Watchmen by Alan Moore with art by Dave Gibbons
Genre: Superheroes, Science Fiction
Format: Graphic Novel, TradePaperback
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: 2005 (this edition)
From the publisher:
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.
As a fairly recent reader of comics and graphic novels this is one that I have not read. It’s fairly well known as a classic and a critically acclaimed graphic novel. It was one of those books that I felt like I should read because it’s considered a landmark in the world of comics and graphic novels.
I enjoyed the retro look if it. I also liked the alternate history aspect and the way real events were slightly altered yet still familiar. The story does a lot of jumping around in time and there is a story within the story that someone is reading throughout the book. It’s more than a little challenging to keep track of the timelines and story but a bit of strategic googling helped.
The history of the superheroes in most cases is that of normal people without superpowers donning costumes and alternate identities. They weren’t all good all the time though. For a variety of reasons, the superheroes are outlawed and now it appears that they are targets of someone with a nefarious plan.
It’s not a quick read because the story is complex. The artwork is so densely packed with detail it was definitely one of the reasons I needed to take my time with this one. Most of the panels are small but filled with important elements of the story.
I didn’t love it. I’m not even sure if I liked it. I’m glad I read it mostly for it’ place in comics and graphic novel history, but it sort of felt like an assignment and I was ready to move on before I was done with it. I think the only reason I did finish it was because it does have an important place in publishing history. I’m glad this was not the first graphic novel that I read.