Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Watchmen" review

Who watches the Watchmen?

This was not a review I mentioned in advance, for a couple of reasons. One, I didn't want people going, "You haven't read Watchmen? And you call yourself a reviewer of books?" Two, I want to make it perfectly clear that this was not done due to the movie coming out earlier this year. I haven't seen it and probably never will. The all-too-simple reason is this: Watchmen is a classic, and because of the visual medium it uses, I've already sort of seen what a movie would look like. The characters and events are right there for me to see them.
First of all, it was interesting to see Watchmen put forward as one of Time magazine's 100 Best Books... until I read it. It's obvious the work deserves the title of "graphic novel". The story is complex, the characters fleshed out and intriguing, and it presents the reader with some clear moral dilemmas. Alan Moore's writing is top-notch. Big, big points for that.
For those of you who don't know, Watchmen tells the story of an alternate 1980s, one where superheroes have been roaming the streets and have since been outlawed by the Keene Act. Russia is on the rise, and World War Three is imminent. But on a smaller scale, things are going wrong. Someone is killing off former superheroes, and the book opens at the scene of the Comedian's death. Rorschach begins to investigate, searching for the truth by whatever means necessary. Nite Owl, now retired, is dragged into the mix, along with other cast members that are truly stand-outs, for example, the enigmatic Dr. Manhattan. I'm not even going to skim the surface here, but suffice it to say they find something bigger than they'd ever imagined.

One of the reviews on the back calls Watchmen "peerless". And I'd have to say I'd agree. Moore, who also wrote The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (horrible movie) and V for Vendetta (fantastic movie, rent it today), is at his best. Dave Gibbons brings Moore's words and ideas to life with great success and attention to detail. The flashbacks were effective. The emotions ran high. And the ending was masterful, although, according to Dr. Manhattan, "Nothing ever ends". This is the book that revolutionized the medium of comic books, doing for superhero stories what The Dark Knight did for superhero movies. I'm so glad I read it, and it will probably stick with me for the rest of my life.

My rating: 10/10. Wow. I mean, wow.

Coming Soon: Founding Brothers and The Way of Shadows.


Krista said...

Cool! I've seen the movie and thought it was pretty good, but I think by the way you describe the book it must have been a ton better! I'll have to go pick me up a copy I love graphic novels!

The Dark Night is one of my all time favorite movies! And V for Vendetta was really awesome as well!

Great review!

Hey, just wondering, but I see you have a poll going again and I'm currently awaiting Catching Fire! Loved The Hunger Games and I was just wondering if you wrote a review for it at an earlier date? If so I'd love to read it. If not I might have to wirte one on my blog, who knows! LOL!

The Writer said...

I didn't really write a review of Hunger Games when it came out. It did get a mention and a good rating here-- I'm not sure why (aside from the fact that I was busy) I didn't just go ahead and give it a full review. Perhaps it was because I knew it would be good. You see, I've read Collins' first series, The Underland Chronicles, and it was absolutely fantastic. I personally am chomping at the bit for Catching Fire.

And Green. And all the others.

logankstewart said...

The first time I read Watchmen I quit about halfway through, bored and uninterested. The second time I read it was a few months before the movie was set to come out. I was older and had a better appreciation for graphic novels. I liked it quite a bit for the second-go-round.

When I watched the movie I was really impressed. It was excellent as far as comic book movies go, with one or two minor changes that didn't affect the overall theme (which was my opinion). But, this is to be expected with any film adapted from a different media. The filmmakers can only put so much, and reading is a much more personal relationship than movie-watching.

I recommend you watch the film, if only for some cool special affects.

Krista said...

Thanks for the link!

I haven't read Collin's other books, I'll have to check them out. Did you write a review for The Underland Chronicles, perhaps? Sorry, just curious, I'm always looking for good books!

The Writer said...

Logan: I might just watch it now, as it seems to be getting only positive reviews.

Krista: I'm afraid The Underland Chronicles' last book came out about a month before my blog began. However, it won a couple of awards in my "Best Books of 2007" post-- I highly recommend this series to anyone awaiting the next "Hunger Games" book. It's a totally different vein, but very enjoyable.

Krista said...

How cool was that to have the author of the Erec Rex series comment on your blog! I'll have to look into several of those titles, thanks! Loved The Name of The Wind,by the way, and I agree with your rating 100% on that one!

The Writer said...

It was very, very cool. Robert Liparulo's also visited here a time or two.

I'm about halfway through The Way of Shadows, so the review will be up soon. I'm really enjoying it so far.

Krista said...
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Krista said...
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