It came up in recent conversation that I’ve never read The Watchmen. Before you ask, I’ve never seen the movie either. I hadn’t ever heard of The Watchmen, so no, the movie didn’t interest me. It’s then pointed out to me that the DC Universe Rebirth is all about the Watchmen. I try not to roll my eyes too hard at this news. I mean, I don’t know if this is a bad thing. I know nothing about the Watchmen, so who am I to judge? Most of the eye-rolling comes from my heart sinking upon the realization I have yet another backstory to read. I suppose I don’t have to read it, but me being me, I have to be knowledgeable about all things. My partner-in-crime for this site then said that not reading The Watchmen as a superhero comics reader is like a literature major never reading Romeo and Juliet. She was not kidding.
Thirteen dollars into Comixology later, I have The Watchmen graphic novel. Now Jen did caution me that this book is dated. It was written 30 years ago, under the foreboding aura of the Cold War. She didn’t warn me how boring this is.
I’ve only read one chapter (of twelve), and while I am a fast reader, this is going to take me awhile.
The book is written as though I should know who all these characters are. C’mon, you know Rorschach, right? And the Comedian? (Worst. Name. EVER.) Surely you’ve heard of Dr. Manhattan. What about Ozymandias or the Nite Owl? Nope, not a clue. I asked if there was anything written before this novel to give me clues. The answer is no. Well, okay then. I’ve lost motivation to care about these characters.
The art is rather delightfully 80s, and I’m enjoying that the most. The writing style is definitely dated as well for a comic book, but that’s not what is holding me back from enjoying it. A new set of superhero characters have been introduced to me, with the air that I should know them even though there’s no way I can, and they all appear to be deplorable people. Oh sure, someone somewhere is arguing that that’s what makes them great–that they’re so human. I don’t mind superheroes who make mistakes or have a bit of a dark side. I do have a problem with superheroes being creepy with a penchant for murder, such as Rorschach. It’s one thing for villains to quake in their boots when they see a masked superhero; it’s another for ordinary citizens to suddenly fear for their lives upon seeing him.
Perhaps I’m just not into dark and edgy. That’s probably true. Or it’s true that I don’t like this type of dark and edgy.
I’ve also been told that The Watchmen starts off very slowly. Maybe I’ll care about at least one character by the second chapter.