Author: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Release Date: April 1, 1995
Publisher: DC Comics
Genre: Graphic Novel
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the publisher’s website:
It all begins with the paranoid delusions of a half-insane hero called Rorschach. But is Rorschach really insane or has he in fact uncovered a plot to murder super-heroes and, even worse, millions of innocent civilians? On the run from the law, Rorschach reunites with his former teammates in a desperate attempt to save the world and their lives, but what they uncover will shock them to their very core and change the face of the planet! Following two generations of masked superheroes from the close of World War II to the icy shadow of the Cold War comes this groundbreaking comic story — the story of The Watchmen.
I honestly had no idea what to expect when I picked up Watchmen. My husband had read it and loved it, and said we were definitely going to see the movie when it comes out. I wanted to make sure to tackle the book first. I knew it had been one of Time’s Top 100 Books since 1923, and I have heard over and over again how amazing the novel is. Therefore, my expectations were pretty high. I also figured, being a graphic novel, it would be a bit easier to read than a regular novel. Boy was I wrong!
First of all, Watchmen was really hard for me to read. I’m not sure if I underestimated it for being a graphic novel or the plot was just more complicated than usual, but either way I had to go back and review things multiple times. I also found the format incredibly difficult. I’ve never read a graphic novel before, so I figured that all the pictures would make it easier to read. What I didn’t realize is that pictures means an extra thing to concentrate on. While it’s not necessary to study each picture carefully, they are an important part of the storytelling and you can’t simply skip them. Therefore, it actually took me a lot longer than I expected to complete Watchmen and I was exhausted at the end of it. I wonder if I should have read it in smaller sections, rather than trying to tackle the whole book at once?
The storyline was actually really good. The characters were very well developed. Like I said earlier, I had no idea what to expect from a graphic novel, so I pretty much held it to the same standards as a regular novel. It passed with flying colors. I loved the idea that this was an anti-superhero story. It gave the characters so much depth and so many flaws to overcome. You find yourself rooting for characters that seem to be pretty awful people, but there is always something underneath.
My only real complaint about the novel is the ending. I didn’t like it. It’s so unsatisfying and I just wasn’t a fan of the whole explanation of what was going on. But then again, it fits with the tone of the entire novel. It wasn’t written to be satisfying or what the readers want – it was written tell a good story and to be provocative, and it is definitely that.
Watchmen is by no means an easy read. It’s dense, and if you’re used to flying through regular novels like I am, this novel is going to seem like a stumbling block. The story is intricate and complicated. My expectations may have been too high going in, but Watchmen is definitely a novel worth reading.