#BookReview The Watchmen by Alan Moore

I bought this graphic novel a few years back as a birthday gift for myself. I had watched the Zack Snyder film and really wanted to jump into the comics. It’s safe to say I made a really smart decision, because I absolutely LOVED this graphic novel (and honestly, Zack did a good job changing the format and making it into a movie… but the comics were better, just saying).

There are superheroes and gods hidden among the everyday people of Earth. The original Watchmen are all older now and a new group of youngsters have been ushered in. Unfortunately, these superhuman, masked individuals are being killed off by someone… but why? This 12 book run dives deep into humanity and god-like powers.

This series starts out with The Comedian (Edward Blake), a former Watchman, being murdered. Rorschach (a name I have the hardest time spelling and pronouncing) decides to look into the murders and try to figure out what’s happening. Rorschach’s arc turns out to be one wild ride, and along the way we learn out a fair bit about The Comedian and his past. After Rorschach grabs a few more of the newer Watchmen, Laurie (Silk Spectre, who’s Mother was also Silk Spectre in her day) and Dan (Hawkman, but not Hawkman – he’s the NiteOwl) they decide to fight crime and try to determine what evil is affecting the world. Did I mention that Laurie goes out with both Dr. Manhattan (the naked blue man who has crazy super powers) and Dan?

These characters have lots of depth to them. The Comedian is a nasty man who rapes women and doesn’t care for children, yet he’s… funny? He felt like a Joker-esque man but almost worse. He’s more sane than the Joker… Yet he has such a strong back story that I still felt bad for him. That’s how you know this book is good. I felt bad for a man I should have hated.

Laurie and her Mother also have a very intriguing arc. The twist about Laurie’s family was easy to spot, but still hit hard.

Side note: The giant lynx was really cool – it really should have gotten some more scenes.

Dr. Manhattan, Jon, has some of the most intelligent and intriguing sets of dialogue that I’ve ever seen in graphic novels. I found his character to be very interesting and I’m curious how his story arc would have continued into the future. I am curious why he speaks so formally. Was that because of the crazy accident that turned him into a blue man? Why does he insist on being naked all of the time? He’s such a weird character but really interesting too.

This book is 100% an R-rated read, but it’s well worth it. The blood, the gore and the insanity of this comic series just feels right. I couldn’t see a story this honest and brutal be anything less than an R rating. There’s also sex scenes, a naked blue man and rape. It’s definitely a strong R but it felt like it fit the narrative. Although, Dan and Laurie’s sex scenes just felt… awkward?

To move onto the illustrations themselves – they’re classic. The story is colourful, felt like a real comic book and didn’t feel wasted. Yes, the series is a little bit older, but it still felt just as real as an updated comic book. Overall, it really packed it’s punch.

My final notes: I suggest reading the entire graphic novel. The comics don’t stand alone by themselves and it’d be a real waste to only read half. To get the full impact, read all twelve. It’s worth it! There are some slower comics in this mix, but all together they make for a really great story. The entire story is a real gem if you give it a chance. I have to say I did really enjoy it and I’d read it again in the future. The ending left it a little ambiguous yet it left me wanting to find out more about the characters who made it to the end.

Overall, I really enjoyed this graphic novel! It’s a shame I didn’t pick it up earlier because it was truly marvelous and one of the greats.

Five out of five stars.

 

You can find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Indigo

Here’s some other comics featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Batman: A Death in the Family by Jim Starlin
#BookReview Batman:Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison
#BookReview Gotham City Sirens: Book One by Paul Dini

 

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Batman: The Killing Joke – Book Review

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Batman: The Killing Joke is an excellent graphic novel following two of comics leading stars: Batman and the Joker.

Introduction: I have always loved superheroes – Adam West’s Batman was a key staple of my childhood. Slowly as I got older and Marvel and DC were the beckoning lights at the movie theaters, I became totally obsessed with everything superheroes, super villains and comic books. I began collecting them, reading them, and trying to get my hands on every adaption possible. So, I decided to watch The Killing Joke animated movie. I was so enchanted and enthralled with the film that I had to see the famous comic/graphic novel it was based on. It was a short search – a local store had it in stock the first time I went to look for it, and the rest is history.

Review:

This comic is so simple in theory, but so complex in art. A joker origin (of sorts), a splash of James and Barbara Gordon, some tragic ultimatums, Batman, and beautiful art.

The introduction to the Joker’s “back story” is so interesting. The Joker has always been this mysterious character, and the reader is welcomed into one theory of how the joker came to be. But the joker says it himself – he prefers his past as multiple choice. So is anything he tells us actually true? That’s up to you to decide.

The Joker is cunning and intelligent, as well as insane and wild. The reader gets to see his thought pattern and how truly manipulative he is when he takes control of the plot and causes his destruction. But then, he makes it worse by not only physically torturing his victim, but try to mentally destroy him as well. How can someone be to cruel yet so smart? It’s an incredible reading experience for fans of the Joker.

The ending leaves viewers with many questions – one that we may never know the true answer to. This cliff hanger wasn’t as troubling as other cliffhangers have been for me in the past. It leaves it off at the perfect ending – the reader questioning the events that happened. This leaves the reader to interpret the ending in their own way. What truly happened and what are we to believe?

Brutal is one word to describe this novel – there are graphic scenes, ones that changed DC comics dramatically – and it’s not for the lighthearted.

Overall, I really enjoyed this graphic novel. It changed my views on the Joker and Batman, and I really appreciated the little splash of Barbara Gordon (one of my personal favourite characters DC has ever created).

For those who are fans of the film / want to watch The Killing Joke animated film: The plot is very similar, but there are a few changes. These changes don’t impact the end of the story, but it may change some of your personal feelings/understandings of the characters.

Five out of five stars.