Retro Review: Watchmen

With the movie coming out today, I though I was due to reread Watchmen, a book I used to read once a year, but have since lapsed on.  It remains one of the best comics ever written, although not the best, or even the best by Alan Moore (have to give that to V for Vendetta).  I’d also argue that it’s not even Moore most influential work (The Anatomy Lesson launched what became Vertigo and the modern wave of mature comics).

But Watchmen is still an amazing comic, probably the most nuanced take on the superhero genre to ever see print.  I’ve read the book at least a dozen times, and I’ve taken more out of it with each reading.  This time I paid particular attention to the use of reflections throughout the book.  Clearly they form an integral symbol throughout the book, after all their’s a symmetrical issue, not to mention Rorschach’s shifting mask.  But this time through I noticed just how often characters are shown in reflections and even if you push the metaphor a little, how often the reader views them through someone else’s eyes.  When you keep in mind the deconstructionist approach Moore takes to the story this sort of structure just makes the book that much more brilliant.

20 years later, Watchmen remains one of the few truly essential pieces of any comic collection.

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