The Real Superhumans

Wow. I cannot believe that we are on our last book of the year. And what a horribly depressing way to end off. Why couldn’t we have just read something else? Why did it have to be Watchmen?

I thought comics were supposed to be fun. I thought superheroes were people you could count on and look up to. I thought I would enjoy this book. I thought wrong.

Instead of being a break from reality and societies falling apart and people killing themselves and racism and moral monstrosity, reading Watchmen was like waking up from a good dream into a nightmare.

I think Alan Moore tried extra hard to make sure that none of the characters were at all likeable. They weren’t like your classic Superman. They were old, out of shape, grumpy, cynical, arrogant, and just plain violent. They were like superhumans in the sense that they were amplified versions of everything bad about the average person.

Well, you know, maybe they were just fed up with it all. Maybe they were just tired of looking after people and cleaning up after their “moral lapses”, knowing that it was all only a temporary solution. People were bringing about their own destruction, and why should it be the heroes duty to stop it?

Okay, but still, that’s no reason to be bombing people with weird poison gas grenades to calm them down…

Honestly, I don’t know how to feel about the characters in Watchmen. On the one hand, they are amplified versions of all that is wrong with us – all our lousy attitudes and self-righteous, unempathetic actions. Some of them, especially The Comedian, are absolutely terrible people. But on the other hand, you can see how much contempt they have for the way society is going. And you kind of have to agree with them.

But no. I like my Supermans nice and heroic. After all, we need someone to look up to.


Okay, don’t ask me anymore about Watchmen. I have to go take a walk. Clear my mind…


1 Thought.

  1. Yeah, I agree with you here. Very depressing. Kind of like the theme I was in in Arts One a few years ago where we ended the year with Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which is the most depressing novel I have ever read (more so than this!).

    It’s true, you know, that what’s going on here is pointing out the evils of society but then those evils are repeated in some of the superheroes, even magnified. They can’t make life better if they are no better themselves. I do wonder about Nite Owl, though; he seems somewhat of a sympathetic character, even if he got out of practice for awhile. Still, he is pretty powerless overall. At least he’s not cruel or evil, though.

    And Laurie is also a pretty sympathetic character, though also pretty powerless. She just gets manipulated by her mom, then used by the military to keep Jon happy (she claims). At least she does seem fairly happy by the end with Dan?

    Then there’s also Bernie and Bernard; I liked how in lecture Kevin pointed out that their connection, at the very end, seemed like a human contrast to the violence and cold, calculating rationality of Veidt and Dr. Manhattan. So maybe there are a few decent characters around. But you’re right; most of them are pretty awful.

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