Alan Moore : The Watchmen (Summary)

I have been reading the comic novel "The Watchmen" after watching the movie, which for all practical purposes I found to be an utter waste of time. The novel on the other hand has been quite a revelation not only with its storyline and the novelty of the idea but also the context. And the context here defines the story. It is seventies and tension is high between US and Soviet Union and both on trigger alert for nuclear weapon. In this all engrossing pessimism, the book captures the story of costumed super heroes out there to save the world, but in the end they manage to save the peace, only to lose themselves in the utter grotesque of violence and madness and insanity. The mood is set in New York, with all its malice of the congested city life where no one looks out for one another and crime. These heroes, fighting to save the city from crime, but themselves are a disoriented bunch. Never before, have we seen super heroes fail, or go mad or become a hired mercenary, but this novel captures the baser instincts of lust, of power and propensity for violence and makes a case against vigilantism. Also remarkable is the imagery and the subtle meaning of symbols that have been used multiple times, like the doomsday clock. Also the storyline is non-linear and jumps to different space, time, context and even stories. In the end, the heroes lose without having to fight the villains as there were none, the context and their inner dreads being their enemy.

Interwoven with the main story, is another totally different and gory tale about a pirate ship and and a survivor who in his lust for revenge, is blinded by the all consuming hate. Nietzsche was right with his observation "He who fights with monsters should be careful least he thereby becomes a monster. When you stare at the abyss, the abyss stares back at you." - One who starts knowing things about matters that are very different from what he is, he takes back a piece of it with himself and that piece changes him. so goddamn true.

Just so that know, "The Watchmen" is the the only comic novel that is included in the list of 100 best novels of 20th century.

No comments:

Post a Comment