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Nuclear Annihilation, one of Watchmen's central themes.
Nuclear Annihilation, one of Watchmen's central themes.

Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book limited series created by Alan Moore (author), Dave Gibbons (artist), and John Higgins (colorist). It was published by DC Comics and ran from September 1986 through October 1987. It was decided that the story would use original characters, as Moore's story would leave many characters dead or unusable in future stories. It was also made into a feature film into 2009 by Zack Snyder and into an episodic game series, Watchmen: The End is Nigh, published the same year by Warner Bros. Entertainment.The story was created by Moore as a means to reflect human anxieties as well as to critique the superhero concept. watchmen takes place in an alternate history version of the United States. In this history the United States won the Vietnam War, thanks in part to the emergence of superheroes in the 1940's and 1960's. But now, on top of being dangerously close to nuclear war with the Soviet Union, costumed vigilantes have been outlawed and most are retired or are working for the government. The story focuses on the personal development and struggles of the protagonists when they are pulled out of retirement when one of their one is murdered and are eventually led to confront a plot to stave off nuclear war by killing millions of people.

Watchmen uses very heavy symbolism and recurring themes. The book has recieved high critical acclaim from comics critics and from the mainstream press and is regarded as a seminal text of the comic book medium.

Video Games

There have been two video games based around the Watchmen universe: Watchmen: The End is Nigh and Watchmen: The End is Nigh Part II. The first game was released at the same time as the Zach Snyder directed movie while the second game was released in time for the DVD release of Watchmen. Both games were later released on shelves.

Rorschach, fighting crime.
Rorschach, fighting crime.

Both games take place before the movie and tell the adventures of Rorschach and Nite Owl as they fight crime and serve cold hard justice. Bot games let the player choose to play as Rorschach or Nite Owl. Both characters play differently and have different sets of combos. Games in the Watchmen franchise are extremely linear where players will enter an "arena" sealed off by invisible walls that only disappear once all opponents have stopped breathing. The games try to stay true with the comic by having cutscenes in the same art style as the graphic novel and making the environments look seedy. Both games contain extreme violence, especially when playing as Rorschach who doesn't hesitate to slam an enemy's face in the ground 20 times before believing he's dead.

The games fell short of expectations upon release, garnering mostly negative reviews.


Edward Blake/The Comedian

Dead at the start of the story, his murder is the focal point of the story. His actions and personality are revealed in flashbacks and by descriptions by other characters. Richard Reynolds described The Comedian as "ruthless, cynical, and nihilistic, and yet capable of deeper insights than the others into the role of the costumed hero". Along with Dr. Manhattan, he is the only government-sanctioned superhero after the Keene Act banning superheroes is passed. Although he attempted to rape the first Silk Spectre in the 1940s, it is later revealed that years later he fathered her daughter Laurie as part of a consensual sexual relationship.

Dr. Jon Osterman/Doctor Manhattan

The only hero in Watchmen with real "superpowers", Dr. Manhattan is contracted by the US government. Jon Osterman gained power over matter when he was caught in an "Intrinsic Field Subtractor" in 1959. Moore delved deeply into quantum physics and nuclear theory when creating Doctor Manhattan, unlike other characters, who have less explained origins.

Daniel Dreiberg/The Nite Owl

He is a retired superhero. He is actually the Second Nite Owl, his predecessor being the retired Hollis Mason. He has a modus operandi that is very similar to that of fellow DC Comics hero, Batman.

Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias

Once the great Ozymandias, Adrian Veidt drew much inspiration from Alexander the Great. He has retired so that he might devote his attention to his own enterprises, as he is one of the smartest men on the planet. He is the main "villain" of the story.

Walter Kovacs/Rorschach


A vigilante who wears a white mask that shows a symmetrical but constantly shifting ink blot pattern (which he believes to be his face), he continues to fight crime, despite being an outlaw. Rorschach sees existence as random and, according to comics historian Bradford W. Wright, this viewpoint leaves the character "free to 'scrawl [his] own design' on a 'morally blank world'". Moore said he did not foresee the death of Rorschach until the fourth issue when he realized that his refusal to compromise would result in him not surviving the story

Laurie Juspeczyk/The Silk Spectre

The daughter of the first Silk Spectre, with whom she shares a very strained relationship, and the Comedian. She was in a relationship with Doctor Manhattan for a long time, but later moved on to Dan Dreiberg, the Second Nite Owl.


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