Hugo-Award-winning graphic novel.
I definitely felt a little bit behind-the-times for reading this now, when there was such
a buzz about it when it came out, but better late than never?
The story focuses on a group of aging, has-been superheroes. Now that the goverment has banned their brand of vigilantism, there isn't much call for costumed crusaders. And moreover, now it seems that someone may be targeting them for murder.
Although the murders frame a fantastic story equal to any comic book adventure,the real focus of the book is on the characters, their interaction and (abnormal) psychology.
It's not at all 'juvenile' in tone, and unlike many graphic novels, that you can just zip through, reading this goes no faster than reading a text novel - there's a lot here to both look at and think about. Very well done - but still, a rather depressing story.
I don't often read comics (or graphic novels), but I had wanted to read this one before the movie came out so I'd get a better idea of the characters that are in the film. I found that they were all quite complex and the story itself is rather sad and depressing, but I found it to be a really good read. It's not full of the stereotypical eye-rolling catch phrases you assume to see in a comic and it's definitely not for young children with many adult situations, violence, language and nudity.
Wow! What an amazing piece of work. It's been a long time since I've read a comic book (graphic novel). I practically grew up on Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Superman, etc., in the 60s, but Watchmen was definitely a cut above the usual comic fare! This was a very complex and involved story for adults. I loved how Moore wove together the past masked adventurers from the 30s with the storyline from the present day (the 80s). The text presented between each chapter also really added to the overall effect of the story. I especially liked Hollis Mason's "Under the Hood" which told how he came to be "Nite Owl" and the formation of the "Minutemen". Beautifully done! Also enjoyed the pirate story that was mixed in with the main story line. And the main story was simply awe-inspiring - especially the ending. Gibbons illustrations were also wonderful and mesmerizing. I'll be on the lookout for some of Moore's other works like 'V for Vendetta" and "Promethea." I also now need to see the movie version of Watchmen - I have put off seeing it until I had a chance to read the book.
Watchmen is a graphic novel originally published as twelve comic books in 1986 and 1987. It is also the source material for the 2009 movie of the same name.
This is a dark and disturbing story set in the recent past of a world very similar to our own. Costumed crime fighters - superheroes of one sort or another - exist and were mostly forced out of the business by law some time before the story opens. Those who work for the government or ignore the law continue what they were doing while the others retired and aged. As we join the story someone starts killing them off, and the plot grows from there.
Every character in here has a difficult back story of one sort or another, and their psychological challenges are on stage just as much as the plot itself. That's somewhat to be expected. After all, just how likely is a normal person to put on a costume and personally fight crime? No, it takes someone special - or disturbed - to do that.
I found the story engaging, but the methods used by the villain - particularly at the very end - seemed a bit over the top, even for this world. The characters were pretty good, but some suffered from a lack of believability. I bought into Rorshach, and the Comedian, found both Dr. Manhattan and Veidt too far fetched, and Nite Owl didn't resonate. I won't call out the whole list but you ge the idea.
Overall I thought it was a good read, but not outstanding. My copy says it won a Hugo award and is on Time Magazine's list of the 100 best novels. I don't think I can agree with the latter, but it's good in any case.
Recommended with some minor reservations.
My husband recommended that I should read this book before we go see the movie. It's been a while since I've picked up a comic or graphic novel, so it took a little bit to get used to the reading/ picture viewing, but it's like riding a bike and came back quickly. All in all, this story left me breathless. Each character is so multi-layered, having their own reasons for becoming costumed heroes (note- not superheroes, only one character technically fits that bill if it refers to special powers). Some do it as a result of childhood situations, others do it to genuinely fight crime & make the world a better place, some do it to further their careers & become famous. Each hero is flawed in some way, and any of the villains that are actually fleshed out are in some way good or trying to live a normal life upon retirement. The line between "good" and "evil" is truly blurred with this book, especially at the end. Each panel deserves some time, don't just read the text. There are clues in background graffiti, newspaper headlines, etc... which makes reading this book a treat. There are references that only make sense at the end. In a way, it's a bit like watching the show LOST in the sense that nothing is insignificant & everything ties together at the end, but not beforehand. At first, the ending left me feeling a bit let down & thinking "WTF," but after sleeping on it and thinking over a few references from the story, it started to come together & really showed how magnificent it really was. It's hard to explain without ruining it, so I recommend reading it! :-) I read a reader's review on another website saying that their only complaint was the portrayal of the female characters as being weak & not as fleshed out as the male characters, and I have to agree with that. There is so much more that could have been brought to the table in that sense. Other than that, go read "Watchmen" knowing that it is going to stick with you after you finish it!
I hope my rating doesn't discourage anyone, because I'm definitely not in the "target audience" for this. I'm really not a graphic novel kind of person. But, I had seen the movie, heard how great it was supposed to be, and decided to give it a try. I can honestly say, while I didn't personally care for it, I can see where all the hype comes from, and it's certainly well deserved. The story is unexpectedly complex, and the message is powerful. While it wasn't my cup of tea, I can still completely respect it for what it achieves for the genre. On that front, it is in no way a disappointment.
* * *. Graphic novel / Mystery. A small group of costume-wearing crimefighters is being killed, setup or spurned, and the remaining Watchmen must find out who is responsible and why.
My initiation into the graphic novel format was surprisingly enjoyable. Terrific drawings, believable characters, and good story. Not for children: includes violence, bloodshed, language, and sexual situations.
This is an excellent book. I recommend it even if you aren't into comics.
Watchmen is fantastic. I'm excited to finally have a copy of my own. Alan Moore is an incredible creative force.