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View Full Version : The Watchmen: your opinion



Savageman
2008-05-27, 06:40 PM
"Read Watchmen. If you have, read it again. Then again."

Browsing this forum, I have come across a lot of references to the Watchmen, by Alan Moore. Most of these references are positive, and I was wondering why.
I'm not trying to be a troll, or stir up trouble for the sake of it, I am interested. Honestly, I read the Watchmen over a few days, having borrowed it from a friend who likes comics even more than myself. He said that the Watchmen is one of the best he has ever read. We tend to agree on such things, but this time I could not. For me, the Watchmen is a lackluster, cynical story with poorly designed characters who largely remain static. This is just me, and I want to know what you think, and why. Please don't attack my views, I am only doing this for the sake of discussion. I realize Watchmen has a large fan base.
Thanks.

skeeter_dan
2008-05-27, 06:58 PM
I have no intentions of insulting you or your opinions. However, your opinion on "The Watchmen" is wrong. Objectively wrong.

While it may not contain high-flying action like the typical superhero comic, it is filled with far more depth and emotion. The claim that the characters remain static is what confounds me the most. Even the stoic and removed Dr. Manhattan goes through significant changes...

bosssmiley
2008-05-28, 05:58 AM
@OP: Possibly it's the wrong book at the wrong time for you?

Take it as read "Watchmen (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Watchmen)" really is that good and that big a deal. It's the poster boy of the Deconstructor Fleet which breathed new life into the stale world of comics (of course, being written by a Brit who'd previously worked on 2000AD helped there :smallwink:).

I can still read "Watchmen" now and take away new insights 15 years after I first read it. By that measure alone it's literature.

Hairb
2008-05-28, 06:47 AM
@OP Cynical, yes. Static? What on Earth does that mean? Please, man, explain yourself a little.

Solo
2008-05-28, 08:12 AM
Rorschach sucks. :smile:

Worira
2008-05-28, 08:41 AM
There's no "The".

black dragoon
2008-05-28, 10:06 AM
Adimittedly it's a very different pace from most comics but that is why it's good. It focused on the actual feelings and the implication of having heroes running around kicking the snot out of bad-guys and at the time that had never really been done. That and it really is a good story in my eyes.

Lord Seth
2008-05-28, 10:30 AM
It takes the superhero genre and plays it straight, showing what the world possibly WOULD actually be like if you had near-godlike beings fighting for America or lots of people in masks and being vigilantes. It's a (very good) deconstruction of the superhero genre.

It's well-written, well-drawn, and has plenty of twists. Definitely one of the best comic series made. How many comics actually win awards usually reserved for literature?

Tirian
2008-05-28, 11:35 AM
How many comics actually win awards usually reserved for literature?

Watchmen hasn't won any such awards, unless you count its inclusion on Time Magazine's list of 100 greatest novels published during Time's lifetime. One might argue that Maus wouldn't have caught the attention of the Pulitzer committee had it not been for the critical success of Watchmen, I suppose.

All the same, if the OP doesn't like it, that doesn't make it any less outstanding and important.

sealemon
2008-05-28, 12:27 PM
First of all, Savageman, your OP was respectful and polite. Pretty much as anti-troll as you can get.

That said, I'd echo what the other replies have already stated. Watchmen is a whole diffferent level of comic book from mainstream cape stories. It deconstructs four-color comics brilliantly, and while there are very few actual fight scenes, the characters do advance, just emotionally ratyher than through phisical power changes or wahtnot.

On the other hand, your subjective opinion cannot be wrong. It may simply not be your cup of tea. There are an entire host of Acadamy award winning movies out there that I think are crap, for example.

As an alternative to Watchmen, might I suggest Frank Millar's Ronin. It's also a decontructionistic story, but set in a cyberpunk New York. with a magical demon and a time traveling samuri. Lot's more action. You might like it more.

Solo
2008-05-28, 12:56 PM
As an alternative to Watchmen, might I suggest Frank Millar's Ronin. It's also a decontructionistic story, but set in a cyberpunk New York. with a magical demon and a time traveling samuri. Lot's more action. You might like it more.

http://images.google.com/url?q=http://www.fanboy.com/images/samurai-jack-backs-01.jpg&usg=AFQjCNFKNStXczgMIvHxJmqhweK49ncNew

Savageman
2008-05-28, 06:52 PM
As an alternative to Watchmen, might I suggest Frank Millar's Ronin. It's also a decontructionistic story, but set in a cyberpunk New York. with a magical demon and a time traveling samuri. Lot's more action. You might like it more.

First of all, thank you to everyone who responded. Your replies were helpful and insightful, and I think I understand better now why Watchmen is held in such high regard. I don't agree, but I appreciate your input.

Second, in regards to the quote above, it sounds... ridiculously awesome. Time-traveling samurai alone... so I'll check it out.

Thanks all,

Savageman

kpenguin
2008-05-28, 11:27 PM
Watchmen hasn't won any such awards, unless you count its inclusion on Time Magazine's list of 100 greatest novels published during Time's lifetime. One might argue that Maus wouldn't have caught the attention of the Pulitzer committee had it not been for the critical success of Watchmen, I suppose.

I thought it won a Hugo?

Lord Seth
2008-05-28, 11:28 PM
Watchmen hasn't won any such awards, unless you count its inclusion on Time Magazine's list of 100 greatest novels published during Time's lifetime. One might argue that Maus wouldn't have caught the attention of the Pulitzer committee had it not been for the critical success of Watchmen, I suppose.

All the same, if the OP doesn't like it, that doesn't make it any less outstanding and important.I goofed up there with my "generally reserved for literature", I was referring to the Hugo Award it won, but forgot it won it in "Other Forms" so it doesn't really count as one "usually won in literature".

black dragoon
2008-05-29, 06:50 AM
It may have been both.

Tirian
2008-05-29, 12:51 PM
My recollection of the times, which may have been fueled more by rumor than fact, is that the literature prizes of 1986 were prejudiced against "picture books" even when they had enough words to count as novel. My Google-fu is failing me again, but I can't find a wordcount for Watchmen; my instinct is that the truth is that it falls far short of the 40,000 words required to formally be classified as a novel. And the overwhelming majority of those words are in the interstice between chapters, so it might not even be attractive to call it a novella even if it had 17,500 words. So the honest reason that it is not generally taken as serious literature is that it isn't nearly long enough to be regarded as serious literature unless you start converting pictures into thousands of words. (Kudos to Time all the same; I still believe that it deserves a place as one of the most significant stories of the twentieth century and comparing it to The Maltese Falcon as a mature deconstructivist approach to a generally juvenile form of storytelling is highly insightful.)

It may need to be reinforced that Watchmen's Hugo and Maus' Pulitzer were both one-off awards. To say that they are the only graphic novel to win a particular award is to ignore that no other graphic novel may be nominated. They are both highly significant works to the degree that they impressed prize committees into bending their rules, but it's not quite fair to use their prizes as definitive proof that one is better than the other or that both are better than Kingdom Come or 300.

TheEmerged
2008-06-02, 09:36 PM
At the time it came out, it was groundbreaking. It hasn't aged as well as it might, the story being as bound up in the time it was written so closely. In my opinion it has one of the best villains in comic history (Ozymandius), one of the best lines in comic history ("I'm not a Republic serial villain..."), one of the best subplots (the pirate comic), and was a necessary step of deconstructing comics so that they could be reconstructed properly.

Also, the "grim & gritty" aspect of the story has come and gone out of favor since it came out. I'm reminded of Bill Cosby joking that he didn't like Charlie Chaplain at first because of the way he copied all of Jerry Lewis's material. Read today, without an adequate sense of what comics were like as the Silver Age closed out, Watchmen almost reads like a parody of 90's comics.

Bleen
2008-06-02, 10:52 PM
Hasn't aged well? No wai. I just started reading this a few days ago with no prior knowledge; I'm loving it. Despite being very...dark (then again, I like WH40k), the whole thing's really moving. Narration's well-done(and I'm presuming was groundbreaking for its time, but then again I'm not a comic buff, ulz), it's kind of depressing and yet still has the occasional awesome (if awkward, bloody, or gross) moment mixed in at just the right places.

I observed all this via the "does half your high school literature class grasp the piece of work" method. The more they whine about it being "too hard", the more awesome it is.

Hairb
2008-06-02, 11:12 PM
Hasn't aged well? No wai. I just started reading this a few days ago with no prior knowledge; I'm loving it. Despite being very...dark (then again, I like WH40k), the whole thing's really moving. Narration's well-done(and I'm presuming was groundbreaking for its time, but then again I'm not a comic buff, ulz), it's kind of depressing and yet still has the occasional awesome (if awkward, bloody, or gross) moment mixed in at just the right places.

I observed all this via the "does half your high school literature class grasp the piece of work" method. The more they whine about it being "too hard", the more awesome it is.

You got to read that in highschool? Lucky devil.

Hairb
2008-06-02, 11:24 PM
At the time it came out, it was groundbreaking. It hasn't aged as well as it might, the story being as bound up in the time it was written so closely. In my opinion it has one of the best villains in comic history (Ozymandius), one of the best lines in comic history ("I'm not a Republic serial villain..."), one of the best subplots (the pirate comic), and was a necessary step of deconstructing comics so that they could be reconstructed properly.

Also, the "grim & gritty" aspect of the story has come and gone out of favor since it came out. I'm reminded of Bill Cosby joking that he didn't like Charlie Chaplain at first because of the way he copied all of Jerry Lewis's material. Read today, without an adequate sense of what comics were like as the Silver Age closed out, Watchmen almost reads like a parody of 90's comics.

A lot of the elements you've listed have remained quite fresh and are most likely going to be timeless. That said, the Cold War is rather passť these days, some of the fashions are a bit silly-looking as only the 80's can be (knot-tops, anyone?) and predictions of what future computer technology will look like never turn out flatteringly in the end. Minor flaws, and certainly not unique to Watchmen, but at the same time, valid criticisms all the same.

Don't get me wrong, Watchmen is the very definition of a masterpiece. But as someone who first read it 18 months ago, one is always aware that it is unmistakably the product of another era.

Bleen
2008-06-02, 11:30 PM
No, I just recommend hard books to them to see whether they cry about it, because half the stuff we're told to read in there were books my middle school teacher told me were "too easy" for our reading level. So I judge the depth and/or complexity of a plot by whether or not they can grasp it. :smallsigh:

(Okay, not really, but I actually did hear a couple of people complain about it.)

ElfLad
2008-06-03, 12:04 AM
Watchmen is great.

Dr. Manhattan is a fantastic character concept; Rorschach has some amazing action/suspenseful scenes (especially the Big Figure scene); the parallels and little things in the story make reading it just as good the tenth time around.

And Ozymandias is the only character I've ever seen with a "kill the earth to save it" motivation that I found remotely believable.

I still think he's an egomaniacal bastard with a Messiah complex who has trouble thinking of solutions that don't require some sort of violence, though. He and Rorschach are similar in that way :smallsmile:

Great book.

TheEmerged
2008-06-03, 12:10 PM
Hasn't aged well? No wai. I just started reading this a few days ago with no prior knowledge...

Kindly note my exact words -- it hasn't aged as well as it might. I wasn't insulting it, far from it. As someone else said, it is unmistakably a product of the time it was written in. I'm suggesting the original poster is trying to read it without taking some of the context into account.

I say this as someone who was buying comics when it came out, although for the record I didn't buy it (I read it around 1989 if I remember right).

Tirian
2008-06-03, 01:01 PM
A lot of the elements you've listed have remained quite fresh and are most likely going to be timeless. That said, the Cold War is rather passť these days, some of the fashions are a bit silly-looking as only the 80's can be (knot-tops, anyone?) and predictions of what future computer technology will look like never turn out flatteringly in the end. Minor flaws, and certainly not unique to Watchmen, but at the same time, valid criticisms all the same.

First off, that wasn't "the future", it was the present (the comic was released and set in 1986-7) in an alternate world that contained a man who could transmute elements. The automobile industry went electric because all they needed was a massive supply of lithium and Doctor Manhattan could supply that. Evidently, the superconductor industry didn't have the same wish list ready. :smallconfused: (On the other side, Moore's vision of supergenius password strength is pathetically weak.)

But, yes, the superhero dynamics remain very relevant to this day. At the beginning of the story, the active superheroes are the gritty Rorschach and The Comedian because all of the noble superheroes like Nite Owl and Ozymandius have stepped aside. At the end, the noble heroes are vindicated because their visions of hope are necessary to heal the world instead of just treating the symptoms like crime and despotism. This darkness vs. hope theme is the same as Kingdom Come and Infinite Crisis and intra-mutant relations over at Marvel and it will be an integral part of the superhero genre as long as the audience demands drama but craves role models.

Sure, we're not fighting the Soviet Union and fearing the threat of a global nuclear wipeout, but many of the political themes are also vibrant. Governments around the world are spending too much of their money on military and internal security and stripping their natural resources to pay for them instead of focusing on domestic issues like health and education. There is the consistent fear that "they" are nearly ready to launch a devastating attack on us, and at the same time that "they" are taking advantage of our liberties to cause us to morally decay as a society. And, clearly, fifteen years after the comic came out, it justified the notion that a sneak attack on New York civilian infrastructure will result in a period of global harmony.

sealemon
2008-06-03, 04:38 PM
Solo

yes, thank you. I was wondering if anyone would mention [i]Samuri Jack[i/]. Keep in mind, Ronin came out several years (Was released before DKR)before Sam Jack was even hinted at...

ElfLad
2008-06-04, 01:52 AM
But, yes, the superhero dynamics remain very relevant to this day. At the beginning of the story, the active superheroes are the gritty Rorschach and The Comedian because all of the noble superheroes like Nite Owl and Ozymandius have stepped aside. At the end, the noble heroes are vindicated because their visions of hope are necessary to heal the world instead of just treating the symptoms like crime and despotism.

Hm. I would argue that there's not a single "noble" character in Watchmen.

Nite Owl didn't step down for some greater good; he pretty much just stepped down because the government told him to, and he didn't want to make a fuss. Nothing against him, but he's an average Joe, not some noble crusader. That's his shtick.

Ozymandias stepped down before the superhero crisis just to save face and stay in the public's good graces. Sure, he did it to "save" the world, but his motive for that? He says it himself, he didn't do it out of any particular love for humanity, he just wanted to do something on par with Alexander the Great's conquest so that he'd have something to brag about in the afterlife.


And vindication? With Dr. M's "nothing ever ends" combined with Rorschach's journal, I don't think Ozzy's plan is all that vindicated.

Winterwind
2008-06-04, 11:07 AM
Hm. I would argue that there's not a single "noble" character in Watchmen.Dr. Malcolm Long (the psychiatrist) might qualify. While Rorschach accuses him of being interested in helping him only for the prestige, he nevertheless appears to be truly and altruistically interested in helping other people, especially later on. Of course, one could argue that this is only to reassure himself that the world is not as dark a place as Rorschach has made him believe, but one could probably objectify away anything this way...

ElfLad
2008-06-04, 11:53 AM
Dr. Malcolm Long (the psychiatrist) might qualify. While Rorschach accuses him of being interested in helping him only for the prestige, he nevertheless appears to be truly and altruistically interested in helping other people, especially later on. Of course, one could argue that this is only to reassure himself that the world is not as dark a place as Rorschach has made him believe, but one could probably objectify away anything this way...

Silly me, I was thinking about the main characters.

I make it a point not to take what characters say about other characters at face value because I think Moore wrote Watchmen with characters' individual prejudices and interpretations in play, unlike some other works where any bit of dialogue about another character's feeling is a direct Word Of Author. So I'm with you that Dr. Long isn't as shallow as Rorschach says. If there's any noble character in Watchmen, I'd say it's Malcolm Long.

Tirian
2008-06-04, 08:26 PM
Hm. I would argue that there's not a single "noble" character in Watchmen.

And vindication? With Dr. M's "nothing ever ends" combined with Rorschach's journal, I don't think Ozzy's plan is all that vindicated.

On the continuum with Superman on one end and Lobo on the other, I think that Dan and Adrian are both far on the noble end. Dan especially; like Hollis before him, he does it because he can and because he thinks it needs to be done. Hard to say with Laurie, who often just seems like she does it because she was told to.

And by "vindicated", I pretty much just meant "alive". :) But, like Kingdom Come and Infinite Crisis, you look into an indefinite future in which Nite Owl and Silk Spectre are forging what it means to be a superhero in the future, while Rorschach and Magog and Superboy Prime look on from the metaphorical sidelines. It seems like a regular theme that no matter how much the sales and stories focus on the anti-heroes, there is a yearning to rebalance the scales every once in a while in favor of the Better Way.

And, as to Adrian...,

While it would be nice to include him and his well-intentioned social engineering into the future, I agree with you that he would not turn out well if there were a thirteenth episode of the story. Either the conspiracy will become public knowledge or he's going to lapse into insanity. That seems to me to be the point of the Tales of the Black Freighter substory: don't save the world at the expense of your soul, because you will be damned and you'll find that the world didn't need saving after all. But this is all just speculation.

Nevrmore
2008-06-29, 11:10 AM
poorly designed characters who largely remain static.
I can completely respect everything else in your post as your own opinion, but this completely confuses me. Largely remain static? Seriously?? Every single main character (and many side characters) have a major revelation over the course of the story and changes their entire perspective. I just can't fathom how you would think they were static.

Dunesen
2008-06-29, 12:52 PM
Just a couple hours ago I was thinking about how Watchmen was a logical evolution of what Lee/Kirby/Ditko did with superheroes in the 1960's. It is an important work for the superhero medium, NOT because of what it created, with the countless 90's anti-heroes, but because of what it represented.

Forget the ending (which was taken from the Outer Limits, and which Len Wein begged Moore to change). As impressive as Ozymandius' proclamation was, it's not the important thing. It's just frosting.

As I said, it's the extreme version of what Marvel did to superheroes at the start of the Silver Age. From the "heroes with problems" idea Moore now took the characters outside of their own lives and looked at the bigger picture.

I love the scene where the heroes are gathered to discuss the idea of teaming up, and one of them (forget his name, a secondary character) is talking about the social issues that plague society. It's not a nice scene or a life-affirming speech, it's just an honest appraisal of how the superhero fantasy does not mesh with civil injustice or social unrest. Sure, this is over a decade after Spider-Man 96-98 and the "Green Arrow's sidekick is a junkie" story, but it's not about doing something completely original. It's about taking it further than it has been.

It's a shame other writers didn't pick up on why the severely flawed heroes of Watchmen mattered. They all got it wrong.

I'm not going to write an essay, but I do think Watchman's importance cannot be understated, even if the mainstream (or wannabe) literati don't appreciate superhero comics.

(And screw them anyway. I'd much rather read Stan Lee's delightfully over-the-top narration than Dan Brown's self-pretentious wanking.)

Nevrmore
2008-06-29, 01:08 PM
poorly designed characters who largely remain static.
I can completely respect everything else in your post as your own opinion, but this completely confuses me. Largely remain static? Seriously?? Every single main character (and many side characters) have a major revelation over the course of the story and changes their entire perspective. I just can't fathom how you would think they were static.

kpenguin
2008-06-29, 01:32 PM
Forget the ending (which was taken from the Outer Limits, and which Len Wein begged Moore to change). As impressive as Ozymandius' proclamation was, it's not the important thing. It's just frosting.


Huh? If my recollection is correct, Moore wrote the ending before the episode of Outer Limits came out and then noted the parallels when it did, referencing it in the last issue.

I remember reading that somewhere. *goes off to find it on the internet*

kerberos
2008-06-29, 01:47 PM
Huh? If my recollection is correct, Moore wrote the ending before the episode of Outer Limits came out and then noted the parallels when it did, referencing it in the last issue.

I remember reading that somewhere. *goes off to find it on the internet*

The Outer Limit episode was aired on 30 September 1963, Watchmen was written in 1986-87. Your recolection is partially correct though. Moore says he wasn't aware of the Outer Limit episode until issue 10.

sleepyirv
2008-06-30, 11:47 PM
I agree with the OP (Please don't hit me!) I found the character more representative of ideas than them being actual human beings besides Night Owl II (who isn't very interesting) and The Comedian. I still consider the ending a joke and a half. I probably can't take super-heroes seriously enough even when they're presented in a serious manner.


On a very, very, very, very minor note (I only bring it up because I find it especially annoying, but it's such a small detail I really don't hold it against the book.) Nite-Owl's book doesn't read at all like such a work would in real life.

Grod_The_Giant
2008-07-08, 05:28 PM
I kind of agree with the OP. I don't deny that it's a wonderful and revolutionary story, but...it's depressing. And gritty. And that's not my taste.

EponymousKid
2008-07-08, 08:12 PM
It's probable that to feel the full effect of Watchmen, to really see what it did to the industry, you had to have read it as it came out in the 80s.

I read it, I think, last year, and it completely blew me away, but can you imagine back then?

WalkingTarget
2008-07-09, 09:01 AM
It's probable that to feel the full effect of Watchmen, to really see what it did to the industry, you had to have read it as it came out in the 80s.

I read it, I think, last year, and it completely blew me away, but can you imagine back then?

Or, at the very least, to remember the cold war. I hadn't read it until, I dunno, 2000 or so, but having grown up in the '80s I at least remember what things were like (not that I was very old at the time, but I remember watching the Berlin Wall being torn down on TV and knowing that it was a Big Deal).

Kids these days (and I find myself saying that more and more recently, damn I'm getting old) who never had the threat of MAD over their heads probably wouldn't grok what's going on. It's the same reason that I've found some people not understanding why Dr. Strangelove was controversial when it came out, or even why it's funny.

Klaz Eidron
2008-07-09, 09:54 AM
Watchmen is a great comic, although of Moore's work I personally prefered V for Vendetta.

WalkingTarget
2008-07-09, 10:24 AM
Watchmen is a great comic, although of Moore's work I personally prefered V for Vendetta.

I also really enjoyed the Alan Moore/Neil Gaiman run on MarvelMan/MiracleMan. It was one of the first comics I read other than my dad's Batman and Superman comics from the '60s (along with Miller's Dark Knight Returns), and I didn't know who either of the writers were at the time, but I liked them a lot. I just wish the copyright stupidity would get straightened out so that they could get reprinted so I could get them without paying an arm and a leg on eBay. Just another reason to hate Todd McFarlane.

Karaswanton
2008-07-30, 06:34 PM
Or, at the very least, to remember the cold war. I hadn't read it until, I dunno, 2000 or so, but having grown up in the '80s I at least remember what things were like (not that I was very old at the time, but I remember watching the Berlin Wall being torn down on TV and knowing that it was a Big Deal).

Kids these days (and I find myself saying that more and more recently, damn I'm getting old) who never had the threat of MAD over their heads probably wouldn't grok what's going on. It's the same reason that I've found some people not understanding why Dr. Strangelove was controversial when it came out, or even why it's funny.

I don't remember the Cold War directly(I was about six when it ended), but I've made an exhaustive study of it as a history major.

So, yes, understanding the Cold War is certainly helpful to Watchmen, as would reading it during the 1980's. However, as a historian-to-be, and a comic snob, and literature lover in general, I'd have to say that it is possible to learn the kinds of thing that make watchmen relevant second-hand.

In other words, IMO, your "Kids these days..." comment may be adequately applied to many, if not most, of "kids these days" it certainly can not be applied to all of them. Especially me, what with part of my academic focus being the Cold War. :smallbiggrin:

WalkingTarget
2008-07-31, 03:20 PM
I don't remember the Cold War directly(I was about six when it ended), but I've made an exhaustive study of it as a history major.

So, yes, understanding the Cold War is certainly helpful to Watchmen, as would reading it during the 1980's. However, as a historian-to-be, and a comic snob, and literature lover in general, I'd have to say that it is possible to learn the kinds of thing that make watchmen relevant second-hand.

In other words, IMO, your "Kids these days..." comment may be adequately applied to many, if not most, of "kids these days" it certainly can not be applied to all of them. Especially me, what with part of my academic focus being the Cold War. :smallbiggrin:

History students doing a lot of work on the Cold War can be exempt from my critique of "kids" for the purposes of this topic. :smalltongue:

Come to think of it... Anybody who seriously studies history and/or reads things older than they are for fun are probably exempt from most incidents when I'd lament "kids". Note the "probably" in my post that you quoted, it's not like I wasn't aware that some people would get it. You're not that much younger than me anyway. :smallsmile:

sealemon
2008-07-31, 07:37 PM
So, any thoughts on the upcoming movie? The trailer seems to have the LOOK of the comic correct: Some of the scenes are straight out of the book in fact...also I read an article in Entertainment Weekly where the director said he's trying to keep the movie as close to the source as possible, unilke earlier attempts to get the movie made.

I plan on seeing the movie, but figure it's either going to be really good, or a trainwreck.

Thoughts?

Tirian
2008-07-31, 09:22 PM
The movie thread is probably over in Media Discussions. Maybe on the second page, although it's more than long enough.

My opinion has shifted. I used to think that it would be a train wreck, but now I think it will turn out fine. It certainly won't be better than the graphic novel, but it probably won't pollute the public's perception of the original.

And I probably won't bother watching it. I was excited about the original Harry Potter movie or the LOTR films because I figured that seeing the Balrog fight or a Quiddich match was worth the price of admission. But I don't have any trouble visualizing Rorschach eating raw beans from the can or the dissolution of Jon's intrinsic field, so I'd rather reread the novel than watch someone's interpretation of it. (Maybe I'd go if Dollar Bill got a scene....)

Berserk Monk
2008-07-31, 09:55 PM
I just read Watchmen for the first time (like literally "just read." my brother gave it to me a week ago, and I finished it two days ago) and hears my opinion:
Good, not great.
The characters are well designed:
I like how Moore presents heroes who are flawed. Rorschach is just the paragon antihero. Dr. Manhattan introduces an interesting god theme into the comic.
The plot is sound:
I liked how the story was progressing until I finished the comic. It sets up this great confrontation between Ozymandias and the other characters at the end only to have them except his logic, and then Rorschach get blown up.
The ending confused me. I just didn't understand it that well and still don't see what Moore was trying to say with it.

Nevrmore
2008-07-31, 10:30 PM
(Maybe I'd go if Dollar Bill got a scene....)
He does. Part of the footage shown for Comic-Con attendees was Dollar Bill getting killed after his cape was caught in the revolving door.

BRC
2008-07-31, 11:22 PM
Just Read it today. Great stuff, though I didn't like the whole pirate thing. Also, Ozzy needs to get a better password. Also, what sort of password system says "You almost guessed it, your just missing a bit on the end!"

Nevrmore
2008-07-31, 11:27 PM
Just Read it today. Great stuff, though I didn't like the whole pirate thing.
But the pirate comic works so well in commenting on the story.


Also, Ozzy needs to get a better password. Also, what sort of password system says "You almost guessed it, your just missing a bit on the end!"
The popular opinion is that Veidt wanted Dreiberg and Rorschach to suspect him and come to Antarctica, so that's why he used a pathetically simple password detection.

Turcano
2008-08-01, 01:21 AM
The ending confused me. I just didn't understand it that well and still don't see what Moore was trying to say with it.

Assuming that you're referring to the last page instead of the ending in general, it's supposed to leave it up in the air whether the whistle gets blown on Ozymandias and, if it is, whether it's actually taken seriously (as the journal was sent to John Birch wannabes).

Aquillion
2008-08-01, 09:16 AM
Nite Owl didn't step down for some greater good; he pretty much just stepped down because the government told him to, and he didn't want to make a fuss. Nothing against him, but he's an average Joe, not some noble crusader. That's his shtick.He stepped down because he was already starting to believe his efforts weren't really making a difference. Unlike several of the other heroes (who were in it for their own ego, or because they simply enjoyed violence, or where too insane to ever realize it was impossible), he was genuinely interested in changing the world -- but this meant that when he, like the others, slowly realized that it was impossible, he became willing to retire.

Regarding the ending:
Keeping Ozymandias' name in mind... I think the point is that he had intended to create an indelible mark on history, something that would last forever; but the foundations were already crumbling just a few days later. Whether or not they actually unravel his plan is not important. Maybe he murders them too, maybe he murders anyone else who publishes the story, and anyone who tries to publish that story... ("See? See? Dis is vy dot keelink everybody plan is no goot!")

Veldt's plan only makes sense (as far as it does make sense) if you assume that nothing else ever happens after he finishes it. As soon as you realize it doesn't work like that, it all falls apart.

But the point of the story isn't solely about Ozymandias' plan; the focus is on the various heroes and their philosophy, and how each of them fails:

Nite Owl's weaksauce vaguely-goodwill-towards-all philosophy, while it makes him a nice guy, is too small to really accomplish anything; he can save people from burning buildings and fight a few small-time criminals, but when he's confronted by something really big, he backs down every time, because he lacks Rorschach's madness, Ozymandias' all-consuming ego, Doctor Manhattan's power, and so on. He's not big enough to deal with something like Ozymandias' plan, in the end.

Rorschach's rigid philosophy of good and evil basically destroys him from within. As we see again and again, his rigid division of everyone into good or evil ultimately leaves him to define everyone as evil, including himself. He wants something like Ozymandias' plan to occur, he says so in the beginning -- but his strong sense of good and evil won't let him condemn people. What he really wants is an angry avenging God. This is why, in the end, he pulls off his mask and asks Doctor Manhattan to kill him; the idea is that being struck down by God is basically what he wanted all along... I don't mean this specifically in the religious sense (although it's no coincidence he's a street preacher when he isn't in costume); he wants some sort of absolute judgement, beyond people like himself and Ozymandias.

Of course, Doctor Manhattan couldn't be less like the the god Rorschach wants. That's the point; the world doesn't have the clear moral lines that Rorschach believes in. In fact, Doctor Manhattan's omniscient utilitarian outlook makes him the least effective of all the characters; he always does what is strictly necessary, which leaves him with no actual choice, and he sees so much that very little of what he sees actually matters to him. When Ozymandias reveals his plan, Doctor Manhattan is unable to pass judgement, because his outlook has become so broad and long-term that the fine moral distinctions and short-term issues involved no longer have any consequence to him.

The Comedian's nihilism is paralyzing in its own way; in the end, he's just indulging his own desires, not trying to accomplish anything at all.

And Ozymandias is consumed by pride and hubris; in the end, he himself admits that he cares less about saving the world and more about leaving his mark on it. This is why he goes through such an absurd plan, why he allows enough information about it to survive for Rorschach's diary to be written, why he's willing to make such huge sacrifices for what might only be a short-term peace. Ozymandias is the only character (except, perhaps, Rorschach) who isn't ultimately paralyzed by his philosophy -- but the reason he isn't is because (like Rorschach, whose philosophy refuses to acknowledge that sometimes there is no clear good and evil) Ozymandias' egotism prevents him from acknowledging that sometimes he simply can't make a difference. He describes how he constantly 'steps back' and looks at the bigger picture -- why do you think he stopped? It isn't because he had a perfect plan to save the world (the ending makes that clear); it's because he reached the point where he couldn't step back any further without becoming like Doctor Manhattan, who realized nothing could really be changed in the long term. Ozymandias' intense ego won't allow him to acknowledge this, so he simply lashes out with the plan that leaves the largest mark possible -- though, as Doctor Manhattan implies, from a the really long view it's still not enough.

The point is that in the end, none of the characters really have the power or the moral authority to save the world -- except, debatably, Doctor Manhattan, whose outlook has become so broad that he lacks the will to do so.

Mauve Shirt
2008-08-17, 08:52 PM
I just finished it. It's got one of the weirdest endings I've ever read, but it's excellent. I liked the clashing of the different heroes' philosophies, and how only Dr. Manhattan can realize that none of it can save the world.

BRC
2008-08-17, 08:58 PM
One more thing that's been bugging me, how does Rorschach breathe/see in his mask. The mask is apparently two layers of latex with two viscous fluids (one black and one white) in it, neither are transparent (it was originally intended for a dress). He wears it tight over his face, with no eye or mouth holes.

Pocketa
2008-08-17, 10:52 PM
I want to see the movie, because MCR recorded a song for it, and it's too late to stop listening to them now.

Dunesen
2008-08-18, 03:32 PM
I know literally nothing of the film. I studiously avoid spoilers and rumors of any film. Bear that in mind:

I am very strongly thinking about avoiding the film outright. Not because of any philosophical "I'm taking a stand because they're going to f*** this up" view, but just because I really don't see how an adaptation (straight) can live up to what the mini-series did. Honestly, all the layers of subtext and interweaving storylines couldn't be done even with three hours, what the hell can we expect from a regular blockbuster movie?

I'm not condemning the film outright for not being what I want to be (a live-action adaptation of the entire series), but the series is so tightly packed...

A mini-series on HBO or Showtime could have done everything in the source material, even the black ship story and the "archival" material like the articles and letters.

But I expect the entire backstory with the Golden Age team will be cut, possibly even the Comedian's..."only once." And Dr. Manhatten's backstory, an entire issue of the series? Doubtful.

I know full well that book-to-movie adaptation necessitates cuts from anything longer than a novella. But to repeat, Watchmen is so dense that I don't know what they could cut that I wouldn't miss. I don't see any reason to potentially get myself riled up over "How dare they cut out that part with Rorshach and the dogs?"

*

But stranger things have happened. There have been more than a few smart comic-book movies lately (X2, Spider-Man 2, everything I've heard about Dark Knight points to it), so maybe Watchmen will just take the foundation and do something completely new with the house built on it. Lord knows the Cold War parallel doesn't really work today.

TigerHunter
2008-09-03, 04:55 PM
Just finished it.

My head will be exploding from the sheer awesomeness in 30 seconds. Nice knowing you all.

Tirian
2008-09-03, 05:16 PM
Nope, it is just la petite mort. And it will happen again when you reread the book six months from now and start a lifetime of noticing tiny but significant details.

Now, your homework is to replace the tiger in your av with a genetically altered lynx.

TigerHunter
2008-09-03, 05:54 PM
Now, your homework is to replace the tiger in your av with a genetically altered lynx.
GeneticallyalteredlynxHunter doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

Rare Pink Leech
2008-09-03, 10:01 PM
Nope, it is just la petite mort. And it will happen again when you reread the book six months from now and start a lifetime of noticing tiny but significant details.

Yup. I've read it three times now, and each time I notice new stuff.

WalkingTarget
2008-09-03, 10:09 PM
Heh, in the middle of a reread right now. This time through, the assignment I've assigned myself is to watch for triangles (like the newspaper delivery van logo first visible in panel 5 of the first page, probably Pyramid Delivery, which is significant in other ways and I only just noticed this time through). Not sure if it's really an important motif yet beyond that, but still watching for it.

kpenguin
2008-09-03, 11:36 PM
I just learned that a comic book can harm friendships. I tried to introduce my friends to Watchmen. They flipped through a few pages and now they can't get over how the comic shows Doc Manhattan's wang.

TigerHunter
2008-09-03, 11:43 PM
I just learned that a comic book can harm friendships. I tried to introduce my friends to Watchmen. They flipped through a few pages and now they can't get over how the comic shows Doc Manhattan's wang.
...the sheer idiocy and immaturity of some people is astounding.

I mean, it's just a little squiggle. It's not graphic at all.

Edit: Err, not to insult your friends or anything. Though you sound pretty annoyed with them too.

Tirian
2008-09-04, 12:27 AM
I just learned that a comic book can harm friendships. I tried to introduce my friends to Watchmen. They flipped through a few pages and now they can't get over how the comic shows Doc Manhattan's wang.

A sophmoric but valid point. I just did a quick flip through and counted twelve panels showing Jon's phallus in any sort of detail, which is at least ten more than I have seen in all of the rest of DC and Marvel combined, including Vertigo. "Grownup" comics are traditionally about the nekkid women, but by contrast I believe that Watchmen contains only three women's nipples, all of which are in cartoon form (two in Sally's Tijuana Bible and one in Rorchach's childhood drawing).

And now I just feel totally skeezy.

kpenguin
2008-09-04, 01:03 AM
...the sheer idiocy and immaturity of some people is astounding.

I mean, it's just a little squiggle. It's not graphic at all.

Edit: Err, not to insult your friends or anything. Though you sound pretty annoyed with them too.

Yeah, I am very much annoyed with them. Not only were they commenting on the fact that the Doc's manhood showed, they also commented on how "small" it was. Gah:smallannoyed:

When I tried to point out the immaturity of their line of conversation, they pointed out I was reading a comic book. This is the point I left them. I've patched things up afterwards, but I'm definitely not taking them with me to go see the film.


A sophmoric but valid point. I just did a quick flip through and counted twelve panels showing Jon's phallus in any sort of detail, which is at least ten more than I have seen in all of the rest of DC and Marvel combined, including Vertigo. "Grownup" comics are traditionally about the nekkid women, but by contrast I believe that Watchmen contains only three women's nipples, all of which are in cartoon form (two in Sally's Tijuana Bible and one in Rorchach's childhood drawing).

And now I just feel totally skeezy.

You can see Laurie's nipples in the panel after she and Dan make love aboard Archie.

...

I don't know why I remembered that.

T-O-E
2008-09-04, 02:05 AM
(On the other side, Moore's vision of supergenius password strength is pathetically weak.)

Probably a ploy to bring his colleagues to Antartica so they could be spared from the elder evil.

kpenguin
2008-09-04, 02:08 AM
Probably a ploy to bring his colleagues to Antartica so they could be spared from the elder evil.

Yeah. He was even nice enough to make sure they got the password right even if they entered it in incomplete.

Irenaeus
2008-09-04, 03:32 AM
I just learned that a comic book can harm friendships. I tried to introduce my friends to Watchmen. They flipped through a few pages and now they can't get over how the comic shows Doc Manhattan's wang.I'm confused. Who's member were they supposed to show? He's the only one who walks around naked.

T-O-E
2008-09-04, 12:46 PM
I don't know how they're going to fit everything into the movie. I mean, virtually every single detail, every bit character, every sentence of dialogue in Watchmen can force a person to re-think their own perspective..

Also, I hate how they made Ozymandias' costume black. He does look cool but I preferred it when he dressed in a colourful cliche costume, makes it more shocking when he's revealed to be the closest thing to a villain in the whole thing.

Fawkes
2008-09-04, 03:50 PM
I LOVE Watchmen. :smallsmile:

Something that I didn't think about until recently: A lot of the action in watchmen literally won't fit on the screen. In my film class, we have a project later where we have to take an action sequence from a graphic novel and convert the panels into a certain aspect ratio, as if it were going to be shown on the big screen. Naturally, I wanted to do Watchmen, because it's the best of the best. The thing is, film screens are long horizontal rectangles. If you look at Watchmen, all the panels are long, vertical rectangles. To convert any of those shots to the screen, you'd either have to remove a great deal of the top and/or bottom of the scene, or add a lot to the sides. Any way you slice it, a Watchmen movie is going to look much different than the comic.

kpenguin
2008-09-04, 11:20 PM
I'm confused. Who's member were they supposed to show? He's the only one who walks around naked.

Your confusion confuses me.:smallconfused:

My friends are immature pricks who obsessed over the fact that you can see, in quite a few panels, the outline of Jon's manhood and its size. They were not upset that you couldn't see anyone else's.

TheEmerged
2008-09-05, 01:51 PM
Your confusion confuses me.:smallconfused:

My friends are immature pricks who obsessed over the fact that you can see, in quite a few panels, the outline of Jon's manhood and its size. They were not upset that you couldn't see anyone else's.

He was trying to be funny, I believe.

Phae Nymna
2008-09-23, 07:52 PM
Rorschach sucks. :smile:

I laugh at your reference to a character referencing a character who was based off him. Ha. Ha. HaHa.

WATCHMEN is my happy place.

Carry on then!

Fawkes
2008-09-23, 08:24 PM
I laugh at your reference to a character referencing a character who was based off him.

Explain this to me please.

TigerHunter
2008-09-23, 08:36 PM
Explain this to me please.
As noted somewhere in this thread:
After acquiring the rights to a group of characters, including one named the Question, DC comics asked Alan Moore to write a story with them. He wrote Watchmen. Because of its rather final ending, they decided that it would be best if he re-wrote the book with different characters, so that the Question and the others could be used for more long-term projects, and thereby generate more profits. Alan Moore did so, and the Question in his story was replaced by Rorschach. TVTropes will explain the rest:


His personality eventually became a major influence on the portrayal of The Question, the hero of whom Rorschach was a Captain Ersatz, in Justice League Unlimited, though thankfully it was more about being a crazy cospiracy theorist (who was actually partially right) than being a genuinely bat****-insane Knight Templar.

The comic-book Question, on the other hand, had a brief story where he actually read Watchmen, noted Rorschach's similarity to himself, and decided to give the former's methods a try. It ended up with an escaped criminal, a badly bruised Question, and the conclusion "Rorschach sucks," something of a Take That to everyone who missed the point.

Fawkes
2008-09-23, 08:49 PM
As noted somewhere in this thread:
After acquiring the rights to a group of characters, including one named the Question, Marvel comics asked Alan Moore to write a story with them. He wrote Watchmen. Because of its rather final ending, they decided that it would be best if he re-wrote the book with different characters, so that the Question and the others could be used for more long-term projects, and thereby generate more profits. Alan Moore did so, and the Question in his story was replaced by Rorschach. TVTropes will explain the rest:

Nice. Thank you.

darkblade
2008-09-23, 09:16 PM
As noted somewhere in this thread:
After acquiring the rights to a group of characters, including one named the Question, DC comics asked Alan Moore to write a story with them. He wrote Watchmen. Because of its rather final ending, they decided that it would be best if he re-wrote the book with different characters, so that the Question and the others could be used for more long-term projects, and thereby generate more profits. Alan Moore did so, and the Question in his story was replaced by Rorschach. TVTropes will explain the rest:

Fixed. I'm sorry, I just have a little pet peeve about people using the wrong comics publishers.

TigerHunter
2008-09-23, 09:23 PM
Fixed. I'm sorry, I just have a little pet peeve about people using the wrong comics publishers.
Fixing it in my original post too, then.

Sowwy. :smallfrown:

gatitcz
2008-09-24, 01:07 AM
As noted somewhere in this thread:
After acquiring the rights to a group of characters, including one named the Question, DC comics asked Alan Moore to write a story with them. He wrote Watchmen. Because of its rather final ending, they decided that it would be best if he re-wrote the book with different characters,

Are you sure he rewrote? I thought that was all sorted out before he started.

charl
2008-09-24, 03:20 AM
I can't see how Hollywood could NOT mess this up, but I'll probably watch it anyway.

T-O-E
2008-09-24, 12:46 PM
If the movie isn't similar enough to the graphic novel, the fanboys will flame the director.
If the movie follows the graphic novel closely, the fanboys will flame the director for being an unimaginative ameteur.

Jahkaivah
2008-09-24, 02:16 PM
If the movie isn't similar enough to the graphic novel, the fanboys will flame the director.
If the movie follows the graphic novel closely, the fanboys will flame the director for being an unimaginative ameteur.

Not sure about that second one.

Though I have heard there are some changes being made, maybe for the better.

TigerHunter
2008-09-24, 03:58 PM
Are you sure he rewrote? I thought that was all sorted out before he started.
When I say re-wrote, I mean re-scripted. If he had already drawn, inked and colored everything, they probably would have just ran with it.

Aquillion
2008-09-24, 05:30 PM
Yeah, I am very much annoyed with them. Not only were they commenting on the fact that the Doc's manhood showed, they also commented on how "small" it was. Gah :smallannoyed:
I think it was supposed to be symbolic of the fact that he's ultimately impotent, despite his powers; he's become so distant from the world that he can't really change anything.

Fawkes
2008-09-24, 05:33 PM
Plus, it's really cold on Mars.

Zaphrasz
2008-09-24, 05:58 PM
One more thing that's been bugging me, how does Rorschach breathe/see in his mask. The mask is apparently two layers of latex with two viscous fluids (one black and one white) in it, neither are transparent (it was originally intended for a dress). He wears it tight over his face, with no eye or mouth holes.Same here, but I also wonder how his mask remains perfectly symmetrical at all times.

Fawkes
2008-09-24, 08:52 PM
Same here, but I also wonder how his mask remains perfectly symmetrical at all times.

The answer to both questions is magic.

MAGIC.

Phae Nymna
2008-09-24, 09:32 PM
The *true* answers to both questions is "Dr. Manhattan inspired Wonder Fabric: Two Layers of Latex with Viscous Fluids Suspended Between. Forms Patterns Based on Line of Symmetry" or somesuch craziness. He mention that stuff when Kovacs flashbacks to his birth into the face with Kitty Genovese's dress.

TigerHunter
2008-09-24, 10:02 PM
The *true* answers to both questions is "Dr. Manhattan inspired Wonder Fabric: Two Layers of Latex with Viscous Fluids Suspended Between. Forms Patterns Based on Line of Symmetry" or somesuch craziness. He mention that stuff when Kovacs flashbacks to his birth into the face with Kitty Genovese's dress.
I just happened to notice your avatar.

...a Rorschach cat-muffin.

That is truly awesome.

Warren Dew
2008-09-25, 02:34 AM
I read Watchmen shortly after it came out in novel form - checking my copy, it appears to be first printing, so maybe even in 1987 - and I can say that it was definitely not a product of its times. By the late 1980s, the cold war had mostly thawed and was already passee. To the extent that Watchmen takes themes from a particular historical period, it's the 1960s, not the 1980s.

I think what makes Watchmen great is how its subject to so many different interpretations. Is Ozymandias the villain or the hero? Is the comic within the comic prophetic, or merely a prop? If the Comedian understands the truth, why is he shocked by Ozymandias' plot? There's no obvious single answer to these.

Regarding one of the earlier posts: I'd agree that Dr. Malcolm Long is well intentioned, but I find it hard to see him as noble, given the unhealthy amount of time he spends on Rorschach, who was after all merely sane.

Nevrmore
2008-09-25, 04:17 PM
Rorschach, who was after all merely sane.
Dissertations have been written disputing that little tidbit you threw out in such a cavalier manner.

Zencao
2008-09-26, 11:16 AM
Dissertations have been written disputing that little tidbit you threw out in such a cavalier manner.

Well, Rorsharch shouldn't really count as IN-sane since he saw reality perfectly, he was just a sociopath and slightly psychotic.

Fawkes
2008-09-26, 11:56 AM
Well, Rorsharch shouldn't really count as IN-sane since he saw reality perfectly, he was just a sociopath and slightly psychotic.

I believe my psychiatrist would classify that as insane.

T-O-E
2008-09-26, 12:58 PM
My opinion.
Despite his warped perspective, Rorschach (that's how you spell it, right?) was the only true hero in the main cast (yes, i'm including The Comedian as the entire thing starts after his death).

Ozymandias- His act of genocide was only to be remembered, he was extremely egotistical.
Nite Owl- Although well-intentioned, didn't directly object to the clear evil of Ozymandias' plan to try to stop him, well, after it was completed.
Dr. Manhatten- Doesn't even care.
The Comedian- Completely immoral.
Silk-Spectre: Look up Nite Owl.

Fawkes
2008-09-26, 01:11 PM
My opinion.
Despite his warped perspective, Rorschach (that's how you spell it, right?) was the only true hero in the main cast (yes, i'm including The Comedian as the entire thing starts after his death).

Ozymandias- His act of genocide was only to be remembered, he was extremely egotistical.
Nite Owl- Although well-intentioned, didn't directly object to the clear evil of Ozymandias' plan to try to stop him, well, after it was completed.
Dr. Manhatten- Doesn't even care.
The Comedian- Completely immoral.
Silk-Spectre: Look up Nite Owl.

I don't think any of them were "true heroes." Isn't that kind of the point of the book?

T-O-E
2008-09-26, 01:17 PM
Yeah, I should have used another, more appropriate word. Most good?

Fawkes
2008-09-26, 01:32 PM
Yeah, I should have used another, more appropriate word. Most good?

Maybe. But he's definitely got his bad side. Siding with the Comedian, breaking random guy's hand in chapter 1...

BRC
2008-09-26, 01:41 PM
Maybe. But he's definitely got his bad side. Siding with the Comedian, breaking random guy's hand in chapter 1...

Rorshach is the one with the most pure motivations, however his strict black-and-white worldview causes problems.

If you put Rorschach in a standard heroic-type comic book where all people are either upstanding citizens or depraved incurable criminals, he would do just fine because he automatically puts people into one of those two catagories. However, Watchmen is much more realistic, it's almost entierly shades of grey. Therefore, Rorschach see's the people in the bar and thinks "They are all criminals, therefore they deserve whatever happens to them". He see's every criminal as that kidnapper with the dogs.

Fawkes
2008-09-26, 01:45 PM
Mo-fo's still crazy.

BRC
2008-09-26, 02:32 PM
Mo-fo's still crazy.
I'm pretty sure thats what I just said, only without the hyphen.

TigerHunter
2008-09-26, 03:48 PM
The Comedian- Completely immoral.
I believe you mean "amoral".

Xenogears
2008-09-26, 08:16 PM
I think it was supposed to be symbolic of the fact that he's ultimately impotent, despite his powers; he's become so distant from the world that he can't really change anything.

I thought that he was based on the greek manly ideal. Incredibly buff with an androgynous face and a small package. Those crazy ancient greeks.

Fawkes
2008-09-26, 09:37 PM
I just assumed that Manhattan's wang-dang-doodle was small because they didn't want it to be too detailed and graphic. But I like the other interpretations.

goodyarn
2008-09-30, 04:54 PM
I liked how the story was progressing until I finished the comic. It sets up this great confrontation between Ozymandias and the other characters at the end only to have them except his logic, and then Rorschach get blown up. The ending confused me. I just didn't understand it that well and still don't see what Moore was trying to say with it.

Well...would YOU have ratted out Ozzy, and have WWIII on your conscience? Many people balk at that kind of responsbility...it's too big.

So Ozzy becomes the biggest mass murder in history and yet saves the world. He is both the villain and the hero because the world is just too messy and complicated for such neat categories as good guys and bad guys.

That's what I took away from it, anyway.

goodyarn
2008-09-30, 05:20 PM
For me, the Watchmen is a lackluster, cynical story with poorly designed characters who largely remain static. This is just me, and I want to know what you think, and why. Please don't attack my views, I am only doing this for the sake of discussion.


It's absolutely a cynical story. No question about it. But so is King Lear. Cynical stories have their value...they keep us from believing our own BS.

I disagree that the characters are static. Let's run through a few of them:

Dr. Manhattan - starts as a human, dies, becomes all-powerful, loses interest in humanity and becomes a creepy "Mr. Spock", flees Earth, longs to witness a true miracle, discovers (in his conversation with Silk Specter) that every human being is a miracle, returns to Earth to help humanity, then leaves to create his own.

Silk Specter - looking for her father, resents her mother for pushing the super hero life on her and despises Comedian for assaulting her mother. Learns the Comedian is her father. Discovers true love. Forgives her mother. Re-embraces the super hero life, and plans to model her new super hero self on the Comedian ("I want a leather mask and I want to carry a gun").

Rohrschach: Goes from creepy psycho to the only man unwilling to compromise with mass murderer Ozzy, sticks to his principles though it means dying alone and unmourned. The final page emphasizes that it is only through his dedication that the truth might come out.

The Comedian: The ultimate cynic, he is reduced to a bawling kid wailing for his mother in Moloch's bedroom when he realizes what Ozzy is up to, how Ozzy has pulled off an even better, crueler joke than any the Comedian thought up.

Ozzy: Goes from hero and philanthropist to mass murderer and world saver. He sees himself as Alexander the Great, and indeed, he conquers the world. But he also confesses that in his dreams -- like the guy in the pirate comic book -- he is swimming towards a horrible destination. There is a heavy, private price that he is paying for what he did. He looks to Dr. Manhattan to absolve him, and Dr. Manhattan refuses. Ozzy ends up -- not triumphant -- but staring into the shadows, haunted.

See what I mean?

Tirian
2008-09-30, 05:41 PM
Re-embraces the super hero life, and plans to model her new super hero self on the Comedian ("I want a leather mask and I want to carry a gun").

:smalleek:

I've been reading this story for twenty years, and I never thought about that before. You win a cookie.

Ravens_cry
2008-09-30, 06:03 PM
I haven't read the Watchmen, though from effect I have seen it have on other comics, it inspired a lot of 90's antihero wangst.

TigerHunter
2008-09-30, 06:06 PM
I haven't read the Watchmen, though from effect I have seen it have on other comics, it inspired a lot of 90's antihero wangst.
It did. Don't judge it on what it inspired, though. It's a really good book.

Ravens_cry
2008-09-30, 06:07 PM
It did. Don't judge it on what it inspired, though. It's a really good book.
I hope to do so in the near future. I will do my best not to do so.

goodyarn
2008-09-30, 06:29 PM
:smalleek:

I've been reading this story for twenty years, and I never thought about that before. You win a cookie.

Well, THANK YOU. I'll take oreo or chocolate chip if you have it.

And they told me I'd starve being an English major. Hah! :smallcool:

BRC
2008-09-30, 08:40 PM
Well...would YOU have ratted out Ozzy, and have WWIII on your conscience? Many people balk at that kind of responsbility...it's too big.

So Ozzy becomes the biggest mass murder in history and yet saves the world. He is both the villain and the hero because the world is just too messy and complicated for such neat categories as good guys and bad guys.

That's what I took away from it, anyway.
Well Ozzy is supposed to be the reason why Rorschach's worldview dosn't work. Rorshach dosn't think it's possible for an act to be both good and bad, you are either an upstanding citizen or a despicable criminal. There is no middle ground.


At the end, I don't think Rorschach really wanted to rat out Ozymandius, he dosn't want WWIII. However, he refuses to compromise at all. He couldn't comprehend not trying to punish adrian. Thats why he asks Manhattan to kill him, his worldview was just shattered, but he couldn't compromise. If given the choice, ANY choice, he would have resisted, so he wanted to go up against Manhattan, against whom he could not succeed. He wanted to be forced into a compromise.

goodyarn
2008-09-30, 08:58 PM
At the end, I don't think Rorschach really wanted to rat out Ozymandius, he dosn't want WWIII. However, he refuses to compromise at all. He couldn't comprehend not trying to punish adrian. Thats why he asks Manhattan to kill him, his worldview was just shattered, but he couldn't compromise. If given the choice, ANY choice, he would have resisted, so he wanted to go up against Manhattan, against whom he could not succeed. He wanted to be forced into a compromise.

Interesting. I don't think Rorschach somehow chose to go up against Dr. M and be defeated. Dr. M had already stopped Rorschach, said "I can't let you [tell people what happened]" and held up his all-powerful hand threateningly. So, I think it was Dr. M who took away R's choice. It is only when Dr. M stumbles for words to say that R insists he just "Do it!"

Still, I think you have a point. R takes off his black and white mask at this point (the only time he voluntarily takes off his mask, I think) and we see his crying face. Also, this bookends nicely with R's initial journal entry about how the city is diseased and all he can do is wipe away flecks of foam. R has known for a while (like the Comedian did) that he wasn't really saving the world. Ozzy found a terrible cure for the whole diseased world, a cure which R can't stand, and I still think he'd stop Ozzy if he could, but Dr. M won't let him. So yeah, I am willing to buy that at that point, R realizes he's in an impossible situation and just wants the whole damn thing off his shoulders.

BRC
2008-09-30, 09:45 PM
Interesting. I don't think Rorschach somehow chose to go up against Dr. M and be defeated. Dr. M had already stopped Rorschach, said "I can't let you [tell people what happened]" and held up his all-powerful hand threateningly. So, I think it was Dr. M who took away R's choice. It is only when Dr. M stumbles for words to say that R insists he just "Do it!"

Oh, I don't think he Chose to go up against the good doctor, I just think thats what he was hoping would happen. He didn't want to cause WWIII, make all those deaths in new york pointless. On the other hand, his principles forced him to try. He wanted to be stopped by somebody he had no chance of overcoming.

Rare Pink Leech
2008-10-01, 09:10 AM
It did. Don't judge it on what it inspired, though. It's a really good book.

Yes, please don't judge it. It's not Watchmen's fault it was so unbelievably awesome a whole decade of comics tried (and failed) to mimic it.


Oh, I don't think he Chose to go up against the good doctor, I just think thats what he was hoping would happen. He didn't want to cause WWIII, make all those deaths in new york pointless. On the other hand, his principles forced him to try. He wanted to be stopped by somebody he had no chance of overcoming.

I don't think the notion of World War 3 even entered into Rorschach's limited worldview in the end. Nothing is his last bits of dialogue suggests he was conflicted like the others.

"No. Don't let him escape. Must stop him. Killed Blake. Killed half New York."
"Joking, of course" (in response to Dan saying they can't tell anyone)
"No. Not even in the face of Armageddon. Never compromise."
"Back to Owlship. Back to America. Evil must be punished. People must be told."
"Of course. Must protect Veidt's new utopia. One more body amongst foundations makes little difference. Well? What are you waiting for? Do it. DO IT!"

From my reading, Rorschach was not conflicting between bringing Veidt to justice and starting World War 3. In his black and white worldview (as seen by his mask, pools of black and white that never mix) he only saw a man who killed 3 million people, one who must be stopped. I don't think there's anything in Rorschach's character that suggests he cares about war or trying to stop it.

As to why he was crying in the end? Maybe it's because he was realizing his end was near, or because of the enormity of the murders just committed. More likely, I think, was because he knew he was not going to be able to bring Veidt to justice.

TigerHunter
2008-10-01, 09:50 AM
Yes, please don't judge it. It's not Watchmen's fault it was so unbelievably awesome a whole decade of comics tried (and failed) to mimic it.
Actually, it is Watchmen's fault for being so awesome. The fact that the mimickers failed had nothing to do with the book, though.

Tirian
2008-10-01, 02:16 PM
As to why he was crying in the end? Maybe it's because he was realizing his end was near, or because of the enormity of the murders just committed. More likely, I think, was because he knew he was not going to be able to bring Veidt to justice.

I jump back to what Kovaks wrote when he was eleven:


I like President Truman, the way Dad would of wanted me to. He dropped the atom bomb on Japan and saved millions of lives because if he hadn't of, then there would of been a lot more war than there was and more people would of been killed. I think it was a good thing to drop the atomic bomb on Japan.

And yet, he gave his life out of revulsion for Adrian's plan. So, was he crying because, like the Comedian, his worldview had been annihilated by an act of pure gray? Because he was going against his father and President Truman? These are possibilities, but I think that he welcomed his death so readily because he realized that he was entering a world in which he couldn't live.

Fawkes
2008-10-01, 02:25 PM
I jump back to what Kovaks wrote when he was eleven:

*double take*
Where in the book is that?

Edit: Found it between chapters 6 and 7. Wow.

TigerHunter
2008-10-01, 02:53 PM
So, was he crying because, like the Comedian, his worldview had been annihilated by an act of pure gray?
I'm still wondering what drove the Comedian to break down like that. For a man who was completely apathetic to having murdered a pregnant woman in cold blood and doesn't value human life, he was remarkably shaken by the prospect of the loss of human life.

I think I need to re-read the book. I still don't understand his motivations.

Nevrmore
2008-10-01, 02:57 PM
I jump back to what Kovaks wrote when he was eleven:
Emphasis mine.

Rorschach's worldview took a pretty drastic turn long after he was eleven. it had to do with a kidnapping case and two German Shepherds, if you'd recall. Essays he wrote when he was eleven won't magically change to suit his view of society in the future.

T-O-E
2008-10-01, 03:03 PM
I'm still wondering what drove the Comedian to break down like that. For a man who was completely apathetic to having murdered a pregnant woman in cold blood and doesn't value human life, he was remarkably shaken by the prospect of the loss of human life.

I think I need to re-read the book. I still don't understand his motivations.

Me too, I didn't really get him.

Fawkes
2008-10-01, 03:05 PM
Moore wouldn't include the essay if it wasn't relevant, though.

Jahkaivah
2008-10-01, 03:34 PM
Emphasis mine.

Rorschach's worldview took a pretty drastic turn long after he was eleven. it had to do with a kidnapping case and two German Shepherds, if you'd recall. Essays he wrote when he was eleven won't magically change to suit his view of society in the future.

The Journel entry on the first page of the book retains his love for his dad and President Truman.

Given some of the other things he wrote when in that excerpt I doubt he wrote it pre-mindbreak.

EDIT: Murder-case was 1975. Journel entry 1985. 10 years post-mindbreak.


I'm still wondering what drove the Comedian to break down like that. For a man who was completely apathetic to having murdered a pregnant woman in cold blood and doesn't value human life, he was remarkably shaken by the prospect of the loss of human life.

I think I need to re-read the book. I still don't understand his motivations.

My interpretation, its not the murder that bothered him, it was that someone ruined his joke.

Think about it , to condemn life as a joke you have to come to some kind of belief that it can not be saved, broken from its viscious cycle of blind (and often corrupt) heroism and unifixable crimes. The comedian figured there was no point in saving it, but rarther to join it as a parody, the world was an *******, so he decided to be an ******* to make fun of it. As Rorschach pointed out, his problem was that no one realised this. He was a parody people were taking seriously.

But what if someone did save the world? What if someone did something so out of the way of the norm that it changed the joke. What if he didn't get it anymore?

I think that was what was bothering him. He was a parody of a joke he no longer understood. His way of life was over.

EDIT: In other words, as Tirian said ,his worldview was annihilated by an act of pure gray :smalltongue:

Tirian
2008-10-01, 03:51 PM
The Journel entry on the first page of the book retains his love for his dad and President Truman.

Right. Rorschach's trademark is that you need to break a few innocent people's fingers eggs to make an omelet, because even the innocent are wallowing in their apathy and decadence and pornography and what-not. But in a flash, he sees that Adrian is President Truman (or, more likely and startlingly, the reverse). Like The Comedian before him, Rorschach looks at Adrian and sees a magnified reflection of himself, and perhaps concludes that the path that he has taken is neither heroic nor desirable.

Ethrael
2008-10-01, 04:04 PM
I've just seen this thread so apologies for repetition of previous comments.

I actually had a very similar story with Watchmen. The friend who recommended it to me did so mostly on the basis that it was by Alan Moore (that guy who did V for Vendetta which was like sooo awesome!!!) and when I read it I found pretty much just as interesting as most other average comics.

But now that I come to think of it, it has probably the best created atmosphere, putting you completely in the time and place of all the happenings, and the characters actually have surprisingly huge amounts of depth. They have dreadfully long backstories which we see put in action most of the time and he develops their psychology intricately and carefully.

This is all my opinion of it. I understand your point of view on it, it definetily doesn't have anything that stands out particularly about it, but in a sense that's what's great about it.

Hope in some weird, twisted way I helped! :smallbiggrin:

Nevrmore
2008-10-01, 04:04 PM
The Journel entry on the first page of the book retains his love for his dad and President Truman.

Given some of the other things he wrote when in that excerpt I doubt he wrote it pre-mindbreak.

EDIT: Murder-case was 1975. Journel entry 1985. 10 years post-mindbreak.
I know that he retained his praise for his father and Truman, two people who he did not know personally and were before his time. His vision of them is an idealized one. If he had been in the room with Truman when he had ordered the bomb droppings, he would have reacted exactly as he did in front of Ozymandias.

BRC
2008-10-01, 05:41 PM
The journal entry, and the essay, are both highly relevant to Rorshac's "Upstanding Citizen Or Despicable Criminal" Mindset. In both he mentions his father as a good person. We don't know who Kovak's father is, and considering his mothers proffession I doubt he knows either, and I very much doubt he is the sort of person Roarshach imagines him as. Rorschach despises his mother (When she died all he said was "good") but glorifies this father that he never knew.
If I become a Psychology major, I would have a field day with Watchmen in general and Roarsach in particular, although I have a feeling there have been thousands upon thousands of papers written that analyze him.

Winterwind
2008-10-01, 07:55 PM
Be careful here. You know how well it worked out for the last psychologist who tried his luck with Rorschach. :smallwink:

TigerHunter
2008-10-01, 08:09 PM
Be careful here. You know how well it worked out for the last psychologist who tried his luck with Rorschach. :smallwink:
Actually, he was the first psychologist to try his luck with Rorschach. Most of the psychologists that BRC mentioned are probably just fine.

Turcano
2008-10-01, 08:16 PM
If I become a Psychology major, I would have a field day with Watchmen in general and Roarsach in particular, although I have a feeling there have been thousands upon thousands of papers written that analyze him.

I'm not an expert in the subject, but he's got borderline personality disorder written all over him.

Aquillion
2008-10-02, 12:25 AM
Be careful here. You know how well it worked out for the last psychologist who tried his luck with Rorschach. :smallwink:
As I recall, it actually seemed to improve his life. What happened after that had nothing to do with Rorschach.

Winterwind
2008-10-02, 04:50 AM
As I recall, it actually seemed to improve his life. What happened after that had nothing to do with Rorschach.I would consider sinking into deep depression upon witnessing the darkness in Rorschach's world and sowing the seeds of distress in his marriage (yes, the break-up itself was not caused by Rorschach, but it was his obsession with Rorschach which led to the initial arguments and estrangement from his wife) a most definitely unpleasant development. And in what way did his life improve? His encounter with Rorschach may have strengthened his resolve to help others, even at the cost of sacrifice, but that was one of his traits to begin with.

Tirian
2008-10-02, 07:05 AM
I can't decide if becoming estranged from his loser wife was an improvement. :smallamused:

Yes, being kind and good-natured was a part of his initial character, but evidently being lazy and opportunistic was as well. The final decision of his life, to try to break up a fight between strangers against the wishes of his wife, comes at the end of a long-term struggle between what is right and what is comfortable. Did he make the decision that he did out of a deliberate rejection of Rorschach's nihilism? Like so much of the rest of the story, we are left to reach our own conclusions.

Yulian
2008-10-02, 12:03 PM
Yes, being kind and good-natured was a part of his initial character, but evidently being lazy and opportunistic was as well. The final decision of his life, to try to break up a fight between strangers against the wishes of his wife, comes at the end of a long-term struggle between what is right and what is comfortable. Did he make the decision that he did out of a deliberate rejection of Rorschach's nihilism? Like so much of the rest of the story, we are left to reach our own conclusions.

I think he became a stronger person. He took a stand. I think Rorschach's statement sums it up:
"Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. Itís us. Only us."

But his doctor chose to impose a pattern. He chose to give his actions meaning. His wife did seem shallow. He was neglecting her, but she seemed uninterested in finding out what exactly was going on past the surface.

- Yulian

Calinero
2008-10-04, 09:14 AM
Oh, goodie. Rorschach is a fun character to discuss.

Rorschach has struck me kind of as a Batman going horribly, horribly wrong. All the desire for vigilante justice is there, but amplified, and all the moral codes that hold Batman back are gone. Rorschach vs. The Joker...now that would be something interesting.

Ahem. Anyway.

Rorschach shows above all that the world does not divide into black and white morality, good and evil. Everyone else is willing to accept shades of gray, at least to an extent. Rorschach, however, pulls an Inspector Javert (Les Miserables)--he is unable to cope with changes from his worldview, unable to compromise. Then he goes down, hard.

Rorschach is also a bit of a tragic figure. He's well intentioned, sure--essentially the only one of the main characters who has pure motivations for becoming a vigilante, with the possible exception of the Nite Owls. If he hadn't had such psychological issues, he probably could have been the best of the vigilantes. Just makes what happens to him more unfortunate.

Tirian
2008-10-04, 01:59 PM
I think he became a stronger person. He took a stand.

I tend to agree, but we can't be certain that he wouldn't have taken the same stand before meeting Rorscach. He assured his wife that he was too "fat and contented" to put the world before himself. But one assumes she wouldn't have brought up the issue if he hadn't had a history of dancing on that line. While the stakes were probably never so high as in Chapter 11, I highly doubt that it was the first time that Malcolm defied his wife by caring about strangers.

Turcano
2008-10-06, 12:11 AM
Oh, goodie. Rorschach is a fun character to discuss.

Rorschach has struck me kind of as a Batman going horribly, horribly wrong. All the desire for vigilante justice is there, but amplified, and all the moral codes that hold Batman back are gone. Rorschach vs. The Joker...now that would be something interesting.

And quick. Remember, he once dropped a villain down an elevator shaft just because he was a masochist.

Calinero
2008-10-07, 06:00 PM
And quick. Remember, he once dropped a villain down an elevator shaft just because he was a masochist.

I don't think it was because he was a masochist. It was because he was a criminal. Rorschach just found his masochistic motivations to be irrelevant.

Fawkes
2008-10-07, 06:44 PM
Also, it was funny.

Calinero
2008-10-08, 10:38 AM
Also, it was funny.

Just the kind of twisted humor that makes Watchmen awesome.

darkblade
2008-10-08, 08:32 PM
I don't think it was because he was a masochist. It was because he was a criminal. Rorschach just found his masochistic motivations to be irrelevant.

I don't think Captain Carnage (the man in question) ever actualy did anything criminal. He dressed up in a costume and tried to make the heroes think that he was a masked villian. Otherwise Nite Owl just walking away from him becomes quite suspect, regardless to whether or not the man wanted to get beat on by a hero if he commited a crime I really don't think Nite Owl would just ignore him.

Talya
2008-10-08, 09:55 PM
"Read Watchmen. If you have, read it again. Then again."

Browsing this forum, I have come across a lot of references to the Watchmen, by Alan Moore. Most of these references are positive, and I was wondering why.
I'm not trying to be a troll, or stir up trouble for the sake of it, I am interested. Honestly, I read the Watchmen over a few days, having borrowed it from a friend who likes comics even more than myself. He said that the Watchmen is one of the best he has ever read. We tend to agree on such things, but this time I could not. For me, the Watchmen is a lackluster, cynical story with poorly designed characters who largely remain static. This is just me, and I want to know what you think, and why. Please don't attack my views, I am only doing this for the sake of discussion. I realize Watchmen has a large fan base.
Thanks.

There are very few comics I enjoy.

I never bought comics as a girl. I would sneak them from a boyfriend and make sure nobody knew I read them. That said, I've read Moore's Watchmen. And V for Vendetta as well. And Frank Miller's 300 while we're on the subject of acclaimed comic books.

I hated them all. They took the few things I like about comics, and removed them. V for Vendetta I probably disliked because I only read it recently; I watched the movie first, and thought it was brilliant, while the comic has no substance in comparison; it's all bad guys. 300 (both movie and comic) are just machismo-filled testosterone-fests with no redeeming features (or even historical accuracy.) Watchmen is garishly illustrated and inked (my god I hate four-color), and entirely lacking the heroism of a superhero story. The only guy with any moral fortitude in the end was the bigoted ink-blot jerk, and he died.

I think I dislike Moore in general, though. He ruined my favorite batman character Barbara Gordon with completely casual disdain in The Killing Joke. (Oracle sucks. Bring back Batgirl!) Miller I don't mind so much (Claremont and Miller's Wolverine is the best story ever involving the crazy mutant Canuck), although I didn't care for his Sin City.

I'm increasingly of the opinion Joss Whedon is the best comic writer ever. :p

Fawkes
2008-10-08, 10:23 PM
Watchmen is garishly illustrated and inked (my god I hate four-color), and entirely lacking the heroism of a superhero story. The only guy with any moral fortitude in the end was the bigoted ink-blot jerk, and he died.

If that's all you got from Watchman, then I've got say you've missed the entire point. One of the big themes of the book was that there are no Supermen. Nobody in Watchmen is perfect, just like in the real world. Many of the characters have good intentions, and many of them do bad things. The only one of them who actually "saves the world," as it were, is also the biggest villain among them. Watchmen isn't a normal "superhero story," but if that's what you wanted, I can understand why you didn't like it. I, on the other hand, thought it was a brilliant masterpiece, and there are plenty of others who agree with me.

Talya
2008-10-08, 10:31 PM
One of the big themes of the book was that there are no Supermen. Nobody in Watchmen is perfect, just like in the real world.

Nobody should be perfect. But nobody in watchmen is worthy of the air they breathe (or in Dr. Manhattan's case, the atomic particles he contains). They're all utter villains. In real life, there really are heroes. I feel that Watchmen presents a dark, cynical view of the world that is the antithesis of what a superhero story is supposed to create: Superheroes are supposed to be magnifications of everything good about humans, supervillains are supposed to be magnifications of everything bad. In Watchmen, Moore twisted that to present a morally deficient setting without redeeming qualities. If humanity really was that bad, Ozy did the wrong thing in saving them--shoulda let them die, they'd have deserved it as much as he does.


Many of the characters have good intentions, and many of them do bad things.

That's fine once in a while, perhaps for the main character in a shakespearian tragedy, but as a pervasive theme applied to everyone, it sucks.

Moore seems to have a very cynical "There's no such thing as good-guys" view of the world. V for Vendetta has the same general feel to it. Not only do I not believe that, but I find it completely unpaleatteable in entertainment or anywhere else.

Fawkes
2008-10-08, 10:41 PM
Nobody should be perfect. But nobody in watchmen is worthy of the air they breathe (or in Dr. Manhattan's case, the atomic particles he contains). They're all utter villains.

None of them are *utter* villains. They all want to do good in the world (except maybe the Comedian). They're misguided, and Ozymandias in particular has a terrible way of going about it, but they're all *trying* to be heroes.


I feel that Watchmen presents a dark, cynical view of the world that is the antithesis of what a superhero story is supposed to create: Superheroes are supposed to be magnifications of everything good about humans, supervillains are supposed to be magnifications of everything bad.

That's the usual way of things, yes. But there's no rule that said all graphic novels had to have black-and-white morality. Hell, Batman and just about every Marvel character have bad sides. Moore specifically sought to create as many shades of grey as he could, which is what makes the story interesting to me. Almost no two people can agree on exactly what the characters should have done.


In Watchmen, Moore twisted that to present a morally deficient setting without redeeming qualities. If humanity really was that bad, Ozy did the wrong thing in saving them--shoulda let them die, they'd have deserved it as much as he does.

Okay, now who's being cynical?


That's fine once in a while, perhaps for the main character in a shakespearian tragedy, but as a pervasive theme applied to everyone, it sucks.

You must not like a lot of fiction. People doing bad things for the wrong reasons is a fairly common literary element. There's a reason for that, though. It's straight out of real life.

Terrible things have happened in the real world. Why? I posit to you that not all people who do bad things are bad people, but that it is possible for someone to do something bad in an attempt to do something good. For example, Rorschach, Ozymandias, or Harry S Truman.

TigerHunter
2008-10-08, 10:43 PM
I feel that Watchmen presents a dark, cynical view of the world that is the antithesis of what a superhero story is supposed to create: Superheroes are supposed to be magnifications of everything good about humans, supervillains are supposed to be magnifications of everything bad. In Watchmen, Moore twisted that to present a morally deficient setting without redeeming qualities.
That's the entire point of what Moore was trying to do. A realistic portrayal of what a world with superheroes would look like. Though as Mechafox said, if you were looking for just another "bad guys do bad stuff, good guys beat the crap out of bad guys" story, Watchmen is definitely not for you.


If humanity really was that bad, Ozy did the wrong thing in saving them--shoulda let them die, they'd have deserved it as much as he does.
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=93178
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_Prison_Experiment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect
http://failblog.org/?s=geography
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dresden_firebombing
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Shepard


I can go on, if you'd like.

Fawkes
2008-10-08, 10:48 PM
Don't forget Hiroshima.

Talya
2008-10-08, 10:48 PM
Parts of humanity are that bad. That's why supervillains aren't any more overthetop than superheroes...they're just magnifications of other human qualities.

My point is, by the end of Watchman, every single person involved is shown to be utterly wicked, except for the worst of them, Rorschach. He's the nastiest, meanest, ugliest, least heroic, least likeable, and finally, least villainous. The heinous villain who should have been strung up long ago is the only one who ends up with the moral fortitude to stand up against what was a terrible attrocity.

There were no paladins here. There wasn't even a hero of Batman's integrity (and people sometimes consider Batman "too dark.") Real life has those heroes...the ones for whom intentions are not enough, for whom the ends do not justify the means. People who will find another way to make things right, if the easiest way is just wrong. Watchmen was not "more realistic," because those gems that make humanity worth saving were removed from it.

TigerHunter
2008-10-08, 10:51 PM
Don't forget Hiroshima.
That's morally ambiguous if anything, something discussed in the book.

Fawkes
2008-10-08, 10:55 PM
My point is, by the end of Watchman, every single person involved is shown to be utterly wicked, except for the worst of them, Rorschach.

I have to disagree with your perceptions of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre. If there was anything they could have done to stop Ozymandias, they would have. But as it was, what would have been the point? They arrived to late to fix anything. If they killed Ozymandias, then everyone would still be dead. As it stood, the survivors had more to gain from him alive than dead.


He's the ugliest, least heroic, least likeable, and finally, least villainous. The heinous villain who should have been strung up long ago is the only one who ends up with the moral fortitude to stand up against what was a terrible atrocity.

Rorschach saw the world with black and white morality. To him, everyone is either a good guy or a bad guy. In the end, he realizes the flaw in his worldview, and it breaks him.

As for everyone in the world being evil, I present to you Rorschach's therapist. A perfect example of a good samaritan.

TigerHunter
2008-10-08, 10:59 PM
Watchmen was not "more realistic," because those gems that make humanity worth saving were removed from it.
If humanity is worth saving, then why does evil still exist? Where are the massive programs of good will and benevolence to balance out horrendous acts like the Holocaust? Why do we fight the same wars over the same things, long after the people who started them are dead? Why does our brain reward us for being close-minded jerks? (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11009379)

There are no heroes. Just people who are too scared to be villains.

Fawkes
2008-10-08, 11:03 PM
I must now make it my personal project to crush your optimism.

If humanity is worth saving, then why does evil still exist? Where are the massive programs of good will and benevolence to balance out horrendous acts like the Holocaust? Why do we fight the same wars over the same things, long after the people who started them are dead? Why does our brain reward us for being close-minded jerks? (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11009379)

There are no heroes. Just people who are too scared to be villains.

Okay, whoa, time out. Be careful, Tiger. You're getting a little too extreme here.

kpenguin
2008-10-08, 11:06 PM
The heinous villain who should have been strung up long ago is the only one who ends up with the moral fortitude to stand up against what was a terrible attrocity.

Woah, woah, woah.

You think that trying to put the end of the world back on track is a heroic act?

I don't. I think that if Superman and Batman and Spider-man were put in the positions that Rorschach and co were in, then they would have chosen Nite Owl's path.

I hope they would. I know I would. I know most of the people I know would.

TigerHunter
2008-10-08, 11:07 PM
Okay, whoa, time out. Be careful, Tiger. You're getting a little too extreme here.
My cynicism is sometimes appalling even to me, yes. I'll try.

Fawkes
2008-10-08, 11:09 PM
My cynicism is sometimes appalling even to me, yes. I'll try.

Don't hurt the optimist. The world will probably break her on its own eventually. And if it doesn't, good. We're all better off with more optimists around.

kpenguin
2008-10-08, 11:32 PM
Question to fellow posters:

If you were in the same position that Dan Laurie, Manhattan, and Rorschach were at the end of Watchmen, would you choose to go with Rorchach and tell or would you go with the rest and keep quiet?

I would keep quiet.

Why? In addition my slightly utilitarian leanings, I also believe in the doctrine of double effect... or at least my version of it.

The doctrine of double effect, at least my version of it, holds that an action is justified even if it has foreseen negative consequences if the following (loose) conditions:

1) The act itself must be good or neutral
2) The purpose for the act must be good
3) A postive consequence must occur that outweighs the negative consequence
4) The positive consequence may not occur as a result of the negative consequence

Now, does staying quiet satisfy these conditions?

1) Staying silent is neutral. Lying, even by omission, is neither inherently good nor evil
2) Maintaining world peace? Definitely good.
3) Positive consequence: Keeping the world from blowing itself up. Negative consequence: Letting Ozy go unpunished. I think that the positive outweighs the negative, though some might disagree.
4) Both Ozy going unpunished and the maintainment of world peace are results of staying silent, not of each other.

So, Nite Owl is right, Rorchach is wrong.

Now, does this justify Ozymandias's actions?

1) Killing millions of people? Evil.
2) Maintaining world peace? Again, good.
3) Positive consequence: Keeping the world from blowing itself up. Negative consequence: None, the killing was part of the means, not the ends.
4) The world being scared into uniting is a direct effect of the deaths of millions in New York.

Ozymandias's plan fails the first and fourth conditions. So, its morally unjustified.

At least according to me.

TigerHunter
2008-10-08, 11:44 PM
Question to fellow posters:
Keep quiet, even if you ignore the entire ethics debate. (Which I'm firmly on your side of.)

The only reason to kill Ozymandias and/or expose his plot is justice. Which is just a fancy word that people use because it's more socially acceptable than 'revenge'.

Pros to killing/outing Ozy: Justice.

Cons to killing/outing Ozy: Set the world back on course for WWIII, resulting in millions of more deaths.

Fawkes
2008-10-08, 11:48 PM
I would have wanted to kill him, but I probably would have ended up staying quiet. It would be a difficult decision, and I'm not sure if I would have enough control over my emotions to be able to do the right thing.

Nevrmore
2008-10-09, 01:08 AM
I feel that Watchmen presents a dark, cynical view of the world that is the antithesis of what a superhero story is supposed to create: Superheroes are supposed to be magnifications of everything good about humans, supervillains are supposed to be magnifications of everything bad. In Watchmen, Moore twisted that to present a morally deficient setting without redeeming qualities..
So...You dislike Watchmen because Moore wrote the characters to be more complex than "These guys are always good and these guys are always bad"?

Is character development like acid to your skin or something?

kpenguin
2008-10-09, 01:16 AM
So...You dislike Watchmen because Moore wrote the characters to be more complex than "These guys are always good and these guys are always bad"?

Is character development like acid to your skin or something?

I thin what Talya is trying to say is that Watchmen fails as a traditional superhero story.

Nevrmore
2008-10-09, 01:21 AM
I thin what Talya is trying to say is that Watchmen fails as a traditional superhero story.
It can't fail at something it never attempted to or purported to be in the first place. That's like saying that you don't like a certain baseball player because he fails at rugby.

The Rose Dragon
2008-10-09, 01:24 AM
I thin what Talya is trying to say is that Watchmen fails as a traditional superhero story.

Isn't that really a big "Well, duh" moment?

kpenguin
2008-10-09, 01:26 AM
It can't fail at something it never attempted to or purported to be in the first place. That's like saying that you don't like a certain baseball player because he fails at rugby.

Which is what everyone else is trying to say.


Isn't that really a big "Well, duh" moment?

Yeah, it is.

The Rose Dragon
2008-10-09, 01:42 AM
That may be why I always thought Watchmen was supposed to be published by Vertigo and not DC, like they did for V for Vendetta. Maybe then it would be easier for people to realize that it is not a superhero story, but a story that just happens to contain a superpowered being.

And let's face it, if Watchmen wasn't intended for mature audiences, I don't know what is.

T-O-E
2008-10-09, 02:12 AM
I don't. I think that if Superman and Batman and Spider-man were put in the positions that Rorschach and co were in, then they would have chosen Nite Owl's path.

Actually, Superman would spin really fast and turn back time, then put Ozymandias in jail.

...Superman 1 writers.. :smallfrown:

kpenguin
2008-10-09, 02:40 AM
Actually, Superman would spin really fast and turn back time, then put Ozymandias in jail.

...Superman 1 writers.. :smallfrown:

If he could do that, he wouldn't be in Nite Owl's position.

Talya
2008-10-09, 06:47 AM
Woah, woah, woah.

You think that trying to put the end of the world back on track is a heroic act?

I don't. I think that if Superman and Batman and Spider-man were put in the positions that Rorschach and co were in, then they would have chosen Nite Owl's path.

I hope they would. I know I would. I know most of the people I know would.

There is always another way.


I thin what Talya is trying to say is that Watchmen fails as a traditional superhero story

Not just that. It fails as a human story. For a story that appears an attempt to be more realistic and more philosophical and deep than a tratitional comic, the moral lesson it contains is unconscionable. Welcome to Utilitarian Ethics 101.

Nevrmore
2008-10-09, 07:38 AM
Not just that. It fails as a human story. For a story that appears an attempt to be more realistic and more philosophical and deep than a tratitional comic, the moral lesson it contains is unconscionable. Welcome to Utilitarian Ethics 101.
I think the important thing here is for you to tell us what you believe the moral of the story was.

Aquillion
2008-10-09, 07:59 AM
My point is, by the end of Watchman, every single person involved is shown to be utterly wicked, except for the worst of them, Rorschach. He's the nastiest, meanest, ugliest, least heroic, least likeable, and finally, least villainous. The heinous villain who should have been strung up long ago is the only one who ends up with the moral fortitude to stand up against what was a terrible attrocity.Honestly, if you feel that way about Rorschach (and honestly admired him for his 'moral fortitude' rather than just because he was ZOMG COOL like most of his misaimed fandom (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MisaimedFandom)), then it's not surprising that you hate Watchmen. Moore wrote it as basically a gigantic SCREW YOU to you and your entire system of ethics.

Talya
2008-10-09, 08:03 AM
I think the important thing here is for you to tell us what you believe the moral of the story was.

The moral of Watchmen? That truth, justice, and good are not always the best way; that people should do whatever it takes, the ends always justify the means.


Honestly, if you feel that way about Rorschach (and honestly admired him for his 'moral fortitude' rather than just because he was ZOMG COOL like most of his misaimed fandom (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MisaimedFandom)), then it's not surprising that you hate Watchmen. Moore wrote it as basically a gigantic SCREW YOU to you and your entire system of ethics.


The only point that I "admired" Rorschach (who's a complete jerk, otherwise) is when he could not bring himself to stand by and let Ozymandias' inexcusable attrocity go unrevealed and unjudged. But yes, I do get the impression (from more books than just this) that Moore has utter disdain for the entire concept of Good vs. Evil.

Winterwind
2008-10-09, 08:21 AM
Not sure if this is still necessary in this thread, but for good measure: Warning, post contains massive spoilers.



The human element you demand is very much present in Watchmen though, Talya. That's why so much time is spent at that newspaper stand, where we get to know the newspaper salesman and the comic-reading boy, who come closer to each other and embrace protectively when the disaster strikes. That's why there is the character of Dr. Malcolm, who, when faced with the decision between personal happiness and helping strangers, decides for the latter.
And even the main characters are not quite as villainous as you present them. Nite Owl came to the Ozymandias' keep to stop him and his schemes, even though he feared for his life in the face of such an opponent - not for wealth, fame, but because it had to be done. Does it really make him a villain that, in the end, he decides not to doom mankind?


The moral of Watchmen? That truth, justice, and good are not always the best way; that people should do whatever it takes, the ends always justify the means.While it makes sense for you to dislike Watchmen, then, I don't think you are right with your assessment. Watchmen does not state that - in the end, Dr. Manhattan refuses to relieve Ozymandias from his guilt, and ominously proclaims that nothing ever ends. And Rorschach's journal may well be printed... read... believed, perhaps?
Rather, I believe Watchmen quite specifically refuses to give us the answer. It presents us with a situation, gruesome as it is, and leaves us alone then, to make up our own mind. As the above discussion demonstrates quite well, not everyone agrees that Rorschach was in the right and Nite Owl in the wrong - the story addresses yourself and asks you to think about it, to be the judge of these characters. And it is not quite as easy as you present it, because, well, so what would that alternative you speak of be? If they reveal Ozymandias' plan, they doom the world; they know they are incapable of besting him in combat. So, what other options remain? What would you have done in their place? Such is the result that Watchmen presents us with - not a moral, an answer, but a question.

Jahkaivah
2008-10-09, 08:37 AM
The only point that I "admired" Rorschach (who's a complete jerk, otherwise) is when he could not bring himself to stand by and let Ozymandias' inexcusable attrocity go unrevealed and unjudged..

I don't know, I'd say killing millions to save billions is a fairly good excuse.

Talya
2008-10-09, 08:38 AM
I don't know, I'd say killing millions to save billions is a fairly good excuse.

As stated above, there's always another way.

WalkingTarget
2008-10-09, 08:38 AM
That may be why I always thought Watchmen was supposed to be published by Vertigo and not DC, like they did for V for Vendetta. Maybe then it would be easier for people to realize that it is not a superhero story, but a story that just happens to contain a superpowered being.

And let's face it, if Watchmen wasn't intended for mature audiences, I don't know what is.

Well, the problem with that is that Vertigo didn't launch until 1993 (for several reasons, but Gaiman's Sandman and Moore's run on Swamp Thing were part of it) while Watchmen was from 1986-87.

V for Vendetta ran in fits and starts from 1982-88 and even then was originally published in the British anthology publication Warrior before finally ending up with DC (who runs Vertigo anyway).

Talya
2008-10-09, 08:54 AM
While it makes sense for you to dislike Watchmen, then, I don't think you are right with your assessment. Watchmen does not state that - in the end, Dr. Manhattan refuses to relieve Ozymandias from his guilt, and ominously proclaims that nothing ever ends. And Rorschach's journal may well be printed... read... believed, perhaps?
Rather, I believe Watchmen quite specifically refuses to give us the answer. It presents us with a situation, gruesome as it is, and leaves us alone then, to make up our own mind. As the above discussion demonstrates quite well, not everyone agrees that Rorschach was in the right and Nite Owl in the wrong - the story addresses yourself and asks you to think about it, to be the judge of these characters. And it is not quite as easy as you present it, because, well, so what would that alternative you speak of be? If they reveal Ozymandias' plan, they doom the world; they know they are incapable of besting him in combat. So, what other options remain? What would you have done in their place? Such is the result that Watchmen presents us with - not a moral, an answer, but a question.


See, I don't see that there's a question there. In reality, the answer is obvious. Find another way, murdering millions as an act of terrorism to change the attitude of the world is just wrong. In the book, however, it's presented as the only way, and it is "successful," while the only one to stand against it has been framed throughout as an bigoted extremist, and ends up vaporized.

The Rose Dragon
2008-10-09, 09:21 AM
Well, the problem with that is that Vertigo didn't launch until 1993 (for several reasons, but Gaiman's Sandman and Moore's run on Swamp Thing were part of it) while Watchmen was from 1986-87.

V for Vendetta ran in fits and starts from 1982-88 and even then was originally published in the British anthology publication Warrior before finally ending up with DC (who runs Vertigo anyway).

Your facts have no effect on my opinion. :smalltongue:

After all, how much trouble would it be to publish the new prints under Vertigo imprint?

WalkingTarget
2008-10-09, 09:34 AM
Your facts have no effect on my opinion. :smalltongue:

After all, how much trouble would it be to publish the new prints under Vertigo imprint?

Ah, I see your point then (that it should be included under Vertigo now, not that it should have been at the time).

I don't know all of the details or how it applies to changing the imprint, but the copyright for Watchmen is held by DC, but reverts to Moore if/when it goes out of print. I don't know if switching to the Vertigo imprint and ceasing prints under the DC name would qualify for that case.

Aquillion
2008-10-09, 09:39 AM
See, I don't see that there's a question there. In reality, the answer is obvious. Find another way, murdering millions as an act of terrorism to change the attitude of the world is just wrong. In the book, however, it's presented as the only way, and it is "successful," while the only one to stand against it has been framed throughout as an bigoted extremist, and ends up vaporized.Honestly, I think you're misinterpreting that part of the ending.
You're not supposed to agree with Ozymandias. If nothing else, his name should clue you in to what's up there. His last appearance is him suddenly revealing his doubts by asking Doctor Manhattan -- the closest thing the setting has to God -- to assure him that he did the right thing, and Doctor Manhattan refusing to do so.

The general themes of Ozymandias' character are that:

1. He was more concerned with his own ego and his desire to leave a 'mark' on the world than with actually doing anything good; and

2. In the end, he failed (see Doctor Manhattan's final "nothing ever ends" quote in response to Ozymandias' asking him if he'd done the right thing "in the end".) The final few pages are supposed to drive this home, but they aren't as important.

The key is to pay attention to the part where Ozymandias is talking about how he'd take a step back and look at the "bigger picture", with the final implication that he'd gained an ultimate view of everything that entitled him to make the decision he did at the end. The final scene with Doctor Manhattan -- who really does see the "big picture" -- is Doctor Manhattan telling him that he's wrong.

A much simpler way of looking at it: Ozymandias set his plans in motion by removing Doctor Manhattan, and justified this by arguing that the peace Doctor Manhattan enforced was unstable because Doctor Manhattan himself was unstable. But in the end, it is made obvious, I think, that the peace Ozymandias has replaced it with is even less stable -- it's hard to argue that the world is better off at the end of the comics than it was at the beginning, and this is pretty clearly Ozymandias' fault. No, the comic doesn't go out of its way to make this glaringly obvious, but I think you're supposed to pick up on it.

As far as the failure of the characters to 'punish' Ozymandias for it... the point of the ending is meant to be that all of their philosophies failed in some fashion. (The fact that Rorschach fails is more subtle than the others, but pay attention to his interaction with Doctor Manhattan at the end. He wants to die. His decision to confront Ozymandias directly regardless of the consequences for anyone else is not something he can live with; his most admirable quality, in my option, is that in the end he applies the rigid moral judgment he applies to everyone else to himself as well.)

But from, say, Nite Owl's perspective, he never accepts Ozymandias' argument that what he did was right or justified; he merely feels that it isn't worth risking large numbers of lives solely to try and bring Ozymandias to justice. His inability to confront what Ozymandias did is shown as the failing of his own philosophy; Nite Owl, remember, basically retired once already because he realized that things were getting bigger than him. The point of the character is that his philosophy is ultimately paralyzing; he accomplishes minor things, but because he's unwilling to hurt anyone, he always freezes up in the clutch.

In general, none of the characters in Watchmen are supposed to come off well. Moore's point was to show the failings of the major philosophies of the 20th century.

Now, is there another way? Sure, you can always play Captain Kirk and Take A Third Option (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TakeAThirdOption). But that copout when writing about moral debates; while the setup in Watchmen isn't "real" and does present false dilemmas to illustrate its points, in the real world, we do have to make decisions based on incomplete information, with limited options, and with limited resources. "I always take the optimal choice!" is not a moral philosophy; a moral philosophy is what you use to decide what you do when you can't take the optimal choice.

Asking why Nite Owl didn't just pull his magic Green Rocks from his utility belt and use them to make Ozymandias face justice without having to risk anything is missing the point entirely.

kpenguin
2008-10-09, 09:55 AM
Talya: you keep talking about "another way"

What, pray tell, is this third way?

Talya
2008-10-09, 09:59 AM
Talya: you keep talking about "another way"

What, pray tell, is this third way?

I'm not the writer. It's up to the writer to present the other way. Moore's failure to do so appears to paint the utilitarian ethics of Ozymandius as right. While Aquillon may be right in Moore's intentions (I don't know), look how many people here in this thread (like yourself, for instance), seem to view it as "okay" because he "saved the world?" There's always another way. The mythical jack bauer "torture someone as the only way to save a city" scenario does not exist.

Aquillion
2008-10-09, 10:14 AM
Talya: you keep talking about "another way"

What, pray tell, is this third way?Er... wait, let's back up a moment. If you're talking about an alternative to Ozymandias' way, I think there's a pretty clear "third option" right there in the comics.

Do nothing? You know, let Doctor Manhattan keep the world's peace?

I said this earlier, but the main thing people have to understand about Ozymandias is exemplified in one of the little asides he gives in his big final speech -- he says that sure, there's going to be other issues after his big plan, but he's taking the opportunity to put his big company in control of everything, and then he's going to take care of the details.

In short, Ozymandias' big plan isn't to save the world; it's to substitute himself for Doctor Manhattan. Whether this is an improvement or not is a matter of taste, but I think it's hard to argue that it was an improvement worth killing that many innocent people.

And as I said above, Ozymandias' main argument in favor of his actions -- that Doctor Manhattan was unstable -- fails as soon as you look at the end of the comic. There is no way you can seriously argue that the world's position at the end of the story is more stable than it was at the beginning. None. And this isn't about the specific example in the last few pages; the point is, nothing we've been shown would indicate that Ozymandias' peace is really all that enduring.

He was smart enough to recognize this. However he justified it to himself, Ozymandias wasn't acting because he thought Doctor Manhattan was unstable (he made Doctor Manhattan unstable) -- he was acting because he couldn't stand the thought of anyone smarter than him, stronger than him, the idea of anyone saving the world before he could. He plotted to usurp Doctor Manhattan for the same reason he killed the Comedian so brutally; envy, plain and simple.

Ozymandias is superficially based on Thunderbolt, sure, but that's just because they can't show who he really is at the beginning without giving the game away. If you look more closely, it's much more obvious who Ozymandias really is; his character is in many ways a near-perfect Expy for Lex Luthor, right down to the Kryptonite traps at the end.

Calinero
2008-10-09, 10:19 AM
I'm not the writer. It's up to the writer to present the other way. Moore's failure to do so appears to paint the utilitarian ethics of Ozymandius as right. While Aquillon may be right in Moore's intentions (I don't know), look how many people here in this thread (like yourself, for instance), seem to view it as "okay" because he "saved the world?" There's always another way. The mythical jack bauer "torture someone as the only way to save a city" scenario does not exist.

The scenario does exist, actually, though it is more rare than television would have us believe. True, there often is 'another way,' but it can't always be found. I mean, look at us. We have the 20/20 vision of hindsight. We've had years of thinking about the novel. Yet, we still don't know what other option might have been taken to avoid nuclear war. Now, the characters had only hours to come up with a decision. Maybe minutes. And they knew far less about the situation than we as readers do. Sure, there may have been some other option--but they aren't all monsters for being unable to find it.

Now, let's ignore the idea that Ozymandius might have been partially justified, and assume that he is a horrible monster. Fine, fair enough. But that doesn't mean every single other character is a 'villain.' By the time they were able to learn of the plot, it was too late to do anything to stop him. At worst, they are incompetent, not evil. What should they have done after discovering his crime? To reveal him would have been to recklessly put millions in danger of another nuclear war. There was absolutely nothing to be gained from revealing him. You can go on about how that is an example of 'utilitarian ethics,' but would you honestly kill thousands just so one man could be arrested?

While Watchmen has a much more bleak outlook than the average comic, which might make it appear more cynical by comparison, it does have characters who are essentially good people. Rorschach's psychiatrist. Some of the police officers. Night Owl and Silk Spectre. Dr. Manhattan's monologue on the value of human life as a 'miracle.' Heck, even Rorschach is well intentioned. There are many, many more moral shades of gray in Watchmen than is normal--but not everyone is a monster.

Jahkaivah
2008-10-09, 11:13 AM
Honestly, I think you're misinterpreting that part of the ending.
[spoiler]You're not supposed to agree with Ozymandias. If nothing else, his name should clue you in to what's up there. His last appearance is him suddenly revealing his doubts by asking Doctor Manhattan -- the closest thing the setting has to God -- to assure him that he did the right thing, and Doctor Manhattan refusing to do so.

The general themes of Ozymandias' character are that:

1. He was more concerned with his own ego and his desire to leave a 'mark' on the world than with actually doing anything good; and

2. In the end, he failed (see Doctor Manhattan's final "nothing ever ends" quote in response to Ozymandias' asking him if he'd done the right thing "in the end".) The final few pages are supposed to drive this home, but they aren't as important.


The key is to pay attention to the part where Ozymandias is talking about how he'd take a step back and look at the "bigger picture", with the final implication that he'd gained an ultimate view of everything that entitled him to make the decision he did at the end. The final scene with Doctor Manhattan -- who really does see the "big picture" -- is Doctor Manhattan telling him that he's wrong.

Like alot of thingsi n the book, that quote is intentionally ambigious, my take on it is that, while Dr Manhattan implied that Veidt only delayed the inevitable (the inevitable being the tension not neccisarily the war), he's delayed it nonetheless


A much simpler way of looking at it: Ozymandias set his plans in motion by removing Doctor Manhattan, and justified this by arguing that the peace Doctor Manhattan enforced was unstable because Doctor Manhattan himself was unstable. But in the end, it is made obvious, I think, that the peace Ozymandias has replaced it with is even less stable -- it's hard to argue that the world is better off at the end of the comics than it was at the beginning, and this is pretty clearly Ozymandias' fault. No, the comic doesn't go out of its way to make this glaringly obvious, but I think you're supposed to pick up on it.

Its heavily suggested it is a better future. The end of the comic is shown to be relitively bright colour wise to the begining, theres a newspaper that says that Ronald Reagan may replace Nixon as president, the problem at the begining of the comic: the tension between Russia and America has been completely dissolved, and theres posters that stronly support unity.

Also important is that Dr Manhattan was not neccissary a permanant solution (supported by his words: Nothing Ever Ends), as you already said, he was unstable, he also has limitations. While there are theories that he lied about this to keep the opposition safe, its worth pointing out he is only able to prevent half of the nuclear missiles comming towards america, let alone any of the ones heading towards the opposition.

The situation was still getting worse, even with Dr Manhattan doing his duties. The newspaper in the first chapter suggested that the Doomsday clock was still ticking towards 12, the Comedian's speech when critcising the crimebusters, Rorschach's journel entry when he explains why he cares about stopping whoever killed the comedian all support the idea that even Dr Manhatten could not prevent World War 3.



As far as the failure of the characters to 'punish' Ozymandias for it... the point of the ending is meant to be that all of their philosophies failed in some fashion. (The fact that Rorschach fails is more subtle than the others, but pay attention to his interaction with Doctor Manhattan at the end. He wants to die. His decision to confront Ozymandias directly regardless of the consequences for anyone else is not something he can live with; his most admirable quality, in my option, is that in the end he applies the rigid moral judgment he applies to everyone else to himself as well.)

Heh, I would say Rorschach's was the least subtle, but that hardly matters.



But from, say, Nite Owl's perspective, he never accepts Ozymandias' argument that what he did was right or justified; he merely feels that it isn't worth risking large numbers of lives solely to try and bring Ozymandias to justice. His inability to confront what Ozymandias did is shown as the failing of his own philosophy; Nite Owl, remember, basically retired once already because he realized that things were getting bigger than him. The point of the character is that his philosophy is ultimately paralyzing; he accomplishes minor things, but because he's unwilling to hurt anyone, he always freezes up in the clutch.


I agree, the fact that Ozymandia had already won was problably the most important aspect of their decision, the most important decision in the comic.

Winterwind
2008-10-09, 11:23 AM
While Aquillon may be right in Moore's intentions (I don't know), look how many people here in this thread (like yourself, for instance), seem to view it as "okay" because he "saved the world?" While Aquillon's presentation of Moore's supposed intentions is exactly what I was trying to hint at before, yeah, sure, there are people who conclude that Ozymandias was right.
However, I am not sure how this is supposed to be a bad thing.
Rather, I consider it a testament to Watchmen's genius for presenting a situation where different people arrive at so diametrally opposed moral conclusions. A story which everyone evaluates the same way is, obviously, just telling something that everybody already knew. A story which divides people's moral judgement, on the other hand, is far more inspiring.

Jahkaivah
2008-10-09, 11:33 AM
I'm not the writer. It's up to the writer to present the other way. Moore's failure to do so appears to paint the utilitarian ethics of Ozymandius as right. While Aquillon may be right in Moore's intentions (I don't know), look how many people here in this thread (like yourself, for instance), seem to view it as "okay" because he "saved the world?" There's always another way. The mythical jack bauer "torture someone as the only way to save a city" scenario does not exist.

2 other way as I see it, neither would work:

-Disarm: Go to each sides nuclear silos and disarm them, create peace through force.

Problem: We already know Dr Manhattan has limitations, he can only disarm half of the missiles during nuclear war, and thats the ones heading towards america, attempting to disarm is more than likely to spark the very war you try to prevent.

-Diplomacy: Not an un-presented solution, the newspaper vendor suggests it "the problem is we don't communicate".

Problem: Diplomacy was already attempted, didn't work.

WalkingTarget
2008-10-09, 11:40 AM
-Disarm: Go to each sides nuclear silos and disarm them, create peace through force.


MarvelMan/MiracleMan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvelman). Find a copy. Read it.

Nevrmore
2008-10-09, 08:08 PM
The moral of Watchmen? That truth, justice, and good are not always the best way; that people should do whatever it takes, the ends always justify the means.
Your problem is that you're taking everything at face value. Just because (most) of the main characters eventually decide that Ozymandias had the right idea doesn't mean that's what the story is trying to make you think. Nite Owl is meek and persuadable, Silk Spectre is pessimistic and cynical, and Manhatten is too detached to really even understand the magnitude of murdering 3 million people. Given the fact that their opponent is Ozymandias, who they've known and trusted as the smartest man in the world, they eventually decide that he was probably right. That doesn't mean the story decided that he was, it was the flaws in the characters that clinched it. Ultimately the entire point of the story is for you to decide if Ozymandias was right or not, and obviously you don't think so, but to dislike the entire book for the fact that you didn't like the choice that the characters settled on is a little ridiculous.

CTrombley
2008-10-09, 08:50 PM
It's a nice little book.

Movie doesn't look to good though.

BRC
2008-10-09, 09:26 PM
Watchmen raises a pair of intresting questions.
1) Was Ozymandius Right, Did the ends justify the means?

And
2) Were Dan, Laurie, and Manhatten doing the right thing in keeping silent. Is it right to hide a truth because of what will happen if it gets out, or should the truth be told regardless of the effects.
Watchmen dosn't answer either of these questions, it merely asks them. That is what makes it stand out, not just as a graphic novel, but as a work of fiction. Good literature tells you things. Great literature tells you just enough to show you how little you really know.

TigerHunter
2008-10-09, 10:49 PM
Watchmen raises a pair of intresting questions.
1) Was Ozymandius Right, Did the ends justify the means?

And
2) Were Dan, Laurie, and Manhatten doing the right thing in keeping silent. Is it right to hide a truth because of what will happen if it gets out, or should the truth be told regardless of the effects.
Those are both the same question in two different forms.

Calinero
2008-10-09, 10:59 PM
Those are both the same question in two different forms.

Not necessarily. It could have been the right thing for Ozymandias to do, but still have been right for the others to turn him in.

kpenguin
2008-10-09, 11:01 PM
I'm not the writer. It's up to the writer to present the other way. Moore's failure to do so appears to paint the utilitarian ethics of Ozymandius as right. While Aquillon may be right in Moore's intentions (I don't know), look how many people here in this thread (like yourself, for instance), seem to view it as "okay" because he "saved the world?" There's always another way. The mythical jack bauer "torture someone as the only way to save a city" scenario does not exist.

Um, I specifically said that Ozymandias's actions were morally unjustified, by way of Doctrine of Double Effect. There are other reasons why I find his act atrocious, but that was a straighforward formula, so I went with that.

I can accept Ozymandias being a percieved as a monster for his plan. What I disagree with, however, is the idea that Dan, Laurie, and Jon are "utter villains" because they decide not to out Ozy.

I was asking for a "third way" in their situation.


Those are both the same question in two different forms.

Actually, I find it very different. Do I need to repeat myself with what I've already posted on why Dan's action is justified, but Ozy's is not?

TigerHunter
2008-10-09, 11:09 PM
What I meant was, they're both just different examples of the "Do the ends justify the means?" debate. They may have different answers, but they're in essence the same question.

kpenguin
2008-10-09, 11:29 PM
What I meant was, they're both just different examples of the "Do the ends justify the means?" debate. They may have different answers, but they're in essence the same question.

Right, but my argument was that while the first question is definitely "ends justify the means", the second is one of double effect.

Essentially, we have one "means" (keeping your mouth shut) causing two ends (Ozy getting away with mass murder and keeping the world from blowing itself up)

Warren Dew
2008-10-09, 11:40 PM
Question to fellow posters:

If you were in the same position that Dan Laurie, Manhattan, and Rorschach were at the end of Watchmen, would you choose to go with Rorchach and tell or would you go with the rest and keep quiet?

Whether or not Ozymandias is correct about his being the only solution, by that time his solution has already been implemented. In my opinion, turning back the clock and trying a different solution by exposing him is not a good option at that point; it may undo any good that he has done, yet will not bring back the dead.

However, allowing his solution to stand does not mean one must acquiesce in his future plans. Ozymandias uses the past tense when he says "I did it" - the problem is solved, with Earth united against an external threat. While Dr. Manhattan's argument is likely correct that exposing Ozymandias can only have an evil outcome, that only answers the "will you expose me" part of Ozymandias' question. Neither Dr. Manhattan nor anyone else addresses the other part of the question; no good reason is presented not to answer the "kill me" part in the affirmative.

So, while perhaps I wouldn't do it if I were one of them, since they were all friends, I think the correct solution is to allow Rorschach to kill Ozymandias, or to manipulate Dr. Manhattan into killing him.

How can this be justified? Easily: there is no question that Ozymandias has just murdered a few million people, clearly an evil act.

What of the argument that it was a means to an end - that without that act, the entire world would have been destroyed?

First, it's not clear that there would have been a problem had Ozymandias not interfered.

However, even if we concede that the world would have been destroyed, that does not necessarily excuse Ozymandias. Using an evil means to a good end does not make the means itself any less evil. In this view, Ozymandias is responsible for two things: saving the world, and destroying New York. Justice demands that he be held to account for the latter - even if one believes that he should also be rewarded for the former.

Nor do I think an "ends justifies the means" position can counter this position, for "ends justify the means" is fundamentally a pragmatic argument, and must admit to pragmatic rebuttal. The pragmatic rebuttal is this: only a few people truly do evil deeds for the greater good; however, many misuse this justification to do evil deeds selfishly. Punishing the evil means prevents the latter, for those doing evil deeds selfishly will not be able to benefit from those deeds. It will likely not deter all of the former, however, for people who truly have the greater good at heart are willing to sacrifice themselves as well as others. Thus, punishing evil means, irrespective of the ends they serve, prevents more evil than it causes, and is thus from a pragmatic standpoint good. To put it another way, if one is to accept evil deeds done to a good end, punishing evil deeds done to a good end is itself an evil deed to a good end, and thus acceptable.

I also think that, while the ending seems bright, it is not perfect. On the last page, for example, it's suggested that freedom of speech has been curtailed to the point that a newspaper cannot run an unapproved editorial. There is a price to be paid for Ozymandias' brave new world, and the price may be too high; preventing his accession may be good in itself.


"I always take the optimal choice!" is not a moral philosophy; a moral philosophy is what you use to decide what you do when you can't take the optimal choice.

Watchmen is presented as supremely realistic; if there is a reasonable third choice, it is reasonable to consider it.

We have three possibilities when judging Ozymandias' solution:

- The world would have ended in a nuclear holocaust but for Ozymandias' solution.

- But for Ozymandias' solution, the crisis would have come on schedule - ten years later, according to Ozymandias' charts - but have been solved some other way.

- By removing Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias' solution precipitated a crisis that would otherwise not have occurred at all.

You later argue that the third possibility is the case, as is hinted at by the pirate story, if that story is a parallel for Ozymandias and not for Rorschach.

I think the first or second is more likely the case; I find it hard to discount entirely Ozymandias' charts showing a coming crisis a decade in the future. However, that still leaves the possibility that someone other than Ozymandias might solve the problem in another way. At the same time Watchmen was published showing the fictional President failing to solve the long term problem, the nonfictional Soviet Union was already visibly on its way toward being dissolved. The mention of a "cowboy actor" - albeit Redford rather than Reagan - as a possible replacement for Nixon in the book might hint that this is a possibility in this fictional world as well. This of course leaves open the moral value of Ozymandias refraining from solving the problem on the hopes that someone else will solve it instead.


The moral of Watchmen? That truth, justice, and good are not always the best way; that people should do whatever it takes, the ends always justify the means.

I don't think that's accurate. The story does not end with Rorschach's death. The final frame shows Rorschach's journal high in the slush pile from which a news story is to be selected. There is a reasonable chance Rorschach will posthumously achieve his goal of exposing the truth, which may unravel Ozymandias' achievements or his subsequent rule. Posthumous success at preventing the world from being saved would parallel the pirate story at least as well as Ozymandias' story.


I do get the impression (from more books than just this) that Moore has utter disdain for the entire concept of Good vs. Evil.

I think it's at least as reasonable to suppose that the message, if any, is that each person must make their own judgements about what is good and what is evil.

kpenguin
2008-10-09, 11:54 PM
Whether or not Ozymandias is correct about his being the only solution, by that time his solution has already been implemented. In my opinion, turning back the clock and trying a different solution by exposing him is not a good option at that point; it may undo any good that he has done, yet will not bring back the dead.

However, allowing his solution to stand does not mean one must acquiesce in his future plans. Ozymandias uses the past tense when he says "I did it" - the problem is solved, with Earth united against an external threat. While Dr. Manhattan's argument is likely correct that exposing Ozymandias can only have an evil outcome, that only answers the "will you expose me" part of Ozymandias' question. Neither Dr. Manhattan nor anyone else addresses the other part of the question; no good reason is presented not to answer the "kill me" part in the affirmative.

So, while perhaps I wouldn't do it if I were one of them, since they were all friends, I think the correct solution is to allow Rorschach to kill Ozymandias, or to manipulate Dr. Manhattan into killing him.

How can this be justified? Easily: there is no question that Ozymandias has just murdered a few million people, clearly an evil act.

What of the argument that it was a means to an end - that without that act, the entire world would have been destroyed?

First, it's not clear that there would have been a problem had Ozymandias not interfered.

However, even if we concede that the world would have been destroyed, that does not necessarily excuse Ozymandias. Using an evil means to a good end does not make the means itself any less evil. In this view, Ozymandias is responsible for two things: saving the world, and destroying New York. Justice demands that he be held to account for the latter - even if one believes that he should also be rewarded for the former.

Nor do I think an "ends justifies the means" position can counter this position, for "ends justify the means" is fundamentally a pragmatic argument, and must admit to pragmatic rebuttal. The pragmatic rebuttal is this: only a few people truly do evil deeds for the greater good; however, many misuse this justification to do evil deeds selfishly. Punishing the evil means prevents the latter, for those doing evil deeds selfishly will not be able to benefit from those deeds. It will likely not deter all of the former, however, for people who truly have the greater good at heart are willing to sacrifice themselves as well as others. Thus, punishing evil means, irrespective of the ends they serve, prevents more evil than it causes, and is thus from a pragmatic standpoint good. To put it another way, if one is to accept evil deeds done to a good end, punishing evil deeds done to a good end is itself an evil deed to a good end, and thus acceptable.

I recall that Ozymandias said that if they were to kill him, the ensuing investigation would reveal his plot and thus undo what he accomplished.

Also, killing Veidt might be a bit difficult. Even ganged up, I doubt any of the human heroes could have defeated him. Manhattan is the only one who could kill Ozymandias, but he's the first one to agree with Veidt's analysis.

However, I see your point. If Manhattan were convinced that killing Veidt was the best course of action, I could see the nigh omnipotent being obliterating Karnak completely, thus removing all evidence of Ozymandias's plot. The strange incident occuring around the same time as the New York tragedy would simply lead to the world linking it to the "aliens".



I think it's at least as reasonable to suppose that the message, if any, is that each person must make their own judgements about what is good and what is evil.

Which is very similar to what Rorschach is about, right? Imposing a moral pattern upon a morally blank world?

Warren Dew
2008-10-10, 12:33 AM
Which is very similar to what Rorschach is about, right? Imposing a moral pattern upon a morally blank world?

Perhaps that's why Talya finds him least villainous, in the end: at least he imposes his moral pattern rather than abandoning it or not having one in the first place.

kpenguin
2008-10-10, 12:45 AM
Perhaps that's why Talya finds him least villainous, in the end: at least he imposes his moral pattern rather than abandoning it or not having one in the first place.

Indeed.

Personally, I think that while in the end, all of the character's moral systems had flaws, they also had their merits.

That is the part of why Watchmen resonates with me.

Nevrmore
2008-10-10, 07:55 AM
I recall that Ozymandias said that if they were to kill him, the ensuing investigation would reveal his plot and thus undo what he accomplished.
Though you'd think that the same would have happened during the investigation of Blake's murder, though the cops were...less than thorough.

Green Bean
2008-10-10, 08:30 AM
Though you'd think that the same would have happened during the investigation of Blake's murder, though the cops were...less than thorough.

Plus, there's a pretty big difference between some guy getting murdered in his apartment in the big (crime ridden) city, and a famous billionaire being killed up at his private retreat.

Nevrmore
2008-10-10, 02:14 PM
Plus, there's a pretty big difference between some guy getting murdered in his apartment in the big (crime ridden) city, and a famous billionaire being killed up at his private retreat.
True, but you would at least think that him having a picture of himself shaking hands with the Vice-President in his apartment would up the importance of his death.

BRC
2008-10-10, 02:23 PM
True, but you would at least think that him having a picture of himself shaking hands with the Vice-President in his apartment would up the importance of his death.
Yeah, but the Cops were incompetant.

Them not being able to link Adrian to the murder is somthing that dosn't sit right with me.

So, Adrian, wearing black clothing and gloves, goes to Blake's high-rise, upper-class apartment, kicks down his door, beats him up, and throws him through the window. He then leaves somehow.
First of all, how did nobody hear, Blake certainly wouldn't have been quiet, and even if he had been, kicking in the door and throwing him through the window would have made alot of noise. What would Adrian have done if somebody had seen him leaving the scene, a distinct possibility. People would remember him because of his fame, and it's not like he was wearing a mask or anything. All it would take is somebody next door being home to hear the fight to poke their head out and saw 'Holy S**T, It's Adrian Veidt covered in blood!".

What would have happened if there were cameras somewhere, Blake was a government operative, so I doubt they would have let him live someplace without at least a little security. On the other hand, Rorschach was able to sneak into their supersecret compound at rockefeller with almost no preperation, so maybe there idea of "Security" isn't so good.

Warren Dew
2008-10-11, 02:25 AM
First of all, how did nobody hear, Blake certainly wouldn't have been quiet, and even if he had been, kicking in the door and throwing him through the window would have made alot of noise. What would Adrian have done if somebody had seen him leaving the scene, a distinct possibility.

In New York in the 1980s, I'd guess that anyone hearing would have just cowered in their own apartment and hoped their locks held. Presumably Adrian was disguised going in, and my guess is that he left by the window, climbing up the wall to a waiting helicopter or something like that. Note that security cameras were not yet common in the 1980s.

Veidt's quote at the end is "kill me, risking subsequent investigation?" Personally, I think this is an empty threat. Even if Dr. Manhattan doesn't reduce the whole place to glass, it's likely to be blamed on the "alien invasion". Veidt knows the others don't really want to kill him anyway, so he's just giving them a weak excuse not to.

Faceist
2008-10-11, 06:07 AM
What would have happened if there were cameras somewhere, Blake was a government operative, so I doubt they would have let him live someplace without at least a little security. On the other hand, Rorschach was able to sneak into their supersecret compound at rockefeller with almost no preperation, so maybe there idea of "Security" isn't so good.
I always thought that was a subtle way of establishing the competence of Veidt and Rorschach, respectively. Veidt's so well-connected that he's able to murder a government operative covertly, and Rorschach's so darn sneaky that he's able to access big blues private quarters. Or you know, maybe the government didn't think either Manhattan or Blake warranted the effort, considering how strong they were meant to be. (Manhattan certainly disposed of Rorschach with little effort.)

Aquillion
2008-10-11, 08:50 AM
Your problem is that you're taking everything at face value. Just because (most) of the main characters eventually decide that Ozymandias had the right idea doesn't mean that's what the story is trying to make you think. Nite Owl is meek and persuadable, Silk Spectre is pessimistic and cynical, and Manhatten is too detached to really even understand the magnitude of murdering 3 million people.
Correction: Doctor Manhattan specifically doesn't decide that Ozymandias had the right idea (Ozymandias asks him outright, remember.) He decided to take the action that would have the highest chance of keeping the most people alive.



I think it's at least as reasonable to suppose that the message, if any, is that each person must make their own judgements about what is good and what is evil.Which is very similar to what Rorschach is about, right? Imposing a moral pattern upon a morally blank world?Gah, no! Rorschach sees himself as the exact polar opposite of that. Rorschach believes in absolute, objective good and absolute objective evil, with no gray areas in between; in his mind, you are either a manifestly a shining beacon of untouched goodness and purity (like Truman or his father), or you are a corrupt decaying monster unworthy of life (which is how he sees just about everyone in the world when the story takes place, as his opening monologue shows.) His philosophy is the absolute rejection of subjective morality; from his perspective, there is simply always an obvious right and wrong, and people who are too weak or blind to see it.

(Obviously, Moore disagrees with him, and was using Rorschach to critique that philosophy.)

kpenguin
2008-10-11, 09:20 AM
Gah, no! Rorschach sees himself as the exact polar opposite of that. Rorschach believes in absolute, objective good and absolute objective evil, with no gray areas in between; in his mind, you are either a manifestly a shining beacon of untouched goodness and purity (like Truman or his father), or you are a corrupt decaying monster unworthy of life (which is how he sees just about everyone in the world when the story takes place, as his opening monologue shows.) His philosophy is the absolute rejection of subjective morality; from his perspective, there is simply always an obvious right and wrong, and people who are too weak or blind to see it.

I must have misunderstood Rorschach's speech to Malcolm Long then:


Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night. Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. Itís us. Only us. Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning it's illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world. Was Rorschach. Does that answer your questions, Doctor?

To be honest, a misinterpretation of this would not be new for me. I'm not quite that good a deciphering philosophy.

BRC
2008-10-11, 10:07 AM
I must have misunderstood Rorschach's speech to Malcolm Long then:



To be honest, a misinterpretation of this would not be new for me. I'm not quite that good a deciphering philosophy.

I think by "Morally Blank" Rorschach means that there are no moral people in the world. Not that Morality didn't exist.

TigerHunter
2008-10-11, 10:12 AM
I think by "Morally Blank" Rorschach means that there are no moral people in the world. Not that Morality didn't exist.
Indeed. Rorshach views the world as a blank paper, and sees it as his right and duty to draw on it.

That's not to saw that your view is incorrect, KP. Just not what Moore intended and what most people have interpreted.

kpenguin
2008-10-11, 10:12 AM
I think by "Morally Blank" Rorschach means that there are no moral people in the world. Not that Morality didn't exist.

Then what does he mean when he says that "Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose."

I find it hard to take that to mean nobody in the world is moral rather than that morality does not inherently exist in the world and that we ourselves must impose it.


Indeed. Rorshach views the world as a blank paper, and sees it as his right and duty to draw on it.

That's not to saw that your view is incorrect, KP. Just not what Moore intended and what most people have interpreted.

That is my interpretation. Rorschach sees the world as moral blank, with no God or other forces that dictate morality, thus he must create a moral pattern to impose upon the world.

Its just that his moral pattern is so very absolute and stiff.

Warren Dew
2008-10-11, 11:08 AM
To be honest, a misinterpretation of this would not be new for me. I'm not quite that good a deciphering philosophy.

You're not misinterpreting it at all: that's exactly the correct interpretation of that quote. I don't think there's any other possible reading of the passage.

As additional evidence, Rorschach repeatedly mentions that the Comedian was the only other one who gets it. This obviously isn't based on morality; the Comedian has none, and did all sorts of things Rorschach finds evil.

What the Comedian gets is what Rorschach is talking about before the last three lines of that quote. There is no objective morality. There is only what one chooses for oneself. The Comedian and Rorschach choose very differently; what they have in common is only that they choose consciously.

To the extent that Moore was making any "point", he was only illustrating that lack of an objective morality does not preclude a strict moral code. This can be seen as a rebuttal to the claims sometimes made that lack of religion precludes morality. Certainly one can, as the Comedian does, take advantage of the lack of an objective morality to live a life of hedonism; however, it's also possible for that realization to lead to a moral code stricter than any fundamentalist's, as with Rorschach.

kpenguin
2008-10-11, 11:14 AM
As additional evidence, Rorschach repeatedly mentions that the Comedian was the only other one who gets it. This obviously isn't based on morality; the Comedian has none, and did all sorts of things Rorschach finds evil.

What the Comedian gets is what Rorschach is talking about before the last three lines of that quote. There is no objective morality. There is only what one chooses for oneself. The Comedian and Rorschach choose very differently; what they have in common is only that they choose consciously.

That's... actually pretty enlightening. I hadn't thought about it that way. The way Rorschach treated the Comedian with respect, even admiration, confused me because of how very different they were.

Thank you for that excellent point.

Nevrmore
2008-10-11, 02:20 PM
Correction: Doctor Manhattan specifically doesn't decide that Ozymandias had the right idea (Ozymandias asks him outright, remember.) He decided to take the action that would have the highest chance of keeping the most people alive.
Manhattens "Nothing ever ends." quip hardly means that he doesn't agree with what Veidt did. It's him saying "Just remember that your actions will always have consequences."

TigerHunter
2008-10-11, 02:27 PM
Manhattens "Nothing ever ends." quip hardly means that he doesn't agree with what Veidt did.
Nor does it mean that he does, however, which is what Aquillion was getting at.

goodyarn
2008-10-11, 03:30 PM
Manhattens "Nothing ever ends." quip hardly means that he doesn't agree with what Veidt did. It's him saying "Just remember that your actions will always have consequences."

Before that though, doesn't DocM say something along the lines of "I understand, without condemning or condoning."

Another topic: Comedian v. Night Owl. An article I read on the movie noted that only at the end of his life does Blake/Comedian consider that there might be more to life than cracking heads.

That got me thinking. It's Dan/Night Owl who gets the girl. At the end of the book he and Laurie are talking about balancing crimefighting and a family. Contrast that with Blake/Comedian who misses out on the love of Silk Specter I, and who stutters when he runs into Laurie, admitting that he longs to talk to "his...you know...his friend's daughter." Comedian wishes he'd had a family.

Zardoz
2008-10-12, 01:57 PM
It's quite simple. "Alan Moore knows the score!"

Calinero
2008-10-13, 02:59 PM
I had never thought about that scene between the Comedian and Silk Spectre II....I really need to reread this comic.

Egiam
2008-10-30, 03:47 PM
Fabulous, but too many nude scenes.

Fawkes
2008-10-30, 04:18 PM
lolwut?

Are the nude scenes in watchmen really that big of a deal?

TigerHunter
2008-10-30, 04:24 PM
lolwut?

Are the nude scenes in watchmen really that big of a deal?
This. I mean, come on. There's like, three. And one of them shows a single nipple.

Unless you're talking about Dr. M. I pity you if you can't handle a bit of faux-nudity that doesn't even have any sexual context.

Fawkes
2008-10-30, 04:28 PM
Is the nipple one Rorshach's drawing? I don't think that should count as a nude scene. Other than that and Dr. M, I can't think of any nudity. Do we see Nite Owl's butt when he has sex with Silk Spectre? I can't remember, but I think the scene was tastefully self-censored.

TigerHunter
2008-10-30, 04:37 PM
Is the nipple one Rorshach's drawing? I don't think that should count as a nude scene. Other than that and Dr. M, I can't think of any nudity. Do we see Nite Owl's butt when he has sex with Silk Spectre? I can't remember, but I think the scene was tastefully self-censored.
It came up in the movie thread, and I just checked it. The dark lighting intentionally obscures it, but you can just barely make out one of Laurie's nipples in the Owlship scene. All three of the sex scenes are, as you put it, tastefully self-censored.

Aquillion
2008-10-30, 04:52 PM
Before that though, doesn't DocM say something along the lines of "I understand, without condemning or condoning." Also, you have to take it in context. When he tells Veldt that "Nothing ever ends", he's saying this shortly after Veldt gave his big "I took another step back" speech about how he was the only one who realized what was necessary, since he had the 'big picture' view -- how he kept seeing the bigger and bigger picture, understanding more and more about the path the world was on, until he finally (by implication) knew everything, and was therefore qualified to make the decision to sacrifice people for the greater good. Veldt's justification for his actions comes down to saying that he had a perfect view of history, and knew what was necessary when nobody else did.

Doctor Manhattan's response was basically "No, you're not omniscient." That's why Veldt looks so worried after he says that; the entire justification for his doing what he did was that he was the smartest man in the world, and therefore qualified to make decisions for the greater good. Manhattan -- who is the closest thing in the setting to actually being omniscient -- telling him (as he'd said earlier) that Veldt was only a man and that his grand view of history was temporary and limited undercut that justification.

BRC
2008-10-30, 05:43 PM
Also, you have to take it in context. When he tells Veldt that "Nothing ever ends", he's saying this shortly after Veldt gave his big "I took another step back" speech about how he was the only one who realized what was necessary, since he had the 'big picture' view -- how he kept seeing the bigger and bigger picture, understanding more and more about the path the world was on, until he finally (by implication) knew everything, and was therefore qualified to make the decision to sacrifice people for the greater good. Veldt's justification for his actions comes down to saying that he had a perfect view of history, and knew what was necessary when nobody else did.

Doctor Manhattan's response was basically "No, you're not omniscient." That's why Veldt looks so worried after he says that; the entire justification for his doing what he did was that he was the smartest man in the world, and therefore qualified to make decisions for the greater good. Manhattan -- who the closest thing in the setting to actually being omniscient -- telling him (as he'd said earlier) that Veldt was only a man and that his grand view of history was temporary and limited undercut that justification.

Yeah.

You know, I think That's why Veidt tried to remove Manhattan. He must know that, despite Manhattan's temporal perspective, he can't change things (demonstrated with Kennedy). I don't think the whole cancer setup to shame Manhattan off earth was because, as Veidt says "He was too powerful, too unpredictable". Of course the best way to handle an unpredictable person, is to put them in a stressful situation.

No, I think Veidt tried to get rid of Manhattan because of pride. It's significant that Veidt took the greek name for Ramses, He's the classic protagonist from a greek tragedy. His flaw is Hubris, usually in the form of spiting the gods (example, Creon in Antigone). In this case, the "God" he is spiting is Dr Manhattan. Viedt is in peak physical condition, he is as popular as possible and could probably buy several small nations. He can do anything man is capable of doing. However, he's nothing compared to John, and so we get the classic greek tragedy. The Protagonist on the top of the world attempts to spite the gods out of hubris and, in the end, falls.

Now, Veidt dosn't fall because Moore was telling the story of Watchmen, not a greek tragedy, but you can see the parallels.

ObsidianRose
2008-11-20, 03:34 AM
Wow, it's late and I'm still lurking this.

I've read Watchmen a few times. I've pimped it out to everyone in my English class, and I've written papers on it.

But the biggest point I've argued is that Rorschach was the only winner within the story. Rorschach was the only person in the story who could be completely self-satisfied by the story's end. He won.

And here's why: Veidt couldn't be happy, because he knew that his success could end. Nite Owl and Silk Spectre couldn't be happy because they had no real objectives. Manhattan was a freaking machine.

Rorschach found closure, because he died without a single corruption. When he demanded that Ozymandias kill him, I believe that he was simply stating that death was the only consequence for his actions, and he was not afraid to die. The tears were tears of rage, because he wished there was something else to do. There wasn't, and the punishment for resisting Veidt was death. And it was worth it.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I think Rorschach won in the same way that the Spartans won. He died, with no real goals accomplished. But he proved a point. He believed in a message and never bent from it, no matter how twisted it was.

So that's why I like him. Maybe it's part of being ENFP, but I like the guy.

kpenguin
2008-11-20, 03:54 AM
To me, nobody won. Nobody wins in a situation like that, really.

Aquillion
2008-11-20, 04:34 AM
Maybe I'm crazy, but I think Rorschach won in the same way that the Spartans won. He died, with no real goals accomplished. But he proved a point. He believed in a message and never bent from it, no matter how twisted it was.

So that's why I like him. Maybe it's part of being ENFP, but I like the guy.I disagree. (Although you could make an argument that almost anyone won, at least out of the major characters. Dan and Laurie didn't save the world or anything, but that was never really what they got into the job for in the first place; they did help people and got to live a normal life.)

In the end, Rorschach breaks down in tears, rips off his mask, and demands that Manhattan kill him (it isn't clear, at all, that Manhattan would have actually done it otherwise.) That, to me, seems more like the final stage of his existential despair rather than his great victory. The reason he demanded that Manhattan destroy him was because I think on some deeper level Manhattan's existence outraged him more than anything else -- because even though he knew human nature better than anyone else, even though he shaped himself as an absolute rigid realist, part of him still wanted to believe in an absolute morality, in a higher power passing judgment on humanity. (It's no coincidence that when he's not in costume, he masquerades as a street preacher.)

At the very least, I think the fact that he dies demanding self-destruction at the hands of an uncaring god is extremely deliberate symbolism. That pretty much describes his entire character right there.

And none of the characters really bent from their philosophy. No, seriously, look more closely at them -- I think you're reading too much into them, and judging them (on some key points) by your philosophy rather than theirs. Doctor Manhattan makes the most utilitarian choice. Dan and Laurie pick what seems to help people, ultimately. Veldt practically burns his philosophy into the surface of the earth. They all have doubts (recall Rorschach sparing the hooker just before leaving for Veldt's fortress -- his world-view isn't complete, either), but basically each of the major characters manages to live by whatever philosophies they had.

BRC
2008-11-20, 10:50 AM
Rorschach found closure, because he died without a single corruption. When he demanded that Ozymandias kill him, I believe that he was simply stating that death was the only consequence for his actions, and he was not afraid to die. The tears were tears of rage, because he wished there was something else to do. There wasn't, and the punishment for resisting Veidt was death. And it was worth it.

Intresting, I hadn't thought about it that way.
Rorschach's philosophy had him in a Catch-22.
He recognized that stopping Veidts plan and therefore starting WWIII would be Evil.
And yet, allowing Viedt to get away with killing half of new york would be Evil. He couldn't Act, and yet he couldn't not Act. So he died..

Berserk Monk
2008-11-28, 07:08 PM
For me, the Watchmen is a lackluster, cynical story with poorly designed characters who largely remain static. This is just me, and I want to know what you think, and why. Please don't attack my views, I am only doing this for the sake of discussion. I realize Watchmen has a large fan base.
Thanks.

WHAT?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!
You did love Watchmen, or at least like it? I mean, yeah the plot kind of confused me, and I needed someone to explain it to me, but the characters? If anything you should read Watchmen for the characters. Rorschach= teh badass antihero. Dr. Manhattan, also awesome; a psychological look into a god character. That's all you need.

Iskariot
2008-12-14, 04:37 AM
I have no intentions of insulting you or your opinions. However, your opinion on "The Watchmen" is wrong. Objectively wrong.


I will be terse to the OP.

Nightmarenny
2008-12-15, 03:56 PM
There is always another way.





This is I believe, the crux of your problem. It is because its to real. You have a black and white mentality(or at least, you believe all comics should). you think there is always another way but this story presents you with(like Rorch) something believable that totally breaks that world view. You want there to be a way, but there isn't, and you can see that. Its unsettling and you take it as a fault in the work.

This comic requires that you understand that sometimes you may have to make a choice between your principles and people and there will be no magic wand to escape to. The problem ironically enough is that you are in the same boat as Rorch and The Comedian and this book ruined your joke.

Maybe its sadistic but that this book can do that to someone makes me love it even more!

Savageman
2008-12-18, 11:09 PM
Hi again. It's been a while since I checked the forums here, so seeing the conversation was still ongoing was a bit of a surprise. I still need to read through it all (it's still an interesting subject to me) but I thought I'd chime back in with this:

My opinion of the Watchmen has altered a fair bit. When I originally posted I more or less refused to read it again. I really hated the book, although I had to admit that it had "done something" for comic books. That's changed now, as I have, at last, read the comic again.
First, let me say that when I first read it I was just getting into comics, and my supply was limited to the back issues my friend had stockpiled. In particular I fell for the Spiderman title under Strazcynski (sp?). My friend suggested Watchmen, I read it (very quickly) and hated it, as I said.
What's changed is that I have a better appreciation for the book. I don't think the characters are static anymore: watching Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan go through their changes is really fascinating. And for characters like Nite Owl... well, I still hate him, but I've come to realize that having that emotional reaction to a character doesn't make the book bad - the opposite is true then. I hate a lot of the characters in Watchmen, but I don't blame the book for this anymore. This reaction does, however, tend to prejudice me somewhat, so I hope you'll forgive me thinking that the book was terrible before.
There's still a lot I don't like about the book. Much of the dialogue seems off to me (personally), and the ending still sucks, although Manhattan's brief conversation with O brings it up for me. But the book ranks much higher in my own mind now, and thanks for everybody who posted along the way. It took me a while, but I eventually went back to it.

Tirian
2008-12-19, 04:32 PM
Kudos for keeping an open mind. I'm sure we can all rattle off a list of outstanding stories that we only "got" the second time around.

I think you're right in thinking that the characters are written to be understood but not necessarily liked. My appreciation of the story has grown from reading other people's insights and rereading the story from time to time. I find that it is one of those rare stories that ripens as you grow.

Finn Solomon
2008-12-19, 06:49 PM
Criticising Watchmen for not being a traditional superhero story is like criticising your cat because it's not being a dog.