fictional character and an antihero of the acclaimed 1986 graphic novel miniseries Watchmen, published by DC Comics. Rorschach was created by writerAlan Moore with artist Dave Gibbons, but as with most of the main characters in the series, he was an analogue for a Charlton Comics character, in this case Steve Ditko's the Question and Mr. A.
While the series has an ensemble cast, some consider Rorschach to be the protagonist as he drives most of the plot forward. In the beginning of the story, he is introduced as the only remaining active masked vigilante not employed by the government. A ruthless crime-fighter, his beliefs in moral absolutism — good and evil with no shades of grey — have driven him to seek to punish evil at all costs. Rorschach's mask displays a constantly morphing inkblot based on the ambiguous designs used in Rorschach inkblot tests, with the mask's black and white coloring consistent with Rorschach's sense and view of morality.
Reception towards the character is positive and he has been referenced several times in other comic book stories and has appeared in other forms of media. Jackie Earle Haley portrays Rorschach in the2009 film adaptation directed by Zack Snyder, and also voices him in the video games series. Rorschach later appears in the Before Watchmen comic book prequel, with his own individual issue miniseries.
During his childhood, Walter Kovacs was described as bright, and excelled in literature, mathematics, political science, and religious education. Kovacs continues his one-man battle against crime long after superheroes have become both detested and illegal, eventually replacing his Kovacs identity with the persona of Rorschach. Rorschach considers his mask his true "face" and his unmasked persona to be his "disguise", refusing to answer to his birth name during his trial and psychiatric sessions. Moore depicted Rorschach as being extremely right-wing, and morally uncompromising, a viewpoint that has alienated him from the rest of society, even among other superheroes. Rorschach presents his views on right and wrong as starkly black and white with no room for compromise, with the exception of his respect for the Comedian. He excuses the attempted rape of the first Silk Spectre as a "moral lapse." He holds deep contempt for behavior he considers immoral and is openly derogative of heroes who do not share his unwavering views, deriding them as "soft".
Rorschach, a possible asexual, displays a discomfort with female sexuality as a result of his early childhood, although the crimes that most affected him spiritually were against women: the murders of Kitty Genovese and Blair Roche. Rorschach is often described as being mentally ill by other characters in the comic.
Skills and abilities
Like most characters in Watchmen, Rorschach has no obvious "superpowers". He merely has his strong will, peak-human physical strength, and finely-honed sense of timing and precision. Rorschach is very resourceful, adapting ordinary household objects into tools or weapons, such as pepper to blind a police officer and the use of a can of aerosol spray in combination with a match to set fire to another police officer, during a confrontation at Moloch's house. During the series he is shown to use cooking fat, a toilet bowl, a cigarette, a fork and his jacket all as weapons; he is also shown using a coat hanger as a makeshift measuring device. He owns a gas-powered grappling gun, which he uses to climb buildings (and once as a makeshift harpoon gun against a police officer), as seen in Chapter One, which was designed and built by Nite Owl II.
Rorschach is well versed in street combat, gymnastics, and boxing. He is also extremely stoic, as shown by his indifference to pain and discomfort. He even tolerated Antarctic temperatures while wearing only a trenchcoat over street clothes, without complaining or even commenting on the severe cold.
Despite his mental instability, Rorschach is extremely intelligent and was described as "tactically brilliant and unpredictable" by Nite Owl, and shows a marked affinity for detective work, as evidenced by his ability to locate the Comedian's costume in his apartment when the police could not.
He is also skilled at lock picking (although a running gag throughout the series has him simply forcing Nite Owl's front door to talk to him).
How Kovacs was able to see through the fabric of his trademark mask is never explained in the comic books. However masks with similar behaviors are available as costumes that people actually do see through.