47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2007
I'm going to give my opinion on the actual book itself. I would imagine most people reading reviews of the Absolute Edition have already read Watchmen. It is probably Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons finest hour - `nuff said.
So, for starters, the absolute edition is much bigger than the original trade paperback. It is hardback, has a paper cover wrap and comes in a well-made, sturdy slipcase to protect it. The slipcase fits perfectly and has very bold text down the spine (looks nice on the shelf!).
The paper is very good quality, bright white and heavy stock. The printing is the key to this edition. It is flawless in every way. The colours jump off the page and the ink saturation is perfect. All the details are extremely clear (which is also helped by the larger format) it makes the first colour job look very murky and dark in comparison. The original colourist has made a return to tweak and improve his work (rather than completely change it) and he has done a grand job.
There is quite a bit of supplemental material thrown in at the back of the book (interviews, original script / concept drawing highlights etc.) which adds alot of insight into this classic of the graphic novel form.
So my final word? If you love Alan Moore, and you re-read Watchmen alot, this absolute edition is an absolute MUST.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2001
Most of what can be said about Watchmen already has been, but there's nothing wrong with emphasising the fact. Not only does it have an exciting, intriguing plot, but the novel also features truly fantastic characterisation and is loaded with political satire and social commentary.
The art is also deserving of great praise; not a panel is wasted, and there is a truly insane amount of detail that you won't pick up on first reading (or even until somebody else points it out). A little static? Not really, it's intended to be ultra-realistic, and Dave Gibbons has a extraordinary talent for defining the human anatomy.
Moore is sometimes criticised of being a little paranoid, and that perhaps shines through, but he certainly seems to be aware of this (a lot of Rorschach's narration is deliberately OTT), and the story does have something roughly equating a happy ending.
If you want to change somebody's views about comic books, give them this, Maus and The Dark Knight Returns. You'll have a convert on your hands in no time.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
When reviewing a work of the caliber of Watchmen it is genuinely difficult to know what to say - except that its cyclopean reputation is entirely deserved.
I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I'm going to keep things abstract. Watchmen simultaneously deconstructs its own genre while giving voice to one of the great "absolutes" of literary fiction: the human quest for morality and meaning in an inherently meaningless and amoral universe. Perhaps this latter aspect explains why the aptly named "Rorschach" has become so iconic of this work as a whole.
Amazingly, Watchmen achieves all this while simultaneously spinning a superheroic epic that easily holds its own against anything you're going to find in the latest avengers/xmen/blackest night/justice league cosmic crossover.
Speaking of Justice League, it's interesting to think about just how much the Project Cadmus storyline in Justice League Unlimited, Seasons 1-2 (DC Comics Classic Collection) owes to Watchmen. Indeed, I find that I can't help but draw comparisons. Justice League Unlimited is most certainly its own show, and by no means a slavish remake of Watchmen. Yet both, in their own way, take a long hard look at the myth of the superhero and ask us if this is really something that we would want. Certainly, it can be no accident that in the Project Cadmus story, The Question takes the central role that he does. In Alan Moore's original proposal for Watchmen, the role ultimately filled by Rorschach was then taken by The Question.
But where the Project Cadmus story arc races headlong towards the edge of the abyss only to back away at the last second, explaining with an apologetic cough and a nervous giggle that really, it's only a children's show after all, Watchmen careens off the edge of that abyss at full speed without hesitating for so much as a heartbeat. It leaves us suspended anchorless mid-air, entirely on our own in our attempts to re-orient ourselves as we hurtle directionless through this new void.
One final point: I'm writing this review for the softcover edition of Watchmen. Personally, I own both the basic softcover edition and the and hardcover version of the "absolute" edition. The latter of the two contains a lot of interesting extras, but at the same time, it's really too large, heavy, and unwieldy for comfort. It's a great coffee table book, but it's not something you want to just lie back and read. For that, I'd definitely recommend the softcover version.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2004
The best works of fiction are generally untranslatable into different media. It is impossible to make a film that encompasses all the great things about Catch-22. Citizen Kane and Vertigo would make lousy novels. Watchmen is comparable. Many people I know refuse to read it, just because it's a comic. But it couldn't work any other way. I'm trying not to spoil too much of the plot, but Alan Moore's writing, the pacing of the story - he somehow manages to overlay multiple plot lines on just one page. The dialogue is realistic: people talk over each other, conversations are drowned out by TV, the characters stutter and repeat themselves. The characters are real, flawed. the plot manages to mix high-concept science fiction, hard-boiled crime, philosophy, conspiracies, action, drama. Alan Moore isn't just one of the greatest comic writers ever, he's one of the greatest writers ever. His work stands comparison with anyone - Harper Lee, Joseph Conrad, Heller, Orwell.
But Watchmen isn't just about the writing: Dave Gibbons' art isn't flashy, but no other artist could've drawn the story. Gibbons' work is realistic, insanely detailed. Again, I don't want to spoil the plot for you, but analyse every panel. Every detail, no matter how minor, has purpose.
This book is flawless. It will never be surpassed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2008
Reviewing a (nearly) twenty-five year old book may seem a bit strange, especially as quite a few others have already done so, but there's a couple of things I'd like to add.
I'm not going to say anything about the story itself - I think that at least the bones of it will be well known to anyone contemplating buying this edition.
The sheer quality of this edition absolutely shines out, and here we have a story and artwork that deserve this sort of treatment. For me though, the most interesting element of this package is not the graphic novel itself (I've read it an awful lot, starting with the original twelve comics...), but the additional material included. Of particular interest (especially in light of subsequent developments) is the original pitch/summary in which the main protagonists are based on the 1950's/60's Charlton characters - imagining what the book would have been if Moore and Gobbons had been allowed to pursue this idea was enough to keep me entertained for hours!
An excellent edition - absolutely (excuse the pun) recommended!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
One of the most respected works in the graphic novel genre, WATCHMEN, is set in an alternative 1985 where ordinary men and women developed a taste for putting on costumes and turning vigilante, the USA won the war in Vietnam and Nixon is still President.
The Watchmen were a group of vigilantes who disbanded shortly after an Act was passed making them illegal. Most of the group retired - some, like Ozymandias, went public with their identities, others, like Nite Owl II, just quietly disappeared. The brutal Comedian went to work for the government, as did Dr Manhattan - the only member of the group with superhuman abilities after a nuclear experiment went wrong. Rorschach kept going despite the Act and it is he who drives this novel forward when he begins investigating who killed the Comedian by pushing him out of a high-rise building - and why they did it. Rorschach's investigation causes him to seek out his former colleagues as he becomes concerned that someone is deliberately hunting them down. Through him, each vigilante's backstory is slowly revealed, their fractured psyches, flaws and fears all gradually unravelled for the reader.
Despite the murder mystery, this is really a character piece as Moore investigates what drives people to put on costumes and try to fight crime. Some of the characters are more fascinating than others - Rorschach, the Comedian and Dr Manhattan were the real standouts for me. Each is psychologically bruised in their own way and each battling to either rediscover or push away their humanity. Particularly poignant is Dr Manhattan's story, with Moore and Gibbons doing excellent work in showing how his intellectual strength has come at the expense of his ability to emotionally connect with Laurie Jupiter.
Perhaps surprisingly, there are a number of `pure text' sections in the book, written in a variety of styles - from Hollis Mason's recollections of being the original NIte Owl and member of the Minute Men, to interviews with Sally Jupiter (the original Silk Spectre) and Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias). I could have done without the Dan Dreiberg section, but the Hollis Mason sections are told with flair and emotional realism.
The story is really a product of its time and the twist ending felt a little too strained. However, Moore doesn't pull his punches and the emotional resolution stays with you - particularly what happens to Rorschach and Dr Manhattan. Definitely worth a look.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2007
The word on the street is that Watchmen is finally going to be made into a movie. Although I'm likely to be queueing to get a ticket, in many ways it's a shame, because Watchmen is quite simply one of the most complex, awesome and complete novels of the twentieth century, delivered in a form that is perfect for the tale. Anything that can be re-read time and time again and still unlock new surprises refunds its cover price ten times over, and this is certainly one of the few books that delivers on all levels. Forget the "SOCK POW" of the 60's Batman series, and even the original Superman film - instead examine the minds of masked vigilantes and how the existence of a real superhero would affect the planet. Those thoughts, and many, many more are explored here in a cracking yarn that remains tense, thrilling, consistent and amazing throughout - and all from two tiny brains that dared to challenge convention when the Superhero was believed to be dead.
Buy this now, before Holywood makes it hot property or buries it just as it did The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2000
This is one of the most affecting and thought-provoking books around, and it cannot be overstated how much it suffers through being grouped in with the comic book / graphic novel category of literature. That said, some of the interplay between words and pictures took my breath away - it makes you wonder what JD Salinger or Hunter Thompson could have achieved if they had been working in this field - and the observations and conclusions that Alan Moore makes are frighteningly real.
The characterisations, particularly Daniel Dreiberg, are carefully drawn out and well handled, and the artwork is good enough to carry the story without overwhelming it (as it did in Dark Knight Returns). There is an element of 'The Usual Suspects/The Sixth Sense' to the writing too, so that as soon as you have finished the book once you immediately want to start it again to look for the clues that you missed the first time around.
If you have already read this book, then you already spend much of your time telling others to read it; if you haven't read it, I would put it up there with 'On The Road' and 'Catcher In The Rye' as an example of a writer who can perfectly illustrate the mood of America, albeit during a fictional time in its history.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2007
This graphic novel is a work of genius, it is EXTREMELY rare that i come across such staggeringly intelligent writing. The story follows a group of aged super heroes (for want of a better word) called the crimebusters. In their time they were highly respected but now, years on, they are being killed and discredited one by one. Moore investigates the issues of power, nuclear threat and arms control, all while maintaining an array of characters which each have their own individual personalities and backgrounds. He also manages to give an accurate political and social outlook on the psyche of both characters and readers, giving him a true understanding of the human mind. Reading this 'adult' comic was fascinating and i'd recommend it to anyone who had a true interest in modern literature. Plus it's got a hell of a plotline!
Dave Gibbons' artwork also complements Moore's writing beautifully and helps to create the atmosphere of paranoia and severity with ease. A wonderful book that will deffinately stand the test of time.
(I would also DEEPLY recommend 'v for vendetta' as it is my favourite Moore book along with watchmen)
47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2006
So, you've read Watchmen, you loved it, you obsessed over it, you've been kicked out of civilized gatherings when you refused to stop waving it in front of people's faces, telling them it was "The Most Important Comic Ever Written EVER!!!", and you've come to blows with those that insist that that title in fact belongs to Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" (they're wrong). Where else is there to go?
This edition, not only comes in an imposing hardback cover, but is also packed with extras, including samples of promotional art for the comic, preliminary character design sketches by Dave Gibbons, and excerpts from Alan Moore's insanely detailed scripts. And if that's not enough to satisfy you, then the new print of the comic will. Each panel has now been enlarged so the obsessive fan can now pick out every single embedded smiley face in the book, and see every speck of filth and street detritus on Rorschach's trenchcoat.
If you're debating whether this is worth £50, then I'm afraid you'll just never understand...