Book Reviews comics

Review: Watchmen

Watchmen by Alan Moore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alan Moore’s Watchmen is iconic and a modern-day classic, finding itself on “greatest books” and the like. It’s difficult to approach reviewing it considering its status as one of the most popular works in its medium. That being said, I enjoyed reading it, even and perhaps especially as I was so disturbed by its events and cast of characters.

Watchmen helped open up a new subversive sub-genre within comic books. It’s dark and gritty, yes. But most noticeably it lacks a central character to guide readers morally and emotionally. I’m reminded of Millar’s Kick-Ass, featuring a young man who dons colorful tights and exposes the ludicrousness and brutality of the caped-crusader lifestyle.

Tied as it is to the Cold War, Watchmen did feel dated to me at times. The lack of moral clarity regarding sex and consent didn’t land well either. The moral ambiguity and lack of totally-sympathetic characters were both intriguing and frustrating. I was left unsure the degree to which certain characters were right or wrong.

However, I think Watchmen is a brilliant take on the superhero mythos of our time and the problem of nostalgia. Veering toward nihilo, it is above all concerned with the real and the here and now.

Four stars.

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