I will start by stating that I am reading this graphic novel in 2016, and I am reviewing it according to the reading experience I’ve had at this moment in time. I have heard so many good things about this book, and while I completely understand the reasons why it had been considered a masterpiece of its time, it is also difficult for me to disregard certain flaws and see it from a perspective of what it might have represented back then.

watchmen

Watchmen includes a cast of complex , flawed and overall “grey” characters, who make you constantly question the meaning of morality. There is no true villain, no true hero; no right or wrong, simply a matter of perspective – and a great dose of self-righteousness.
This approach obviously defied the traditional superhero concept, by adding meaning and very human traits to previously black and white type of characters.

A beautiful essay on hypocrisy and the very specific nature of humankind, Watchmen explores humanity, politics, morality, and everything in between. While someone tries to enforce his anarchic ideals upon the entire world, someone else with enough power to make a change, chooses to do nothing. In this aspect, Watchmen is deep, beautiful, thought provoking even.

Another great thing is the art, despite being obviously outdated nowadays. The carefully crafted visual motifs and patterns, the configuration of the panels, the parallelism between scenes, it all flows seamlessly.

My biggest issue with Watchmen is how women were portrayed. Trying not to get into a deeply controversial debate about sexism, the explanation could be as simple as Moore can’t write female characters. I would go so far as to say that women are pretty useless in this book. They don’t exist independently, their purposes are either romantically or sexually related. Considering this graphic novel represented pretty much a revolution in the comics genre, it’s sad that this revolution didn’t extend to the portrayal of female characters.

My other issue had to do with the fact I wasn’t emotionally engaged. The complexity of the characters could have made them more relatable, but instead, I found myself unable to connect or relate to any of them. And this leads to another deep internal debate: Why are all characters in Watchmen so difficult to relate to? Is it because we feel we are somehow better, as humans?
About the story itself, the pacing also felt slow, didn’t engage me enough to want to turn the page. In fact, at some point, the book felt more as an essay than an actual story. This influenced my levels of enjoyment and entertainment, and while these are highly personal and subjective, it will of course have an impact on my personal rating.

Overall, Watchmen is a great read and a major turning point in the comics genre, full of symbolism and historic influences. I’d still recommend it, specially if you are a comics fan. It might be a Hugo Award-winning novel and considered as one of the 100 greatest novels by Time Magazine, but of course doesn’t mean everyone will like it.


Final Verdict:

To me, this is Silver.


Alan Moore WatchmenWatchmen

Dave Gibbons, Alan Moore

This Hugo Award-winning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.
One of the most influential graphic novels of all time and a perennial bestseller, WATCHMEN has been studied on college campuses across the nation and is considered a gateway title, leading readers to other graphic novels such as V FOR VENDETTA, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and THE SANDMAN series.


Comments

13
  1. Watchmen is new to me. It’s quite confusing why there isn’t a hero nor a villain. Well, that may be the reason what makes it different from the other stories.
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  2. After reading this post I realized how I missed having some ME time to read comic books! The overview feel and vibe of your site is really good (and I’m also a geeky LOL!) I will definitely check out your movie review on this one!

  3. I don’t really read a lot of comic books but I actually like Watchmen! I’m no expert, but I enjoy precisely because the characters are so complex it intrigues the psychologist in me. Hehehe. I agree with you though, the women characters are not as interesting or exciting. Very well-written article by the way. Pretty entertaining even for someone like me, who isn’t much of a comic book fan.

  4. I like the way you reviewed the graphic novel. Love how you described it as full of symbolisms. I cant remember if i have seen the flick but i do remember it being shown a long time ago. Havent read the novel but may do so if my son would ask for a copy.

  5. I haven’read the Watchmen comics (I’m still readin the comics of The Walking Dead). I’m also not familiar with the movie. It sounds a bit odd that there’s no true villain or hero. I usually really like having villains and heroes. Ofcourse there are always two sides: Heroes aren’t perfect and every villain has his/her own background sory. But I do like to have some opposites in a comic/ series or movie. For me, it also a requirment that I can really relate to one or more characters. I agree with you that this is important. If I can relate to one or more characters, I will want to come back and read more all the time. Just to know how this character is doing! I also like a quite quick pace. I love it when a lot happens! Thanks for your review!

  6. Personally, I have never read Watchmen comics, did see a movie though, and not impressed at all with the characters… in fact, I am not watching again.
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  7. Not a comic reader myself, it’s not something I would pick-up ad read. However, you comment on the negative portrayal of women is worrying as I think its not healthy to reflect these attitudes on young impressionable readers.

  8. Am not really a fan of comic series but every mention of comic takes me back into childhood, I remember my friends then being so crazy about comics. Your review sounds like Watchmen definitely be a hit with comic lovers.
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  9. I have to admit that I do not follow comic books and I don’t think I have opened one in the past 10 years. I like reading your reviews though as you write them with so much passion and in a way, they take me back to my childhood, when I used to have my father’s old Pif and Hercules collection. Not really a proper comic book, but a nice close up.
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  10. Robert Jones III

    I, too, read this one rather recently to see what all the buzz was about. I had to respect how it was constructed and executed, but I found the end a bit of a letdown. I agree about the portrayal of women. Laurie Jupiter’s mother secretly pines for a man who once tried to abuse her, and Laurie herself behaves like someone out of a teenage male’s fantasy. For contrast, I much prefer Nausicaa in Miyazaki’s manga, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind as well as the portrayal of Wonder Woman by Alex Ross and Mark Waid in Kingdom Come. I posted on the former recently and will post on the latter soon. Yours is a good post. Take care.

  11. Not that fair against women the way the put women in this game. Sounds a bit out of time. Anyways, maybe it’s maybe for senseless men hah. Well, good that you also point out the less positive things on your blog.
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  12. Even though we may not agree on the final rating, I agree with you on most of the points. Unfortunately yes, the women are badly written to simply summarize, even though they bring their importance to the story and the characters, it is true that the way they bring this is sexist. On the other hand, I was personally engaged with the characters and felt attached to them. All of them differently. In the way that they all picture different faces of mankind that make me differently attached to them. But I realize when reading it, there can be some flaws and difficulties to get attached, be willing to move to the next page, or just simply being concerned since it’s an alternative story. Probably it was easier to feel concerned back then. But I’ve also watched the movie before reading it, and I have the feeling the movie gives more emotion to some parts because it had to for the silver screen. So I was only having the scenes coming back to me as I was reading and to me this is the best (comic) book adaptation I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to watch the movie together and I hope you’ll like it more than the comics Haha. Overall, this is an awesome review, as always. I love so much your writing style, as you know. I always want more of it. More of you.
    Amazing post from the most amazing woman who’s mine and that I’m entirely and forever hers<3
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    • Thank you so much; I have tried to give my very personal opinion while keeping the facts of what this graphic novel represents. I would actually love to read your review of the movie after you re watch it with me 🙂 I will reply to that last bit in private haha <3 But of course I have to be amazing with someone amazing by my side.
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