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Monday, August 31, 2020

Watchmen Graphic Novel Review

Watchmen is often hailed as one of the greatest and well known graphic novels ever written. First released in 1985 there have been many attempts to bring the graphic novel in the silver screen. Finally, in 2009, a film adaptation by Zack Snyder was released and a sequel TV series produced by HBO was released a decade later.

Watchmen Graphic Novel
Image: Esquire
Watchmen spans for 12 issues and subsequently compiled into one omnibus is a well-thought story with various characters with different motivations and themes they represent. Alan Moore crafted his characters, unlike other superhero characters that people were accustomed to. His morally ambiguous anti-heroes gave a more sense of realism in the story. The alternate world of Watchmen also gave an atmosphere of dread and a world hellbent for destruction in the late stages of the Cold War in 1985.

The story began with the murder of a certain man named Edward Blake. His unknown assailant threw him from his apartment and from there, a string of conspiracies that can make or break the world start to unfold. Enter Rorschach, a vigilante who refused to retire despite the Keene Act of 1977 was passed effectively outlawing costumed adventuring and vigilantism. And from there, Rorschach tried to reconnect with his former companions and warned them that someone is out there killing of former masked vigilantes.

Without revealing too much of the plot, the graphic novel has a compelling plot that can leave a comic book reader at the edge of his seat in every chapter. It is noted that the first 3 chapters out of 12 focused more on the background of the world of 1985 and the introduction of the lore and characters. Like other works of Allan Moore, that deals with philosophical themes, Watchmen does not hold back in presenting themes through its major characters such as Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach, The Comedian, Night Owl, Ozymandias, and many others.

The second and third acts of the graphic novel showcase the best qualities of Watchmen. The graphic novel when it came out from September 1986 to August 1987 is noted for its unpredictable plot and redefined the comic book genre ever since. Since it was compiled into a single 12 volume omnibus, it became a best seller ever since not leaving bookstores, and hobby/comic stores for years to come. 

Watchmen Graphic Novel, Comics
Image: BBC
All great works of fiction need to have an equally great adaptation. There have been talks since the 1990s to adapt Watchmen to the silver screen. The years of development hell for a film adaptation commenced with the release of Zack Snyder's adaptation of Watchmen. The film received mostly mixed audience reception but it is hailed for its faithfulness to the source material. There are small changes to the plot such as the alteration of the costume designs of anti-heroes such as Night Owl and The Comedian.

Ten years later, a sequel series with an original plot that served as an epilogue for the comic series was released by HBO. The series gave way to the resurgence of the popularity of Watchmen. While some audiences noted its change of tone compared to the source material where they made the sequel out of, it remained as one of the most viewed TV series in 2019. The legacy of Alan Moore's Watchmen lives on. 

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