WHO GUARDS THE GUARDS?
Oh, what a week it was! Projects, tests, no Internet (that was bad, I couldn't blog at all!), whoa! But most of it is done, except for the monster called end-term exams which start in a week. Anyways, I watched the movie recently, and I really wanted to read the book. This is my first graphic novel, and I loved it.
The year is 1985, Russia and the U.S. are tethering on the edge of a nuclear war, and the superhero age is over. Rorschach is a renegade vigilante, who investigates the death of Edward Blake a.k.a. The Comedian, a twisted superhero who later worked for the U.S. government. Rorschach believes that someone is trying to kill off all the erstwhile superheroes, and he warns his old buddies: Adrian Veidt, the smartest man in the world, Dan Drieberg a.k.a. Nite Owl, Laurie or Silk Spectre and finally Dr. Manhattan, a god-like being whose Superman-like abilities make him very useful to the government.
“Is that what happens to us? A life of conflict with no time for friends… so that when it’s done, only our enemies leave roses?”
You expect comic books to be for kiddos, but Watchmen is definitely for an adult, mature audience. This is not your conventional superhero comic; it has a much darker feel. Your superheroes are actually human, and subject to all the shortcomings and failures that we all are. They are not your glorious heroes, who sacrifice everything to save the world; they are selfish, cowardly or simply amoral. There is the Comedian, to whom life and death is but a joke, and is more a mercenary than hero. He has no qualms in killing, and he actually shoots a woman who is bearing his child. Then there is Dr. Manhattan, endowed with godly abilities due to a nuclear accident, who is completely devoid of emotion, and actually says, “A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally, there's no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts. Why should I be concerned?”
“Why are so few of us left active, healthy and without personality disorders?”
But I think the most enigmatic person is Rorschach. He is a seriously dysfunctional guy, who has come to regard his alter ego as more real than his actual identity. He has the most cutting observations about humans, stuff that make you squirm and ponder, because you know how right he is. Rorschach is not likeable, not in the conventional sense; he is kind of psychotic. But he stays with you long after you’ve finished reading.
The story is really awesome, nothing what you’d expect from a comic. There are many layers in the story, hidden meanings and subtle taunts. There is a comic within the novel, one whose story runs parallel to the novel’s, and gives you a deeper look into the situation at hand. The dialogues are hard-hitting and totally cool, and the artwork also rocks. After reading this book, I realized that this is a genre I’ve completely overlooked, and I will try to read more of these great books.