First Impressions of Watchmen


I was introduced to comics in 2012, which means I have some catching up to do. One graphic novel I have been wanting to read was Watchmen. My friend was selling their copy through Facebook and I jumped at the chance to be able to read this classic story. I was blown away by the level of story building that both Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created. They developed an alternative universe of how superheroes have existed along with how the world has treated them. Watchmen is a story I truly enjoyed from start to finish.

Watchmen begins with the brutal murder of the Comedian, who was a costumed superhero based in New York. This leads to a mysterious vigilante named Rorschach (named after the Rorschach ink blot test) to investigate his murder. Rorschach believes someone is targeting former costumed crusaders and he contacts Night Owl, Doctor Manhattan and the Silk Spectre II to warn them of the threat. In the meantime, Doctor Manhattan is forced to isolate himself on Mars after his acquaintances come forward of their cancer diagnoses blaming Dr. Manhattan of their doom. This furthers Rorschach’s theory of someone targeting them.

Additionally, Watchmen flashes back to the 1940’s with the Minutemen and how they influenced the current era of superheroes. The Comedian was a part of the Minutemen and we get to learn how truly awful he was. I didn’t sympathize with the Comedian and felt his murder was justified.

The artwork in Watchmen is flawless. The first word I would use to describe the art in this graphic novel would be gritty. The use of shading allows the reader to truly believe they’re in the world of New York during the Cold War. This plays well into Rorschach’s character because of his violent vigilante crimes. It makes the reader fear Rorschach in a way that I didn’t feel if I was reading a Batman comic.

I also really connected with the characters in the story. Silk Spectre II is one of my favorite characters, but I also like her relationship with both Night Owl and Doctor Manhattan. I can sympathize with Doctor Manhattan as his accident with radiation makes it more difficult to connect with people since he isn’t aging. This really tarnishes his romantic relationships as he’s stuck in time where his partners are aging.

After finishing Watchmen, I decided to give the movie a shot. It’s available on Netflix, but it’s close to three hours, so watch it when you have the time. This is probably the most realistic graphic novel adaptation I have ever watched. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the Comedian accurately. Patrick Wilson is a babe as the Night Owl and Malin Ackerman is exactly who I pictured as the Silk Spectre II. It’s worth watching especially right after reading Watchmen. 

Even though more than 30+ years has passed since Watchmen has been published, it’s still relevant to today’s society. We still have the threat of nuclear war which exists heavily in this novel. I’m really happy I was able to give Watchmen a chance. Next on my graphic novels list is to read Hellboy and Judge Dredd.


9 thoughts on “First Impressions of Watchmen

  1. Watchemen is one of my favorite graphic novels. It’s just so dark and grimy and really makes you think. I enjoyed Hellboy as well, but I never really kept up with it. I definitely want to do a re-read before the new movie comes out.


  2. I really enjoyed Watchmen when I first read it, it was the first Alan Moore book I read. I’ve since read a few others (4 volumes of Promethea, 3 of Swamp Thing, Captain Britain, Killing Joke, V For Vendetta and From Hell), I’ve not been back since reading any of those so I think it would be interesting to see how Watchmen works after reading some of his other super hero stuff.


  3. I was just thinking of Doctor Manhattan the other night, while trying to get to sleep (random thoughts aplenty) and realised although I loved the film, I still haven’t gotten around to reading the graphic novel. I think it’s been on my reading list for ten years now! I loved reading your review and it’s given me a kick up the arse to purchase it x


  4. I did my final essay dissertation equivalent at Uni about Watchmen and it’s relation to the American Dream, wouldn’t you know? It is a great graphic novel and I really like the movie too. In fact I would even say I prefer the finale in the movie over the finale in the graphic novel as the agency recieving the blame at the end of the movie is actually more believable than what happens in the graphic novel. I really enjoyed the little asides and interludes after every issue giving flavour, and the the Tales of the Black Freighter was just amazing. They did make that into a 40 minute or so animation with Gerard Butler as I recall and I enjoyed it as well. Glad you liked, thanks for sharing


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