public a very wrong idea about what kind of store it is. The story's title, "Smile" is quite fitting to this creepy cover image.
The story takes place in the 1960's and, for the first half, features the Comedian out of costume and hanging around with the Kennedy's. This seems like an odd choice at first but it is brilliant. Here's this completely unhinged, psychotic "hero" and he's in the inner circle of the President of the United States. He acts normal. And then he makes sure that Marilyn Monroe is dead at the request of Jackie Kennedy.
The inclusion of the historical figures is absolutely essential to the story (I won't give away the ending but it's good - trust me) but it gives the Comedian a sense of being grounded in the real world. Sure, he's got to be real - isn't he interacting with real people?
The second half of the story leads you in one direction, you think you're going down one path but I completely missed where it was really going to end up. I really don't want to spoil the ending for anyone so I'll stay mum. Let's just say that I was very impressed (of course) with the writing of Brian Azzarello. He managed to hide the obvious in plain sight and surprise us with it.
The backup feature, Crimson Corsair, continues to be a wild two page ride. In this issue the story takes yet ANOTHER 90 degree turn. Honestly, it is a bit much. What could be easily drawn out to ten or so pages is crammed into two and gives us another cliffhanger ending.