Watchmen is really something and a half when it comes to graphic novels. I don’t say it like a bad thing, but when this book has been hailed as ‘one of the most influential graphic novels of all time’, you know there is a lot to offer and dissect.
Like most things in life, Watchmen may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s a hefty book with numerous chances at speculation and discussions. It was written in the 80s, in a time that comics were not as diverse as they are today, nor as easily accessible. It’s also heavily based on an alternate history in which the United States wins the Vietnam War and the Watergate Scandal was never exposed—and that the country is edging towards World War III against the Soviet Union. As someone who is unfamiliar with these sides of history and lack the knowledge to speculate, the best way to approach this graphic novel without an understanding of its history and influences is to just keep on reading—and possibly have a second go at it.
As far as writing goes, however, I think it’s brilliantly well-written. Intelligent. Since this graphic novel is a ‘deconstruction of the superhero genre’, it’s safe to say that Moore creates characters in a way the reflects that statement. There are no real heroes in this book—no real sympathetic character, anyway—only flawed people with conflicting moral quandaries and priorities. It makes you question morality on a scale rarely seen in fiction. No one is truly good or evil in this book; they are simply convinced that they are right.
Watchmen is a complex multi-dimensional work and a brilliant piece of fiction. Parts of it felt too intricate to put into words; frankly, I still don’t fully understand it. Like I said, a second read isn’t mandatory, but it would be beneficial if you were to piece together this intricate story. Having said that, I do understand why it’s so lauded by so many. It’s an engaging read that challenges is readers to theorise beyond what’s pretty much set in stone, i.e. the superhero genre. Alan Moore is an extremely talented writer and I look forward to reading more from him.
If you’ve made it this far into my post, thank you for reading! Have you read Watchmen before? If so, what did you think? If not, would you consider it? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you in my next post!
Until next time,