This is the best novel I have ever read. There's no sarcasm or over-exaggeration in that sentence. This novel truly is the best book I...moreFull review here
This is the best novel I have ever read. There's no sarcasm or over-exaggeration in that sentence. This novel truly is the best book I have ever read.
In general Watchmen (along with perhaps Neil Gaiman's Sandman series and Frank Miller's Batman comics) is credited as completely re-inventing the comics industry and proving once and for all that comics are firmly for adults and certainty not just for children.
I love this book so much. I love the characters. I love the writing. I love the plot. I love the artwork. I love the themes explored. I love this fucking book. This book really is a masterpiece on all accounts.
First of all what's this book about? Well it's a story set in an alternative 1980's in which Nixon is still president, the US won Vietnam and the whole world is staring into the face of nuclear oblivion. In this world costumed heroes are abundant and follows their lives post-Keene act (a bill that outlawed costumed vigilantism).
Oh, and you know when I said heroes above? Yeah, well perhaps "heroes" isn't really the right word to describe these characters. Nearly all the characters are either mentally ill or have some dark side to their personality. So who do we have?
Well starting off there's the Comedian who has little to no regard to morality or human life. There's Dr. Manhattan; the only real "super" hero in the whole book who is an incredibly alienating and cold sociopath who views people as merely a bundle a modules and atoms rather than genuine people.
There's also Night Owl who is a weak and affable man who suffers seems to suffered from impotency. Then there's Silk Spectre who really doesn't want to be a crime-fighter yet was dragged into it by her over-bearing mother. Also there's Ozymandias who has some rather...strange views on how to bring about world peace.
And finally my personal favourite character Rorschach. He's an ultra-right wing, woman-hating psychopath with a demented obsession of bringing about justice who has a warped sense of right or wrong. But whether they be a nut or a loser, all of the characters in Watchmen are incredibly detailed and complex.
But as much I have praised the writing of this novel I must also praise the artwork in it as Dave Gibbons is more than sufficient as the artist in it. After all without him we wouldn't of had Rorschach's distinctive inkblot mask or the clockface ticking to midnight that reappears so many times throughout the novel or the now famous smiley face with a bloodstain in the corner.
That's another fantastic element of this book. It's use of symbology is everywhere and all have their own distinct meanings behind them. One of the joys of this book is going back over and noticing these symbols which are littered everywhere.
I really cannot stress enough how good a book this is. From the sharp, dark and gritty writing to the subtle artistic additions here and there this book is truly the best example of what you would call a masterpiece and genuinely deserves the overused title of genius. Buy it. Buy it now.(less)
Okay, really, I'm finishing this. I know normally my book OCD makes me only complete a book until I HAVE READ EVERY LAST PAGE...but really, It's getti...moreOkay, really, I'm finishing this. I know normally my book OCD makes me only complete a book until I HAVE READ EVERY LAST PAGE...but really, It's getting embarrassing to have this still on "currently reading" when it's a really thin book.
So, this is not as good as the first one. I'm starting to think that maybe the graphic novel genre is not for me. Increasingly I'm finding they are just not value for money, in that normally I'll read a graphic novel of this size in a couple of hours, and then, woof! That's £9 gone. It was like that with the The Manhattan Projects (which was still awesome cool crazy fun mind you), and it was the same for this. It moved so quickly I just found there wasn't any time for me to really get invested in what was going on. I didn't really care about what happened to the characters, or the situation, and I don't know why. It's not like these are new characters or anything (I read this first book and found that very enjoyable), but, when I finished it my overall thoughts were "Meh. Whatver". Which is annoying. But hey, maybe that's a fault of my own. Probably. But anyway, let's move on to the real problem I have this with book.
The New Traveller's Almanac. Dear christ almighty impaled on a BBQ stick, the New Traveller's Almanac. This has to be one of the most dry, boring, long winded and seemingly unending pieces of prose I've read yet. I really just could not bring myself to slog through this any longer. It is interesting, and it's great to see the world of the LOEG fleshed out so much, but FUCK ME it is not fun to read. As much as I tried to imagine the places, and the whole world as one sweeping epic adventure ala Game of Thrones (which is what has happened to me after watching both seasons 1 and 2 and becoming obsessed. I've started trying to see everything I find dull to read as a Game of Thrones story with lots of political intrigue and machinations, in an attempt to make it more interesting. This often helps when reading particularly dry bits of my History textbook), but try as I might, I just could not get my mind to take an iota of interest in the words that were scrolling down my eyeballs.
I really do not think ordinary prose like in a ordinary book does not works in the graphic novel format, with Black Dossier suffering from this as well. Cramming text that normally would be going straight along from left to right on an A3 piece of paper, and squeezing it into 3 separate paragraphs on one single A4 page is an eye-raping exercise.
I should however commend Kevin O'Neil's fantastic artwork, which is just as superb as previously. Whether it be the sweeping red plains of Mars, or the images of people being burnt alive in a fiery green haze by the Martian ray guns, or the red weed enveloping the whole of the Thames, there are some truly staggering pieces of work in here. That's one of the bonuses of graphic novels, even in a comic with the shittest of plotlines, the artwork would be considered masterpieces if viewed separately.
So all in all, disappointing. I'm starting to worry my unadulterated love for Moore may be fading with age (although I still think Watchmen is brilliant, and V for Vendetta has its moments), and that maybe it was a phase of uber-pretentious, very arrogant youth (I say, as a 17-year old. Yeah because I'm so much older and wiser now, aren't I? :/). This would be a shame, as I still find the man himself very intelligent, thought provoking, and hilarious, and From Hell, the last of his major-ish works of me yet to read, does looks gorgeous and very profound. So it would be a shame if I become completely disengaged in someone I used to love. (less)
Just finished reading it. First of all I love Alan Moore and his work and have huge respect and admiration of him and deeply love the works of art he...moreJust finished reading it. First of all I love Alan Moore and his work and have huge respect and admiration of him and deeply love the works of art he creates.
However, sadly I felt this book was really very boring in places, especially the mounds of written text it had which in this medium doesn't work.
As book fan finding the numerous references was very enjoyable but overall it seemed quite a long and sometimes very tedious read.