Rorschach's journal is narrated, talking of the crime and disgusting terms the city is under. His famous quote is uttered; "they from this issue is: "They will look up and shout, 'save me'. And I'll whisper, '..No..'"
A shopkeeper is washing blood off of the sidewalk into a gutter drain. A button of a smiley face is stuck next to the drain. A man holding a sign that says 'The End is Nigh' walks by them both, through the blood, and continues down the street.
Two detectives, in the above apartment, discuss the murder of a man named Blake. They suspect he was thrown out his window, and it is his blood the street below. As the two detectives leave the scene, they speak of a costumed character named Rorschach. They talk about how it 1977 the Keene Act was passed, banning superheroes that weren't government funded.
That night, a figure sneaks into Blake's apartment to do some investigating. He finds a secret area of Blake's closet, which reveals a costume, weapons, gadgets, and an old photograph of costumed characters.
The story then turns to Hollis and Dan talking in Hollis's living room. Hollis was the first wave of costumed heroes, called Nite Owl. When Hollis retired, Dan took over his mantle. They talk about some old times, afterwards Dan heads home.
Dan enters his home to find Rorschach eating a can of beans at his kitchen table. Rorschach tells Dan that he has done some investigating into the death of Edward Blake, who is The Comedian. Dan says they should go to the basement to talk.
Rorschach talks about how he thinks someone out there is killing ex-costumes. (‘costumes’ is a term in the book that refers to the costumed heroes). Dan thinks that Rorschach is being paranoid. Rorschach leaves, belittling Dan by saying 'you quit.' Dan is left alone in the basement with his old costume.
Rorschach's journal is narrated. He talks about searching for The Comedian's killer, how pathetic his landlady is, and his overall disgust in the city.
Rorschach enters a bar to ask questions from the patrons. He breaks a couple fingers from one of the men sitting at a table, and asks who killed Edward Blake? No one knows anything, so Rorschach goes to see Adrian Veidt.
He tells the same story to Veidt that he told to Daniel. Veidt questions the costume killer, to which Rorschach calls him a sell out and leaves.
Rorschach's journal is narrated. He talks about Veidt being a possible homosexual, his disappointment in the old costumes and what they're doing now.
Rorschach has now broken into a highly classified government facility where Dr. Manhattan is doing some scientific work. Laurie Juspeczyk is with Manhattan, and question Rorschach’s presence. He says that he has come to warn them of a costume killer. Manhattan has no interest in the matter and goes back to work.
Laurie Juspeczyk tells Rorschach about how despicable Blake was, that he tried to rape her mother. It then comes forward the Hollis wrote a book talking about the ' Minutemen', the first generation of heroes.
Dr. Manhattan sees that Rorschach is upsetting Laurie and teleports Rorschach outside the facilities fence. Laurie and Manhattan talk for a bit when she decides she needs a night out. She proceeds to call Dan.
Rorschach's journal is narrated. He talks about the coming war with the Soviets. He questions why one death matters against so many that are going to come. He says there is good and evil must be punished. Even in the face of Armageddon he will not compromise.
Dan and Laurie are out eating at a fancy restaurant. She talks about life with the government and Jon (Dr. Manhattan). They talk about the old days and come upon a villain they both encountered. His name was Captain Carnage and he wanted to be beat up, so he would break the law. Laurie and Dan both talk about pummeling him before. Laurie asks where Carnage is now, to which Dan replies that Carnage tried the same act with Rorschach. Rorschach proceeded to drop him down an elevator shaft.
They both laugh hysterically. Laurie says it is hard to laugh any more it seems like. Dan says "What do you expect, The Comedian is dead?"