I was intrigued to see what she thought, as she's not as deep into comics as I am and Watchmen is very much "comics about other comics." The end result is elucidated below and was quite interesting, I thought. Wonder how many people who read it when the movie came out felt like this?
Unlike the rest of the world, the Watchmen series passed me by until quite recently. It was during the adverts before the Dark Knight film that I saw the new about the new Watchmen film and I was instantly intrigued.
While comics aren’t new to me, the concept of an adult comic is. Living in a small Welsh village tends to place restrictions of the availability and choice of reading matter, so it wasn’t until a recent visit to the city that I managed to buy the complete graphic novel.
Now, graphic novels are new to me and I began with a great amount of interest. However, that interest quickly waned as I trudged through it. Seriously, it felt as if someone had attached a lead weight to both of my eyelids.
I’m aware that this was written in the mid 1980’s and I definitely felt it to be dated. I found the dialogue to be pretentiousness and it weighed down the story, making it more a feat of endurance than something enjoyable.
I had the impression that the writer was trying to create a work of art and trying far too hard as the finished story felt contrived and artificial. I would almost have thought it a clever parody, had I not known otherwise.
The speech given by Rorschach in the first chapter made me laugh out load. It was saturated with melodrama and reminded me instantly of Bela Lugosi in the 1931 version of Dracula - “Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make”. It made such a strong impression that I could actually imagine Rorschach speaking with a hammy Transylvanian accent.
The Black Freighter storyline, which was apparently supposed to echo the story of Adrian Veidt, made absolutely no sense to me and only appeared to be there to bulk out a failing plot. I felt that the story was far too stretched out so that it would make twelve chapters, corresponding with the clock ticking up to midnight.
There were a few things that disturbed me about the story too. For the sake of brevity, I’ll mention just two. The attempted rape turning into a consensual sexual relationship was tacky to say the least. At the risk of sounding sexist, I would say that particular plot reveal was typically written by a man. Also, the U-turn at the end of the story, where the all-knowing, all-powerful Doctor Manhattan is unable to find out Adrian Veidt’s plan because of the influence of tachyons, seemed far too contrived. After all, as tachyons travel beyond the speed of light, wouldn’t Doctor Manhattan already be familiar with their effects upon him?
In conclusion, while I’m aware that this story is highly regarded, I think this is very much a case of The Emperors’ New Clothes, where no one dares disagrees for the fear of appearing foolish. I believe this story is trying to be something it isn’t.
It’s a little as if Homer Simpson appeared as Othello. Instead of being dramatic, it becomes ridiculous.