There’s a reason that, nearly 40 years later, Alan Moore’s iconic graphic novel still ranks as one of, if not the best graphic novel ever created. Watchmen tells a story of superheroes and comic books that will never go out of style. It tells that story with a skill and cohesion unlike anything found elsewhere. Tragic, flawed characters provide glimpses into the mind of heroes we all admire, just with different names. It speaks to the industry and world in a way every bit as relevant today as it was then.
Thank goodness Damon Lindelof seems to have gotten the right message.
This trailer gives us our first real look at his sequel/spin on the Watchmen story, and it looks fascinating. We knew it took place after the graphic novel, and now we have an idea of what the world looks like post-squid. The main focus seems to be on an extremist group influenced by Rorschach and their clashes with the police. After some large-scale attack on police and their families, cops have begun wearing masks like vigilantes do to protect their identities. Both sides seem squared up to battle. Who is in the right? No one, I’m sure, and that will be the point. The original graphic novel had a lot to say about the dangers of vigilantism, the easy path to fascism through the exploitation of the lawlessness of superheroes, and the minds of those who would don a mask and risk their lives fighting crime. Lindelof looks to be taking that core theme and putting a modern spin on it.
This world seems to have taken idolization of superheroes even further than the original story did. We have documentaries about the heroism of the Minutemen, fairs with Doctor Manhattan masks, and the Rorschach group, of course. Superheroes have only become more prominent since the years of the novel. I can’t wait to see how Lindelof tears it down.
Combined with the numerous familiar sights such as the Night Owl’s ship, an apparent federal agent Laurie Blake (huh), and the potential for some flashbacks to the Minutemen if the Hangman’s appearance is a hint, and we could have something great on our hands. At the very least, I feel refreshingly optimistic that Watchmen will deliver the right message for a modern take on this story. I just hope Watchmen’s fans like that message.
Watchmen is scheduled to swoop onto HBO this year.