(SPOILERS) Watchmen is the greatest book ever written

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  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited May 2008
    there wasn't much depressing about the ending of fight club

    Servo on
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  • EmperorSethEmperorSeth Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Servo wrote: »
    there wasn't much depressing about the ending of fight club

    Spoilers to Fight Club
    A bunch of terrorists blowing up buildings? That's pretty depressing right there given when I saw the movie. The implications of nationwide anarchy and a psychopathic band of violence-fetishing nihilistic criminals led by a literal madman infiltrating the highest levels of government didn't help it either.

    But I'm sort of derailing this thread moments after I revived it.

    EmperorSeth on
    You know what? Nanowrimo's cancelled on account of the world is stupid.
  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited May 2008
    My (2 months late) impressions:

    Well, this is the most depressing a story's ending left me since Fight Club.

    My stance is Veidt is wrong. If I was Dr. Manhattan or someone else, I might have kept the secret, but I would have popped Ozymandias' skull like a ripe tomato before I left. Hey, he idolized Alexander the Great, he gets to have the same ending.

    I'm torn on whether nuclear armageddon is inevitable. As others mentioned, we know for a fact it isn't based on our world, and while pretty much every character suggested that we were doomed, that's always what happens in circumstances like this. Even so, the "smartest man in the world" probably could have thought of another method that didn't involve killing millions of people. Hell, he could have just said "Oh, Dr. Manhattan, things are looking bad, could you smack Nixon a few times?" and solved things without exploding psychic aliens. Also, why psychic? That seemed like one too many unecessary sci-fi/fantasy elements.

    Oh, and what was the deal with those cigarette sphere thingies? I don't get the point of them at all.

    but what exactly would having a superhero beat up the president solve? there would still be other countries with itchy trigger fingers, and other world leaders to beat up. do you just go around, beating up all the world leaders until they all do what you want and now you're the king of the world?

    to me, it's really far worse for ozy that nobody kills him. i think i may have said something like this earlier in the thread, but what makes the idea of his plan work for me is that he IS the smartest man in the world. just because you and i think that there must have been a better way doesn't mean that there actually WAS. even he doubts himself at the end, though, questioning manhattan (the only person "smarter" than ozy himself) as to whether he did the right thing. but in the same way that ozy sees the angles and benefits of his plot that we can't (simply because his brain operates on a wholly different level than ours), dr manhattan can see what ozy can't- that there isn't an "answer" that will solve things. life continues, in a way that most humans, with our limited perspective and time on earth, don't really understand. ozy may have saved the world. but, at the same time, maybe he didn't. he'll have to live with his choices on the subject either way, because he's forever alone in this decision.

    the "alien" was needed because he wanted something that absolutely couldn't be taken as an attack by russia, so nuclear options, chemicals, anything that would obviously be FROM earth wouldn't work at all. the idea was to unite the world against an outside threat. as far as psychics being unbelievable, well, there's also a naked blue man who can control all of existence at a molecular level, so maybe it's not the most unbelievable part of the story

    the cigarette spheres were just a stylistic touch, in the same way that if you're interested in fashion at all you can look through all the street clothes and see how moore and gibbons created an entirely new culture that echos our own, but isn't.

    Servo on
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  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited May 2008
    Servo wrote: »
    there wasn't much depressing about the ending of fight club

    Spoilers to Fight Club
    A bunch of terrorists blowing up buildings? That's pretty depressing right there given when I saw the movie. The implications of nationwide anarchy and a psychopathic band of violence-fetishing nihilistic criminals led by a literal madman infiltrating the highest levels of government didn't help it either.

    But I'm sort of derailing this thread moments after I revived it.

    no, the point of the movie is the way
    norton's character finally "grows up", in a sense. it's a post-modern bildungsroman where at the end, even though he's successfully conquered his inner demons, he sees that the effects his childishness have had will last into his future, but at the same time he is now in a position to deal with them and construct real bonds. at the beginning of the movie, he goes to self-help groups, desperate for contact, but at the end he's made a human contact on his own terms and will use that contact to rebuild his life. not to mention that the band of terrorists almost certainly would dissolve without norton's direct influence since they all only showed up in the first place because they were as directionless and pathetic as he at the beginning of the film. when they stop getting what he was giving them, they'll move on.

    hah, sorry for a little mini-rant, but i really like that movie and i feel like often its message (that sometimes you just need to grow the fuck up) gets lost on people.

    Servo on
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  • smokmnkysmokmnky Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I know I'm going to get crucified here but I just can't seem to get into this book. Its like I know everyone talks about how awesome it is and life changing and will cure cancer and all but I just don't get it. I'm about 20-30 pages in and I just don't care. The art isn't anything special to me, the characters are just meh and I don't really like the dialogue. Am I just not far enough in? From what everyone seems to say I should be grabbed from the beginning and not want to put it down but I don't.

    I guess I just really don't care for Moore, most of his stuff has never interested me that I've seen (except for "Killing Joke").

    smokmnky on
  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? the foot of mt fujiRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Just finish it and get it out of the way

    It's like watching Citizen Kane. You may or may not actually enjoy watching it, but you should do it all the same just to have seen it

    And if at the end you didn't like it, well, at least you actually read the thing before you came to your decision. That's something. Not something that will keep you from being wrong, but it's something nonetheless

    Olivaw on
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  • grendel824_grendel824_ Registered User
    edited May 2008
    M

    My stance is Veidt is wrong. If I was Dr. Manhattan or someone else, I might have kept the secret, but I would have popped Ozymandias' skull like a ripe tomato before I left. Hey, he idolized Alexander the Great, he gets to have the same ending.

    I feel like I'm repeating myself, but maybe I'm just crazy or I did it somewhere else - while I felt similarly some of the times I read it in the past, the last couple of read-throughs were done wearing my "English-Lit teacher glasses," and the whole point of the book is that NOBODY is wrong. All of the heroes? Still good guys. They're all right. The drama and tragedy comes from the fact that they all have to practically (or literally) kill each other in order to stick to their priniciples and knowledge and do the right thing. There were no "bad guys" as far as the main characters go. And what cinches that for Veidt is the scene where he asks Dr. Manahattan if he did the right thing. Dr. Doom or some other "bad guy" would never ask, and would never wish with all his might that he didn't have to choose between two potentially disastrous unknowns. He was the smartest man on earth - he KNEW what he knew - regardless of the fact that he could've been wrong (part of why he asked), he HAD to do the things he did in order to save the world. What makes him a hero is that he wanted so badly to pass that responsibility on to someone else who would be less competent, but still did the "right thing."

    Civil War had a similar thing, though it was much less elegant and not written as well (I still really liked it, but it's no Watchmen) so there were a LOT more people who wrongly thought either Iron Man or Cap was the "bad guy" and missed the point that they were both right.

    PS: Also, the "smartest man could've thought of something else" criticism is invalid - the story told us that he couldn't. We have to accept that as true - if a story shows a character straining to lift a weight but failing, and thinking "This is just too heavy for me, I can't lift it no matter how hard I try" it would be just as invalid to criticize the story by saying "Psssh... he totally could've lifted it, and things would've been different!"

    And "whacking" the good-guy-who-some-people-mistake-for-a-bad-guy wouldn't make the story any "happier" - unless you're the kind of person who watches "House M.D." and hopes that Dr. House will get whacked at the end for daring to break rules in order to save lives because he knows better. If anything, House is a lot more unlikable than Ozymandias - he's certainly more selfish and has less respect for ethics in general.

    grendel824_ on
  • grendel824_grendel824_ Registered User
    edited May 2008
    smokmnky wrote: »
    I know I'm going to get crucified here but I just can't seem to get into this book. Its like I know everyone talks about how awesome it is and life changing and will cure cancer and all but I just don't get it. I'm about 20-30 pages in and I just don't care. The art isn't anything special to me, the characters are just meh and I don't really like the dialogue. Am I just not far enough in? From what everyone seems to say I should be grabbed from the beginning and not want to put it down but I don't.

    I guess I just really don't care for Moore, most of his stuff has never interested me that I've seen (except for "Killing Joke").

    Well, not caring for Moore puts you waaaay far away from the POV most of us likely have (and many Moore fans and Moore himself tend to think that the Killing Joke wasn't as good as his other stuff). There's no accounting for taste, though - but it's cool that instead of trashing it and giving up you're actively looking for ways to enjoy stuff. It might or might not work out for you, but it's refreshing to see people do that rather than the usual "I'm looking for any excuse to hate something that's supposed to be entertainment - I DARE you, movie/book/comic/whatever, to penetrate my fortress of "meh!""

    It probably hurts that it's been soooooo praised. No matter how good something is, it can be praised to the point of being a let down once someone actually gets to it. It's also a little less effective for people who didn't experience any of the Cold War whatsoever, but it shouldn't be a dealbreaker. The art also isn't flashy and breathtaking and the colors seem bland compared to many comics - but it's just great storytelling. Some comics, when you flip through them the art grabs you and you get excited - I don't see Watchmen doing that for most people. Even I (I say that because I've been reading comics since I was 2, and have been a walking comics encyclopedia ever since) came to it a bit late, and was a bit let down with the end especially. I've actually gotten more enjoyment from it when I've re-read it, as there's something new to notice every time and I can appreciate just how brilliantly everything is set up and comes together.

    I hope you do end up liking it, though. If not, at least you tried, unlike a lot of people. You'll be happier in the end by taking that approach to everything rather than looking for excuses to be disappointed. If you're struggling too hard to see the genius, you might want to put LESS effort into it - you might be missing the forest for all the trees. If it doesn't work and you want to sink more time into it, read it along with some annotations. They point out all the neat little things that make it work so well.

    grendel824_ on
  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm torn on whether nuclear armageddon is inevitable.
    You shouldn't be. Nuclear war was only hours away when Adrien put his plan into motion, so exactly what alternative could he have employed to make two intractable super-powers unilaterally back down?

    Gabriel_Pitt on
  • EmperorSethEmperorSeth Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm torn on whether nuclear armageddon is inevitable.
    You shouldn't be. Nuclear war was only hours away when Adrien put his plan into motion, so exactly what alternative could he have employed to make two intractable super-powers unilaterally back down?

    "Hey, Dr. Manhattan! Sorry about the frame job! Get over there and tell Nixon to quit it, and make it quick!" Problem solved.

    It should be noted, of course, that the reason they even were hours away was because of Veidt, and that was a result of plans years in the making. I was speaking in the general, that is from the point where Veidt started his crazy quest.

    EmperorSeth on
    You know what? Nanowrimo's cancelled on account of the world is stupid.
  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    edited May 2008
    Servo wrote: »
    but what exactly would having a superhero beat up the president solve?

    Let's ask Warren Ellis.

    Echo on
    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
  • AlephAleph Registered User
    edited May 2008
    I'm torn on whether nuclear armageddon is inevitable.
    You shouldn't be. Nuclear war was only hours away when Adrien put his plan into motion, so exactly what alternative could he have employed to make two intractable super-powers unilaterally back down?

    "Hey, Dr. Manhattan! Sorry about the frame job! Get over there and tell Nixon to quit it, and make it quick!" Problem solved.

    Were you paying attention to the book? Manhattan knew JFK was gonna be assassinated and he didn't do anything about it, and there were other similar events which could have been avoided had he intervened, but he chose not to. The guy already knew the future, he just didn't give a shit about human matters (at least up until Laurie convinced him that is).

    Aleph on
  • EmperorSethEmperorSeth Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Oh, one more question for now. A lot of reviews of Watchmen call it a deconstruction of the comic book superhero concept, arguably invalidating it entirely or at least calling idealism of such beings into question. Would you say that's true. I personally disagree. The most obvious reason, of course, is that most of the characters in Watchmen aren't superheroes. Hell, if you add up the best qualities of Ozy, Rorschach, Nite Owl, and Silk Spectre, you pretty much have one Batman. And while Dr. Manhattan more or less fits into the Superman position in the Watchmen universe, he's not really the same in terms of power or personality. He's like a Kurt Vonnegut character made omnipotent.

    Most superhero stories, by contrast, start with the concept of a person who is uniquely capable and then asks what that person does with that power. The choices include the "with great power comes great responsibility" route of the superhero or doing nothing, and thus letting tragedies that the potential hero knows he/she could have stopped go unprevented. Which brings up the second problem. We know from a narrative perspective that superheroes create supervillains. That's why Gotham coincidentally gets all the psychpaths willing to wear a goofy costume and invent themed weaponry. But within a superhero universe, there's no reason to assume that if the superheroes go away, the supervillains will do the same. The Watchmen universe has no real supervillains, save for possibly Ozymandias in the end. The closest it otherwise comes, Moloch, is a sad retiree who gave up on the entire concept because he could make more money doing real criminal work. It's harder to condemn superheroes as a concept if someone like Lex Luthor or Doctor Doom is around, happily taking advantage of the lack of superhuman opponents.

    EmperorSeth on
    You know what? Nanowrimo's cancelled on account of the world is stupid.
  • augustaugust where you come from is gone Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    It's about the desire to put on a sexy costume, and anonymously pound the crap out of the Bad Guys. Not if someone's power set happens to match up with Superman, or if Batman "creates" his villains, which is academic and irrelevant.

    august on
    Pac Man's character is difficult to explain even to the Japanese -- he is an innocent character. He hasn't been educated to discern between good and evil. He acts more like a small child than a grown-up person. Think of him as a child learning in the course of his daily activities. If someone tells him guns are evil, he would be the type to rush out and eat guns. But he would most probably eat any gun, even the pistols of policemen who need them.
  • EmperorSethEmperorSeth Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    august wrote: »
    It's about the desire to put on a sexy costume, and anonymously pound the crap out of the Bad Guys. Not if someone's power set happens to match up with Superman, or if Batman "creates" his villains, which is academic and irrelevant.

    Sure, but that desire changes based on the world on which the potential hero lives in; whether or not there is a duty there or if the hero is needed, or for that matter whether or not that hero's powers are a part of his/her identity. Okay, fine, I got that last part partially from the Incredibles, which in its own way is arguably a pro-superhero retort to the Watchmen, though again it changes the argument by again making powers a natural part of the universe.

    EmperorSeth on
    You know what? Nanowrimo's cancelled on account of the world is stupid.
  • EmperorSethEmperorSeth Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Incidentally, reading this has made me really lose interest in the first season of Heroes retro-actively. I guess Lindeman was just an Alan Moore fan?

    EmperorSeth on
    You know what? Nanowrimo's cancelled on account of the world is stupid.
  • LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Both the Pixar film The Incredibles, as well as Heroes season 1 are both disappointingly copy-cattish of Watchmen. I was pissed at the end of Heroes when it was revealed what The Company was doing.

    Lucascraft on
  • EmperorSethEmperorSeth Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Lucascraft wrote: »
    Both the Pixar film The Incredibles, as well as Heroes season 1 are both disappointingly copy-cattish of Watchmen. I was pissed at the end of Heroes when it was revealed what The Company was doing.

    I wouldn't really call The Incredibles a copy-cat. I think it starts at more or less the same point (superheroes are made illegal,) and addresses the results in a completely different way, which is unsurprising given the differences in the universes, the message of the series, and obviously the age range expected to read it. It's interesting, though, that The Incredibles is sometimes call pro-libertarian propaganda, just like Rorschach himself.

    And speaking of things I might have missed, am I right in assuming the Watchmen universe didn't have airplanes, at least not at the commercial level? They keep on talking about airships and such in-comic. Is that intentional or just another indication the world is different, like those cigarette sphere thingies?

    EmperorSeth on
    You know what? Nanowrimo's cancelled on account of the world is stupid.
  • smokmnkysmokmnky Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Well, not caring for Moore puts you waaaay far away from the POV most of us likely have (and many Moore fans and Moore himself tend to think that the Killing Joke wasn't as good as his other stuff). There's no accounting for taste, though - but it's cool that instead of trashing it and giving up you're actively looking for ways to enjoy stuff. It might or might not work out for you, but it's refreshing to see people do that rather than the usual "I'm looking for any excuse to hate something that's supposed to be entertainment - I DARE you, movie/book/comic/whatever, to penetrate my fortress of "meh!""

    It probably hurts that it's been soooooo praised. No matter how good something is, it can be praised to the point of being a let down once someone actually gets to it. It's also a little less effective for people who didn't experience any of the Cold War whatsoever, but it shouldn't be a dealbreaker. The art also isn't flashy and breathtaking and the colors seem bland compared to many comics - but it's just great storytelling. Some comics, when you flip through them the art grabs you and you get excited - I don't see Watchmen doing that for most people. Even I (I say that because I've been reading comics since I was 2, and have been a walking comics encyclopedia ever since) came to it a bit late, and was a bit let down with the end especially. I've actually gotten more enjoyment from it when I've re-read it, as there's something new to notice every time and I can appreciate just how brilliantly everything is set up and comes together.

    I hope you do end up liking it, though. If not, at least you tried, unlike a lot of people. You'll be happier in the end by taking that approach to everything rather than looking for excuses to be disappointed. If you're struggling too hard to see the genius, you might want to put LESS effort into it - you might be missing the forest for all the trees. If it doesn't work and you want to sink more time into it, read it along with some annotations. They point out all the neat little things that make it work so well.

    I appreciate the response and on some level I do feel that I maybe over thinking the book to some extent but I'm not sure if I can really just relax and come get into it. That being said I did live through a decent portion of the cold war and can remember what it was like (I'm 27) during that time.

    smokmnky on
  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited May 2008
    Oh, one more question for now. A lot of reviews of Watchmen call it a deconstruction of the comic book superhero concept, arguably invalidating it entirely or at least calling idealism of such beings into question. Would you say that's true. I personally disagree. The most obvious reason, of course, is that most of the characters in Watchmen aren't superheroes. Hell, if you add up the best qualities of Ozy, Rorschach, Nite Owl, and Silk Spectre, you pretty much have one Batman. And while Dr. Manhattan more or less fits into the Superman position in the Watchmen universe, he's not really the same in terms of power or personality. He's like a Kurt Vonnegut character made omnipotent.

    Most superhero stories, by contrast, start with the concept of a person who is uniquely capable and then asks what that person does with that power. The choices include the "with great power comes great responsibility" route of the superhero or doing nothing, and thus letting tragedies that the potential hero knows he/she could have stopped go unprevented. Which brings up the second problem. We know from a narrative perspective that superheroes create supervillains. That's why Gotham coincidentally gets all the psychpaths willing to wear a goofy costume and invent themed weaponry. But within a superhero universe, there's no reason to assume that if the superheroes go away, the supervillains will do the same. The Watchmen universe has no real supervillains, save for possibly Ozymandias in the end. The closest it otherwise comes, Moloch, is a sad retiree who gave up on the entire concept because he could make more money doing real criminal work. It's harder to condemn superheroes as a concept if someone like Lex Luthor or Doctor Doom is around, happily taking advantage of the lack of superhuman opponents.
    i'm not sure i understand here. powers are hardly the only thing that are needed to become a superhero. if they were, then nobody would play with batman, green arrow, blue beetle (ted kord blue beetle), the question, hawkeye, nightwing, black panther, robin, the punisher, speedy, or even really people with shitty low-level powers like daredevil or elecktra

    it's not the powers that make someone into a superhero, it's the willingness to put on a crazy outfit and go "deal" with criminals extralegally. that's what watchmen is about- the mindset of those who feel they can protect society better than society can protect itself.

    also, i think you're forgetting about a few other "supervillain"-ish characters spread throughout the text, notably Big Figure in prison.



    (also, while i think dr manhattan has reflections of things vonnegut dealt with in his writing, ie the way billy pilgrim dealt with being "unstuck in time", and i think their psychological profiles both got a little more fatalist for it. manhattan is far more in control of it than billy ever was and i sincerely think that their ultimate messages (to veidt and to the public before his death, respectively) are quite different.)

    Servo on
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  • DJ EebsDJ Eebs Moderator mod
    edited May 2008
    Lucascraft wrote: »
    Both the Pixar film The Incredibles, as well as Heroes season 1 are both disappointingly copy-cattish of Watchmen. I was pissed at the end of Heroes when it was revealed what The Company was doing.

    The Incredibles is really nothing like Watchmen outside of maybe the heroes being outlawed. Considering the heroes were outlawed for legal reasons in the Incredibles, and the villain is executing his plan to make himself look like a hero and also make himself rich, not to mention that the message of the Incredibles is completely different from Watchmen on basically every level...

    DJ Eebs on
  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited May 2008
    Lucascraft wrote: »
    Both the Pixar film The Incredibles, as well as Heroes season 1 are both disappointingly copy-cattish of Watchmen. I was pissed at the end of Heroes when it was revealed what The Company was doing.

    The Incredibles is really nothing like Watchmen outside of maybe the heroes being outlawed. Considering the heroes were outlawed for legal reasons in the Incredibles, and the villain is executing his plan to make himself look like a hero and also make himself rich, not to mention that the message of the Incredibles is completely different from Watchmen on basically every level...

    and that the concept of the family heroes is a fantastic four pastiche, rather than take-offs of old charleston characters.

    Servo on
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  • DJ EebsDJ Eebs Moderator mod
    edited May 2008
    Servo wrote: »
    Lucascraft wrote: »
    Both the Pixar film The Incredibles, as well as Heroes season 1 are both disappointingly copy-cattish of Watchmen. I was pissed at the end of Heroes when it was revealed what The Company was doing.

    The Incredibles is really nothing like Watchmen outside of maybe the heroes being outlawed. Considering the heroes were outlawed for legal reasons in the Incredibles, and the villain is executing his plan to make himself look like a hero and also make himself rich, not to mention that the message of the Incredibles is completely different from Watchmen on basically every level...

    and that the concept of the family heroes is a fantastic four pastiche, rather than take-offs of old charleston characters.

    honestly if brad bird had never seen watchmen I wouldn't be surprised

    DJ Eebs on
  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited May 2008
    and in my mind, heroes is really a pretty shameless x-men rip-off, certainly more than it is a watchmen rip-off.

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  • DJ EebsDJ Eebs Moderator mod
    edited May 2008
    heroes is pretty shameless in general

    DJ Eebs on
  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited May 2008
    if only it would be shameless enough to include a hot electro-sex scene for kristen bell

    Servo on
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  • Toxic ToysToxic Toys Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm re-reading it again. It does make you feel lost the first couple of chapters because there is this world you know nothing about and you are tossed into it.

    I gave it time and all the peaces clicked and it was a great read.

    Toxic Toys on
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  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm torn on whether nuclear armageddon is inevitable.
    You shouldn't be. Nuclear war was only hours away when Adrien put his plan into motion, so exactly what alternative could he have employed to make two intractable super-powers unilaterally back down?

    "Hey, Dr. Manhattan! Sorry about the frame job! Get over there and tell Nixon to quit it, and make it quick!" Problem solved.

    It should be noted, of course, that the reason they even were hours away was because of Veidt, and that was a result of plans years in the making. I was speaking in the general, that is from the point where Veidt started his crazy quest.
    You're forgetting half the problem though. Or how do you think the Soviets are going to react to the American superweapon dropping in on them and making threats?

    And Veidt was in no way involved with the causes of the nuclear confrontation. He just accelerated what was already going happening that was leading to it. The excerpt from Prof. Glass' book lays it all out - the U.S. has been using Manhattan as their beatdown stick on the Soviets and essentially rubbing shit in their faces at every confrontation. Sooner or later they'd have their back to the wall, and they'd be willing to launch missiles, with or without Jon being around.

    And he certainly was not going to be sticking around too much longer. Laurie was the only thing keeping him anchored to the human world, and even without Veidt's machinations, their relationship was in its terminal phase. As soon as he left, the two-super powers began a quick slide to atomic confrontation only stopped because of Veidt's plan. If he'd left when no one was anticipating his departure, what would've happened?

    Gabriel_Pitt on
  • EmperorSethEmperorSeth Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm torn on whether nuclear armageddon is inevitable.
    You shouldn't be. Nuclear war was only hours away when Adrien put his plan into motion, so exactly what alternative could he have employed to make two intractable super-powers unilaterally back down?

    "Hey, Dr. Manhattan! Sorry about the frame job! Get over there and tell Nixon to quit it, and make it quick!" Problem solved.

    It should be noted, of course, that the reason they even were hours away was because of Veidt, and that was a result of plans years in the making. I was speaking in the general, that is from the point where Veidt started his crazy quest.
    You're forgetting half the problem though. Or how do you think the Soviets are going to react to the American superweapon dropping in on them and making threats?

    And Veidt was in no way involved with the causes of the nuclear confrontation. He just accelerated what was already going happening that was leading to it. The excerpt from Prof. Glass' book lays it all out - the U.S. has been using Manhattan as their beatdown stick on the Soviets and essentially rubbing shit in their faces at every confrontation. Sooner or later they'd have their back to the wall, and they'd be willing to launch missiles, with or without Jon being around.

    And he certainly was not going to be sticking around too much longer. Laurie was the only thing keeping him anchored to the human world, and even without Veidt's machinations, their relationship was in its terminal phase. As soon as he left, the two-super powers began a quick slide to atomic confrontation only stopped because of Veidt's plan. If he'd left when no one was anticipating his departure, what would've happened?

    Oh, I agree that using Jon as a weapon for war was a bad idea; there's a reason these demi-god characters accept no political positions or military ranks. And apparently having a president Nixon for so long is just as dumb (and seemingly illogical to me; why re-elect him so many times for something he wasn't even responsible for?) But it also seems that the situation wasn't a complete beatdown. At the time of the comic, over a decade passed since 'Nam. If the government really wanted to, they could have easily used him to take the Kremlin by now. But clearly they believe the "60%" theory regarding nuclear missiles and haven't taken that change, letting Jon focus on more covert actions.

    You seem to be painting a picture where nuclear armageddon is inevitable regardless of the Soviet position anyway. If it was inevitable when they were losing and desperate, and the circumstances of the comic suggest it would be inevitable when both sides were equal, there's little room to work with, which I believe is unlikely when a super-genius and a demi-god were in the equation. Even if we assume that Nixon's plan was absolutely going to be a nuclear launch hours or days from the comics ending, that was his position a week ago barring changes. The events of the last issue suggest that those plans CAN change, so the question is why it had to be a death-dealing alien? The millions of casualties doesn't make sense as the cause; why would Russia be worried that half of New York is dead if they were willing to destroy both halves hours later. If anything, they'd be glad the situation let them catch America with its pants down and launch earlier. If it's the alien aspect, then just teleport it to somewhere else; off coast of Washington D.C., in the middle of Afghanistan, anywhere.

    Really, I'd argue that Ozy's plan only "worked" because it was a distraction. Anything could have popped up long enough to get both sides away from immediate attack and talking again. Ozy could have lied about some other issue and had the same effect. Or Jon could have faked an alien attack even better than Ozy. That's why the lie, at the end, was pointless at best. What happens if/when the truth is discovered? Ozy gets crucified, and then the uneasy peace of the Cold War resumes. On the other hand, I'm not at all convinced that the lie would lead to peace. Why would two nations, so paranoid and obsessed with security that they were moments away from annihilating each other, assume this horrible attack was an unfortunate accident and the alien didn't know what it was doing? Assuming America didn't immediately nuke Russia on the assumption that the alien was just a premature Soviet attack and attack them immediately, both sides would probably start developing teleportation weapons to prepare from this new invasion. And when they fail to find their new enemy, they just had deadlier new weapons to fire at each other.

    EmperorSeth on
    You know what? Nanowrimo's cancelled on account of the world is stupid.
  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited May 2008
    the funny thing to me about your complaints is that i think they aren't weaknesses in the story at all. i think these are the things you're meant to consider, for the most part, particularly the question as to whether or not it would be a "permanent solution". that's what veidt himself is grappling with at the end of the story. it was the best solution that the smartest man in the world could come up with it (and i'm sorry, but the insistence that he could have thought of a better plan doesn't wash. this has to be his best idea, because it's what he did. why would he have spent such a massive amount of time and effort, spilled so much blood if he, in his super-geniusist of hearts, didn't believe that it was the only way?), but was it enough? was it worth it? would russia and the us have nuked each other, had veidt not implemented his plan? there's no way to tell what lives in the land of might-have-been, and that's what will haunt veidt forever- the fact that he might have needlessly killed so many.

    i think an important thing to remember about veidt's plan is that he gains nothing from it, personally. it costs him a huge amount of money, it damns his soul, and he gets no glory, no money. he doesn't rule the world now. he did it because he genuinely believed it was for the greater good.

    how, though, could jon possibly fake a better alien attack than was presented in the story?

    this paragraph, though-
    Why would two nations, so paranoid and obsessed with security that they were moments away from annihilating each other, assume this horrible attack was an unfortunate accident and the alien didn't know what it was doing? Assuming America didn't immediately nuke Russia on the assumption that the alien was just a premature Soviet attack and attack them immediately, both sides would probably start developing teleportation weapons to prepare from this new invasion. And when they fail to find their new enemy, they just had deadlier new weapons to fire at each other.

    the whole idea is that they don't assume it's an accident. they assume it's an alien fucking invasion, because of the huge alien and all the dead people. why would u.s. intelligence think that russia had suddenly had the ability to teleport a giant psychic monster that they had never heard of before?

    also, why would they start developing teleportation weapons? veidt is the only one who has the technology for it, which is part of what makes his plan feasible

    Servo on
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  • EmperorSethEmperorSeth Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'll address the specific points later, but actually agree on the general point. I don't think this is a flaw of the comic, and I think debates like this are precisely why we're still talking about this two decades later. I'm mostly continuing the earlier debate, started by tube among others, about whether Ozy was a big evil jerk that should've died and what we would have done in its place. I suppose it's common for people to, when confronted with absolute utilitarianism (Ozy,) or absolute deontology (Rorschach,) to seek out a third option, and comic book media tends to encourage that thought. See the first Spiderman movie, for example, where Spiderman is given the choice of saving his falling girlfriend or a...bus (I think?) full of people, and he chooses to save both. Admittedly, that could be argued as utilitarianism versus ethical egoism, given the personal investment he had with saving his girlfriend, but I think he would have made this same choice if it was a perfect stranger as well.

    On a related subject, we know there's supposed to be an upcoming movie again: how well or badly will that work? Part of me thinks the current ending would horrify mainstream audiences, but they can't get rid of it without ruining the whole point of the series. And I'm guessing Marvel wouldn't be too happy with this movie, either; if this does work as a deconstruction of comic book archetypes, could it do the same to comic book movies?

    EmperorSeth on
    You know what? Nanowrimo's cancelled on account of the world is stupid.
  • augustaugust where you come from is gone Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I didn't stop reading superhero comics after reading Watchmen.

    Let's put it that way.

    august on
    Pac Man's character is difficult to explain even to the Japanese -- he is an innocent character. He hasn't been educated to discern between good and evil. He acts more like a small child than a grown-up person. Think of him as a child learning in the course of his daily activities. If someone tells him guns are evil, he would be the type to rush out and eat guns. But he would most probably eat any gun, even the pistols of policemen who need them.
  • grendel824_grendel824_ Registered User
    edited May 2008
    smokmnky wrote: »
    I appreciate the response and on some level I do feel that I maybe over thinking the book to some extent but I'm not sure if I can really just relax and come get into it. That being said I did live through a decent portion of the cold war and can remember what it was like (I'm 27) during that time.

    Well, if you think it might help try to conjure some of the atmosphere from back then - the very real idea that everything could be gone in a flash and it was completely out of your control. I know a lot of people today just dismiss the whole "possibility of armageddon thing" because with the benefit of hindsight, we now know that the Russians were just like us - scared that we'd invade and take their stuff and trying to look strong. At the time, it was quite reasonable to look at Kruschev banging his shoe on the table and think "Wow, this maniac really does want to kill us no matter what!"

    So you're either trying to hard to get into it or not trying hard enough :P

    It works on a ton of levels for me - the characterization (part of the reason why the end is such a letdown for me was because I wanted to see these characters interacting forever), the plot, the craft involved... and the fact that I identify with a different character every few years - Rhorschach appealed to the idealistic semi-anarchist high school me that wanted to believe good and evil was just that simple, then Veidt, and now that I'm interested in quantum physics I'm identifying (er... just a little) with Jon. Maybe once I hit my 40s and go soft I'll identify with Nite Owl...

    grendel824_ on
  • grendel824_grendel824_ Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Admittedly, that could be argued as utilitarianism versus ethical egoism, given the personal investment he had with saving his girlfriend, but I think he would have made this same choice if it was a perfect stranger as well.

    Yeah, though that's one of the things that makes us have to consider the "meta" part of the story - namely, it's really convenient to have a character faced with a seemingly impossible dilemma, only to have him go "a-ha! I choose the THIRD OPTION WHERE EVERYONE WINS!!!" if you're a writer. It comes up often enough in the types of fiction we're likely both used to that it's an automatic thought in our heads whenever we see that - but that won't always be the case. Kind of like how children's literature sometimes give TOO MUCH hope to people growing up - you know, maybe you CAN'T ever become President or win a gold medal - there's a whole lot of chance involved in those things that simply won't go away because you keep believing in yourself.

    For awhile, that kind of storytelling sent a positive message - you're never screwed, keep looking, keep trying, etc. But now it often seems like a cop-out - a convenience to stop the character from having to make an impossible choice. The author didn't leave a third option in Watchmen. No third option was presented in Civil War. House M.D. very often doesn't have the luxury of a third option.

    If "Sophie's Choice" was a Spider-Man movie, she'd find some last minute way to save both of her kids, but it's not that kind of movie. And Watchmen isn't that kind of book.

    grendel824_ on
  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited May 2008
    I suppose it's common for people to, when confronted with absolute utilitarianism (Ozy,) or absolute deontology (Rorschach,) to seek out a third option, and comic book media tends to encourage that thought.

    it's interesting that you point rorschach and veidt as the two extremes. i hadn't thought about it in that way before, but considering it, i think they are opposite poles in a lot of ways within the story. ozy is focused on the big picture, saving the largest number of people that he possibly can. rorschach, on the other hand, is content to move from thug to thug, eliminating crime on a personal scale. i wonder, then, if nite owl isn't in fact the middle ground you point out. in a way, the book's two most powerful characters (powerful in terms of personal ethics and belief) are rorschach and ozymandias. by the end of the story, all the other characters have fallen somewhere between the two poles that they represent, whether it's jon "siding" with rorschach by leaving earth and having nothing else to do with them, or nite owl "siding" with veidt by agreeing to stay silent.

    nite owl's own choices are often overshadowed and influenced by the desires of these two much more powerful characters, and perhaps that's moore's answer to those seeking "a third way" (if you will)

    i can't tell if that's making sense. that was all considering the story in a way i hadn't before, so maybe it's just babbling

    Servo on
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  • augustaugust where you come from is gone Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Owl and Specter are pretty much the only sane, normal humans present, being buffeted around by personalities and forces beyond their understanding.

    Really, the only sane reaction to the end of the book is to hold on to one another.

    august on
    Pac Man's character is difficult to explain even to the Japanese -- he is an innocent character. He hasn't been educated to discern between good and evil. He acts more like a small child than a grown-up person. Think of him as a child learning in the course of his daily activities. If someone tells him guns are evil, he would be the type to rush out and eat guns. But he would most probably eat any gun, even the pistols of policemen who need them.
  • Toxic ToysToxic Toys Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I just finished it again for the 2nd time and I just noticed this. Rorschach was crying right before Jon killed him.

    Toxic Toys on
    3DS code: 2938-6074-2306, Nintendo Network ID: ToxicToys, PSN: zutto
  • grendel824_grendel824_ Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Toxic Toys wrote: »
    I just finished it again for the 2nd time and I just noticed this. Rorschach was crying right before Jon killed him.

    That was always a touching detail for me - it's almost like he was crying with relief, though. Like, finally he can end his existence without compromising - even because he refuses to compromise. When I imagine a "sequel" (which should never happen), I imagine Rhorschach walking around a "perfect" city until he finally realizes that rather than kill him, Dr. Manhattan simply created a city on Mars for Rhorschach to occupy and keep docile... don't know where I'd go with it, but if somebody held a gun to my head and said "pitch a Watchmen sequel" that's where it'd start.

    One thing that I always noticed that nobody I ever knew saw until I pointed it out (even an annotation that I sent a correction to) was the stuff that Rhorschach took out of the fridge and left behind the counter in Moloch's apartment, that serves as a slight hint that the refrigerator is "occupied." The annotations I saw just though the detail meant that Moloch was sloppy and left melting ice cream and stuff out in a pile. There's something new every time...

    grendel824_ on
  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I don't know if it was relief so much as grief or anguish or maybe just sheer rage. I mean, the guy had to be pretty screwed up at that point if you look at what he just witnessed.

    I mean, he just watched his friend and one time partner turn his back on everything that Rorshach thought he believed in, watched Veidt (another long time acquaintance murder New York with a smile on his face and worst of all, he was completely powerless to do anything but stand by and watch.

    I'd imagine, given Rorshach's code of ethics, that made him as bad as an accomplice to the crime in his own eyes.

    I think I like Grendel's explanation better though. It's a little happier ending for Rorshach, him being glad to die without having to comprome his values.

    see317 on
    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • Toxic ToysToxic Toys Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Rorshach took off his "face" at his end.

    His code of ethics was for small crimes, not saveing the world

    Toxic Toys on
    3DS code: 2938-6074-2306, Nintendo Network ID: ToxicToys, PSN: zutto
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