Susan (not_cynical) wrote in bookturnedmind,

[31/75] Watchmen by Alan Moore

Reaction shot: To be honest, my first and pretty much only reaction to this is "Holy shit." I finished it an hour and three weeks ago, and everytime I try to start this off, something about the story blindsides me, and I'm stuck with a reaction shot that basically consists of "Holy shit!" and looking like I've just been struck in the face with a large yellow trade paperback.

So. Lets try this again. The story centres around a group of superheroes (Well, I say superheroes - they're mostly people who dressed up in costumes to fight crime for various reasons.) from the forties and seventies who are being killed, discredited, or otherwise disposed of. But - that's not all that's going on. If the costume-people were all that this was about, then I could quite happily keysmash about this and move on to catching up on everything else I'm behind on. It's about more than that - it's more about the people wearing the costumes than what they actually did while they were wearing them. It's the distinction between the superhero and their true identity - Rorschach for example, who has his "real" identity and the one he has when he's not in costume, which is just a distinction that breaks my heart.

And speaking of Rorschach - Alan Moore is incredible. He presents characters doing terrible things, and he makes it look completely rational. Like - Rorschach does so much, and I can almost accept it as normal, or a course of action that makes sense, even though I know it isn't. And he just breaks my heart - he's so monotone and - I dunno, the word I want to use is precise, but I doubt that's right - even in his thoughts, and he's such a rationally crazy bastard. And the scenes with the psychologist, and when there's a riot in the prison - god. He's so calm about everything. He's creepy and effective and I love some of his lines (the one about how they're stuck in prison with him not the other way around.), and I love his relationship with Nite Owl. They're just - such best friends, even after Rorschach loses his mind.

And god - how he died. Sticking to his principles, and telling Jon to kill him, and. ;_; And leaving his journal with the crazy newspaper people. ♥

And - Jon and Laurie. Jon trying so hard and just being - completely alien. So distant from all of it, to the point where he doesn't even flinch when they find half of New York dead, and at the same time involved enough to be upset when Laurie leaves him, and at the TV studio, and when Laurie tells him she's with Dan, even though he knows it's going to happen. And Laurie being moulded by her mother, and her thing about the Comedian (Oh god, there was a character I could hate with impunity, even if Alan Moore managed to give him more depth than I would've thought.) and how that turned out, and her thing with Dan. THAT filled me with hearts a lot. Speaking of Dan - he was kinda awesome. Starting with his fanboying of the OLD Nite Owl (Oh god, THAT should not have ended like it did. ;_; ) and owls, and all his gadgets, and his trying to do the right thing and insisting on saving Rorschach - he is probably the most normal superhero in it. The one with the least baggage. Ozymandias was INSANE - clever, considering what did with the assassin ("What have you got in your mouth" and he's putting the cyanide pill there himself *flails*), and his plan to unite the world (CABLE, TAKE NOTE: THIS IS HOW IT IS DONE RIGHT), and his not tl;dring about his plan until it's too late, and his catching the bloody bullet. Also his cat, I loved his cat.

I even loved the minor characters - the ones in the off-scenes by the newstand (I KNOW I've read the story that pirate-comic book is based on. I know it. Either that or I've read something similar, because I knew how it turned out before he even got past the first few pages.). I was honestly heartbroken with what happened to them - I liked them, all of them, even when it was all going to hell and they were losing it, and the last page of that chapter where it all goes white just broke my heart.

Basically - this feels real. This is how it feels like it would've ended if real life and all its fuckery had applied. The good guys don't always win, sometimes the bad guy is faster and smarter and doing terrible things for a good reason. I wish it hadn't turned out like it had, but if they had got there in time, I would feel so cheated. The ending feels - right. Like it was the only way the whole thing could have turned out, and ending it happily would have completely voided everything Alan Moore did.

Verdict: ... I feel like I've been hit in the face with a trade-paperback just from thinking back to it to finish this reaction shot. It's - it's powerful and real and I made a crack about wanting Alan Moore's weirdly-bearded children but after reading Watchmen I would do it.
Tags: author: alan moore, genre: ???, genre: superheroes, herding cats, publisher: vertigo, verdict: awesome, verdict: hit in the face with a book, verdict: speechless
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