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Watchmen Paperback – May 13, 2014
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"A work of ruthless psychological realism, it’s a landmark in the graphic novel medium. It would be a masterpiece in any."
–TIME, TIME MAGAZINE’s 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present
About the Author
Alan Moore is perhaps the most acclaimed writer in the graphic story medium, having garnered countless awards for works such as WATCHMEN, V FOR VENDETTA, SWAMP THING and Miracleman. He is also the mastermind behind the America's Best Comics line, through which he has created (along with many talented illustrators) THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, PROMETHEA, TOM STRONG, TOMORROW STORIES and TOP TEN. As one of the medium's most important innovators since the early 1980s, Moore has influenced an entire generation of comics creators, and his work continues to inspire an ever-growing audience.
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The big question is whether it's a good place to start in comics. I wouldn't recommend this as the first thing you pick up due to how dark it is, and how you should have some idea of how comics function normally to see how well they're being subverted and twisted here. Of course, since pop culture is stuffed full of superheroes right now it's not something you really need to worry about if it is the first thing you pick up.
The biggest problem that would stand if you picked this up for the first time is that it doesn't really introduce you to the wider world of DC comics. Yes, it's a wonderful story, and if you want to add diversity to your shelf and play around in the corners of the comics world, it's wonderful. But if you want to read superhero comics and want an introduction to that world, this is the wrong place to go. I do understand there was a set of prequel comics released at one point, but they aren't written by Alan Moore (and he actually hates that they happened, if I understand it correctly) and didn't last very long. I, personally, have no plans to read them since I'm not really interested in seeing what happened before this book.
My opinion of the whole graphic novel: wow it was amazing! It was not what I expected but I loved it all the way through. In no way did I expect it to take me this long to read, and it does disappoint me that it did, but every second really was a pleasure. If it's been something you've debated I recommend picking it up sooner rather than later, even if it's just from your library.
TL;DR? It's not the best place to start, but is a wonderful book I recommend everyone read at some point in their lives.
The characters and their origin stories are archetypal - a family tragedy, a scientific accident, a wealthy magnate seeking to do good ... the human side of these super-heroes is what made this such an enjoyable and intriguing read for me: how power and fame warped some, how the government sought to manipulate and use these people, and what happens to them when they inevitably get old?
The conclusion was a bit of a let-down - it felt to me as if Moore had written himself into a corner and wasn't sure how to get out of it; that said, the characters remained true to their nature; perhaps given the story arc there was no other way to wrap things up. To his credit, Moore didn't "cheat" readers with a last-minute change of heart of a sudden catharsis that took characters in a different direction in order to provide a happy, tidy ending.
For comic book fans, this is a must read. As a cultural touch-stone and commentary on the nature of power and reflection of 20th century western values and mores, its an interesting commentary. For those seeking a fun and entertaining read, this will be a hit.
Marvel was always my favorite but it was two DC comics; The Watchmen and The Dark Knight series in 1985 that were so well done, I decided to stop.
The Watchmen was extremely well thought out with the storyline and a suburb job with the art, after watching all versions of the movie so many times I thought I'd pick up the graphic novel for a re-read. I'm damn glad I did, it still has held up very well and with the U.S. now in Afghanistan it is even more surreal.