Friday, November 14, 2008
Struggling With 'Watchmen'
Am I allowed to say that I am having issues with "Watchmen?" As in, I don't like it that much?
Saying you dislike "Watchmen" is almost blasphemous for a geek, considering that the graphic novel has been called the best of its genre, ever. I certainly understand the historical and literary importance of "Watchmen." It's easy to see how Alan Moore's opus broke all kinds of new ground and inspired a style that comic lovers take for granted now. Had I read it back in college, I'm sure it would have blown me away.
But having read so many fresher (and frankly, better) comics and graphic novels first, I'm having a hard time appreciating "Watchmen" on its own merits. I'm about halfway through a borrowed copy, and the only character I give a hoot about is Dr. Manhattan, who gains superhuman powers after accidentally having his atoms rearranged in a nuclear physics experiment. I am extremely annoyed by the whiny, two-dimensional female characters, particularly the second Silk Spectre. As several friends have pointed out, her only function appears to be servicing Dr. Manhattan — and she can't even do that without being tiresome.
Under normal circumstances, I'd say life's too short to slog through a so-so book you don't have to read. But since this is a classic — a geek classic — I feel obligated to see it through, and I've even given myself a Thanksgiving deadline. At least then, I'll be able to offer a more informed opinion and compare it to the film version.