It Has To Matter.
J. Michael Straczynski is surprising me more and more as I continue to read this comic. When I was first introduced to Watchmen, Daniel Dreiberg was my least favorite character in the entire lineup. I felt he was whiny, and he felt so out of place in the dark and gritty universe that Watchmen seemed to be set up in. What Straczynski has done though is taken a character that I did not like, and made him my favorite Watchmen character. He’s close to surpassing Rorschach (whose own comic I have not read yet), but not quite.
What has been done in Nite Owl that was never really done in Watchmen is that more of Daniel’s back story is explored. We see him come from a broken home where his father abused him and his mother, and how Hollis Mason became a father figure to him. Daniel has been sort of slated up as the “nice guy” of the Watchmen world, and he believes he is making a difference by caring about people in a world that doesn’t care. This issue does a brilliant job of showing us that when Nite Owl arrives on the scene of a crime scene where a prostitute had been murdered, and all he seems to constantly hear over and over is the phrase “it doesn’t matter.” He hears it from the police at the murder scene, from Rorschach as he reiterates the murder of Kitty Genovese and in a flash back when he asks his mother if she really wanted him. Dan takes it on himself to tell himself that “one more dead slut” does actually matter, and he takes it upon himself to do something about it.
I really have no quips with this issue other than how I felt Rorschach was presented. This is a point in time where we are supposed to be seeing the inner war between Rorschach and Walter Kovacs, and the scenes with him just felt really out of place and unnecessary in this issue. We see a few short panels where we see once again how Walter was traumatized by the lifestyle of his mother. We also see Walter sitting in a church congregation and the dialogue seemed really forced, and when the preacher holds up the sign that says “The End is Nigh” that was just the final sign to me that these panels featuring Walter Kovacs had no place in this issue.
Still that does not ruin this comic, but it only breaks up the story in a way that is unnecessary. I only had wished that the panels that were wasted with Walter Kovacs were spent more exploring and expanding on Daniel Dreiberg and Nite Owl. I understand that Rorschach was a huge part of Daniel’s career as Nite Owl, but if you’re going to feature Rorschach in a Nite Owl comic, perhaps it should only be when he is with Nite Owl instead of off by himself doing whatever it is Rorschach does on his own.