Watchmen
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Watchmen (Watchmen Complete)

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4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  279,365 ratings  ·  8,349 reviews
Has any comic been as lauded as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen? Possibly only Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns but Watchmen remains the critics' favourite. Why? Because Moore is a better writer, and Watchmen a more complex and dark and literate creation than Miller's fantastic, subversive take on the Batman myth. Moore, renowned for many other of the genre's f...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published October 1st 1987 by Titan Books Limited (first published 1986)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Keely
Since the movie came out, I've found myself having to explain why Watchmen is important and interesting. Despite being the most revered comic book of all time, it never really entered the mainstream until the film. Now, people are rushing to read it in droves, but approaching Watchmen without an understanding of its history and influences means missing most of what makes it truly special.

The entire work is an exploration of the history and purpose of the superhero genre: how readers connect to i...more
Schmacko
I can understand why this is considered a holy tome in the field of graphic novels. The plot is complex, it’s unique, and it’s well drawn. Also, it’s got the Holy Grail of every geeky comic book fan's wetdreams – lots of cool gadgets and stuff.

I ain’t knocking that. Imagination abounds, and I am thoroughly impressed. I love that comic books and graphic novels create their entire world – but – BUT then again every piece of art creates it’s own world. And ALL OF THOSE OTHER ARTS MAKE EMOTIONALLY E...more
Nicole Prestin
I realize that what I'm about to say is as close as you can get to comic book blasphemy, but I think that 1) Alan Moore is the most overrated comic book writer ever and 2) this graphic novel is overblown, pretentious and most unforgivable of all, boring.

To be fair, I'm somewhat of a snob when it comes to my reading habits. First and foremost, I want to be entertained. If the story happens to be deep, thought provoking or groundbreaking as well, that's icing on the cake. And the bottom line is th...more
Trish
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brad
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Felicia
Hmm, what to say. I read this AFTER I saw the movie, which was sacrilege according to some fellow geeks on Twitter, but my definition of "Geek" is someone who doesn't do what people PRESSURE them to do :P They love what they love. So anyhoo I read this and I can summarize this way:

The Movie did a great summary of the plot while formulating a story that missed the subtext of the graphic novel entirely.

I enjoyed both, but after reading the graphic novel, it's almost sad how the impression you tak...more
Punk
Graphic Novel. It's 1985. We won the Vietnam War. Nixon is still president. Someone is killing off costumed superheroes, and the world is on the brink of nuclear war. I wasn't expecting to like this book. What, I wondered, did a comic from the late eighties have to offer me, a hip and happening girl in the oughts? You can practically see the dots in the color! I'd checked it out from the library on the advice of friends, and I'd tried to read it once before, but gave up before I got even five pa...more
Kat Stark




Alrighty, I don't even know how to go about doing justice on this piece of work. For everyone's information, I'm a total noob when it comes to comics. I never read anything until 2010 after I watched The Walking Dead and found out that it was adapted from a comic. I read every single volume in a matter of days and fell in love.

Just remember that I enjoy dark, psychological, and unhappy comics. That's the way I am. If you don't like those type of novels, then don't pick this one up. I think tha...more
karen
okay i finally read it. and although i hate hate hate the art (which is why i didnt read it long ago until everyone kept telling me it was better than the art) the story is mostly very good. there are a couple of cringe-y things in there, mostly just dated material that cant be helped, but i am glad i read it, and you all can stop shouting at me now.
Mark Lawrence
I didn't read this until last year. I saw the film about six months later. I'm a new convert still radiant with that 'just converted' glow.

Along with the Sandman graphic novels this is my favourite work in the medium (Zenith and Preacher get honourable mentions). Watchmen wins over all of the other candidates in ambition. This is a work of vast ambition. It doesn't deliver on every level, it isn't perfect, but it contains so much that succeeds, and comes so close to fulfilling its promises that...more
Aubrey
Imagine the poster of a superhero. Bold lines curving around supple limbs, a palate of strong colors suffusing every empty space with black, yellow, red arcing in a heroic spray of vitality. It inspires an intense nostalgia for the days of black and white, where good was good and evil was evil, the latter never lasting for very long. You remember your childhood, filled with dreams and hobbies and racing through the world with bright eyes and an eager mind.

The poster is in an alleyway. It is fil...more
Kat
Basic Plot: Someone has murdered the "hero" the Comedian, and the retired costumed heroes begin to investigate, turning up all kinds of nasty messes.

I'm seriously tempted to give spoilers here, as the book was utterly mind-blowing (GAH! Rorschach! GAH!), and there were some serious twists in the book that, while I can't say I didn't see them coming, still really affected me strongly.

This is not a comic book for those who want their superheroes infallible icons of Americana. This is a graphic nov...more
John Wiswell
Mar 18, 2013 John Wiswell rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fanatical comic book readers
I admire Alan Moore as a public figure and regard how much he apparently shook up superhero comics. That’s not going to make me like The Watchmen. Fundamentally, every character felt like the same uninspired shape, that jaded celebrity in search of catharsis at the expense of someone else. I held out hope for The Comedian to play a dynamic personality, for if ever a universe needed The Joker to kick it in the ass, it was this one. Instead, The Comedian turned out to be the apex cynic, and so I d...more
Jonathan
I refuse to let the hype of this novel influence me. And so here is my statement about the book in one sentence: I liked the story but the philosophy behind the novel I did not like.

Watchmen - many people know the idea behind the title 'Who will watch the Watchmen' - but not everyone has read this acclaimed novel. As the title suggests it is a graphic novel that deals with the idea of who exists to watch the superheroes if they go out of control. And really, part of my problem with reading this...more
Brendan
Who’s watching Watchmen? Everybody apparently. This book—or comic book, or graphic novel, or whatever you want to call it—has been picked apart endlessly in the 20 years since it was first published, every frame microscopically studied, its plot, characters, and symbols charted out no less elaborately than Ulysses’. Its fans, like fans of everything else, are intensely protective and argumentative. Reading a book like this now, for the first time, is likely to result less in actual criticism tha...more
Becky
Back in 2009, when the movie came out, my boyfriend went to see it (without me - I will not knowingly see a movie based on a book I might someday want to read) and didn't like it at all. He came out of the movie saying that it made him mad how there were all sorts of references to "Illuminati" stuff.

Now, admittedly, I'm damn near blind when it comes to seeing symbolism. One should never rely on me to be the one to catch symbolism references to things in books or movie or anything, unless it sid...more
Tatiana
Frankly, I've always looked down on comic books and graphic novels. That is until I saw "Watchmen" - the movie that amazed me by its complexity and cleverness. Needless to say, I just had to see what kind of material it was based on. I wasn't disappointed.

Let me start by saying that I though the movie did this book justice, especially visually. But reading this graphic novel just added an entire new layer to the story, making it even deeper and more complex than I thought it was. The characters...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
When I was young and still living in an island town where books were rare and I get to see newspapers (parts of newspapers, actually) only as fish wrappers, my hunger for reading was appeased somehow by komiks. Some of them featured complete short stories in each issue. The better ones, however, were those serialized stories or novellettes. Issues were delivered weekly by boat from the mainland (Wednesdays for Aliwan komiks, Thursdays for Wakasan komiks, etc.), each story cut off in each issue a...more
oriana
[adapted from my J&C essay series over at CCLaP]

Bookfriends, it is the one-year anniversary of Jugs & Capes! And so naturally we read the behemoth of behemoths. That's right: Watchmen. Probably the most famous graphic novel of all time, if not altogether one of the most famous books of all time. It’s such a hard book to even talk about, let alone review—I feel like everything I could say must have already been said, louder and smarter, over and over.

Oh but whatever, when has that stoppe...more
Amanda
Another graphic novel that makes me wish I had been introduced to comic books when I had been younger. I just know that I was meant to have spent my formative years reading them, but, alas, no older brother to steal them from, no comic book store on the corner, no real knowledge of their existence. How deprived my childhood was.

Some reasons I loved Watchmen:

The alternative history approach; America won the Vietnam war, Nixon is still president, but the hysteria caused by the possibility of nucle...more
Mykle
Once upon a time I lent my first-edition of the Watchmen graphic novel to some friend of mine. I don't remember who. They still have it, I'm pretty sure. If you are that friend, please return my book because I've just seen the movie and now I'm ready to read the book again.

My friends and I were so damn obsessed when this series was first coming out. It was a monthly serial, of course, but the issues kept coming later and later. Fortunately there was so very much detail to obsess over in every si...more
Cathy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Miss_otis
I'm prepared to get pelted with rotten vegetables and bricks and all manner of nasty things, but....Watchmen didn't really do anything for me. In fact, I was so "meh" about it that I had to go do some research in order to see if I could figure out just why, exactly, it's so acclaimed.

I found a very interesting thesis someone had written (if anyone would like to read it, comment and I'll try to find it again), which gave me some nice historical background on the history of comics in general and t...more
Mon
It's past midnight, and I have a lecture in a couple of hours so I'll keep this review short. Don't blame me, this is one of those books where if you stop reading you would feel as if you can only have one single spoon of that triple chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Watchmen should be a novel, not a comic/ graphic novel/ sequential art or whatever you want to call it. Is it because its subject matters - utopia, relative morality and phenomenological existence just to name a few, are too co...more
Sam Quixote
So it's now apparently sacrilege to criticize Moore and Gibbons' feted book but I don't care, iconoclasm is underrated.

My main problems with it are simply subjective. Moore can't write well, in my opinion, and nowhere is his dull and poor prose more apparent than in this book. I fell asleep reading this and cannot understand what people see in this. None of them besides the blue guy have superpowers so it's basically a group of guys who like a punch up and dress up in rubbish outfits. One bloke...more
David
May 12, 2007 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in the nature of heroes
Shelves: graphicnovels
I just finished reading Watchmen by the very intense Alan Moore of V for Vendetta fame. I've been on a bit of a comic book/graphic novel kick recently after completing a whole host of non-fiction work for use in my Master's thesis. The Watchmen is one of those books that anyone who cares, or cared, about comic books and superheroes should read. Set in an alternate American time line, skewed by the existence of masked vigilantes (read: superheroes), Watchmen explores an America that wins the Viet...more
Francine
Aug 21, 2008 Francine rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Francine by: Jim Kay
Addendum, 21Aug2008: Against my better judgment, I changed my mind and decided to read it to the end. And what a silly, stupid ending!! If I could give this a 0, I would. It's entirely possible that I missed the point. Maybe on some level, it is brilliant and it is seminal. But I, for one, did not like it; I did not appreciate it. This is time I will never get back.

------

Because the movie is coming out next year, Jim said I had to read this. It was the best graphic novel ever written.

I couldn't...more
Michael
I've heard nothing but unflinching hyperbolic praise for this book. I wonder if it's even possible for anything to live up to the kind of hype this has suffered. It's the only graphic novel/comic book to be included on Time Magazine's list of 100 greatest novels since the beginning of Time's publication. That's a lot of pressure - to be the sole symbol and representation and of an entire art form for a popular and wide audience. I mean, this thing needs to be devastatingly good.

Forget all that n...more
Greg
Maybe this is worth four stars. Or maybe even five stars, but only if I had read Watchmen when I was twelve years old. That doesn't mean that I had to be twelve to like it, but that would have been how old I would have been when these first came out. Instead of reading them then I was a pretty loyal Marvel fan at the time, and the little bit of money I had, which all went to buying comic books, was spent on the Marvel universe, with my forays into DC land coming a few years later when I realized...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Set in 1985 in New York, the Cold War is still very much alive, Nixon is settling in for yet another term as President, and masked vigilantes are considerably passé. Since the costumed adventurers of the 30s and 40s called The Minutemen disbanded in the 50s, masked vigilantes became increasingly unpopular right up to the Keene Act of '77 which made it illegal. The only one who persists is Rorschach, and everyone knows he's not exactly mentally stable.

This second generation of retired crime figh...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Alan Moore is an English writer most famous for his influential work in comics, including the acclaimed graphic novels Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell. He has also written a novel, Voice of the Fire, and performs "workings" (one-off performance art/spoken word pieces) with The Moon and Serpent Grand Egypt...more
More about Alan Moore...
V for Vendetta Batman: The Killing Joke The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 From Hell The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 2

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“Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night.

Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else.

Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us. Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world.

Was Rorschach.

Does that answer your Questions, Doctor?”
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“Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, "Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up." Man bursts into tears. Says, "But doctor...I am Pagliacci.” 509 likes
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