Watchmen by Alan Moore
Illustrated by Dave Gibbons
This is one of those quintessential graphic novels that everyone tells you to have in your graphic novel section. There is tons of literature out there about how great it is, how it changed the face of modern comics, how it made comics a serious genre. These are all true.
There are layers of superheroes in this story. There is a first generation of The Minutemen, and a second generation comprised of the Minutemen's children, successors, and other assorted heroes wanting to band together. It starts out with the murder of one of the original Minutemen, and the investigation of this murder by Rorschach, a member of the second iteration of Minutemen. Rorschach is an eccentric narrator to say the least, and through him we see how imperfect the world and our heroes really are. The main bulk of the story takes place several years after a government act shut down the masked vigilante gig, but that doesn't stop Rorschach from going after who he perceives as the bad guys.
The story is told through twelve issues, and is deeply immersive. Moore adds extra readings to the end of every chapter that bring the world fully to life. These include case files, excerpts from memoirs published by masked vigilantes, and much more. There is also a meta- element throughout where one of the characters sits at a newsstand and reads a comic that mirrors just how terribly things are going in the world around him. If you're looking for neat, happy endings, do not read this story.
While most serious graphic novel collections should consider this title for purchase, it does not come without its warnings. There is cussing throughout, drug use, a few illicit scenes, and one character walks around completely naked, so bits are seen. However, Moore uses all of these elements to showcase the grittiness of the New York these characters live in, which is one of the things he is lauded for within this titles and others of his works.
Sara's rating: 9/10
Suitability rating: Grades 11-12
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: High School, Comicbooks, Superheroes, Science Fiction, Horror,
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I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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