Watchmen (Spoilers)

Ricky

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Watchmen

Author: Allen Moore
Artist: Dave Gibbons


leaving the world of black and white behind


Watchmen is one of those few books, that have changed the whole medium. Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns are probably the forefathers of the grim'n gritty era of the ninties. Both left the bright four-color world of traditional super-heroes and reached out to include the dark, cruel realities of real life. Heroes became flawed, their motives and methods became questioned. This is where Wolverine, Venom and the Punisher came from. Watchmen is far more, however. Modern grim'n gritty comics often follow a simple, repeated formula: The hero (or rather anti-hero) is turned into the worst possibly SoB, dealing out grim revenge in the most possibly violent way.

Watchmen is something completely different. The characters in this book are many things: masked vigilantes, heroes, facists, nazis, killers, villains - but most of all, they are humans. An incredible effort has been put into developing their personalities, and it shows.
Good characters alone, however, don't make a good story. So, good luck that Watchmen doesn't rely exclusively on good characterization, but also sprouts one of the most ingenuine plots I've read in comic books so far. A common homocide sets loose a chain of events, that eventually threatens to destroy humanity.
Or probably not. Let's just say: The conclussion is breathtaking, even today, twenty years after the book first came out.
On the way towards the big finish, we are treated with a magnitude of purely delicious story-telling. We watch two generations of Super Heroes come into their own, all told through flash-backs, news-paper articles and in one case, even a few pages from the biography of one of them. Still, watchmen is far more then a book about super-heroes. It's a book about the world they live in, the world that has shaped them but that was also shaped by them, and that is just as complicated as the heroes themselves are.

Essentially, Watchmen is literature. It's not an easy read. Anyone expecting a slug-fest of action and high-sprung drama will be disappointed. There's some action, and quite a lot of drama, but it's subtle, intelligent, even intellectual at times. Watchmen is many things, but most of all, its a challenging but rewarding piece of fiction.

I've read a hell lot of good stuff about Watchman, but after I've read it, I can but say: It's really that good.


Art: _____ 4 (/5)
Story: ___ 5 (/5)

Winner of the Hugo-Award
 
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iceman

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I think that Watchmen is one of the greatest things ever written. So much deep, meaningful characterization, so many philosophical questions asked, so many inter-linking parts. It's brilliant.

I do think the art should be a 5/5 though. Gibbons style is not flashy, but the pure amount of detail he includes in his panels is extraordinary. Silk Spectre looks like the Comedian a bit. Rorschach actually taking the items that he uses throughout the story and are filed in the Police Report. Everytime I reread it I find something new.
 

GMaster

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Art is great in this, colouring isn't great though, so overall art would be about 4/5. Hopefully with Absoulte Watchmen, though, it should be very very good.
 

Patriot Mk2

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Nice review Rick.

Watchmen rocks.I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after "I did it twenty minutes ago."Still shocks me,many,many,rereads later.
 

Dr.Strangefate

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A Brilliant Piece of Graphic Literature.

Alan Moore is the father of modern Comic Books.
 

Friday

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I'm in the same boat as Bass. Didn't really enjoy it, but can still appriciate it for what it is.
 

Entropy

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You can't go wrong with Watchmen, it just works so well. Personally I would score it five out of five myself, but I understand the benefit of the doubt kind of rating. Nothing is truly perfect.

GMaster : Personally, I feel the coloring of the book only added that much more to the depth of the artwork. Just by glancing through it, you feel like its an old four color fable, straight from Eisner's days. That ambiance, set against the story and tones was almost cinematic. Still, I think this only speaks more about the richness and depth of the book and art.
 

Fuzzy Birds

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Hawkeye101 said:
I mainly read Ultimate titles. Why? I dunno, but if you insist. I'll take a peak. But i'm pretty old fashioned and like the good guys winning, even winning with scars.
I understand that, I'd rather have the good guys winning, albeit with some repercussions. But seriously, read Watchmen.

Watchmen spoilers, don't read this Hawk

You other guys are talking about Watchmen being a story where the bad guy wins. I never saw it like that, Veidt isn't a bad guy, he just realises that to save the world, you need to make sacrifices. And that's exactly what he does: save the world. Watchmen ends with the hero saving the world. I mean, Wolverine is more morally dubious than Veidt.
 

Hawkeye101

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TheManWithoutFear said:
On a personal note, regarding the PMs you sent me I find it unusual that you "like the good guys winning" when you read such a tragic character :wink:
Tragic? Sure, but Daredevil always comes out on top. Yeah so what he doesn't get the girl. But he always 'wins' when it comes to beating the bad guys. Daredevil is the guy who sacrifices even his loved ones to protect people and stand for what he believes in. He still narrowly wins. He still beats the hand, puts the punisher away, he takes vengance on Bullseye. Hell, Spider-Man takes a few wins with a scar to bear, like Gwen Stacy and Uncle Ben. Elektra is just DD's loss. And besides she comes back.
 

Dr.Strangefate

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Fuzzy Birds said:
You other guys are talking about Watchmen being a story where the bad guy wins. I never saw it like that, Veidt isn't a bad guy, he just realises that to save the world, you need to make sacrifices. And that's exactly what he does: save the world. Watchmen ends with the hero saving the world. I mean, Wolverine is more morally dubious than Veidt.
I completely agree with you. I just think Hawk should read it because It shows that there aren't necessary Good Guys and Bad Guys. There are only the shades in between. In other words, there are People, and People who disagree with them. Or something like that. Actually, I'd probably make EVERYONE read Watchmen if I were Emperor of the Universe... so yeah.

But Anyways, Watchmen is one of the best things out there. Go read it. It's a good long read that will make you think like no comic has made you think before. it'll be a good experience even if you're not a fan of it. So, yeah.
 

moonmaster

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Fuzzy Birds said:
You other guys are talking about Watchmen being a story where the bad guy wins. I never saw it like that, Veidt isn't a bad guy, he just realises that to save the world, you need to make sacrifices. And that's exactly what he does: save the world. Watchmen ends with the hero saving the world. I mean, Wolverine is more morally dubious than Veidt.
I know, but at face value (i.e. when you first read it) it seems that the bad guy has won. In fact that's probably one of the best things about the ending: they build up this idea that whoever's behind everything must be the badguy and when Veidt kills 3 million people it seems to confirm that he's a bad guy. But after you look back and think about it you realize that what Veidt did was necessary. It shows that "Super heroes" couldn't always save the world by beating the crap out of some villain. Sometimes saving the world is much, much more complicated.

But yeah, anyone reading this who hasn't read Watchmen yet should go out right now and get it. It's really incredible.
 

Bass

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Fuzzy Birds said:
You other guys are talking about Watchmen being a story where the bad guy wins. I never saw it like that, Veidt isn't a bad guy, he just realises that to save the world, you need to make sacrifices. And that's exactly what he does: save the world. Watchmen ends with the hero saving the world. I mean, Wolverine is more morally dubious than Veidt.
I do give away the entire storyline below, so don't read it unless you've read the comic.

Don't be silly. Wolverine is not more morally dubious than Veidt. Veidt killed millions of people in a cold, methodical manner in order to save the world. Wolverine has killed a couple of hundred in a frenzy. Both have felt remorse for the actions, but the scale is different. Veidt is far more morally dubious that Wolverine. There is no way, should Ozymandias' plot be revealed, he wouldn't be put on trial for mass murder. And the rest of the Watchmen would be complicit in it. Ozymandias did the right thing, but in a bad way, and as a result, we understand the truth about the "Ends jusitify the Means" argument: If you do something good, but for the wrong reasons, or in the wrong way, the good will become corrupt.

The reason Watchmen feels like "the bad guys one" is not because Ozymandias won - he didn't. Rorschach's journal is about to be published exposing him, and Dr Manhattan who can see the future has told him his plan for world peace will ultimately fail. It seems like the bad guys won because it is a negative ending. While it has a slight positive irony, that Ozymandias did succeed in creating world peace; it is far more negative: The Watchmen failed to stop the plot. Rorschach dies. Millions of New York citizens are murdered. Dr Manhattan is leaving the planet. The world will fall into war again and everything was for nothing. It's a depressing read - because no one won.
 
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I just want to add that; "Dan, I'm not a Republic serial villain." goes in my book with Ultramans's "I do what I have done all my life. I fight to the very end!" as one of the best and most memorable lines in comic history.
 

Dr.Strangefate

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Grah, having just reread "Watchmen", I see how Moore really did write the graphic novel as a precursor to his sequel, "Twilight of the Gods". Too bad DC's too ****ing stupid, and alienated him until he left, with the massive project half-finished.
 

ourchair

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Dr.Strangefate said:
Grah, having just reread "Watchmen", I see how Moore really did write the graphic novel as a precursor to his sequel, "Twilight of the Gods". Too bad DC's too ****ing stupid, and alienated him until he left, with the massive project half-finished.
You mean Twilight of the Superheroes, right?
 

Dr.Strangefate

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Possibly, I just know I read about it having been written...

Although "Gods" is a bigger statement... I mean, remember the quote from Watchmen?

"God Exists, and He's American"
 

Entropy

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Yeah, the title of the series was going to be Twilight of the Gods. Its the concept that was eventually watered down and snipped apart and retold in Kingdom Come. A decent read, but after hearing the story Moore had planned, well, damn DC for being such anal-retentive cretins.
 

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