Characters / Watchmen

This page contains entries for the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons only. References to later entries, and non Moore and Gibbons works and follow-ups belong on a separate page.

Warning: As Watchmen came out nearly three decades ago, there will be untagged spoilers from this point forward. Read at your own risk.

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Main Characters

    Dr. Manhattan (Jon Osterman)
Played by: Billy Crudup (film)

"I no longer wish to look at dead things."

The only truly superpowered character in the story, due to a Freak Lab Accident, Jon Osterman gained godlike powers. He's used his powers to revolutionize the world, provide energy for electric cars and blimps, and continues to work on amazing new technology... but as time has passed he has turned more emotionally distant to the people around him and indifferent towards humankind in general, and just doesn't seem to care about anything any more, or do anything unless he's told to.

  • Achilles in His Tent: Finally leaves Earth after getting tired of saving it over and over.
  • A God I Am Not: Despite being nearly omnipotent, he states that he doesn't think there is a god, "and if there is, I'm not him".
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: His skin turned blue after the accident.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: On the one hand, his father's speech patterns. On the other, his apparent foreskin, which he may have reconstructed when he regenerated his body.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Has become this at the end of the story. While he believed that humanity was unimportant because life isn't important enough to give other planets a chance, he also believes that the sheer improbability of any relationship, especially one so horrid as Laurie's parents' (adoptive and biological), resulting in any one person makes that person's existence a miracle, since so many factors could have gone to either create no life at all, or a different life. Jon in fact becomes so anti-nihilist that he decides to create human life somewhere in the Andromeda galaxy just to study it.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Dr. Manhattan leaves the galaxy to create life somewhere else, effectively fitting the definition of God.
  • Badass Bookworm: Most of what he does with his powers, as well as what he did before he had them, was studying particle physics. It goes even further, it is implied that the reason he was able to return was both because of his knowledge of particle physics and the fact that as a child his father would make him dismantle and reassemble complex clocks. This meant he had both the knowledge and thought process to accomplish this. In other words, he brought himself back as Living God under his own ability.
  • Beware the Superman: The very existence and the enormous extent of his powers almost leads to a nuclear war. Although benevolent enough by himself, he is very weak-willed and kills uncounted Vietcong in the Vietnam War and a solid number of American criminals (petty and otherwise) only because somebody told him to. Throughout all of this, he becomes progressively detached from humanity, at one point watching a pregnant woman being killed without even trying to interfere.
  • Blessed with Suck: Manhattan's power. The accident erased him from existence, but he came back with godlike powers. Then again, he's gradually detaching from the rest of humanity...
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Even after rediscovering the value of life, he sees life in terms of predictable/unpredictable, instead of good/evil.
  • Came Back Strong: Although it's not solely his death that is the catalyst of his powers, but the way he died. That is being disintegrated at the sub-atomic level but remaining conscious and disembodied for months before figuring out how to make a new body.
  • Chekhov's Skill: A very rare case that doesn't manifest in the story itself, but in the backstory: Jon could only come back to life after the accident with the intrinsic field because he had learned to be a watchmaker during his adolescence, thus gaining the skill to reassemble himself from scratch.
  • Classical Anti Hero: With the flaws emerging from being increasingly detached from mankind.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Due to his intellect and power, Jon becomes very distant from everyone. For instance, he treats "What's up, Doc?" as if it's a logical question.
    Jon: "Up" is a relative concept. It has no intrinsic value.
  • Complete Immortality: There's only one known way of destroying Dr. Manhattan's body, and that's by disintegrating him through the same method that gave him his power. That doesn't even matter, because Dr. Manhattan's mind and powers exist outside of his physical body, and no has even guessed what could possibly destroy or debilitate those. He doesn't need his body, and can easily make a new one if its destroyed (much faster than he made his first). As he points out, it is inane to try and kill him using the first trick he ever figured out (reassembling his body from being atomized).
  • Death-Activated Superpower: Dr. Manhattan is created after his human self is blown apart atom by atom.
  • Death by Origin Story: Physicist Jon Osterman is atomized in a nuclear experiment, but returns as "Dr. Manhattan", an immortal indestructible ascended godlike entity. Dr. Manhattan was an Expy of Captain Atom, so it is not surprising that Cap's origin was the same in both the original Charlton version and post-Crisis DC version: his body atomized by a nuclear bomb, he returns with superpowers.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Laurie even called him that when he appeared at Daniel's apartment.
  • The Disembodied: A Magical Particle Accelerator tore apart Jon's body, but his mind continued to exist. Apparently thanks to knowledge of nuclear physics and mechanical design, his mind found itself still able to affect the physical universe, even remaking his body. This was and remains his true existence, as his still-disembodied mind does not rely on his physical body for a continued existence—his body isn't just replaceable, it seems to just be a convenience.
  • Disposable Superhero Maker: Dr. Manhattan's accident.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Another deconstruction. He could have easily solved the main conflict of the story if he had cared enough to, which in the end, he didn't. Rorschach calls him out on this towards the end when he and Nite Owl show up too late to stop Adrian.
  • Expy: Of Captain Atom. There are also elements of Superman, a fact even commented on by characters in the story (Superman being a fictional character in Watchmen just as in real life). His origin as a simple meek scientist caught in a science experiment echoes that of The Incredible Hulk and other Marvel origins, putting a quantum spin to their I Love Nuclear Power origin stories.
  • Extreme Doormat: He only became a nuclear physicist because his father ordered him to. Even after he became the most powerful man in the world, he still remained a doormat, following the orders of the government.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: An unusual case. He starts out in a black bodysuit. As he grows increasingly inhuman, he wears less and less — he's in a thong by the Vietnam War. The nudity symbolizes his detachment from the human race, as well as emphasizing his utter invulnerability: nothing can hurt him, so why bother covering up? The only times he bothers to get dressed are at the request of others.
  • Freak Lab Accident: How he got his powers.
  • Heroic Build: When you're rebuilding your body ex nihilo, you might as well treat yourself to some abs.
  • Humanoid Abomination: He shows signs of becoming this throughout the story due to his growing detachment from, well, everything. He ultimately embraces humanity, sort of, but not his own. At best you could say he recognizes the value of humanity. What he actually does is to go off to a galaxy far, far away to play God.
  • Human Weapon: Treated as the ultimate nuclear deterrent and anti-nuclear weapon by the US government. He decides to go play god in another galaxy before things go that far.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: The way Dr. Manhattan sees it, all life on Earth could end, "and the universe would not even notice."
  • Meaningful Name: Jon Osterman: "Oester" is a pagan fertility festival that was replaced by Easter.
  • Monster Modesty: He becomes increasingly immodest as he gets further from his humanity.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: He was created by a lab accident that was "unplanned, and just as certainly unrepeatable", meaning that they can't just make more superpowered beings like him. Adrian found that one of his powers, teleportation, could be reproduced, but without Jon's mind controlling the process, anything living died of shock upon transfer, or materialized in an occupied space and exploded. Fortunately for Veidt this was not a problem, since he didn't need his monster to survive the transfer, and he intended it to do as much damage as possible.
    • It's heavily implied that Jon's background as a watchmaker is the key element to the process, with Jon gradually rebuilding his body with the same certainty he did his father's pocketwatch. This is seemingly discounted by everyone, including Veidt and the Russian attempts to duplicate the accident off-camera.
  • Non-Linear Character: Past, present, and future is going on at the same time and so he cannot do anything.
  • No Nudity Taboo: His preference is being completely nude, and he'll only wear clothes when he needs to. After his accident, he was actually given a costume which he reluctantly wore. But as he slowly detached himself from humanity, he chose to not be associated with anything in relation to humankind, and clothes were one of the first things to go.
  • Not So Stoic: After the accident, he only shows genuine emotion during his interview and later when Adrian attempts to destroy him. According to Veidt however, he might as well have been crying the whole time he was just not able to show his distress or communicate it properly.
    Doctor Manhattan: Please if everyone would just go away and leave me alone... I SAID! LEAVE ME ALONE!
  • The Omniscient: In the first part of the story, while he's still a side character. Although while he can see the future, past and present simultaneously, his knowledge of events is limited solely to the point of view of himself at that point in his personal timeline. For instance, he reveals that he knew that Laurie was sleeping with Dan, not because he saw it happening, but because she told him about a minute into the future.
  • One-Man Army: He's one of the key reasons America wins The Vietnam War.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Professor Milton Glass' book excerpt discusses how Dr. Manhattan, with his godlike control over all matter, has tipped the balance of power between the United States and the Soviet Union by his mere existence. In the event of World War III, he could theoretically destroy large areas of Soviet territory instantaneously, and intercept at least 60% of the missiles launched at the U.S. before they reached their targets. In other words, he is a walking nuclear deterrent. Only two months after he arrived in Vietnam, he had single-handedly turned the tide of the war, to the point where the North Vietnamese were expected to surrender within the week. The moment he is gone the Soviets invade the Middle-East.
  • Physical God: Though Dr. Manhattan disputes the trope, it's explicitly stated by Milton Glass. Contrary to popular belief, Prof. Glass didn't coin the phrase, "The superman exists, and he's American." What he actually said before the news changed it was, "God exists, and he's American."
  • Powerful and Helpless: Jon laments that despite all his vast power, he is just a puppet of a deterministic universe who can see the strings and cannot alter the future even if it ends in the destruction of humanity.
  • Power Glows: Though once a television producer complains he's too bright, he turns it off temporarily.
  • Prescience Is Predictable: Dr. Manhattan describes himself as "a puppet who can see the strings." Since he views all time simultaneously, he can't change the future because, to him, it's already happening. This causes him to stop caring about what happens and just go with the flow. When a tachyon storm disrupts his ability to tell the future, he becomes excited, saying he had forgotten the joy of uncertainty.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman: At the same time as his transformation to The Anti-Nihilist, as he comes to champion humanity and eventually create life in another part of the cosmos.
  • Radiation-Immune Mutants: Which is great for him, but not for his loved ones who got cancer from him leaking it. That was all a lie by Veidt.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted. His presence and abilities have definitely solved many of the world's problems. (Not as many as he could solve, though.) Lampshaded by Nite Owl I. He states that he plans to run a car repair shop after he puts up the cape, saying that even Dr. Manhattan can't change cars. Manhattan then explains how he can do exactly that.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Especially in the film version.
  • Self-Made Man: Both in the sense that he came from working class roots to become a nuclear physicist, and in the most literal sense possible when he reconstructed himself at the quantum level.
  • Story-Breaker Power:Ironically, it doesn't do much. Even when Dr. Manhattan is vaporized and comes back.
  • Superpower Lottery: It's not even fair—nobody else in the series has any powers at all, and he's a Physical God!
  • The Spock: Once he becomes too unsensitive. Even referred to as "goddamn Mr. Spock there" by a minor character at a cocktail party.
  • That Man Is Dead: Manhattan's above quote applies to Jon.
  • Time Dissonance: He experiences time in a non-linear sense. It can make it difficult to have a conversation with him as he simultaneously hears what you're saying, what you've said, and what you're going to say. This gives him an extreme sense of fatalism.
  • Tin Man: Doesn't seem to have any emotions at all, anymore. He does.
  • Token Super: The Trope Codifier. Dr. Manhattan wins big on the Superpower Lottery and ending up as the only hero in the Watchmen continuity to have powers, which are god-like. The rest of the Watchmen are all Non Powered Costumed Heros.
  • Unexplained Recovery: It is hinted that the watchmaking skills taught to him by his father (who ironically later rejected them when he found out about Relativity and told his son to be a Nuclear Physicist instead), his vast knowledge of nuclear physics and the human body, helped him in figuring out how to put his atoms back in the right order, in order of biological human structure (he first appeared as a nervous system and went up from there). Where his mind was (or is) in the interim goes unexplained.
  • The Unfettered: It helps his powers manage to keep him without many hurdles to do what he wants.
  • Walking Wasteland: Dr. Manhattan's presence is said to give people cancer. Subverted, as it's actually Veidt deliberately inducing cancer in Manhattan's past acquaintances.
  • Walk on Water: Near the end of the graphic novel, as he notes his interest in creating life, he's standing on water. The implication is obvious. In the movie, the walking on water scene is visible in a commercial but lacks the symbolism.
  • You Cannot Change The Future: Dr. Manhattan exists in a multidimensional quantum solid state, and quickly tires of listening to his friends talk about what "could have happened" or what "should happen", since he already sees his time-stream. For him, the only difference between past and future is directional causality. The effects of causality on Dr. Manhattan himself are slightly contradictory, as future events can affect him backwards by causing him to report them, but not in any other way; he's unable to use the knowledge to interfere, and sees himself as bound by one-directional causality much like normal people.
    Dr. Manhattan: Miracles by definition are meaningless. Only what can happen does happen.
    Dr. Manhattan: (repeating himself twice) Excuse me, Rorschach. I'm informing Laurie 90 seconds ago.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Gradually came to such a belief due to his immense powers. Despite being a Physical God, he felt himself powerless before the forces governing the universe. Even though he could see key events before they occurred and could easily have shaped history to his liking, he felt anything he did would be so insignificant in the long run that taking action was pointless. His ability to see the future being disrupted is one of the reasons he stops being passive.
  • Your Cheating Heart: After telling Janey Slater he'd always want her, he started cheating on her with Laurie.

    Nite Owl (Dan Dreiberg)
Played by: Patrick Wilson (film)

Rorschach: Used to come here often, back when we were partners.
Dreiberg: Oh. Uh, yeah... yeah, those were great times, Rorschach. Great times. Whatever happened to them?
Rorschach: [exiting] You quit.

A former superhero fan, then full-fledged superhero, and now retired intellectual. A gadget-based hero who flies the night skies in his state-of-the-art airship, Archie, he sometimes questions his use of million-dollar technology to fight petty crime.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl II may not look just like in the graphic novel, but considering Dan was a male version of Beautiful All Along once Laurie pulled off his glasses in the original too, it's hard to see this as a problem.
  • Adaptational Badass: While certainly no wimp in the comic, the movie makes him a lot more formidable in the hand-to-hand department to the point he even gives Ozymandias more of a fight than Rorschach.
  • Adorkable: He's based on Ted Kord, and therefore also fits. It doesn't hurt that he and his Love Interest Laurie Juspeczyk/Silk Spectre II are, despite the uber-deconstructive nature of the story, the only two heroes in it that would fit in in a "normal" comic just as well. Dan's got some baggage, but it's normal, sane baggage.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Animal Alias variety.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Deconstructed to some degree since Dan describes his crimefighting career as "Some schoolkid's fantasy that got out of hand".
  • Badass Bookworm: Although he isn't as tough or smart as Ozymandias, he's still a caped crimefighter with enough technical wizardry to build his own crimefighting weapons. He doesn't look threatening, and is effectively a comic book geek living out a childhood fantasy.
  • Bash Brothers: With Rorschach.
  • Battle Couple: With Laurie.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Timid and kind but as he pointed out to a bearer of bad news Archie has the firepower to kill any gangs in New York. Upon finding out that Hollis Mason, his old hero, mentor, and the original Nite Owl was murdered in his home by hoodlums, mild mannered Dan Dreiberg utterly flips the fuck out and shouts that he's going to kill whoever is responsible. Rorschach has to hold him back. Rorschach. Let that sink in for a while...
  • Big Beautiful Man: Once he stopped crimefighting, Dreiberg presumably stopped getting his usual exercise (read: thrashing bad guys) and put on some weight. Under that, though, he's still quite strong, and he has a pretty handsome face to go with it. The glasses don't make it any worse.
  • Boring, but Practical: His approach to crime fighting seems like this next to Rorschach. It doesn't seem very dramatic, but it's far more effective. Rorschach wants to pursue his Entertainingly Wrong assumption about amasked killer by beating up more suspects, while Dan takes time apart to interrogates that very assumption in the first place, leading them to the trail of the real culprit behind the Comedian's murder: Adrian Veidt.
  • Classical Anti Hero: Needs his costume to overcome his shortcomings.
  • Cool Airship: Archie.
  • Cool Car: The Owlcar.
  • Covert Pervert: His first attempt at lovemaking with Laurie fails because The Loins Sleep Tonight, but he manages to perform when they try it in their hero costumes later.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When Laurie frets that the cops have figured out Dan is Nite Owl, he nonchalantly mentions that he had set up back-up identities years ago, just in case. He also made one for her. Dan is like the poster boy for the The Silver Age of Comic Books. The amount of equipment he had built for himself is just plain silly. His ship, built for fighting urban crime, has a fog generator, a water cannon, flame thrower and air to freaking air missiles. He also had a different Nite Owl suit for every environ you could possibly imagine. He even has a Snow-Owl suit for crime fighting in extreme cold. Why would you need one of those?
  • Crimefighting with Cash: A deconstruction of this trope, at one point openly admitting how spending millions on dollars on crimebusting equipment to fight purse-snatchers and prostitutes isn't exactly the most economically sound thing to do.
  • Dating Catwoman: Implied to have had this going on with the Twilight Lady.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: To Laurie.
  • The Everyman: Means well but is out of depth with the realities of being a hero.
  • Expy: Of the second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Has an insane amount of gadgets devoted to fighting crime in his basement. Also, while we repeatedly see Airships are commonly used in 1985 as a viable form of transport due to Dr Manhattan being able to synthesise Helium; the fact that Archimedes on the other hand is able to hover with no visible jets seems to suggest that Dan invented some form of anti-gravity technology. That he has Archie in the first (and only) Crimebusters meeting, means that he had cracked this technology as early as 1965!
    • Not just Archie, during that timeframe Dan had created a working exoskeleton, a tiny handheld laser gun, and night vision goggles that at least were as good as the stuff we have available nowadays.
  • Geek Physiques: He's rather chubby, and very geeky.
  • Genius Bruiser: Becomes this in the movie where he relies less on gadgets and more on martial arts.
  • Goggles Do Something: They have infra-red vision.
  • Heroic Build: Let himself go after retiring. Since his return to superheroism, he may work to get it back.
  • I Call It "Vera": He calls his airship "Archie", short for Archimedes.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: After retirement he tries to convince himself that he's normal, until he gets back into action.
  • In Harm's Way: He probably could have gone on without it, but it's clear he missed his old hero days and was eager to go back.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Gets turned on after committing heroics.
  • Legacy Character: He even wrote a letter to his predecessor for permission to use the Nite Owl name.
  • Nerd Glasses: In his secret identity.
  • Nice Guy: What else can be said about a man who can make friends with Rorschach?
  • Night-Vision Goggles: He's incorporating an owl, after all.
  • Odd Friendship: With Rorschach. No-one else seems to even like being in the same room as Rorschach.
  • Only Friend: He's also the only person who Rorschach calls a friend and is willing to actually apologize to. Dreiberg himself admits how hard it is to deal with him.
    • Played up in the movie where he follows Rorschach when Rorschach leaves to tell the world what Veidt did, and thus actually sees Rorschach get killed. He gives off a very Big "NO!" in response. In comparison, comic Dreiberg doesn't follow him and we have no idea how he actually feels about Rorschach's death.
  • Passing the Torch: The first Nite Owl handed off the hero-ship to him.
  • Powered Armor: Tried to make a set at one point, but the prototype broke his arm in three places and he gave up. (It's one of the only things he leaves behind when fleeing the police. Wonder if someone tried it out?)
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni to Rorschach (Red Oni) though its briefly flipped when rioters kill Nite Owl I, he then proceeded to give a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown so bad that Rorschach has to hold him back.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: With the twist that as Dan Dreiberg, he doesn't fake idiocy but instead pretends to be a harmless intellectual. After he retires, it's not so much an act...
  • Second Love: Becomes Laurie's lover after she leaves her first love, Dr. Manhattan.
  • Stylish Protection Gear: The Snow-Owl suit. It's ted protection gear all right, but it's not very stylish. It's less silly in the film.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: As an analogue of Batman, a natural.
  • Superior Successor: The original Nite Owl freely admits it. Daniel himself is less certain.
  • Technical Pacifist: He was the least bloodthirsty of the group.
  • Token Good Teammate: Alan Moore says that of all the Watchmen, he is the most like a classic superhero.
  • Tragic Bromance: With Rorschach, and the movie even allows Dan to punch Veidt in revenge once he dies.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Hollis Mason (a kindly old man and Nite Owl I) is murdered in his home for the 'crime' of being tangentially associated with superheroes, Dan freaks out. We'll say it again, he unnerves Rorschach with his fury.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Dan's plan to bust Rorschach out of jail gets Hollis Mason killed.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: He is a Gadgeteer Genius/Rich Idiot with No Day Job, and thus makes his own wonderful toys. He also made Rorschach's grappling gun, explaining how the vagabond had such a good gadget.

    Silk Spectre (Laurie Juspeczyk)
Played by: Malin Åkerman (film)

"I don't know anybody! I don't know anyone except goddamned superheroes!"

Stage-mothered almost from birth into continuing her mother's legacy, Laurie has become very bitter and disillusioned since the Keene Act and starts out in the story as Dr Manhattan's girlfriend.

  • Action Girl: More than a match for any man except Veidt.
  • Expy: Of both Dinah Laurel Lance/the second Black Canary and the Phantom Lady.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Laurie is all but a chain smoker. Like her father.
  • Hime Cut: Along with a headband in the comic.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Initially.
  • Legacy Character: The "original" Silk Spectre retired early in this world's history and started training and stage-mothering her daughter to succeed her. After discovering The Comedian is her real father she seems eager to become a Legacy Character for him instead. She's last seen discussing new elements she wants to adopt into her superhero persona; a mask, a more protective leather outfit, and a gun.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: She's aware that her mother's husband is not her father, but doesn't find out the actual identity until later, largely because she grows up assuming Hooded Justice was her dad. It's the Comedian. Her conversation with Jon on Mars makes her realize that all the evidence was there the whole time, she just didn't want to see it.
  • Morality Pet: For Dr Manhattan.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Though hated her costume.
  • Mysterious Parent: At first, she thought that her real father was the Hooded Justice. Then it turns out to be the Comedian.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Laurie inherited her mother's identity, and spends the graphic novel dependent on her love interests. Ultimately subverted with Laurie in the end, who expresses that she doesn't want to settle down with a family, but take up crime fighting again. But then again, she seems to be following in her recently revealed father's footsteps in that regard as well based on her description of improvements to her costume...
  • Nom de Mom: Granted, she never knew her father, so going by Sally Jupiter's pre-Americanization surname is a given.
  • Oblivious to Love: To Dan at first.
  • Only Sane Woman: The most level-headed of the "Watchmen", given she's not as depressed as Dan.
  • Passing the Torch: More like having the torch shoved into her hand against her will, gratefully throwing it away, and then deciding it wasn't so bad after all.
  • Pretty Freeloader: She was this for Doctor Manhattan and became this to Dan (he insisted). Can't blame her since she has no job skills aside from fighting crime.
  • Satellite Love Interest: She was employed by the US government essentially to be one of these for Dr. Manhattan after she quit her old job in the Superhero business. Deconstructed in that she actually does have a personality, and it winds up conflicting to some extent with her mission of keeping Manhattan focused/sane/human, because the fact that he's too much the first of those and not enough the third upsets her, which in turn upsets him.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She eventually realizes that Jon really loves her. Although his detachment from humanity caused him to be used as a walking murder weapon during the Vietnam war, she's attracted to his omniscience, his virility and his power over her. She also realizes that, as a god, he's unable to care for her the way a normal guy could. So she ends up with the nerdy, mild-mannered, fat, balding, initially impotent Dan Dreiberg, and they live happily ever after.
  • Smurfette Principle: She was the only female "Crime Buster." But being Watchmen, this is a Deconstructed Trope. Most Token Female characters in The Silver Age of Comic Books were presented as the most emotional and/or empathic, and usually as the less physically powerful of their respective teams. Laurie is definitively the most emotionally-driven of the main characters, being almost exclusively motivated by her relationships (with Jon, with her mother, with Dan and with her real father). The empathy part is quite arguable as Laurie acts with indifference at best and great sceptism to the value of the superheroes or the ideals other characters fight for. And as for the "less physically powerful", she ironically is the one that comes the closest to defeating the arguable Big Bad Veidt by engaging Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? on sight.
  • Stripperific: Her superhero outfit. She doesn't like it (and neither does Rorschach).
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The Comedian notes that Laurie looks just like Sally except for the brown hair... something she inherited from him.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: What Laurie decides to be in the end.
  • Superior Successor: Her mother had her train practically her whole life to be this.
  • Teleportation Sickness: It always makes her ill.
  • The Heart: Of the main characters Laurie is by far the most selfish and the one the least concerned with ideals, but the moment she sees the aftermath of Adrian's plan she's completely horrified, to the point of trying to kill Adrian on sight.
  • Tykebomb: Trained from a young age for the sole purpose of being a superheroine.
  • Women Are Wiser: To the rest of the team, especially Doctor Manhattan.

    Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt)
Played by: Matthew Goode (film)

It is as Rameses said: "Canaan is devastated, Ashkelon is fallen, Gezer is ruined, Venoam is reduced to nothing, Israel is desolate and her seed is no more, and Palestine has become a widow for Egypt... ...All countries are unified and pacified."

Probably the most successful and effective hero of the lot after Dr. Manhattan. Adrian has honed his body and mind to near-superhuman perfection, created a multibillion dollar corporate empire, and mastered the sciences to change the world.

  • The Ace: At the peak of intellectual and athletic achievement.
  • Adaptational Villainy: To a degree. In the comic, he only blows up New York, while in the movie he blows up every major city in the world!
  • Affably Evil: In addition to being a Well-Intentioned Extremist, he's also gentlemanly, witty, and calm, even in hand-to-hand combat. He treats his underlings kindly (right until he drugs them and leaves them to die of exposure to prevent his secrets from getting out.) When his former crimefighting colleagues track him down and learn of his already-in-progress master plan, he gives them the opportunity to keep silent, and when all of them (except Rorschach) agree, he trusts them enough to not only let them live, but to offer them hospitality in his fortress and allow them to leave freely. Hardly seems fair to hold the deaths of millions of innocent people against him.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Was his master plan tragic but necessary or just wrong? Or both?
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    Rorschach's Journal: Possibly homosexual? Must remember to investigate further.
    • In the film, his computer has a file in it titled "Boys".
    • Also, in the title sequence of the movie, he's seen walking into Studio 54 and warmly greeting David Bowie and Mick Jagger (whose infamously Homoerotic Subtext music video for "Dancing in the Street" came out around that time). The Village People are also onscreen for good measure.
  • Anti-Villain: His ultimate goal is to prevent World War 3 by massacring millions to make the world powers assume it was an alien attack. A horrendous course of action, but done with the best intentions in mind. Also, the subsequent weight of this action torments his conscience.
  • Awesome by Analysis: One look at an opponent's fighting style and he already learns how to counter it. According to him, The Comedian had a skillful feint and a devastating uppercut, but little else.
  • Badass Gay: Possibly gay, and he can lay the smack down on Rorschach, Nite Owl, and The Comedian all by himself.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: While the bad guy part is left up in the air, Adrian certainly isn't the good guy.
  • Big Bad Friend: A genial and polite young man who's made a friend/acquaintance out of most of the characters in the story later on turns out to be the primary source of all of the mishaps going on throughout the story—with the exception of the Cold War tensions, mind you.
  • Bi the Way: His male "acquaintance" in Tibet.
  • Broken Ace: He is a young, blond super genius who is insanely rich, has America in his hands and defeats Rorschach, Silk Spectre, Nite Owl and Dr Manhattan at the end. He is also the antagonist, who kills millions of people in order to save the world from nuclear war.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: His feats are mostly believable through most of the story, but in the final act, he catches a bullet. (It tears up his hand, and he doesn't quite believe it himself.) There's an interview he has at the end of the second-to-last comic where he firmly believes any normal human can be just as built as he is, you just need the will to see it through.
  • Child Prodigy: He was exceedingly intelligently since early childhood, and had to hide his intelligence for a time on orders from his parents due to his genius intellect having the strong possibility of ostracizing him or causing unwanted attention.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Has a savior complex that can be seen from space.
  • The Chessmaster: Engineered the whole villainous plot.
  • Contemplative Boss: Does this while fighting two superheroes. When his Right-Hand Cat joins the scene and the fight ends, he continues while walking his corridors.
  • Counter Attack: His fighting style in the movie seems entirely based around counter-attacking his opponents, never throwing a punch or kick first.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: His Evil Plan is so ridiculous that when he sums it all up in a single sentence Dan can't help but break out into laughter; Adrian plans to end hostilities between the world's superpowers by unleashing a fake Eldritch Abomination onto New York; when said Abomination kills millions upon impact due to its horrific psychic abilities, the world's leaders will conclude it is a creature from another world, and therefore will be forced into uniting their forces against the possibility of an impending alien invasion. The sheer absurdity of the plan is what ultimately makes it work; The Comedian and the other heroes are brought to their knees when the Fridge Horror hits and the scale of Adrian's plan becomes fully known to them.
  • Dark Messiah: He causes the deaths of millions in order to unify the world and prevent the nuclear Armageddon he believes is otherwise inevitable. The comic itself refuses to either obviously support or condemn his actions.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: It's implied that part of his reason to kill the Comedian (as he knew he was too much in shock to do anything with the truth about his evil plans) was payback for their first fight where Blake laid him out in one uppercut. It's why he personally beat him up instead of using his usual roundabout way.
  • The Dreaded: Even Rorschach is wary of this man.
  • Evil Plan: He is motivated by the desire of a 'better, more loving world'. To this end he orchestrated Comedian's murder and the destruction of New York to avert a nuclear war.
  • Expy: Of Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt. Though there's also a bit of Reed Richards, Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne in him.
  • The Extremist Was Right: He brought the world's superpowers together at the cost of millions of lives, which is exactly the goal he'd pushed for since the beginning. That being said, the story makes it very clear that Veidt's artificial hope is just as fragile as the state of the world had been even before he'd executed his plans, and the very last panel of the story indicates that his efforts may very well be reduced to nothing.
  • Fallen Hero: He appears to have averted this given he managed to become a rich businessman instead of a nervous trainwreck once retired from superhero duties... but then the ending reveals he truly went from hero to Knight Templar.
  • Foil: To Rorschach. Both are ultimately unstable Übermensch who are unflinching in doing what they think is right, no matter what the cost. They just play it in very different ways.
  • Genghis Gambit: Plans to force America and Russia to put aside their differences and work together by making it seem as if a massive Alien Invasion is imminent. Whether or not it works on the long run is left up to the reader.
  • Genius Bruiser: Smartest man on Earth, still strong and fight-capable enough to take on two fellow heroes.
  • Germanic Depressives: In the film, Veidt comes off as rather dour and bitter, with an aloof smirk the closest to a smile he seems to actually be capable of (in contrast to his much warmer, more genial comic book counterpart).
  • He Who Fights Monsters: He would save billions of people from dying by causing millions of people to die.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Adrian really isn't motivated by greed or a lust for personal power. He obtained his vast wealth by skillful understanding of the stock market and legitimate business ventures. He's a Knight Templar or Well-Intentioned Extremist, but not a sellout.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Destroying half of New York City to save the world from nuclear armageddon.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: By his own admission. Part of what leads to his Evil Plan is that has the smartest man he believes it's up to him to find a solution but his loneliness means he can't trust anyone's help or simply confides to see if there is better ways.
  • It's Personal: While he kills the Comedian because He Knows Too Much, it's strongly implied that this was simply an excuse to finally get some payback on the Comedian beating the ever-living snot out of him when they first crossed paths in the 60's.
  • Just Between You and Me: He talks freely about his plan because the heroes are too late to stop him.
  • Karma Houdini: He commits a massive act of unadulterated mass murder and not only gets away with it scot-free, but is actually aided in covering it up by the heroes - because to expose the scheme would endanger the world even more. Although it's left open to interpretation whether or not his plan will ultimately succeed: before chasing Adrian, and with strong suspicions about his plan, Rorschach left his personal notes at the local newspaper. In the last page, after the Happy Ending, a guy in the newspaper reaches towards a stack of papers ("the crank file"). The diary is near the top.In the film adaptation he at least gets a good beating from Dan and a lecture on why his actions were wrong. He knows his actions are wrong, but inaction would have been catastrophic.
  • Knight Templar: Sacrifices millions to save billions.
  • Lack of Empathy: He's said himself he has trouble relating to others which is why he executes his Evil Plan without regret. Ultimately subverted, however, since the weight of his actions severely troubles him afterwards.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: He has a very impressive chin, as befitting his "perfect human specimen" image.
  • Lonely at the Top: Hidden under dense layers of ego and posing for the eyes of history. The reveal is his insecure last exchange with Dr Manhattan.
  • Manly Tears: When his monster attack causes the US and Russia to discuss peace.
  • Meaningful Name: Ozymandias, which suggests the final fate of his "better, more loving world". His last name, Veidt, comes from German actor Conrad Veidt, whose appearance in The Man Who Laughs directly inspired the character design of The Joker.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Ozymandias is a misunderstood villain. He single-handedly kills off half of New York City in order to avert a nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union that would destroy the world.
  • Older Than He Looks: He is still quite good looking despite being in his forties. As the unproduced movie screenplay describes him:
    Although he's DREIBERG's age, his face is serene and unlined by worry. Blond and pale, he looks thirty. When he's sixty he'll look forty.
  • Omniscient Hero: He has everything so well figured out that the morality issue is reduced to whether or not the goals he achieved was worth all the lives he sacrificed. However, two of the last few scenes make the whole thing ambiguous, leaving it to the reader/viewer do decide if the trope is played straight or subverted.
  • The Paragon: Many saw him as the best and most successful of the team considering he'd managed to maintain a stable superhero career through sheer strategy and skill. He was known for being considerably successful and was the last person anyone suspected of being the Big Bad.
  • The Perils of Being the Best: As a child he came to realize that performing at his full capacity would bring ...unwanted attention from others, and adjusted accordingly.
  • Prescience by Analysis: As the world's smartest man, he's able to use his vast intellect to predict and anticipate changes in politics, society, culture, human psychology and by smart timing, such as publicly revealing his secret identity at a time of widespread distrust in superheroism, he is able to cultivate an image of respectability and goodwill that he uses to build an immensely successful corporation, whose resources he then taps into to unleash his devastating master-plan to save the world. He also anticipates that in a world without the cold war nuclear tensions, there would be an incipient baby boom, and he advices his company to invest in baby-care products to maximize profits.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Not only does his plan destroy him, he isn't even sure it worked and ask Jon if it was worth it.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: He was averting this long before ...well, it hardly needs to be said at this point.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Ozymandias's genetically-engineered lynx, Bubastis.
  • Self-Made Man: He inherited a fortune. He donated all of it and proceeded to make his own fortune from scratch; just to prove that it's possible.
  • Shoot the Dog: He springs a trap that kills Bubastis and Dr. Manhatten. He hadn't intended to kill the former, but when they got in the way he had to sacrifice them.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: For most of the comic, Ozymandias dresses in civilian clothing. When he gets ready to launch his plan, he wears his old superhero costume in his Arctic lair even if there is no need for him to do so. In his mind, Ozymandias sees this as the culmination of his superhero career and wears an outfit to better suggest how he views his actions, and especially given he's aware that Dan and Rorscharch are approaching the lair, he wants to impress on them the context in which his actions should be seen.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: Along with Nite Owl, one of the few who decided to keep them.
  • Technical Pacifist: He prefers brains over brawn, but is not above punching enemies.
  • This Is Reality:
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Adrian's whole role in the story is sort of ironic, really. He goes through all this trouble to create a fake Eldritch Abomination and use it to kill millions in order to force the world's powers to see how utterly meaningless fighting each other is when there are "much bigger things" at risk. But in the end, he finds himself full of doubt as to whether or not his actions really would have the effect he wished for, and the very last panel of the story gives a vague implication that all of his efforts will be for naught anyway.
  • Straw Nihilist: His nihilism exceeds even The Comedian's—but weirdly, he's a somewhat optimistic variation without really being considered an Anti-Nihilist. His ultimate plan is to kill half of New York with a giant eldritch horror of his own creation. The reason it works is because Earth's leaders come to the conclusion that it is a creature from another world, and they decide to pool their efforts and resources into uniting themselves against the threat of alien invasion. In short, Adrian manages to bring the world together by making them see how utterly insignificant they and their struggles truly are. And what pushes him to do this is his desire to bring peace.
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: His goal is to end the Cold War and then use his abilities to control the Earth and make it a paradise on Earth. His problem is mainly a type 1, killing half of New York in a Genghis Gambit, but the ending implies it may also be a type 2, assuming naively that this is all that is required to defuse a 40+ year old nuclear standstill and failing to take into account Rorschach's diary.
  • Trade Your Passion for Glory: Rorschach sees him as a sellout. Ozymandias merely sees his work as doing what superheroes ought to do in real life, save the world and avoid nuclear war, no matter the costs.
  • Tragic Villain: He is never punished for his actions; they do hurt him psychologically, though. But the real tragedy is that in trying to save humanity, Ozymandias loses his soul by becoming the very evil he wanted to destroy. His vast intelligence even grants him the ability to not only fully comprehend his terrible actions but also "feel every life" he has taken.
  • The Unfettered:
    Nite Owl: No. I just don't buy it. Any of it. You wouldn't kill half of New York. You couldn't...
    Ozymandias: I could. I did. If you like, I'll tell you how.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: He is a public hero and has his own product line, including action figures.
  • Villainous B.S.O.D.: Implied after his conversation with Doctor Manhattan—when he asks Jon for assurance as to whether or not what he did truly had been the right thing "in the end," Jon's reply is a benign "Nothing ever ends, Adrian." This pulls into question if Adrian's new peace will truly last as long as he believes it will, and the last we ever see of Adrian himself is a single panel of him with an intensely troubled expression on his face.
  • Visionary Villain: Ozymandias slaughtered half of New York, killing millions, in an attempt to save the rest of the world from a nuclear apocalypse.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Possibly the most successful one in fiction. He kills 3 million people to achieve world peace...and, as far as the reader can tell, it works, though the last panel opens up the possibility that it may have all been for nothing.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ozymandias, though this may not entirely be too apparent on an initial reading (which speaks volumes of Moore's writing skill). In the end, the results of Adrian's schemes have pretty much gone the way he'd planned them to go. Earth's leaders are now collaborating to better keep the world safe from the threat of war. But in the end, this peace is on a very shaky foundation that can easily be shattered by the notes written in Rorschach's journal—the "stronger loving world" that Adrian has created is still standing on the precipice of the apocalypse. In short, his efforts may very well be rendered meaningless due to forces outside his control.
  • You Are Too Late: Was originally the trope namer via "Thirty Five Minutes Ago", and has one of the most iconic uses of it.

    Rorschach (Walter Kovacs) 

    The Comedian (Edward Blake)
Played by: Jeffrey Dean Morgan (film)

"Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense."

A veteran "hero" who was vicious even when young, and has since become a full-blown hired gun on government payroll. Dies on the first page, though we only later find out why.

  • Anti-Hero: At best, he's a hero only in name. That said, he does have a few redeeming qualities.
  • Artifact Alias: In-universe, Eddie Blake continues to operate under the nom de guerre "The Comedian" long after he discards the wisecracking jester gimmick that he used in the 1930s. The name takes on a different meaning later in his career, though, as it references his nihilistic worldview and his belief that higher ideals are a joke.
  • Asshole Victim: Not many people were exactly sad upon hearing of the Comedian's death. By the end though, some readers do feel some sympathy for him. But he was still an asshole. Subverted with Sally Jupiter, who actually felt sorry for him. This is probably no surprise when it's later revealed that they reconciled.
  • Badass Mustache / Porn Stache: His most distinguished facial feature along with the scar.
  • Becoming the Mask: At one point Rorschach theorizes that The Comedian took on his persona in order to become a satirical reflection of society's corruption. If this theory is true (Rorschach is hardly an unbiased observer), Blake appears to have gotten into the part a bit too much. Also, he defies this trope when he discovers Ozymandias’ plan and raves about it to Moloch: He discovers that even he cannot laugh this off as another joke:
  • Been There, Shaped History: Comedian probably killed President Kennedy, Woodward and Bernstein and singlehandedly rescued the American hostages in Iran.
  • Byronic Hero: This trope could very well be renamed to "The Edward Blake" because of how well he fits the guidelines. Intelligent, bitterly cynical, has a pronounced disdain for humanity and the world in general, carries strong personal convictions, and winds up getting killed because of said convictions... it all fits.
  • Captain Patriotic: Subverted to hell and back. He crafted this persona late in his career, wearing flag-printed body armor as he helps quell riots in New York and eventually fights at the front lines of the Vietnam War. He looks like a patriotic superhero to the average citizen, but the whole gimmick is really just his way of mocking the high ideals that most superheroes claim to uphold. In reality, he's an amoral sadist who believes that ideals are a joke, and he only fights crime as a way of venting his violent urges.
  • Carpet of Virility: When he was with the new generation, his uniform let his chest hair open.
  • Cool Old Guy: Remained a very effective solo agent right up until his death at sixty-one. "Cool" doesn't necessarily mean "nice".
  • Combat Pragmatist: Prefers Guns and a straight fighting style over the more stylised moves others use.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: His most brutal on-screen acts take place in response to attacks upon his person...which he provoked.
  • Domino Mask: The only thing he wears on his face. However, after getting a nasty face scar from a Vietnamese girl he impregnated, he switches to a leather gimp mask.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Genuinely attempted to connect with Laurie on two separate occasions and notably didn't react the way he usually does after she publically lashed out at him and dashed him in the face with a drink. According to the RPG, he was also composing a letter to her before Ozymandias killed him. He also seems to have had real feelings for Sally Jupiter.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Rorschach stresses that the Comedian is essentially a nihilist, just like him. Unlike Rorschach’s anti-authoritarian belief in justice, however, the Comedian is fundamentally amoral, driven only by a desire to be uglier than the world (hence his breakdown once he realizes that Ozymandias’s nihilism exceeds his own).
  • Everyone Has Standards: He's also genuinely sickened by the idea of incest with his child, and he thinks Hooded Justice was a sick man. Also, Ozymandias's plan to slaughter millions of innocent people was too much for even him to shrug off.
  • Expy: Of Peacemaker. Comedian also looks a lot like Bucky in his Minuteman days who somehow grew into a wise-cracking, cigar smoking, woman beating version of Captain America, with a bit of Wildcat and a pinch of Nick Fury, and The Killing Joke Joker.
  • Foil: To Rorschach. He is seen as a good guy simply because he works for America yet he is completely amoral. He also discovers Veidt's ruthless plan to end the Cold War and gets killed because He Knows Too Much.
  • Glasgow Grin: Half of one, courtesy of his upset Vietnamese girlfriend.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: The Comedian smokes cigars in almost all of his appearances.
  • "Have a Nice Day" Smile: Wears a pin with that. That once hit with a splash of blood, becomes the series' Iconic Logo.
  • He Knows Too Much: Comedian found out Veidt's plan to end the Cold War.
    Veidt: "He understood. In the end, he understood".
  • Heel Realization: He seems painfully aware of how cruel and amoral he is and desperately tries to change that before dying. Or rather... he was fully aware of it the entire time, it's just that before he died he started to feel bad about it.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Sally Jupiter.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: He freaks out when he discovers Ozymandias' plan.
  • Heroic Build: Kept in excellent shape even in his sixties.
  • Jerkass Façade: A possibility come up with In-Universe by other characters.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: His major trademark. Comedian is a complete asshole, but much of the things he says to antagonize others often have some — or much — truth to it. For example, he was one of the first to notice Dr. Manhattan's humanity beginning to falter when Manhattan didn't even try to stop him from killing a woman pregnant with his child. Even Ozymandias admited that his analysis about the futility of the masked vigilantes to resolve the real problems of the world was right.
  • Kick the Dog: Killing a pregnant woman and attempting to rape a fellow superheroine, for examples. Some choose to see the first as a sign of him going off the deep end, especially how he blames Doctor Manhattan simply for not stopping him. He may have even done it just to see whether, for all his talk, Doctor Manhattan would even bother to save her and to confront him with his loss of humanity.
  • Lack of Empathy: Doctor Manhattan says that Blake sees the stupidity and pain but just doesn't care.
  • The Lost Lenore: He becomes this to Sally.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: It's eventually revealed that he's Laurie's father.
  • Never My Fault: Comedian kills the Vietnamese woman he impregnated yet blamed Dr. Manhattan for not stopping him.
  • Posthumous Character: The book opens with his murder.
  • Psycho for Hire: To a certain extent, suggested to have merely become a masked vigilante for a reason to kill people. Despite most of his comrades recognizing this he appears to have impressed part of the mindset that led him to such actions onto every one of them, with varying reactions. He becomes a more classic example, or so it's implied, after the very government that claims vigilantes are dangerous hires him as a political assassin.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Of the first Silk Spectre.
    The Comedian: Only once.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Downplayed as he didn't repent but he dies after refusing to go with a plan that will result in millions of deaths.
  • Sarcasm Failure: His Heroic B.S.O.D. to Moloch shows even he can't crack jokes at Veidt's plan, begging someone to avert his own personal interpretation of Don't Explain the Joke.
    Comedian: Someone explain. Someone explain it to me.
  • Scars Are Forever: He never loses the half-Glasgow Grin he got in Vietnam, just as the perpetrator intended.
  • The Sociopath: Although, interestingly enough, he is ultimately capable of realizing that what he did was wrong. He even admits to doing "bad things" during his Villainous Breakdown to Moloch.
  • Straw Nihilist: Frequently spews how life is meaningless, particularly given how men have all they can to wipe out every living being on Earth.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Two .45 caliber hand guns, according to the RPG. He's also made use of rifles and the like.
  • Token Evil Teammate: He even went as far as to try to rape one of the other members of the team. Whether or not the other members are any better than the criminals they go after is debatable (excepting both Nite Owls, whose biggest flaw in both cases is being largely ineffective), but The Comedian is definitely the worst of them and seems to thrive on torturing and killing people. He even kills a pregnant woman (carrying his own child!) back in Vietnam. He's also more or less the exact opposite of Captain America (consider his stars-and-stripes patriotic outfit), inverted on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism.
  • Took a Level in Badass: He was already badass when he started out, but over the years he started wearing body armor (after getting stabbed) and carrying guns.
  • Tragic Villain: Likes being mean for supposedly heroic sakes, but can cry at the atrocities he does. Rorschach's Pagliacci Joke is about him.
    • His defining trait as the Comedian, being a nihilistic parody of human ideals attempting to vainly mask its "true nature of savagery", grants him a point of view which mentally breaks him when he discovers Veidt's plan and can fully comprehend both the full scope of its horror as well as its seeming necessity. It is the ultimate conclusion and example of his view on life and it destroys him utterly.
    • Point in note. One of the most iconic images of Watchmen franchise and especially of the Comedian is a blood-spotted Smiley face pin button. The bloody splotch is actually the Comedian's bloody tears as he mournfully declares that "It's all a joke" just before his death.
  • Troll: He eventually gets to a point where he says things just to try pissing people off, especially in the "Crimebusters" flashback.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Kept calling Veidt's Evil Plan a "joke" and "gag".
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Much like Captain Metropolis, his mockery about the futility of another superhero team like the Crimebusters to resolve the real problems of the world — like prevent a Nuclear War — is what gave Ozymandias the first point in his plan.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: For all his acts, he's a sanctioned, government-funded operative after the Keene Act.
  • Villain Protagonist: As detailed in Token Evil Teammate, he's the least heroic of the main characters.
  • Who Shot JFK?: He's also implicated to be behind Woodward and Bernstein's deaths (which didn't happen in our timeline), although this is much more speculative. In the movie, the assassination is shown outright, and The Comedian also remarks while he's violently dealing with an angry mob: "I haven't had this much fun since Woodward and Bernstein!"
  • Would Hit a Girl: First time when he assaults Silk Spectre and the second time when he and Nite Owl are doing riot control. He also killed a woman who was pregnant with his child!

Supporting Characters

    Nite Owl I (Hollis Mason)
"This is the left hook that floored Captain Axis!"

One of the first superheroes to fight crime, and a former police officer, Hollis Mason has since retired, revealed his identity and written an autobiography that provided dramatic insights into the world of superheroes. He has seen the rise and fall of superheroics in the world, and fears for the new generation of costumed crimefighters.

  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Animal Alias variety.
  • Boxing Battler: His primary fighting style. Best seen in the film, when he drops into a 30's boxing stance to take on a group of home invaders. He's eventually overpowered and killed, but puts up a hell of a fight beforehand, expertly ducking and parrying the blows of the much larger, younger men.
  • The Cape: He was inspired by Superman, after all.
  • Death by Irony: Only ever a brief blip on the pop culture radar, poor Hollis gets killed in a case of mistaken identity, with the murder weapon being an old award.
  • Domino Mask: He also points out the advantages of spirit gum adhesive versus a simple string or piece of elastic when wearing a Domino Mask.
  • Expy: Of the first Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: The first time we see him in the story, he's telling Dan about how he'd just bumped into one of his old enemies, The Screaming Skull in the supermarket. Bit of a wrinkle on this trope as they're both long retired, but the sentiment is the same as they still hit it off like dear old friends. "We traded addresses. Nice guy!"
  • Good Old Ways: Only knows how to fix cars that run on gas. Manhattan accidentally ruined him when he made mass produced electric cars possible.
  • Heroic Dog: Phantom, he brought it during his vigilante days and died trying to save his master.
  • Ironic Echo: His "left hook" quote advice. We hear it again during Dr. Manhattan's flashback but there we hear that that is all Mason knows to fight crime, compared to Manhattan and his godlike power.
  • Mistaken Identity: Killed for being thought to be the Nite Owl who broke Rorschach out of jail.
  • Nice Guy: Doubles as the Only Sane Man. He's humble, friendly, and took up his career because he wanted to be a superhero. About the only thing he did in the story that could even count as mean was calling out a few people in his autobiography, and the only person who really got it was The Comedian.
  • Only Sane Man: In a far, far less comedic sense than the usual application of the trope.
  • Passing the Torch: Handed off the heroship to a fan of vigilantes and nocturnal fowl, and retires to be a mechanic and neighborhood old guy. Until his head is bashed in by a mob of punks for being vaguely related to the controversial badass and Well-Intentioned Extremist Rorschach, that is.
  • Retired Badass: Subverted - a reader accustomed to this trope might expect him to fight off the street gang that breaks into his place with ease. This, to say the least, is not how it plays out. In the director's cut of the film version, he does fight back, with the blows cutting to brief flashbacks of him landing punches on masked villains when he was in his prime, but in the end there's just too many thugs for him to take on at once. There's even a brief Hope Spot for him (and an Oh, Crap! for the thug) right at the start, where he catches the first punch before laying out the thug.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: A nice old man victimised by mob violence.
  • Self-Deprecation: His autobiography is full of it. He fully embraces the silliness of his old life as a super-hero and mocks himself for indulging in such a childish fantasy, though admits he still loved it.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: Tried it, but after he discovered how hard it was to walk around his own house with the thing on without it catching on things, he decided to go without.
  • Token Good Teammate: Like Nite Owl II, he comes the closest of the Minutemen to being a true hero.
  • Vigilante Execution: Inverted trope — He is killed by a sadistic gang of top knot-wearing people who apparently think they are dealing out street justice.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Is surrounded by his own memorabilia and has nothing to do but tell Dreiberg stories of his past exploits.

    Silk Spectre I (Sally Juspeczyk/Jupiter)
Played by: Carla Gugino (film)

"Laurie, I'm 65. Every day the future looks a little bit darker. But the past, even the grimy parts of it... well, it just keeps on getting brighter all the time."

A former model who started fighting crime for publicity and became a founding member of the Minutemen, but hasn't been doing much since, except training her daughter to follow in her footsteps.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Carla Gugino as Sally Jupiter is far prettier than how the character was drawn, but Sally is also supposed to have been a bombshell when she was younger, so she's arguably an improvement.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Even after Eddie Blake viciously assaulted her and attempted to rape her, she still ended up starting a romantic relationship with him and had his child. She explained to her husband that Eddie's demonstration of gentleness at the time for someone like himself was worth it as she managed to reach a part of him that was seemingly impossible to uncover or in her words: "That magical romance and bullshit that they promise you when you're a kid." Her husband thought otherwise.
  • The Beard: For Hooded Justice.
  • Beauty Mark: One which her daughter inherited somehow.
  • Expy: Of both Dinah Drake Lance/the first Black Canary and the Phantom Lady.
  • Pass Fail: Changed her name from Juspeczyk to cover up her Polish heritage.
  • Rape as Drama: Part of Sally's backstory.
  • Rule 34: In-Universe. Sally has an unlicensed porno comic of herself among her memorabilia, making this trope Older Than The Internet.
  • Stage Mom: Coached her daughter to take up her profession.
  • Stocking Filler: In the movie, although it's justified by the fact that pantyhose weren't yet common in the 1950s. She does wear stockings and suspenders in the comic.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Although her first fights were staged, she had to learn how to fight properly as a member of the Minutemen.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: By the time 1985 has rolled around. Subverted in that while she's lost her beauty and her following (and never got the actress career she wanted), she is happy in retirement, with no wish to take up adventuring again, only to reminisce about her glory days and live vicariously through her daughter (whom she raised and trained to be Silk Spectre II) a bit.

    Moloch (Edgar Jacobi)

A supervillain who was active in both the Minutemen and Crimebuster eras. After a lengthy stint in prison, he eventually reformed and retired.

    Dr. Malcolm Long
"No problem is out of the reach of a good psychoanalyst."

Rorschach's court appointed shrink at Sing-Sing, Dr. Long has a comfortable life and an optimistic belief that his therapy can improve the lives of troubled inmates. Rorschach gets under his skin, however, and he finds himself increasingly obsessed with the patient who's making him question his beliefs.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: By the end he has lost all optimism and happiness of his life, but is still determined to help people where he can. When his wife tells him not to intervene in a street fight, he responds: "I have to. In a world like this... I mean, it's all we can do, try to help each other. It's all that means anything..."
  • Black and Nerdy: A successful black man with a doctoral degree who wears bow ties and glasses.
  • Break the Haughty: Starts out with confidence in his ability as a psychoanalyst as well as a belief that he's doing good, but the difficulty of analyzing Rorschach shatters his professional and moral opinion of himself.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Eventually gets so preoccupied with how he can help the most vulnerable of patients that his wife can't take it anymore. In the middle of a discussion with his wife where she's telling him to transfer to work with different patients, he sees a fight in progress. She tells him "Don't you dare get involved!" and that it's over between them if he turns his back on her, but he says:
    "Gloria, I'm sorry. It's the world. I can't run from it."
  • Establishing Character Moment: Introduced in his first session with Rorschach. The narration taken from his notes reveals that he's thinking about how solving such a high-profile case could make his reputation. He's friendly to Rorschach in a condescending way, and smug about his ability as an analyst. At the same time Rorschach's manner makes him unconfortable even before he becomes openly hostile, revealing his susceptibility to having the tables turned on him.
  • Hannibal Lecture: When he tries to psychoanalyze Roschach, Rorschach turns the tables on him in a way that makes him question his own life.
  • Henpecked Husband: After his sessions with Rorschach begin to change him, his wife begins to complain about how he doesn't pay attention to her anymore, and gives him the cold shoulder after he scares off another couple they were having dinner with by bringing up the rather squicky Blaire Roche case in conversation.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: At first he underestimates Rorschach's insanity and mistakenly thinks that his attitude toward treatment is improving.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: All of his personality changes and different outlook on life is rendered meaningless as he's one of the millions killed by Ozymandias' plan.
  • Token Minority: The only black POV character.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Believes that the world isn't dark and grim like Rorschach sees it, and that he can convince him of that somehow, but soon learns the error of his thinking.

    The Sea Captain
A fictional character that stars in the Story Within a Story Marooned that runs throughout Watchmen. The story retells of the man's journey to try to reach his hometown before the infamous Black Freighter gets there first to destroy it. What follows is a story about complete loss of humanity that's not too far from another character in Watchmen...

  • Allegorical Character: At first, the comic just seems to simply be paralleling certain scenes in Watchmen, but otherwise comes off as pointless to the narrative, until you realize that the Sea Captain is in fact supposed to represent Ozymandias and his own supposed fate after his horrible actions intended for good...
  • Heel Realization: It eventually dawned on him that the Black Freighter wasn't going for his hometown, but for him.
  • I Am a Monster: "I was a horror: amongst horrors must I dwell."
  • My God, What Have I Done?: His reaction when he discovered he's brutally beaten his own wife to a near pulp in front of his daughters.

    Blaire Roche 

"Was she tied up and gagged?"
"No. She was six. Her kidnapper butchered her and fed her to his German Shepherds."

The six-year-old daughter of a bus driver, Blaire was abducted in 1975 by a criminal who mistook her for the heiress to the Roche Chemical fortune. Rorschach's failure to save her sent him over the edge, which is the point when he became more brutal towards criminals.

    Laurence Schexnayder
Sally Jupiter's ex-husband and manager.
  • Abusive Parents: Implied to Laurie, since he knows she isn't his daughter.
  • The Heart: Managed to keep six (briefly seven) people together as an effective crime-fighting team, in spite of their neuroses and occasional hatred for each other. Perhaps a subversion in that he didn't actually care about any of the individual members (except for Sally) and dumped the team when he saw that they weren't going to be profitable for much longer.
  • May–December Romance: With Sally. He seems to have hooked up with her when she was about seventeen or eighteen.
  • Only in It for the Money: The reason he kept the Minutemen together the best he could.


    Captain Metropolis (Nelson Gardner) 
"Please! Don't all leave...Somebody has to do it, don't you see? Somebody has to save the world..."

A former Marine who applied his knowledge of military strategy to crime-fighting. A very insecure and nervous person. Remained active until 1974, when he was decapitated in a car crash.

  • Badass Gay: Ex-military who organized the team
  • Batman Gambit: In one of the RPG modules (which had input from the original creators), he secretly arranged the kidnappings of the 1960s heroes' loved ones in order to force them to work together, in an effort to make them more amenable to the idea of teaming up as The Crimebusters. If considered canon (there's nothing in the comic that contradicts it), the plan obviously didn't work, but he wasn't exposed as the mastermind.

    Dollar Bill (Bill Brady) 

A star college athlete from Kansas who was hired by a bank to be their in-house superhero. Died in 1947, when during an attempt to foil a bank robbery, his cape got caught in the door and he was shot.

  • Alliterative Name: Bill Benjamin Brady.
  • Born Lucky: According to the RPG, his sporting and superhero career were studded with incredible strokes of good luck. Up until a certain day, that is...
  • The Cape: Both the attitude implied by and the actual cape in his costume got him killed.
  • Cape Snag: In the backstory, he was ordered by his sponsors to get a cape as a part of his outfit, in order to increase his marketability. However, one day, when he tried to stop a bank robbery, his cape got caught in a revolving door, allowing the bank robbers to shoot him to death. Nite Owl notes (somewhat bitterly) in his memoir that Dollar Bill would likely be alive today were he allowed to design the costume himself.
  • Captain Patriotic: His outfit has red and white stripes on a blue background, likely intended for this aim by his sponsors.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: He had to wear a garish costume as one of the conditions of his sponsorship. Perhaps not so ironically, the cape was caught in a revolving door, tripping him up long enough for a crook to shoot him dead as he tried to stop a bank heist.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: The bank who sponsored him insisted that he wore the cape that led to his untimely death.
  • Meaningful Name: "Bill" is part of his superhero name as well as his real name. His middle name is Benjamin, another slang term for money.
  • Nice Guy: At least, according to Hollis Mason in Under the Hood.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: Deconstructed, as Alan Moore was showing how impractical wearing a cape is, and how wearing a cape lead to his death.

    Hooded Justice (Possibly Rolf Muller) 
"You sick little bastard, I'm going to break your neck..."

Possibly the first costumed superhero. Little is known about him, save that he was extremely violent and brutal, and a supporter of The Klan and Nazis. Disappeared in 1955, possibly at the hands of the Comedian.

  • Anti-Hero: Vicious, cruel and a Nazi supporter. Only the fact this his rage is directed at criminals keeps him on the "hero" side.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: The comic only implies he's in a gay relationship with another Minute Man, but it's heavily implied in the movie that he's very sensitive about it.
    The Comedian: (Being beaten by Hooded Justice) Is this what you like, huh? Is this what gets you hot?
    Hooded Justice: WHAT?!
  • The Berserker: In his first ever case as a vigilante, HJ beat up a street thug so bad he lost the use of his legs for the rest of his life.
  • Bondage Is Bad: His outfit invoke this and he is one of the most brutal vigilantes.
  • The Brute: An anti-heroic version.
  • The Cowl: He is a really intimidating vigilante by size alone and his beatings are savage.
  • Culture Equals Costume: Justice's costume references the circus (leotard and cape), The Klan (face concealing hood, noose), and bondage (ropes on ankles, wrists, waist and neck) — all things Muller/Justice is associated with.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Was a big supporter of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: One theory of his death put forward by Ozymandias. When Hooded Justice disappeared, the Comedian was charged by the government to track him down, but failed to do so. Ozymandias suggests that the Comedian actually succeeded, but instead of bringing him in, killed him in cold blood and reported failure. All as payback for Hooded Justice stopping his attempted rape of Silk Spectre.
    The Comedian: (after Justice stops him) One day the joke'll be on you.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He would have been a straight up villain if he didn't prey mostly on rapists and criminals.
  • Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: When super-heroes were required to appear before Congress during the McCarthy-era witch-hunts, Hooded Justice instead just vanished, apparently having chosen to end his super-hero career rather than go through the process. As Under The Hood points out, this lends credence to the idea that he might have actually been Rolf Muller, who was a German immigrant. Between that, his homosexuality, and the many statements he made supporting Nazi Germany, there would have been no way he'd get through the witch-hunts.
  • Hide Your Gays: In-universe, Hooded Justice had to keep his sexuality under wraps due to being a super-hero active in the 1940s. Silk Spectre (possibly out of gratitude for saving her from a rape) acted as his beard in public. This was so under wraps that even certain other members of their team didn't know; Hollis Mason briefly muses in his book how weird it was that Hooded Justice never seemed to return any of her affections despite publicly dating.
    "Even though Sally would be always hanging onto his arm, he never seemed very interested in her. I don't think I ever saw him kiss her, although that might've been because of his mask."
    • This extends to Laurie assuming that Hooded Justice was her real father.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: It's implied a few times that he's into BDSM and when he's beating up The Comedian, he's mocked that the only reason he became a hero was because of the sexual thrill he gets out of beating the crap out of people. Would explain his tendency to be so violent.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Fast enough to take on three armed men and win, strong enough to cripple and kill with his bare hands.
  • Manly Gay: By implication.
  • Married to the Job
    "I'd rather be in the street, doing my job."
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Might have been a circus strongman. Might have been a Russian spy. Might have been a Nazi spy. Might have been all three.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: His pro-Nazi views caught up to him and he had to disappear.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Was he Rolf Muller or not? Either way, are "they" dead? Hollis has no idea, and concludes that reality is a messy place where mysteries often go unresolved.
  • Shrouded in Myth: He might have been a circus strongman by the name of Rolf Muller. The implication is strong, but still somewhat ambiguous. There are semi-canonical sources from Moore that imply that he was Rolf Muller, but that was just one of his many aliases.
  • The Spook: His identity was never known and he promptly disappeared when people started asking questions, never to be seen again.

    Mothman (Byron Lewis) 
"My friends! My friends. What time is it?"

A millionaire playboy who decided to become a superhero both out of a desire to add spice to his life and out of guilt over his privileged lifestyle. Ultimately, his alcoholism (and being hauled before the HUAC) turned him into a shell of his former self, and was eventually committed to a sanitarium.

    The Silhouette (Ursula Zandt) 
"Perhaps the Poles thought so too, eh? You agree, Sally?"

A bored Jewish aristocrat who fought crime for thrills. Was exposed as a lesbian and drummed out of the Minutemen in 1946, and killed by an old foe afterward.

  • Bury Your Gays: Not long after being kicked out of the Minutemen, she was murdered in a hotel room alongside her girlfriend by an old foe. Her death scene from the movie provides the page image.
  • Civvie Spandex: In the comics, her costume is a simple black pantsuit with a red sash. The Movie makes it look more super-heroic.
  • Expy: Of Nightshade.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Even allowed to grab the nurse from The VJ Day Kiss in the movie.
  • Rich Bitch: Her only line (seen above) is an insulting dig at Sally (who had changed her name to hide her Polish heritage), and she's mentioned as being a rather unpleasant person in general.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Being Jewish, she despised the Hooded Justice, who was openly supportive of the Nazi regime.