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- "You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the planet shared the same neck, and I had my hands around it."
Rorschach, civilian identity Walter Kovacs, is a vigilante turned criminal.
Walter Joseph Kovacs was born in 1940, as the son of Sylvia Kovacs, and soldier who was called to war and killed in battle. Sylvia was often angry, abusing young Walter, until one day, the authorities found out, and Walter was sent into foster care, where he was described as "likeable, but a bit withdrawn." When he was informed of his Mom's murder, all he said was, "Good."
Walter left the foster home when he was 16, and found a job working in a garment factory, a job he described as "bearable, but unpleasant." In 1960, he was charge with disposing a return order, a dress in a new Dr. Manhattan spin-off fabric, two viscous fluids, one black, the other white, in between two layers of latex. The pattern constantly shifted, but the two fluids never mixed to form grey, and the pattern was always symmetrical.
Instead of doing his job, Walter kept the dress, and played around with it, using heated instruments to reseal the latex, but he soon grew bored.
In 1962, he read about the murder of Kitty Genovese, the woman who'd returned the dress, and was inspired to become a vigilante. Walter took the remains of the unwanted dress, and fashioned it into a mask. His first case was bringing in Kitty's murderers, turning them in to the police with his new calling card, a piece of paper bearing a hand drawn Rorschach inkblot. (.][.).
He met and teamed up with Nite Owl II in 1963, making headway in solving New York's gang problem.
In 1966, the young adventurer Ozymandias decided to make his fight against evil more effective by calling in other masked vigilantes to form a team, the Watchmen. Among them were; The ruthless Comedian, the near omnipotent Dr. Manhattan, the new Silk Specter, Nite Owl, and Rorschach. Rorschach agreed with Nite owl's statement that they had improved New York's gang problem by combining Rorschach tactical brilliance with Nite Owl's technology, but feels that a group the size of the Watchmen seemed more like a publicity stunt. Unsurprisingly, the Watchmen disbanded after the Comedian messed the whole thing up. Soon after, Rorschach went solo.
In 1975, Walter read about a kidnapping case, the victim being 6-year-old Blair Roche, whom the kidnappers believed to be connected with Roche industries ("Stupid mistake. Father was bus driver."), but did nothing, as he believed the police could handle it. After a few days with no sign of the girl, Walter decided it was time to intervene as Rorschach. Only took a few broken bones to get the girl's location, but he found nothing when he got there. When he saw two German Shepherds gnawing on what looked like human femurs, Walter realized what must have happened.
Walter used a meat cleaver to kill the dogs, and later handcuffed the kidnapper to a furnace, poured gasoline everywhere, and burnt him alive. In the movie, Walter Killed the kidnapper with the same meat cleaver, all while saying, "Men go to prison. Dogs get put down."
- "The shock of impact ran up my arm. A jet of warmth splashed my face, and whatever was left of Walter Kovacs died that night with that little girl. From then on, there was only Rorschach."
- ―Rorschach recounting the Roche kidnapping
When the government outlawed vigilantes (save Dr. Manhattan and the Comedian), Rorschach responded by leaving a dead criminal outside police headquarters with a note with a single word, "neveR! .][."
March 15, 1964
The face is finished at last - Wonderful black and white, as all things should be. I am glad I decided to keep the dress these past two years. The face is perfect, a thing of true beauty... A face that can shelter me from the world and hide my weary senses. A face which I can finally stare down in the mirror.
From this point on, I've decided to write down everything I see and experience which might possibly have a bearing upon my nocturnal mission. This journal will be a complete record of my deeds which I can refer back to and a voucher to show the angels when they come looking for me on Judgement Day.
I'll start tonight with the woman and her killers.
June 11, 1968
Counted seventeen transients in neighborhood this morning. Must remember to begin looking for new apartment tomorrow. City is changing. It is being speckled by first few drops of an impenetrable black ink, and sooner or later the rest of bottle will inevitable come gushing down in pursuit. I can see it, smell it - spectral residents, iron fortresses stretching out into the sky, ten billion dots of phosphorescent arrayed as toothpaste commercials and puerile fantasies... dopers, politicians, preachers, hippies, liars, pushers, poets, advocates, thieves... all are gray, soon to be black.
And truly great men are no longer with us - General Patton, President Truman... my father. Once a year I ponder most ancient of riddles... which came first? Were these men like atlas of myth, laboring to bear the world aloft, desperately seeking their successors and finally dying unfulfilled, leaving us to plunge down into depravity? Or did forces of compromise take a more active role in whole affair, loosing their snarling dogs and hunting down each of them one-by-one, opening the way for some sinister master plan? And if latter formulation is correct, when did hunt begin? Has all of recorded history been merely a slow, steady slide into the abyss?
October 12, 1985
Dog carcass in alley way. Tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters, and the gutters are filled with blood. And when they finally scab over, all the vermin will drown in the accumulated filth of all their petty theft. And all the scum and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...and I'll look down, and whisper "No."
Tonight, a Comedian died in New York. Somebody knows why.
October 13, 1985
Meeting with Veidt left bad taste in mouth. Dreiberg just as bad, a flabby failure, who sits whimpering in his basement. Why are so few of us left active, healthy, and without personality disorders?
The first Nite Owl runs an auto repair shop, the first Silk Specter is dying in a California rest resort. Captain Metropolis was decapitated in a car crash, HJ went missing in '55. The Silhouette was murdered, a victim of her own indecent life style. Dollar Bill got his cape stuck in a revolving door while attempting to stop a bank robbery and got gunned down. Now the Comedian is dead. Only two names remain on my list. Both share private quarters at Rockefeller Military Center. I shall go to them. I shall go tell the indestructible man that someone plans to murder him.
October 16, 1985
Thought about Moloch's story. Could all be lies, a revenge scheme planned during his decade behind bars, but if it's true, what could've possibly scared the Comedian enough to cry in front of Moloch. What was it he saw? And that list he mentioned. Nevermind. Answers soon. Nothing is insoluble. Paid last respects quietly, without fuss.
Edward Blake. The Comedian. Born 1921. Buried in the rain. Murdered. Is that what happens to us? No time for friends. Only our enemies leave roses. Violent lives, ending violently. Blake understood. Humans are savage in nature, no matter how much you try to dress it up, to disguise it. Blake saw society's true face. Chose to become a parody of it. A joke.
Heard joke once. Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Life seems harsh and cruel. Doctor says "Treatment simple. Great Comedian Paliacci is in town. Go see his next show. That should pick you up." Man bursts into tears. "But Doctor," he says. "I am Paliacci." Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtain.
October 21, 1985
Someone tried to kill Veidt. Confirms Mask Killer theory.
On 43rd and 7th, saw Dreiberg and Jupiter leaving Gunga Diner. They didn't know me without my face. An affair? Did she break Manhattan's heart to engineer his exile to make room for Dreiberg? Better question; Does Manhattan even have a heart to break anymore? Also, she hated the Comedian. Must remember to investigate further.
Checked Maildrop. Message from Moloch. Said he had information. Told me to meet him at his apartment at 11:30 pm. Had 5 hours to kill.
The alleyway was cold and deserted. My things were where I left them, waiting for me. My coat, my shoes, my hat, my face. putting them on, I abandoned my disguise, and became myself.
Heard woman scream. First note of evening choir. Attempted mugging/murder/both. He turned, and there was something rewarding in his eyes.
October 23, 1985
Meeting with Moloch dead end. Mask killer had his place bugged, and murdered him. Called police. Framed me for the crime. Off my game. Should have seen it coming. Put up decent fight, but was eventually overpowered. Police yanked off my face and arrested me. Shipped to Strikers. Saw a lot of familiar faces; Underboss, Big Figure, and Twilight Lady. Glad police at least let me keep journal. Physiologist spending way too much time with me. Plenty of criminals with behavior more extreme than mine, but then, they're not famous.
October 30, 1985
Dreiberg finally beleives mask Killer theory. Chose to spring me from prison during riot. Big Figure tried getting revenge. He's in the big Strikers in the sky. Jailbreak was success. Before leaving, went to psychologist's office to retrieve face.
Halloween Night 1985
Was mistaken. Dreiberg convinced there's plot to start World War III. Only wild card was Dr. Manhattan, so they engineered his exile by giving his past associates cancer, and blaming it on him. Comedian killed when he finds out. Only loose end was me. Must have had Moloch's place bugged, so they knew about my mask killer hunt. Left note in maildrop to lure me into trap. Killed Moloch, tipped off police, and framed me.
On our way to Veidt Indestries. Veidt surely can't deny assisting after attempt on life.
November 1, 1985
Final Entry? Left Veidt's office just before midnight.
Dreiberg convinced Veidt's behind everything, is serious about visiting Antartica. Owl ship capable, but are we?
Veidt. Cannot imagine more dangerous opponnent. He could kill us both, there in the snow. Nobody would ever know. Veidt is faster than Dreiberg. Perhaps faster than me. Return from mission seems unlikely.
This last entry. Will shortly mail journal to only people can trust. Tell Dreiberg I need to check my maildrop. He believes me. If reading this now, whether I am alive or dead, you will know truth. Whatever precise nature of this conspiracy, Adrian Veidt responsible.
Appreciate your recent support and hope world survives long enough for this to reach you, nut writing is on wall.
Have done best to make this legible. Beleive it paints disturbing picture. Hope world survives long enough for this to reach you.
For my own part, regret nothing. Have lived life, free of compromise and step into the shadow now without complaint.
Rorschach. November 1, 1985
Nite Owl and Rorschach make it to Karnak, and discover Veidt was indeed behind everything. He planned to destroy New York, and blame it on a common enemy, namely, an alien invasion. However, Veidt activated the protocol 35 minites before Nite Owl and Rorschach arrived. As the plan had already been enacted, Rorschach could do little, but become enraged at the lose of millions of innocent lives. However, Adrian got off Scott free, even with the timely arrival of Silk Specter and Dr. Manhattan, as, although New York had been destroyed, the world was united under a falsely precieved common enemy. Relizing that revealing the truth would cause World War 3, everyone agreed to keep quiet. However, Rorschach's incorruptable moral code dictated the truth must be told, no matter what the common good is. Unbeknownst to anyone, the small part of Rorschach that was still Walter Kovacs beleived Adrian was right, and that he mus compromise. When he realized Dr. Manhattan wouldn't let him reveal the truth he forced the demigod to kill him. What nobody knew, was that Rorschach had sent his latest journal to the press before heading for the final confrontation, revealing everything he had learned.