Before Watchmen: Moloch #1 (DC Comics)
by J. Michael Straczynski & Eduardo Risso
Unlike the other Before Watchmen titles, this two-issue limited series explores a title character that’s essentially a blank slate. In the original Watchmen series, Moloch was more of a means to an end; he served to advance the Comedian’s and Rorschach’s plotlines. Writer J. Michael Straczynski develops an origin story that makes it easy to relate to a villain, that explains why he’s opted for a life of crime. Edgar Jacobi is painted as a sympathetic figure here (not unlike his aged, cancer-riddled self was in Watchmen) despite the murders, drug trade and other ills he lets loose on the world. His background doesn’t excuse his crimes, but it does explain them. Now, Moloch is probably portrayed as a little too self-aware in this story, but that’s in part the byproduct of casting him in the role of narrator of his own story and the introspective turning point that serves as a framing sequence. It’s easy to sympathize with and even relate to the young Eddie Jacobi. Everyone can relate to some form of pain he’s had to endure in a life defined by emotional, physical and social abuse.