Watchmen, a brilliant graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Gibbons is the story of a group of disbanded costumed heroes. Its a psychological thriller set in an imaginary America that is on the brink of destruction. It starts off with the murder investigation of Edward Blake, also known as the Comedian. The Comedian was a part of a group of costumed heroes called Minutemen whose mission is to save the world. The bunch breaks up when costumed heroism is made unlawful.
Dr. Manhattan, the only one in the bunch with actual super-powers and the Comedian join the government and are paid work with them. The others in the group are Dan Dreiberg (Nite Owl), Rorschach, Captain Metropolis, Ozymandias, and Silk Spectre. Ozymandias goes on to quit and market himself to become the richest man in the world. The others just go back to their normal lives.
When the Comedian dies, Rorschach suspects a plot to wipe out masked heroes. In the course of his investigation, he lands up in prison and Nite Owl and Silk Spectre II (the original one’s daughter) get back in action to smuggle him out of prison. Avoiding any spoilers, they discover Ozymandias to be the one behind the plot. What happens then on to the masked hero community is how the book ends.
This book is a fabulous read not just for its copy but also for its out of the world artwork. When you finish reading the book, the effect is that of having watched a movie. A very good one at that notwithstanding the slightly filmy ending. But I guess I wouldn’t have it end any other way. The narrative that keeps moving back and forth in time has quite a few recurring visuals and a comic book inside a comic book. The zoom effect (?) towards the end of chapters is simply brilliant and it gives the narrative an absolutely real feel.
Its a perfect superhero book in spite of characters that do not posses any superhuman powers. It has very strong characters, heroes who want to save the world, characters with shades of gray, glamour, a villain, and a feel good ending.