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Review: Watchmen, Alan Moore

In this AU America, superheroes have been outlawed for nearly 10 years.  War with Russia is imminent.  Nixon is still president.  Comic books feature pirates.  And someone has it out for the former superheroes, starting with the Comedian, who dies on the first page.  The suspicious Rorshach sets about warning the last of the masked marauders and gaining allies as it becomes slowly clear just what is happening to this world.

I’m not even sure how to review this.  It is my very first graphic novel, and as of writing I haven’t yet seen the film.  This story encompasses so much.  I found that I liked the graphic novel format far more than I expected to.  I liked how the panels revealed images to the careful observer and how I could picture all of the characters in my head while still enjoying a story.  (I can never picture characters in regular books in my head).  I found it extremely interesting that only one of these superheroes had actual powers, and he’s a far cry from Superman or Batman.  I loved the allegorical pirate comic story and how it sat neatly alongside the main story to add another perspective and shadow all of the emotions that the comic elicited.

I enjoyed getting to know these characters and their stories.  The book isn’t all that long but is far longer than I expected it to be, and took a similar amount of time to read.  I didn’t mind, and rather approached it by reading each of the 12 issues separately.  I think I would have gone mad reading it in serialized format though, given that most of the issues focus on one or two characters.  I know I’d have been dying to figure out what happened to the rest of them.  I was definitely sucked in.  Mostly, I am now looking forward to watching the film and reading this over again to get the full nuances of meaning that I know I missed the first time.

This is excellent and I would definitely recommend it.  It has even made me consider reading more graphic novels.  They might not be as deep as this one, but I really enjoyed the format as a nice change.

Buy Watchmen on Amazon.

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7 comments to Review: Watchmen, Alan Moore

  • I’m glad you liked the graphics novel format. I was so pleasantly surprised by it. This one sounds good — I’ll have to look for it in the library.

    Beth F’s last blog post..Review and Interview: Zig-Zagging by Tom Wilson

  • I have Watchman on my TBR pile and I’ve requested it from the library. It’s a long wait but now I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks!

    Morph’s last blog post..602 Pounds – Down 2

  • The Guardian-Observer

    I fully recommend this comic graphic novel, particularly the hardcover edition. It is in danger of becoming one of your personal favorites. I found it disturbing that, since the movie adaptations release, the amount of negative and derogatory posing and spamming on the blog comments from African sources posing as both American and European, and even Asian, writers, moviegoers and comic readers. The Americans genuinely loved it as have the readers from Moores Britain and continental Europe, as have the Asian readers. It’s very sad that there are those who do not want The Earth to live and work together.

  • Watchmen is one of my favorite books of all time, I’m glad you enjoyed it! It’s so rich, every time you read it you find something new to think about.

    If you’re looking for some follow-up graphic novels, I would recommend:

    From Hell, by Alan Moore (same guy)–was made into a dreadful Johnny Depp movie. It’s a non-fantasy/sci-fi graphic novel about Jack the Ripper.

    The Sandman Chronicles by Neil Gaiman–another of the revolutionary graphic novels, it follows the stories of “the Endless”–Dream and his sister Death, mostly–it’s so pretty and I love it so. (the series is longer than Watchmen but comes in 10 much shorter books.)

    I have forgotten the name of the third one I was going to recommend…

  • The Guardian-Observer

    I think the great comic mythologies, such as The Fantastic Four, Batman and The Punisher, from the genuine comic legends like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and Frank Miller, are the real stepping stones to introduce one to the world of comics. Superman, Captain America, Nick Fury, The Spirit and The Hulk all come to mind as other sources. Even though the Alan Moore adaptations have not been, what I would call, 100-per-cent faithful, From Hell, V, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and The Watchmen have all made reasonably good movies that have attracted impressive fanbases, increased readership and that were at least watchable to most fans of the comic. The same cannot be said for some adaptations of other titles, such as the last of the Christopher Reeve Superman films, which looked rushed; the new X-Men based movie series, which was based on the multitudinous newer X-Men characters and their timelines; the new Fantastic Four movies, which could be called Fantastic Four Jr, as their scope was so comparatively limited; and the atrocious Catwoman, which should never have been made. Even though they were all good and watchable entertainment fair, except for Catwoman, they were still lacking what the comic readers were coming to expect from such grand cinematic treatments.

  • I liked this one as well. I loved the anti-hero motifs running through the book. Nice review!

    S. Krishna’s last blog post..This Year’s Model – Carol Alt

  • I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it, and especially that you liked the medium more than you expected to. One of the reasons why I love it is because it opens up storytelling possibilities that aren’t available in traditional fiction.

    Nymeth’s last blog post..Heartbreak Soup by Gilbert Hernandez