Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

This is by far my favorite alternate history novel, and my favorite graphic novel of all time, not to mention one of my favorite novels in general. Like many recent comics in the superhero genre (recent being only generously given, considering it was written in the 80s), Watchmen seeks to both celebrate and subvert its genre. It takes place in an alternate history where shortly after the rise of superhero comics, many people started taking to the idea of masked vigilantism themselves. It also takes on several tropes of the genre through its characters. Dr. Manhattan is an all powerful superhero being who, unlike superman, finds himself alienated from the human world after gaining godlike supersentience, and near omnipresence. The stereotypically conservative undertones of the genre that have so often been the subject of debate are reflected in the extremely right-wing Rorschach, who lives life with a near psychopathic disregard for the shades of grey in the world. Far from a humorous satire, Watchmen not only tackles historically rooted issues like the mutually assured destruction of the cold war, but also ponders universal issues, connecting the importance of the individual, with the importance of the majority, and finding no contradiction in the process.

b2ap3_thumbnail_watchmen-cover.jpg