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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lets talk about the book - not just the contents
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...
Published on 15 Nov 2007 by Yossarian

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars University Book List Item
This was on my book list for next term. I'm not a fan of graphic novels but this one is considered a classic. I've read about half and if you like this sort of thing you'll enjoy it. I found it distracting (not used to reading books with pictures). It's OK but wouldn't encourage me to read another graphic novel.
Published 16 months ago by Jane Stevenson


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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go on - try it - you'll be rewarded!, 23 Jan 2009
By 
This review is from: Watchmen (Paperback)
Okay, I confess it... this is the first graphic novel that I have ever read, and one I picked up only on account of the hype surrounding the film. The regard with which the book so I thought I'd give it a go - and I have to confess that I loved it!

What is special about Watchmen is the range of themes included. The book begins with the murder of former masked vigilante The Comedian, and the writers quickly introduce us to a range of former masked vigilantes (they are specifically prohibited by the law following a police strike, unless expressly allowed by the government) including the second Nite Owl, Ozymandias, the second Silk Spectre, Rorsarch and the one person with genuine superpowers, Dr Manhattan. As the book and plot progresses the writers generously fill in their back-stories, as their motivation for becoming masked vigilantes and reactions to their forced retirement are revealed.

The masked vigilantes are required again to try and save the world and act outside of the law again. In doing this, the writers raise questions around the effects vigilantes can have on society, and is summed up by the slogan that is constantly inserted in panels as graffiti, "Who Watches The Watchmen?" The book explores many themes around contemporary society but hasn't dated since the end of the Cold War.

The well-drawn and entertaining comic strips are supported by exerts from written texts that further serve to flesh out the history of the characters and the situation in which they find themselves, and the comic within the comic works well in supporting the main thrust of the story.

This is not a book to be undervalued on the grounds that it is a graphic novel - it is a serious and enjoyable piece of work and if you have never read a graphic novel, you should definitely give it a go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, a gripping read, 14 Aug 2008
By 
brainleek007 (Bracknell) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Watchmen (Paperback)
Watchmen rocks, big time.

I've only recently started reading graphic novels and what a place to start!!

Watchmen is written for a more mature audience and reflects more of the real world in its grittiness and atmosphere. There is no happy ending, none of the heroes, bar one (who is almost a god I suppose), have special powers other than being at the peak of human development in certain areas. Some are great athletes, some are very smart - some are both and most are pretty handy in a scrap.

The story starts with Rorschach investigating the murder of a man, Robert Blake, in the process of which Rorschach learns was a superhero called The Comedian. The plot revolves around Rorschach's deepening investigation and uncovering a plot which whilst horrendous may actually be the lesser of two evils - that's for the reader to decide.

The characters in the book are clear cut (and some not necessarily after a reader's affection as most superheroes are), take for instance Rorschach who had an abusive mother and a rough upringing and has grown into a man who is utterly uncompromising in his use of violence. He will do pretty much anything to anyone who prevents him reaching his goals. He's a true anti-hero. The story is filled with characters like this, some are almost Nazi's, others lean towards more traditional superhero values and it's interesting to see how the plot develops with this mix of characters who are all there to try and 'help' humanity.

The setting of the story is in an alternate 1985 where Richard Nixon is still president and the world is heading towards a nuclear holocaust. It's dark, gloomy, depressing and very atmospheric.

The artwork is fantastic too. There's a limited colour palette used which lends a unique look to proceedings. To me it looks like a traditional comic, which is no bad thing, as opposed to some comics which look like watercolour drawings.

It's difficult to carry on without revealing the plot but I found myself reading quickly just to find out what was going to happen. I'm reading it again already to see what I missed!

The ending is not what I expected. I was still expecting loosed ends to be tied up neatly, this is a comic book after all!! But, no, there is no such neatness provided and the last few pages leave things open and also show the death of a major character. The ending is brilliant actually.

The story deals with serious issues and is philosophical, thoughtful and emotionally deep. It's easy to see now why it was so revolutionary in its genre.

Essential *****
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still brilliant, 2 April 2008
This review is from: Watchmen (Paperback)
A friend told me that this was being made into a movie (in fact had been made and was in post-production with a release date in 2009) and got me thinking it was about time I reread it. After all, the last time I'd read this Rick Astley was in the charts. So I got hold of a copy and plunged back into Moore & Gibson's parallel universe.

I suppose the first thing that struck me was how much I remembered, even though it's 20 years since I read it. I recalled the Black Freighter story, the personal mythology of the masked characters and some of the striking imagery. But there were new insights and discoveries, too.

I began to appreciate the symmetry of the artwork, evident throughout the book but, for me, most striking in Episode 11 which begins and ends with a plain white frame that evokes very powerful emotions. I really appreciated the skill required to draw together the incredibly dense narrative in which a complex series of flashbacks / forwards are incorporated without confusing the plot. The truly cinematic sweep of the artwork that seems paradoxically artless and exquisite at the same time.

A fantastic book, then, that retains its power and imaginative verge. I imagine that the screenwriters have gone one of two ways with it...set it in the 1980s where, as a sort of period drama, things like an arms war between America and Russia seems plausible. Or update it to the new century and incorporate more contemporary world events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 4 Mar 2009
By 
Simon Wells - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Watchmen (Paperback)
Watchmen takes a completely different turn from normal hero comics. Set in a time when the Cold War was on everyone's mind and people feared nuclear war, Watchmen shows how foolish the war was, as both Russia and America both build their armies and weaponry trying to build a more powerful bomb because if they didn't then the other side would.

Not only does Watchmen remind us of the fearful times during the Cold war, it also gives us a dark insight to the criminal world, which is mostly described by one of the masked vigilantes. Though this is usually a side of the world that people don't like to think about Alan Moore displays it with all the horrors that people try to hide from. You can't help but think that maybe the law is failing and that the police need to do more to help people, but it also shows that when people do make a stand to try to help that the people turn their backs on them, which I can't help but think would happen.

The Comedian is one of the stangest characters in the entire thing, at first you think him nothing more than a bigoted monster but the more you think about it the more you realise that he is a horrifying account of humanity at our worst moments. The book is well worth reading because there are so many different messages within it.

After reading both V for Vendetta and From Hell, I was looking forward to reading another of Alan Moore's works and Watchmen didn't disappoint. Great read and enjoyable plot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Deserves its Legendary Status, 30 Oct 2011
By 
Theo (Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Watchmen (Paperback)
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.

Theo.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Classic, 15 Oct 2005
This review is from: Watchmen (Paperback)
A fabulous multi-layered must read. Even if you are not a comic buff or fan of graphic novels, this one should win you over. Watchmen is intelligent, well-written, and almost flawlessly crafted with a patience and eye for detail that is often missing in other works in this medium.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would give this 6 stars if I could!, 11 Mar 2009
By 
M. Sowden (Plymouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Watchmen (Paperback)
What can you say about Watchmen that hasn't already been said? Well, the Lord of the Rings of the comic world is quite simply a masterpiece. It deserves its place among the pantheon of literary classics and like all time(less) pieces (geddit, time pieces ....watchmen...oh never mind) it will never be bettered as it is completely unique - well apart from the ending which is very similar to an episode of the 1960's US TV show "The Outer Limits". I have read this once a year, every year, since I bought it in 1987 and I can honestly say I discover something new about it every time. Now, this could mean that I just dont pay a lot of attention when I read things, but I like to think its more to do with the depth and intricacy of the work. For instance, check out Chapter 5 "Fearful Symmetry", where the whole chapter is designed to be symmetrical (the first panel mirrors the last, the second mirrors the second to last, and so on...). Who creates comics in this much depth? A writer and artist at the absolute top of their game, thats who...

Did I mention its quite good?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Don't Read Comics But This Is Brilliant, 25 Mar 2009
By 
J. Bland (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Watchmen (Paperback)
Not being a comic book fan (save for those that have been turned into decent interpretations in film form) and being of the rather narrow opinion (until now) that a novel with pictures is for children, I'm happy to say that my naive preconceptions were chiseled down page by page. The story was engaging and sometimes shocking with dialogue that at times you had to remind yourself had been written by one person and not twenty individuals each of whom had adopted the role of that particular character and written accordingly. Superbly paced with amazing art that drew you in even further, it was a joy to read and a novel I found very difficult to put down. I'm not necessarily going to go out and buy a load of other graphic novels - I'm currently back in the colourless pages of a John Updike novel (colourless referring only to the actual font - not the language) - but I would absolutely recommend Watchmen to anyone with an interest in books, films, propeganda and art. It is rightly part of the "must read" lists it appears on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best in its field, 17 Mar 2009
By 
C. Cunningham - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Watchmen (Paperback)
I had heard of this novel a few times in passing before, and never gave it a second thought. I had heard that its regarded as the finest graphic novel ever written. And I had heard that its one of the greatest pieces of fiction ever written.
Wow, what hype for a simple comic book that was released quite a few years ago. But this work is anything but simple.
With the release of the movie adaption, I began hearing the praise for the source material again. And so being older and (a little more) mature I picked up a copy here on amazon.
I can safely say that this book is fantastic. I read the whole thing over the weekend, and it had me enthralled the whole time. The plot, the characters, the artwork, the emotion and the devices all kept me reading. And when I was done I skipped through the pages again, to read over the key scenes once more, like you would rewind a cool part in a movie.
To finish i would truly recommend this book to everyone, altho it is for the older reader, this is not a comic book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just absolute, but essential, 26 Feb 2009
By 
Mark Ramsay (Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Absolute Watchmen (Hardcover)
Wow, that's all I can say. Having read the normal trade paperback a good while ago, I wasn't sure if this Absolute Edition would have the same impact on me. However, in the run-up to the movie coming out I was interested to see what the new digital colouring and over-sized format does to the end-product and I can confirm that this is not the Absolute edition, it is the Definitive version.

If you haven't read this book then read this version of it, you'll get so much more out of it. This book is what comics are all about and show how the product has grown in maturity with its readers. Note this is not a graphic novel, I know that's the phrase being bandied about to distance it from what most see as childish beginnings. However, a graphic novel is a work that is created for that format and was never individual issues, Watchmen was 12 individual issues of a maxi series and therefore this collection is a trade paperback. Please don't let this small distinction put you off, you must read this book.
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Watchmen by Dave Gibbons (Paperback - 1987)
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