Illustrator: Davd Gibbons
Published by DC Comics on 2005 (first published 1986)
Genres: Graphic novel, Science Fiction
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It all begins with the paranoid delusions of a half-insane hero called Rorschach. But is Rorschach really insane or has he in fact uncovered a plot to murder super-heroes and, even worse, millions of innocent civilians? On the run from the law, Rorschach reunites with his former teammates in a desperate attempt to save the world and their lives, but what they uncover will shock them to their very core and change the face of the planet! Following two generations of masked superheroes from the close of World War II to the icy shadow of the Cold War comes this groundbreaking comic story — the story of The Watchmen.
This is a tough review to write. On the one hand, I found the Watchmen boring for the most part. It picked up a bit at the end, but I was never really invested in the story. The world wasn’t going to explode, and if it did, I didn’t really care about any of the people anyway. I also thought it was a bit heavy-handed.
On the other hand, putting it back into the time it was originally published, in the 80s during the cold war, the alternate history he painted probably stuck a bit closer to home. Our political outlook, the world’s threats are not the same now as they were then. He also does a fabulous job of weaving together everyone’s stories and provided a comic book within his novel portraying pirates and allowing it to mirror his real world. The popular comic is about pirates, not superheroes. Superheroes, or at least costumed adventurers, exist is the real world, have been outlawed actually, and are therefore not comic book material.
I like how each of the characters, “superheroes” and regular folk are morally gray and they create events and have reactions true to their personalities. It’s not good vs evil. Most are a little of both, or neither, and how you interpret them probably shows as much about you as it does them.
I can’t really comment much on the art. I don’t read many graphic novels and each artist has their own style. I liked the art in the is one, it’s clear and there is so much to each pane, beyond the main characters and the dialogue. Sometimes, I had to remind myself to stop and actually take time to look at the illustrations.
Overall, it’s one I’m glad I finally read, even if I can’t exactly say I enjoyed it.