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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Before Watchmen (possible spoilers)

   
Author Topic: Before Watchmen (possible spoilers)
SteveRogers
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I've been buying and reading the prequels to Watchmen being released by DC under the heading Before Watchmen. The issues so far have included initial outings in mini-series about the Minutemen, The Comedian, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, and Ozymandias (with Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach to follow, I believe).

As a huge fan of the original graphic novel, I was both excited and wary to return to the world Alan Moore established. I've been surprisingly pleased with most of the issues so far. Nite Owl and Silk Spectre have been the more mundane stories thus far which is what I expected. The remaining stories have all started out strong.

The artwork is great in all of them, and many of them have done a lot to further examine the characters of the Watchmen universe. It was especially interesting in last week's issue to get a bit more of the backstory in the Ozymandias issue.

Has anyone else been reading these?

[ July 13, 2012, 04:35 PM: Message edited by: SteveRogers ]

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MrSquicky
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I was tempted, but without Alan Moore's input, I didn't see the point. It looked to me like they were just making character stories and I'm not really that interested in someone else's conception of how these characters might have come to be. I've never been that interested in fan fiction of the "let's get more stories with these characters".

But if they captured the complex layering and issues of Watchmen, I'd be more interested in checking them out.

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SteveRogers
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I think they've captured some of that complexity on a character-by-character basis to a degree. They're achieving similar depth with some characters more than with others. The comics are a series of interconnected mini-series rather than an overall story arc, so it's not nearly as cohesive as Watchmen was.

It's more like a series of graphic novellas set in the same universe as compared to a novel like the original was. If that makes sense.

The Minutemen and Comedian issues have been the most satisfying in regards to story and artwork in my opinion with Ozymandias nearing that quality. Silk Spectre and Nite Owl have been your run-of-the-mill origin story type issues so far which has been sort of a turn off, but they weren't the most interesting characters in the original novel to begin with either.

I've heard really interesting things aboutt the Rorschach arc which is supposed to begin in August.

If you only have casual interest, it might be more economical to wait and pick up a copy of the inevitable omnibus which will most likely be released after the individual series come to a close.

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Itsame
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I read a couple of them but stopped after reading the Silk Spectre.

They're just not nearly as impressive as the original, so I'd rather not taint my memory any further (e.g., I'm not sure how "canonical" I should consider the Comedian story, and if it is canonical, it messes with things).

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SteveRogers
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I've found I'm pretty much reading it as indepedently from the original as I can in some places purely because each character is being written by a different writer and artist (for the most part) unlike in the original where those duties were covered by the same individuals throughout.

Out of curiousity, what's your issue with The Comedian storyline?

For what it's worth, I'm actually a fan of the movie too; though, I prefer the Ultimate Cut. And I do still have my complaints about the film too.

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Itsame
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Just the relationships that the Comedian had and who he killed. So, basically, the whole issue. It was cool and all, but I thought that the writers took too much liberty with the character's background.
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SteveRogers
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Well, some people would probably agree it was a little presumptious to create such a backstory for The Comedian, but, if I recall correctly, that period of his life isn't really discussed or explored at much length in Watchmen. We get the Minutemen stuff, his involvement in Vietnam, and right before/around the Keene Act. And then that story's present era when he worked for the government prior to his ultimate fate.

As I recall, it's hinted he had his hand in some pretty filthy pots at various points throughout his career, possibly some higher profile things.

Though, I do agree [SPOILER] that it seems sorta weird they'd establish his relationship with the Kennedys now which would be a big deal and isn't hinted at at all in the original novel [END SPOILER].

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Darth_Mauve
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Before the Watchmen.....

(Spoilers)

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There was the Sundial Men.

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SteveRogers
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[Big Grin]
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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
For what it's worth, I'm actually a fan of the movie too; though, I prefer the Ultimate Cut. And I do still have my complaints about the film too.

The Ultimate Cut was mostly great, but the added gang scenes with no post-production at all were really jarring. That made it feel like they just rushed it out the door.
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SteveRogers
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I'm still not a fan of some of the things they changed for the movie. I thought the ending in the theatrical cut of the movie was absolutely atrocious.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
I'm still not a fan of some of the things they changed for the movie. I thought the ending in the theatrical cut of the movie was absolutely atrocious.

I'm probably the wrong guy to sound off on this, because overall I find Moore to be an unbearably pessimistic, misanthropic, batsh*t crazy son of a gun. His wackadoodle politics don't help, either.

That being said, I enjoyed Watchmen (mostly for Rorschach), and overall I actually thought the ending of the film was much better. It's been a few years since I saw it, so I don't fully remember all my reasons, but what sticks out at me is that Nite Owl both

1) Doesn't immediately and fully agree that Veidt's insane evil scheme is right the way he does in the comic. Or maybe he just shrugs and says "yeah, I guess that makes sense" in the comic. He doesn't fight it as hard as he does in the film, regardless.

2) He also shows real anguish when Manhattan murders Rorschach, instead of not particularly caring and wandering off to get laid.

The comic... I can't even read it anymore. Considering that the closest thing to a decent protagonist is murdered and the crop of despicable monsters who are complicit in a mass murder go on with their lives, combined with my meta knowledge that Moore thought this was at least a gray/mixed/bittersweet/whatever ending as opposed to a horrific tragedy... means I just feel dirty.

By my recollection, the film version of the story is slightly less disgusting, so that's a win.

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SteveRogers
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:

1) Doesn't immediately and fully agree that Veidt's insane evil scheme is right the way he does in the comic. Or maybe he just shrugs and says "yeah, I guess that makes sense" in the comic. He doesn't fight it as hard as he does in the film, regardless.

2) He also shows real anguish when Manhattan murders Rorschach, instead of not particularly caring and wandering off to get laid.



These actually weren't my issues with either the ending in the book or the ending in the movie.
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Samprimary
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quote:

1) Doesn't immediately and fully agree that Veidt's insane evil scheme is right the way he does in the comic. Or maybe he just shrugs and says "yeah, I guess that makes sense" in the comic. He doesn't fight it as hard as he does in the film, regardless.

2) He also shows real anguish when Manhattan murders Rorschach, instead of not particularly caring and wandering off to get laid.

You need to re-read the conclusion of the comic.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:

1) Doesn't immediately and fully agree that Veidt's insane evil scheme is right the way he does in the comic. Or maybe he just shrugs and says "yeah, I guess that makes sense" in the comic. He doesn't fight it as hard as he does in the film, regardless.

2) He also shows real anguish when Manhattan murders Rorschach, instead of not particularly caring and wandering off to get laid.

You need to re-read the conclusion of the comic.
I do? Aww, man.

Well, I'll do it, but I'd better be remembering wrong! If I go through it again and it's just as frustrating as I remember I'm gonna be pretty peeved at you.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:

1) Doesn't immediately and fully agree that Veidt's insane evil scheme is right the way he does in the comic. Or maybe he just shrugs and says "yeah, I guess that makes sense" in the comic. He doesn't fight it as hard as he does in the film, regardless.

2) He also shows real anguish when Manhattan murders Rorschach, instead of not particularly caring and wandering off to get laid.



These actually weren't my issues with either the ending in the book or the ending in the movie.
I didn't mean to hint that they were, I was just listing my own reasons for preferring the film ending. I sort of figured you'd have a different take.

So I'm curious: Why did you hate the film ending? Lack of the giant alien genital octopus? [Wink]

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SteveRogers
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I thought the way they changed the ending from the "giant alien genital octopus" to placing the blame on Dr. Manhattan didn't accomplish the same thing thematically.
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Aris Katsaris
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I think blaming Dr Manhattan was much more elegant and reasonable than the giant octopus from both a Doylish and a Watsonian perspective -- more elegant in terms of external narrative (it incorporates better the framing of Dr Manhattan for the cancers, and Veidt's goal to drive him away from the Earth) *and* is more elegant in terms of it being an intelligent plot by Veidt with fewer points of potential failure...

The change of course necessitated that multiple cities be attacked all over the world, so that it's seen as an attack against humanity, rather than just a rebellion against America -- but the filmmakers realized this too.

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SteveRogers
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I think changing the threat from an outside one to one which can be linked to America is too short-term a solution. If there's an unknown threat uniting the world, I think it'd be a longer peace. If the threat is one which can be squarely linked to an America who already used the same entity to force peace in Vietnam?

Doesn't accomplish the same thing at all.

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Aris Katsaris
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Fridge Logic makes me think that the alien would *seem* too weirdly convenient in its supposed randomness; soon after the initial wave of fear wore off, people would start wondering about the coincidence.

E.g. it wanted to invade our whole world but happened to appear in the largest city of America, and died immediately, coincidentally causing world peace just when world relations were at their worst?

On the other hand, Dr. Manhattan being to blame and attacking at humanity in disgust, would be seen both as a external threat but also as a potential warning in the classic form of an old testament god punishing humanity ("humanity sucks for being so nasty and malevolent, so here's a warning for for its misbehaviour").

In this form, some of humanity would unite in fear against Manhattan; some would be scared into peace for fear of further punishment. Any escalation of hostilities between any two nations would be potentially seen as tempting God (Manhattan) to exact more punishment against both nations.

I think the film-version works better in this respect.

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SteveRogers
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I find it unlikely every nation in the world would view Manhattan as a "god." And even if they did, he'd still be an American "god" who was used by that country as a nuclear deterrent.

I don't really buy the Manhattan as an external threat notion. He was American. And was created, though unintentionally, in an American lab. He lived in America and worked for the American government.

His role as a nuclear deterrent and as a weapon during Vietnam makes it seem more likely people would assume America had some role in Manhattan's attack.

I think Manhattan's existence and abilities would only help to legitimize an attack by an outside "alien" force trying to destabilize the nation with its own powerful being and which would then hypothetically end hostilities after America's "god" left.

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