Title: Absolute Watchmen.
Writer(s): Alan Moore.
Illustrator(s): Dave Gibbons.
Colourist(s): John Higgins.
Letterer(s): Dave Gibbons.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Hardcover – Absolute Edition.
Release Date: October 5th, 2005 (first published September 8th, 1987).
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★.
Legends appear when you least expect them to. Writer Alan Moore, the wizard behind V for Vendetta, Batman: The Killing Joke, From Hell and many more, effortlessly established himself as an iconic creator whose work has managed to convey his most contemporary ideas through the comic book medium in a revolutionary fashion. Going up against universal concepts by breaking them down through symbolism and satire, he has quickly caught the attention of the world and became an important influence in popular culture as his work continues to hold incomparable relevancy to modern politics and philosophies. Amongst his greatest graphic novels is his Hugo Award-winning magnum opus Watchmen, a pivotal piece that instantly changed the comic book industry with its narrative, its themes, its characters, and its philosophical message.
What is Absolute Watchmen about? Set in an alternate reality that draws its foundations on the state of the world in the 1980s, the story is a cross-examination of the superhero concept in regard to its personal and political implications amidst an impending nuclear war. Although Richard Nixon goes on for multiple terms as the president of the United States and the United States win the Vietnam War, the central twist to this realistic tale is the existence of superheroes and their responsibility in the development of international relations and crime-fighting. While tension rises to unfathomable heights, the murder of an ex-hero point towards a larger scheme at play as vigilantes looks into the meticulous assassination of their comrades despite their illegitimacy, forbidding their activities, following the Keene Act. However, is there really a conspiracy theory at work while Soviets pursue their assault on Afghanistan and a nuclear war is within seconds of being unleashed?
Collecting Watchmen #1-12 with remastered colouring as well as bonus material including afterwords by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, this magnificent absolute edition is a must-have for all fans of this chef-d’oeuvre.
A couple of years back, Watchmen opened my eyes to the astounding complexity of adult comic books. Writer Alan Moore tackled a subject that has grown dear to my heart ever since I was a kid and presented a realistic yet nihilistic take on superheroes that has never been accomplished before. Through his multi-layered non-linear narrative, he offers an intimate yet universal tale that looks at the madness of the world through the eyes of vigilantes who found their purpose with actions oriented towards taking the law in their own hands. Whether these heroes worked for the government or not wasn’t central to understanding the notably eye-opening idea that humankind is capable of horrors beyond our imagination. Through various intricate characters, from the elusive, compulsive, and fair-minded Rorschach to the godly, enigmatic, and introspective Dr. Manhattan, a critical commentary on the motivation of heroes is presented in a twelve-part limited series.
The stark dissection of superheroes alongside the compelling murder-mystery plot aren’t the only beautiful traits of this graphic novel. Artist Dave Gibbons also deserves just as much praise for this seminal work as his nine-panel grid configuration remains one of the most iconic elements of this story. The dialogue-less pages also encapsulate incredible emotional range and attest to the whole saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Extremely ambitious and confident, artist Dave Gibbons doesn’t hesitate in ignoring key characters to focus on the environment to help convey the strong symbolism present in the narrative. In fact, there’s amazing wordplay present throughout the story that can be analyzed to the second degree and masterfully perfects the storytelling. This also helps in illustrating some of the best transitions between panels. In the end, the artwork serves as an impeccable vessel to tell this distressing yet riveting tragedy that stands tall on its self-constructed and stunning mythology.
Absolute Watchmen is an exquisite quintessential classic masterpiece deconstructing the concept of superheroes through nihilistic lenses.
Watchmen (2009) is the first live-action movie adaptation of the classic graphic novel and is directed by Zack Snyder. It is one of the most loyal adaptations to the source material.
Did you know that a Watchmen HBO TV series serving as an extension to the classic graphic novel is currently ongoing? The first season began on October 20th, 2019.