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Watchmen

(Watchmen #1-12)

by
4.37  ·  Rating details ·  529,865 ratings  ·  16,066 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 436 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by DC Universe (first published 1987)
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Thomas There was one line in the book that created an epiphany moment for me.

** not sure if I would call this a spoiler but it does come later in the book.

T…more
There was one line in the book that created an epiphany moment for me.

** not sure if I would call this a spoiler but it does come later in the book.

They quote J.F.K's undelivered speech in Texas "we in this country, in this generation, are by destiny, rather than choice, the watchmen on the walls of world freedom" (p. 366). I am unsure of whether Kennedy intended to deliver these words.

Regardless, it crystalized a moment in my mind where the intricacy and beauty of the novel seemed tangible. A graphic novel is, I would argue (at the point of publication), an American and juvenile medium. Yet this particular graphic novel tackles problems that have plagued humanity since the beginning of time. In essence, it is literature. These aren't superheroes, they are psychologically rich characters trying the save the world.

The times we live in today echo the fragility of those early nuclear days. A time when daily discoveries in technology and science make us feel smaller and more hopeless.

Maybe one way of countering the doomsday clock that is ticking down is by putting on a mask and trying to make a difference.

I think the book builds to a crescendo, and I would recommend sticking with it.(less)
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Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  529,865 ratings  ·  16,066 reviews


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J.G. 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
Jayson
(A) 88% | Extraordinary
Notes: Constantly captured by its brilliance, it's a comic book chef-d'œuvre, with meaty text and a complex, layered storyline.
...more
Mark Lawrence
May 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mario the lone bookwolf
The Lord of the Rings, Avengers Universe, 1984, etc. just pick your favorite genre comparison, of dark, dirty graphic novels.

No one is completely evil or good
Everyone has reasons for being the monster, good person, or something in between, always haunted by past traumas. Much of the complex, brilliant plot is directly connected to the protagonists´ backstories, which makes it even more compelling, because the reader is expecting and getting what she/he is waiting for. Especially the evolution
...more
Anne
2020 Coronavirus Review

I originally thought that Watchmen didn't initially impress me because it was the first graphic novel I'd read as an adult. Maybe I didn't have enough experience with all the actual garbage out there and couldn't yet appreciate Moore's genius.
Now, after slogging through his masterpiece with more than a few comics under my belt, I feel confident when I say that I don't like this all that much. The art is horrible and almost every panel is crammed with words. Most of them me
...more
Sean Barrs
Morality is a fickle bitch.

This is, simply put, iconic. When any one mentions comics/graphic novels the first thought that enters is an image of the Watchmen. I think there is a strong reason for it. It made me question morality on a scale rarely seen in fiction. Indeed, when considering the characters it is incredibly hard to consider any of them truly good or truly bad. They are simply people who are convinced that they are right.

Take Rorschach, he follows the law to the very letter, but nev
...more
Will Byrnes
I reread this in anticipation of seeing the film in 2009.

description
Rorschach

Watchmen is one of the all-time great graphic novels. Someone is killing the costumed adventurers and the very dark Rorschach, our guiding Virgil into this Inferno, is trying to get to the bottom of it. Watchmen deals in multiple time lines, from the early days of the 40’s 50’s and 60’s when the superheroes were welcomed and appreciated, to the 70’s when laws were passed to limit their legitimacy, to the current day, the 80’s he
...more
Nicole Prestin
Jul 23, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
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
Swrp
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
It would be a stronger world, a stronger loving world, to die in.
~ John Cale

Extraordinarily powerful; Truly special; Visually engrossing

Indeed, qualifies to be one of the all time greatest novels!
12 amazing chapters of groundbreaking poetic and artistic verses!!

In a world filled with many mindless and senseless graphic novels and comics, Watchmen is an intelligent and thought-provoking creation, much much more than just entertainment.

A masterpiece, which does not really require a review.

"We
...more
Schmacko
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Felicia
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels, faves
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
Fabian
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a fan of the graphic novel but this epic actually moved me. It tells of the human drama, the DNA that is passed down generations, the hopelessness of modernity, and which side we'll choose when the apocalypse is neigh. It is pessimistic, dark, & sometimes silly (as a staple of the genre... it wouldn't be a success if it wasn't SOMEHOW ridiculous).

"The Incredibles" (Best Pixar picture Ever) touched upon many of the themes presented here, mainly about the humanity of "Superheroes." Can a rapis
...more
Always Pouting
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So I've been super busy trying to figure out my life now that I've graduated and it's terrible and I've literally read nothing in weeks but I actually ended up taking a day to read this because someone lent it to me. My boyfriend was saying that it was ridiculous that I hadn't read this yet and insisted I finish and even though now I'm like behind on this online class that I've been taking it was totally worth it. Usually I write like some kind of synopsis but not sure how to go about that here. ...more
Lyn
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant.

A clever joke, wound up inside a parody, and all surrounded and blanketed by a cool story.

Three cheers for Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons for this deservedly popular and critically acclaimed, genre defining, wildly influential graphic novel. First published in 1987, this has come to be a benchmark of what kind of powerful fiction can be accomplished in this medium.

Describing an alternate history where Richard Nixon has been president for multiple terms, the United States won the Vietnam W
...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*


What's this? Unpopular opinion time?



Most of my friends and most of Goodreads love this book. I did not. I read for pleasure. I don't care if reading makes me smart. I don't care if reading makes me pretty. I just want that escape into other worlds.
If I went to this world-I would die from boredom.


I actually like the darker books so I thought this one would sweep me up into the fandom of it. But, alas, it just made me sleep quite well last night.
I didn't even know there was a movie ma
...more
karen
wow, i thought i had written a proper review for this, but it seems that ten years ago i was as bad at writing reviews as i am now, on the other side of the peak, where i am washed-up and bedraggled and very far behind in my reviewing-stack. ):

ANYWAY, i just came on here to check my review, because i am finally getting around to watching the HBO series, and that show is making it REALLY DIFFICULT to maintain my longstanding rorschach-crush, sustained by both the book and the movie, but i am now
...more
Sanjay Gautam
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alan Moore is the greatest graphic novelist of all time. He has created a world where superheroes are not typical superheroes like super-man, spider-man et al. Each superhero has a unique philosophical perspective. And he has created superheroes who were either in deep complex psychological crisis or are going through one, and they are not perfect who always save the day in the end.
Brad
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Richard (on hiatus)
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
This acclaimed and groundbreaking graphic novel by Alan Moore (story) and Dave Gibbons (artwork) opens with a body plummeting out of a skyscraper window.
The year is 1985, the place is New York and we enter a universe similar to our own but altered. Richard Nixon is still president, (serving his fifth term, Vietnam being a big success!), the threat of nuclear war with is Russia looming ominously and super heros walk the streets.
Many years earlier a group of colourful masked avengers became popula
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
One of the greatest standalone comics which led to one of the greatest screen adaptations of a superhero story, Watchmen is an extraordinarily fun ride. I love the 30s atmosphere and the compelling characters. The heroes are all over their prime (kind of like Batman and Superman in retirement in The Dark Knight Rises). The artwork is great and the story is orignal - one of the great comic classics!
Need to re-read this one regularly as Alan Moore really created a graphic novel of lasting genius.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Watchmen (Watchmen #1-12), Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons (Illustrator/Letterer), John Higgins (Colorist)

In October 1985, New York City detectives are investigating the murder of Edward Blake.

With the police having no leads, costumed vigilante Rorschach decides to probe further.

Rorschach deduces Blake to have been the true identity of The Comedian, a costumed hero employed by the U.S. government, after finding his costume and signature smiley-face pin badge.

Rorschach believes he has discovered a pl
...more
Trish
Dec 09, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dan Schwent
Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, 2018, 2018-comics
With the world on the brink of nuclear annihilation, the Comedian is found dead and the super heroes that knew him go looking for the killer. They might not like what secrets they unearth...

I first read this when I was around 20 and was blown away. Now, untold decades later, I decided to finally give it a reread. It held up.

On the surface, Watchmen is a murder mystery and it works fine on that level. Rorschach, the view point character, enlists Nite Owl, his old partner, and they shake the tree
...more
Jon Nakapalau
Read before you see the move...or after you have seen the movie. Truly one of the most innovative interpretations of SH comics ever written. Kind of makes you wonder: why must great power and great responsibility go hand in hand - if we look over the course of history it has been the opposite: great power often bears very little responsibility - so why should the most powerful beings in existence feel they owe us their protection?
Tom Ewing
May 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dc-comics
Modern comics events seem to demand endless lead-ins and spin-offs, and sadly Doomsday Clock, from the blockbuster team of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, is no exception to this trend. Watchmen, the extended prequel to Doomsday Clock, feels wholly unneccessary to 2017's much-anticipated DC Rebirth (TM) event. For a start, it's not even by Geoff Johns - how big a clue do you need that DC see 'Watchmen' as simply a cash-in? The storyline has been farmed out to a British writer-artist team who are giv ...more
Henk
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, favorites
Brilliant storytelling, casually touching on morality, the purpose of life, good and evil and much more. The medium is used to its max and the conclusion is like a punch in the gut
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

Very dark and very good. Loved revisiting this masterpiece which I read as a teenager.
The power of Watchmen is partly in the characters. Far from a straight forward superhero book, we are
...more
Kemper
Not much I could say that hasn't been said already. ...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 blok
...more
Blaine
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trade-paperback, 2020
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.

The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown.

The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No.”
I first read Watchmen about 15 years ago, when it was the on
...more
Brett C
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alan-moore
This was much more than a graphic novel. In my opinion this was very multilayered, deep, and psychological. It started out a mystery and soon developed into much more. The plot starts in 1985 America where superheroes have become unwelcome. This plot centered around a close knit group having gone their own ways over time. One of them is killed and the main characters all come back into each other's lives.

These characters were uniquely created by Alan Moore and drove the story. For instance Rorsc
...more
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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 Egyptian Theatre of Marvels, some of which have been released on CD.

As a comics writer, Moor
...more

Other books in the series

Watchmen (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Watchmen #1 of 12: At Midnight, All The Agents.... (Watchmen, #1)
  • Watchmen #2: Absent Friends
  • Watchmen #3: The Judge Of All The Earth
  • Watchmen #4: Watchmaker
  • Watchmen #5: Fearful Symmetry
  • Watchmen #6: The Abyss Gazes Also
  • Watchmen #7: A Brother To Dragons
  • Watchmen #8: Old Ghosts
  • Watchmen #9: The Darkness of Mere Being
  • Watchmen #10: Two Riders Were Approaching

Articles featuring this book

This is a fun one: For the collection below, we decided to take a long-arc overview and try to identify the most popular books published over...
1341 likes · 96 comments
“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.” 1554 likes
“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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