Category: Comic Geekery

Watchmen: A Darkness Witnessed in the Heart of Men

While many will know me as a dedicated reader of X-Men, some will find it surprising to learn that it is Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins’ beautifully executed Watchmen that stands as one of the most profound readings of my life. Moore’s noir story falls between a critical vivisection of the dark underbelly of heroism and a parody of a society in which individuals must hide behind masks. Ultimately, it asks the question, in a world where heroes are retired by superheroes, “Who watches the Watchmen?”

The graphic novel originated from a collection of characters acquired by DC Comics. The story rejected by DC for making the characters unusable in a longterm capacity, Moore ventured out on his own. The story follows a group of second generation heroes, Silk Spectre II, Nite Owl, Ozymandias, Dr. Manhattan, and Rorschach after the killing of their former teammate the Comedian. The story jumps between this generation of heroes and the Comedian’s previous team, the Minutemen.

The story pulls no punches and one is left wondering if Moore’s existence is surrounded in misery or if he is a brave soul willing to dive head first into the depravity of mankind. Moore creates a setting in which people need to done masks in an effort to maintain some sense of security in a world gone mad. But it’s not the gangs, thugs, or bottom feeders that Moore dissects to reveal the darkness contained within.

The Comedian is past his prime, a drunken veteran with a sad retirement surrounding him. His death begins an investigation that brings together former heroes retired thanks to the superhuman Dr. Manhattan. This forces us to see heroes as ourselves, average people. In the movie, Rorschach opens with the line:

…all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll look down and whisper “No.”

From this line forward, we know Rorschach is by all means looking down on society, finding himself above it, a lofty perch among the gods. We see aspects of Batman split between Rorschach, a man willing to do anything to find justice, fueled by his understanding that the world is a dark place and thus requiring him to be darker, and Nite Owl, an individual who only experiences his manhood when surrounded by gadgets and clothed within a cowl and mask. Rorschach also embraces an aspect of Superman often forgotten in comics. Rorschach, despite wearing a mask is not a secret identity, but the true face of the brutal, often times psychopathic hero, it is only when he removes his face, we are left seeing his secret identity and alter ego, the mentally unstable Walter Kovacs.

Meanwhile we’re given Dr. Manhattan, a man so powerful he is able to perceive himself throughout time and alter matter to his heart’s content. This godly man, on the brink of transcending his mortal self is only grounded by his former hero love, Silk Spectre II. As their relationship goes awry, Dr. Manhattan detaches from mankind, unable to connect with them on any level. With this disconnection, we begin to see how superheroes, or even heroes stand outside the norms of mankind and how in their self-righteousness determine the fate of those they swear to protect.

Silk Spectre II and Nite Owl are the two most grounded characters in the novel, but neither of them are without their flaws. Spectre harbors a damaged relationship with her mother, more so as they fight due to the daughter unwilling to understand her mother’s sympathies surrounding the Comedian, a man who raped her. Bred to take her mom’s place, she only becomes more fragile as she discovers she is the product of rape. Even Nite Owl, who, by putting on his hood and returning to his life as a vigilante causes his mentor to be killed. These two heroes only find themselves capable of being themselves once they have returned to their costumes, and much like Rorschach, they are left asking themselves which version of themselves is the secret identity.

Moore may waste no time initiating the story, but he does spend plenty of time delving into the characters. The Watchmen is incredibly dense and at times I found it less like a graphic novel, and more like a traditional high school English book. The characters in more stagnant pages will delve into dialogue, expressing themselves pondering philosophical questions about why they partake in this lifestyle. The storyline of who killed the Comedian becomes secondary and is mostly used as a storytelling device. The true story comes from the questions we constantly ask ourselves about these heroes. Who are they? Why do they fight crime? Why wear masks? What do they fear? Love? Why do they believe they know right from wrong?

Ozymandias is the character we see the least throughout the development of the novel. We understand his near perfect on every level, from Olympic athlete to incredible intellect, he drips of perfection. But much like Dr. Manhattan, his ability to see the bigger picture is at the expense of his empathy for mankind. While Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan are the extremes, we watch the characters in the middle of the spectrum push themselves in one direction or the other. Ozymandias seeks superiority through detachment. Spectre and Nite Owl struggle to maintain the middle.

We ultimately discover the plot has been conceived by Ozymandias in an attempt to produce an unspeakable evil in which the world can unite and rally against. In the comics it’s a Cthulhu type monster and in the movie it’s Dr. Manhattan and the threat of nuclear annihilation. While we are left seeing him as a villain, we also ask ourselves if unifying the world was worth sacrificing millions? In the movie he says the lives of a few outweighs saving the many, and in this, we find Moore’s continued theme of, “Who watches the Watchmen?”

As the reader, we walk away from the yellow covered graphic novel with a sense of disgust. Moore forces us to ponder the heroes we so desperately seek to connect with and question their motives. Can Superman do what’s best for mankind if he himself is not human? Does the motivations of Batman justify him killing? Can either of them create their own rules? As they protect those beneath them, we’re left asking ourselves, with these Gods amongst men, do they serve us? We may walk away from the novel in disgust, but we’re branded with a single thought every time we stand in awe of the heroics performed in a comic: Who watches the Watchmen?


Magneto Comic Book Giveaway

Magneto Give Away Extravaganza

When we’re talking about complex villains, one of the most thought provoking is the master of magnetism himself, Magneto. For this give away, we’ll be focusing on the greatest foe in X-Men comics. The contest is International and runs from December 7th 12:00AM to December 21 at 11:59PM. I’ll announce the winner via the blog and Facebook so keep checking back!

Included in the giveaway:

  • Issues of X-Men Unlimited 1 – 25
  • Unopened Funko POP Marvel: Classic X-Men – Magneto Action Figure
  • Unopened 1993 Series #1 Magneto Action Figure
  • Unopened Diamond Select Toys Marvel Select: Magneto Action Figure

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Movies That Need To Be Better Than Their Trailers

This movie has had some serious controversy revolving around Hollywood’s obsession with white washing cinema. I’m not going to get into the politics of it, I’m too excited to see one of my favorite animations turned into a movie. This movie asks questions about who we are, what makes us “us,” and ultimately, do we have souls? The action will be astounding, and the set design from the trailer looks spectacular. But will it get the message?

I’m nervous because we know ScarJo has some acting chops, but she’s also been in some major bombs. I am truly fearful this will turn into Lucy 2.0. If it can maintain the trailer level of intensity, you’ll be seeing me in tears as the happiest of geeks!

Hugh Jackman is making his final appearance as our favorite (actually, my least favorite) mutant, Wolverine. However, unlike the “I’m the best at what I do,” crazy aggressive feral man, we’re seeing an elder, tamed, almost reserved man in this comic. Honestly, if he had this kind of development in the comic, I may grow to love him. When Logan takes on his fatherly role, I find him the most charismatic and endearing. I like knowing that underneath that protective quality he has the rage, not the other way around.

My problem with this trailer is it’s showing us very little of the plot. We’ve seen X-Men look beautiful and then go wrong as the plot unravels. We’ve seen the Reavers, and I hope we see them with even more cyber enhancements (I’m hoping for somebody with a tank body.) But where does Sinister fit in? Does he make 23? Is it going to be a throw away plot line? This is where my hesitations lie, we can only hope this is a character driven plot. I have high hopes, it’s been a great run Hugh, even if our relationship has had bumps along the way!

I’m the guy who has never played the video game but fell in love with the movies. I wanted apocalypse, zombies, and badass fight scenes, and Resident Evil has almost always delivered. There have been some hiccups along the way as it started to focus more on the characters and lose the zombie horde chasing feel, but they’ve consistently maintained a good movie. The last one had Russian Military Zombies didn’t it?

The last movie expected for the franchise features a stunning Milla, dirty, tired, and angry. You’ve got me. Now let’s see some technology, some surprise zombie encounters, and a small group of people against the world. As long as I get to watch senseless zombie violence I’ll be happy. I hope she goes out with a bang, literally, I want to watch Raccoon City Burn (again.) This is going into my “sure to meet expectations” pile.

Okay, stop laughing. I know, I just put Power Rangers onto my “must see” list. Actually, it’s been on my “must see” list since 1995 when I saw the first episode. When the Fan Film was released a year ago I fell in love all over again. The concept is there, it’s not bad, even if it has some hokey aspects. What it needed, a dark, very very dark, overhaul with somebody willing to remove the overwhelming do-gooder aspect and let these teens be as dysfunctional as real teens would be. If you had a Zord, be honest, you’d be causing havoc.

I’m not sure I’m going to get what I’m after, but I think they’re going down the right track. The franchise has possibilities and they just need to realize we’re living in a world of morally ambiguous decisions and people willing to play dirty to win. The trailer gives me a bit of hope. My expectations are low, but I’ll admit, this is the one I have the biggest hopes for. Come on Saban, make a big ol’ meanie happy.


Comic Book Geek Extravaganza Giveaway

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We know I love comics. I mean LOVE comics. I thought, what better way to reward the geeks who follow me than share my love of comics. This giveaway features a little of everything Marvel and DC geek. The contest is International and ends on November 30th at 7:00PM. I’ll announce the winner via the blog and Facebook so keep checking back!

Included in the giveaway:

  • Justice League of America: New World Order, 2004
  • The Secret Defenders (#1-#4), 1993
  • Civil War Funko Pop Vinyls
  • Avengers Tattoos
  • Marvel Mystery Mini Bag
  • DC Mystery Mighty Mini

 

This Raffle has Ended


Quick Robin, To the Comic Store

October 29th went in the books as the first day I sold books at an actual comic book store. A few months ago, the folks at The One Stop Shop started carrying Nighthawks. Well, after some discussion I got asked if I’d be interested in attending Comicfest, the October version of “Free Comic Book Day.” I said sure, why not?

I spent the day talking comics and video games with the locals. I imagined I was Kevin Smith on the set of Comicbook Men. Once the Batman onesie appeared, things just got weird. My cheeks still hurt from laughing so hard. The site of a bearded Batman running down the street screaming, “In the name of Justice!” was enough to stop traffic and nearly cause an accident.

Nope. No dull days in the life of a writer!


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