Watchmen by Alan Moore and David Gibbons

Hailed as one of the best graphic novels of all time, Watchmen offers a brutally engaging experience, shifting between detailed history, destructive violence, calm transitions, and personal reflections surrounding the de-mystification of the super hero. I’m not going to reveal story here, because I knew nothing about this classic work going in, so I won’t ruin it for those who still haven’t read it. However, staying away from individual characters, I will entice you with the world Moore and Gibbons brilliantly construct. Watchmen (now being made into a full length feature film and the first image resides above) delves into a parallel nightmare New York City set in 1985, where Nixon holds a seemingly permanent presidency, the Cold War suffocates all, fear and tension reign supreme. Super-heroes are outlawed, unless sanctioned by the government, and those still fighting crime on their own are simultaneously being hunted by the police for breaking the law. It’s a dire world, one which Moore’s illustrations explode with dark colors and surprising moments of primary hue. It’s a complex portrait of nationalism at it’s most devastating and honorable, and stays true to the relationships established no matter the extreme savagery or far fetched actions represented. “Who watches the Watchmen?” It’s a question meant for everyone, and fearing to answer produces inevitable tyranny. As Rorschach would say, “No Compromise!” A brilliant piece of literature.

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