Thursday, 12 September 2013

Watchmen Review

Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Dave Gibbons

Watchmen is a story that I first read once hearing about the film version being made, and it really blew my mind. For this reason I've decided to read it once more, this time reviewing it.


After the death of The Comedian, Rorschach investigates the circumstances of his death, and believe there to be a mask killer on the loose. That isn't all that is affecting New York City, as with the possibility of World War III starting, has people fearing about the end of the world.


This was a phenomenal story, and truly one of the best to ever be written. Alan Moore literally helped change comics into what we have today with this story, as it was so innovative, and original at the time it was first released. The story itself is very gritty, and realistic, showing what life would probably be like if superheroes were roaming the streets. The depth of character in this story was also spectacular, as with all these original characters being introduced in one series Moore managed to develop them gradually, whilst also revealing the characters backgrounds one at a time. The dialogue during this story was also fantastic, and I really enjoyed seeing the characters interact, and especially when either Rorschach, or Dr. Manhattan were in a discussion. The action in this story was also amazing, as although there wasn't a huge amount of action, the sequences to feature action were sensational.

The art in this story was also amazing, and Dave Gibbons did an outstanding job. The detail in his artwork is simply brilliant, with everything looking amazing. The emotion that Gibbons added was also spectacular, as it was easy to tell what the characters were feeling. I also loved the more extravagant art from Gibbons at times, as there was a few panels that really looked phenomenal. I also loved how Gibbons didn't hold off on the graphic nature of this story, allowing the gore to look realistic. It was however also nice that Gibbons was tactful with this, and that it wasn't gore for the sake of gore. The colour from John Higgins was also fantastic, as considering when this story was released colouring wasn't digital, not allowing colourists as many tools. Higgins however did the best that you could with the colours, and they really added depth, and vibrancy to the story.

This story started with the Comedian getting killed. Killing one of your main characters off straight away is a very interesting way to start, but the way that Moore would build on this was brilliant. A lot of characters in comics once they die they usually only make a few appearances in memories, or flashbacks before they eventually return from the dead. This time however we get to see a lot of the Comedian as due to the story exploring all the characters backgrounds there are chances to see how each character interacted with him at a certain point in their lives. He also is mentioned, and shown due to his death being the catalyst for the main story.

The Watchmen themselves aren't your conventional team, and in fact are not really a team themselves. I found this very interesting, as not wanting to know too much about the story prior to reading it the first time round I was expecting a team book, and although it is that in a way, it's unlike any other team book that I've read before. The characters themselves were however extremely interesting, and I really enjoyed how individual, and unique they were, all having different looks, and personalities. I also found it interesting how due to the death of the Comedian that this would cause all these heroes to individually find one another after the long length they've spent living normal lives (most of them anyway).

My favourite character in this story was easily Rorschach. The likes of Dr. Manhattan, and the Comedian really interested me, as did the rest of the characters, but none were quite like Rorschach. The gritty, no surrender attitude that Rorschach had was simply amazing, and I loved how he never compromised his believes, aiming to deal justice wherever it's needed. I also loved the look of Rorschach, and how his name would be very appropriate, with his mask being like a Rorschach test. Rorschach's Journal was also very interesting, and it reminded me of the Punisher, showing how proficient both characters were, as well as their need to create a log of what they have done. I also loved the way this added to the narration as well.

This story would also see the threat of a possible World War III between America and the Soviet Union, with the fear of the world ending due to the nuclear war. This made the story all that more interesting, as it added more dread to the regular people in the background. I especially found it interesting to see what the news vendor, and his customers thought about this, as it gave a very natural, and realistic response to such an event, also showing how differently people react to news. I also enjoyed seeing how this would work out as a big development in the story, and how it would shape it into what it was.

Final Verdict

This is easily one of the best stories ever to be written, as well as one of the most innovative stories that I have ever read. It's gritty, and realistic, with plenty of drama, and brilliant characters. It has a great pace, with fantastic development, and the suspense, and tension built throughout was simply amazing. Due to all this it's easy to recommend this story, and if you've already read it why not read it again.

Rating: 10/10