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.
on 12 July 2005
At the time of it's release , Alan Moore ( author of 2000 AD stories such as Skizz , Halo Jones and D.R. & Quinch , not to mention DC stalwarts such as Swamp Thing ( he invented John Constantine in this series ) , and several short Superman stories ) had grown tired of the spandex brigade in mainstream comics , and decided to re-invent superheroes as if they had come to life in our own world . This tale is a classic tragedy about the trials and tribulations of a former group of vigilantes , who find themselves thrown together when one of their number dies .
This is no short 5 minute read , like those who are uninitiated with graphic novels may expect . Instead , this is a story that will take time to read ( and should be relished ) , with intermissions between chapters that help to flesh out the protaganists characters and give us insight into their world .
The story has been rightly decribed as one of the main influences on modern comic story-telling , and the superlatives have been deserved .
Without doubt , a story deserving of anyone's attention , whether a graphic novel enthusiast , or new to the genre .
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...
on 23 January 2009
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.
on 29 September 2000
Graphic novels have always had a bad press. "Kid's stuff" they said. Whilst 2000AD tried to change comics in the 80's, along came a new breed of, well, comics that were not for children. Amongst these was Watchmen, and it's one of the best things you will ever read.
Why? It has plot. My Lord, does it have plot. I can't even begin to describe it now, because it would just be babbling about superheroes. Superheroes? Yep, but not like you've seen them in the films. There are two groups, the old ones, who have gone to seed with spare tyres and bald patches, and the new guys, who are either ultra-rich or genuinely super. All the characters are beautifully fleshed out. The friendships and loyalties, the betrayals, the love affairs; you're never in any doubt that you are reading about people who could be your next door neighbours.
The art is superb, never imposing on the eye, always leaving things to the imagination - like the best cinematography. The storyline is so beautifully constructed you will be going back to this book years later and find things you never saw after 2, 3 or 10 reads. The climax still shocks me (and I'm saying nothing more in case I give something away).
In short, buy this, buy it for your friends and family, and for strangers on the street.
(This review is for the Watchmen, International Edition – this is a nicely bound soft cover version the title)
If anything, Watchman is an examination of the history of the genre and purpose of the superhero: how readers connect to it, and what it means rationally. Moore stretches from fond parody to outright sedition, wrapping the once-simple genre in layers of meaning. This is a tale where he also constantly pushes its boundaries. Watchmen is unrepentant and unwavering in it delivery.
There are no real heroes here - for most Superhero narratives, up until the publication of this title, these Superhero comics were all usually built around wholly compassionate, venerable characters. They represent what people wish they were, and they do the things normal people wish they could do. It doesn't deliver on every level, it isn't perfect, but it contains so much that succeeds, and comes so close to fulfilling its promises that it would be almost crass to mention any failings.
Alan Moore is a great writer. He is not a great writer for comics; he is a great writer period, who happens to have made the graphic novel his medium. Watchmen is at times legendary, funny, scholarly, sad, exciting and intriguing. It is written for intelligent readers. The plot, at times, does sprawl - it is convoluted, and it spans generations with a large ensemble cast. What kept it together are the deeply personal narratives on various scales. This is a fun read. It is exciting. The artwork is truly sumptuous and coveys so much of the unwritten tale.
Read it. If someone sneers at you for reading, a comic book just ignore them.
on 15 October 2005
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.
on 25 February 2006
Alan Moore's seminal work "Watchmen" finally gets the treatment it deserves in this, the Absolute Edition. As with the Absolute Crisis On Infinite Earths Watchmen is presented here in a gorgeous single, but large, volume. Again beautifully slipcased, and presented with the utmost care and respected for the material. If you have never read "Watchmen" then you are missing out on a treat. I wont go into specifics of the story, I'll let you discover that for yourselves, but you cannot buy a better version of it as presented here. DC are treating their best stories with complete and utter respect and this is a must have volume for any self respecting comic fan. Again the price is high, but you get what you pay for. Every aspect of the series is covered with lengthy commentaries from all those involved including writer and artist. Don't delay, buy this massive volume today.
on 17 August 2006
This is a great book. I don't like normally read comics but I loved this. It's clever, beautifully written with great illustrations, and it gently uses the classic 'superhero' idea to query whether there's any place in modern society for absolute morals.
When I finished it, I sat for a bit, pondered, then started it again - only the second time in 30 years that I've done that with a book.
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.