Watchmen

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Reviews , Young Adult

Watchmen

Title: Watchmen
By: Alan Moore
Published: 1986
Call #: YA Graphic Moore.A

“God exists and he’s American”. Actually, to be more specific, he’s from New York. The Watchmen are a group of semi-retired vigilantes. Within the group exists Dr. Manhattan, a physicist who disintegrated himself in a freak accident, somehow puts himself back together and as a result gains countless abilities. The US government then decides to leverages Dr. Manhattan’s newly-acquired powers in their conflicts with other countries.  But then, all of a sudden, Dr. Manhattan disappears. When America’s adversaries learn of his disappearance, they see an opening and decide to attack the US.  The world finds itself on the brink of a nuclear war.  Meanwhile, a morally questionable “masked adventurer” named Rorschach, who is wanted by the police and also a member of the Watchmen, searches for the person who murdered a comrade of his. Rorschach notices that lately many of his old Watchmen allies are being targeted and are coming up missing or dead and believes there is a correlation between this and the disappearance of Dr. Manhattan. It all poses the question “Who watches the Watchmen?”

The backstories of the various characters are as diverse as they are fascinating.  Each Watchman has a unique motive for putting on a costume every night to fight crime: some do it for fame, some for fun, others hope to bring about justice, and still others do it for morally dubious reasons.  The depth of these characters show the reader than no one is simply good or bad, but is instead morally complex.  The novel definitely has its dark parts, and the reader will find themselves second-guessing the possibility of human decency, but it is a rewarding read and definite classic.

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