Book Review: Watchmen

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 8, 2009

watchmenTruly excellent. Those who believe that graphic novels cannot be engrossing are in for another think–and for a very interesting and enjoyable intellectual experience–upon reading Alan Moore’s most famous work. The dialogue is rich and engrossing, the character profiles are profound and fascinating, the storyline is gripping, and the side stories–especially the memoirs of Hollis Mason and the Tales of the Black Freighter–added a monumental degree of complexity, and sophistication to the story. And of course, the artwork is marvelous.

Reading the novel was especially interesting for me, because it allowed me to cast my mind back to the Cold War, when thoughts of a nuclear winter were quite prevalent. Thanks to the end of the Cold War, we are liable to take the threat of nuclear war much more lightly, but Watchmen hammers home the degree to which the threat of nuclear war occupied our thoughts during the 1980s. Watchmen is deeply political and focuses a great deal on political issues, which is great for politics junkies like me. But Watchmen is also a very human story about very human heroes with very real dilemmas with which to contend. And while some heroes turn out to be not-so-heroic, their stories are no less devoid of sympathy either. At the end, we learn whose story Watchmen really was, and how a sacrifice for one’s ideals need not be in vain.

I am only sorry I was not exposed to Watchmen in my youth. Clearly, I made a mistake in taking so long to read it. Readers of this blog are advised to avoid my mistake, and get their hands on a copy in the event that they have not done so already.

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