Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons | Book Review

★★★★★
January 17th – 22nd

Let’s quickly travel back in time, though not to 1985. Not yet. It’s 2011. The Zack Snyder movie for this graphic novel has been out for two years. The graphic novel itself has been out for 24 years. I’m 16 years old. In September of 2011, I’ll start working at my first job, making friends that I’ll have through college and into my adult life. I’m a junior in high school.

In January of 2011, I bought Watchmen at a comic book store I was too terrified to go into by myself. I brought a friend with me, or rather she brought me since I couldn’t drive, and she was exceptionally bored the whole time. She kept asking me if we could leave, if we could go home. I had to say yes, because I didn’t have a car. I bought Watchmen on a whim, familiar with the movie that had come out two years prior, and which I wasn’t allowed to see at the time.

Now, it’s the end of 2019. I’m 25. I’ve carted this copy of Watchmen back and forth to my college dorm two years in a row, back to my parents house, and through two different apartments. Each time I get only one chapter into the book before putting it down. Maybe graphic novels just weren’t for me? Maybe I didn’t like super heroes? Maybe I just didn’t “get it”. Eventually it ends up on a shelf with other graphic novels, most of which I’ve read. I get rid of 50 books, another 50. One hundred books, but not this one. This almost nine year old copy of the graphic novel is still in pristine condition, because I haven’t read it.

Well, now I have. Watchmen was the oldest book on my TBR pile for years. This year I set a goal of finishing the oldest 5 books on that list. Here I am already starting on that goal.

What the hell took me so long?

I’ve read graphic novels before. Last year I read the full Saga series, and I’ve read The Killing Joke, Anya’s Ghost, Mooncop, Beverly, Tetris, and more. For some reason I was really intimidated by Watchmen.

Going into the book, I had zero expectations. I knew of the characters, mainly Nite Owl and Rorschach, but had no idea what the plot of the book was. It was so much more political, and nuanced, than I could even imagine. The main plot is that in 1985 someone seems to be killing and trying to get rid of old vigilantes who have retired. There’s war, and nuclear tension, and castles built of sand on Mars, and secret bases in Antarctica. There’s a pirate storyline paralleled with the events inside the book, which is written by someone relevant to the plot in much later chapters. There’s diversity and varying points of view on all political issues.

If you haven’t read Watchmen, I highly recommend it. If you have read Watchmen, I highly recommend it. I’m so late to the party that it was over before I was even born, but this is still an absolutely fantastic, and relevant, graphic novel. I’m glad that my desire to watch the HBO show, and to get this off of my TBR, finally inspired me to read through this. Ironically, another of my five oldest TBR books is V for Vendetta, so there will definitely be more Alan Moore in my future.

-Siobhan

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