Walter Kovacs, aka Rorschach, the masked avenger from Watchmen, comes from an abusive background, he was molested by his mother, bullied by his peers, and one day as the young up-and-coming vigilante he witnessed a gruesome tragedy – an exceptionally brutal murder of a little girl at the hands of a petty criminal.

“Whatever was left of Walter Kovacs,” he says at one point,” died that night with that girl.” But the hardened, unrelenting crime-fighter Rorschach was born.

He sports a trench coat, hat, and a mask with a constantly shifting shadow outline. Oddly enough, he calls the mask “his face”. Ahem, it kind of makes you wonder.

Though he has no superpowers he makes up for that with his tactics and skills.

He is street-savvy and versed in boxing and hand-to-hand combat. Add to that his knack for improvising weapons out of everything he lays his hands on and his uncompromising – read, damn near insane – ways, and you pretty much get the picture.

The list of his pet peeves is as long as arm: politicians, especially of liberal colors, intellectuals, the well-to-do, prostitutes, vigilantes turned civilians, criminals, especially criminals. An outcast even among his own kind, he doesn’t kowtow to anybody or anything.

Rorschach - Antiheroes in Science Fiction Movies
Rorschach – Antiheroes in Science Fiction Movies

He has his own code of justice, and it’s very simple, criminals are scum, and ought to be persecuted with the utmost severity. It just so happens that most anybody could easily end up as scum in his book.

In Watchmen, we follow him as he goes about investigating leads and collecting clues related to the death of his one-time partner Comedian.

He narrates the story by reading entries from his journal. From the very first entry, dated October 12th, 1985, we get a glimpse into his mindset:

Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll whisper “No.”

What a field day for a therapist! I mean, do you really want to look into this guy’s head?

So finally, what’s with the Rorschach thing? The Rorschach test, inkblots, black ink on white paper. Black and white. That is how this guy sees the world – in black and white, and the fault lines are fixed and absolute.

And though you know there’s no condoning his methods, you can’t help giving him the benefit of the doubt.


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