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Watchmen s/c

Watchmen s/c back

Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons


Page 45 Review by Stephen

Watchmen International Edition apparently, whatever that means! The story begins as a murder-mystery and quickly unfolds into a planet-altering conspiracy as these unlikely heroes - Rorschach, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias - must test the limits of their convictions and ask themselves where the true line is between good and evil. The original, epic story is collected here with a new cover, sketches, bonus material and an introduction by artist Dave Gibbons.

Here is my very brief review...

The first yet ultimate word on the vigilante: the unelected, self-proclaimed protector and dictator of right and wrong: police, judge, jury and executioner.

Structurally it's as tight as a fist, the "Fearful Symetry" chapter being a stand-out example of bearing down on the minutiae of your craft.

Written while the Cold War blazed at its hottest between America and Russia, under the very real threat of nuclear Armageddon, this was all about power and responsibility. Starring superhumans, in Alan's words, decidedly "more human than super", it's a very dark and dense twelve-issue read, each chapter structured as intricately as a Swiss watch and concluding with correspondence, newspaper and ornithological magazine articles, NYC Police Department rap sheets, hospital psychiatric evaluation reports and even autobiographical book excepts.

For Alan there are no Acts of God; there's no destiny or fate. It's us: we are responsible for what happens. Either that, or They are and it's completely out of our control - an equally frightening thought. "They" in this instance are the urban vigilantes and uber-beings, and as always with Moore he's interested as much in what sort of ideas and what sort of social forces brought us to such a state of political play, and could produce, tolerate or even venerate self-proclaimed superheroes as he is in their own thought processes whose articulation will give you plenty to shiver about.

I think it's Alan's earliest thorough exploration of time. You can tell I haven't read it for a decade, can't you? When I have a second I'll read it again, come back and write something fresh.