Comic Book: Before Watchmen
A young Eddie Blake, on the cover of Before Watchmen: Minutemen #2.Before Watchmen
is a 2012-13 comics miniseries set in the world of Alan Moore
and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen
. The event was launched in celebration of Watchmen's 25th anniversary.
Each of the miniseries involves some of the best talents in the comics industry to date. This event's purpose is to explore the backstory, characters and setting of Watchmen
(comics continuity only), as any previous history not shown in the original series is in hard to find RPG's and supplementary materials.
The individual miniseries are:
- Comedian, six issues by Brian Azzarello and J.G. Jones.
- Dr. Manhattan, four issues, by J. Michael Straczynski and Adam Hughes.
- Minutemen, six issues by Darwyn Cooke.
- Nite Owl, four issues by J. Michael Straczynski and Andy and Joe Kubert.
- Ozymandias, six issues by Len Wein and Jae Lee.
- Rorschach, four issues by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo.
- Silk Spectre, four issues by Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner.
- Moloch, two issues by J. Michael Straczynski and Eduardo Risso.
- Dollar Bill, one issue by Len Wein and Steve Rude.
- Curse of the Crimson Corsair, two page backup in most Before Watchmen issues, by Len Wein & John Higgins.
Please note: trope folders are for the characters' miniseries, not the characters themselves. Of course a trope about Edward Blake can be placed in the Comedian
folder, but only if that's the series where the trope in question is used. So for instance, tropes about anything Edward does in Ozymandias
should be placed in the folder for the Ozymandias
series.Warning: Several spoilers from Watchmen will be unmarked.
Before Watchmen provides examples of:
open/close all folders
General Before Watchmen Tropes
- Art Evolution: Each miniseries is in a different art style from each of the others, as well as from the detailed but utilitarian art of the original Watchmen.
- Call Back: Even the panel layouts for some pages recall the original comic, especially in the series that Darwyn Cooke writes.
- Call Forward: Pretty much the reason (aesthetically) that this series exists.
- Cosmetically Advanced Prequel: Two and a half decades of improvements in the art department will do that for you.
- Depending on the Artist: Those art styles and ideas differ on some designs. Moloch looks like a regular person in Comedian, but in his series he Looks Like Orlock, and Silhouette has a redesign in Minutemen and Dollar Bill, but her single-panel appearance in Moloch has her design from Watchmen.
- Foregone Conclusion: Anyone who's alive in Watchmen is obviously not going to die or get permanently injured, no matter what it might look like.
- Prequel: As the title would suggest.
- Anti-Hero: Comedian #1 tries to nudge Eddie from a Type IV/V situation into a Type III.
- Friendly Enemy: Eddie shares a moment with Moloch in issue #1, busting through his goons to face him, only to find Moloch crying over JFK's assassination. The two cease hostilities and stare in disbelief at the report, with Moloch giving Blake some liquor.
- Marilyn Monroe: Eddie both slept with her and is responsible for her death.
- Mythology Gag: The character of Gordy is a dead ringer for the character of the same name in V for Vendetta. He even meets Eddie in a similar-looking bar/nightclub.
- Pals with Jesus: Blake is shown to be loyal to the presidency (to the Kennedys in B.W. and Nixon in Watchmen proper) and even kills Marilyn Monroe on behalf of Jackie Kennedy. He's genuinely saddened when he hears that JFK was assassinated in Dallas, when he wasn't around.
- Shout-Out: The brick that somebody throws at Edward in issue #3 is made by the Herriman Brick Co.
- There Was a Door: In #6, Rorschach and Nite-Owl smash their way through a barroom window, causing the Comedian to snark "Door was open, you morons..."
- Unfriendly Fire: Eddie does this to his commanding officer in the Pacific during World War II.
- Vietnam War
- Who Shot JFK?: Despite what has been implied elsewhere, Comedian #1 reveals that Eddie did not shoot Kennedy. Later, he meets his contact, Gordy, and remarks on how they could be mistaken for one another, implying that Gordy was JFK's true killer.
- All American Face: Wearing the bank's colors and the Stars and Stripes.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Admits to peeing a little during his first fight.
- Cape Snag: Well, it was inevitable.
- Continuity Nod: Several to Minutemen. Bill tries out for the team along with the various people in the Terrible Interviewees Montage, and they are the people from Minutemen (though Iron Lid's costume is more colorful), and the first misson the team shared and covered up.
- Due to the Dead: Bill's funeral, where the remaining Minutemen attend, in costume, and Metropolis delivers the eulogy. The sequence of events established in Minutemen means that Sally got dressed up again after quitting to attend his funeral. Afterwards, they see a bunch of kids dressing up as Bill and reenacting the faithful scene, but with a more superheroic Immune to Bullets flair. Byron wonders if he'll be forgotten, Nelson laughs it off and shows him the kids, saying that he'll still be remembered.
- The Hero Dies: Bill was Doomed by Canon.
- Impractically Fancy Outfit: The original people trying out for the job said the outfit looked gaudy (or saying they look like a fag in it), and though Bill agrees to wear it, he protests the cape as it would restrict movement.
- Posthumous Narration
- To Absent Friends: Bill's reaction to hearing the news of Silhouette's death, drinking a toast for her journey to the afterlife; even though he thought God was punishing her for her orientation, he still thought of her as a loyal teammate.
- Took a Level in Badass: Despite being an actor, and afraid of getting shot, Bill follows Nite-Owl and Hooded Justice into one of the banks he supported to fight the robbers. After that, he compares his experiences to playing football in college, and how the adrenaline got him going.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Ursula is better-looking and more feminine than her portrayal in the original Watchmen.
- Adaptation Expansion: Due to its nature exploring a period in the original merely glimpsed and not fully witnessed, many plot threads hinted at in Watchmen are brought out more fully for this series.
- Affectionate Nickname: Silhouette calls Hollis Mr. Owl or Mr. Nite-Owl, more as a formality. As they get to know each other, she calls him Mr. Hollis, and later, more affectionately, Mr. Silly, or silly man. When delirious from blood loss, she calls him Mister Angel.
- The Alcoholic: As in the original, Byron Lewis. Some of the reasons are brought to the fore — the sheer terrifying difficulty of doing what he did day in and day out (basically jump off of tall buildings, in the course of an already stressful career, and hope it worked, every single time) eventually broke him.
- Ascended Extra: Goes hand in hand with the above trope, Dollar Bill had no lines in the original series, and Silhouette is given a fairly prominent role despite only saying one sentence in the comic. All the Minutemen get their personalities expanded upon.
- Backstory Horror
- Badass Crew: The Minutemen, while they can fight well, they're very dysfunctional, and their relationships to each other varies from respect to apathy to outright hatred.
- Badass Gay: Hooded Justice, Captain Metropolis, and the Silhouette. Gretchen has a moment in her flashback.
- The Beard: Sally for Hooded Justice.
- Berserker Tears: Byron has them in Minutemen #2. Ursula and Hollis follow the sound of crying because they think they're on the way to finding the abducted child they're seeking — and they do, just not alive. The person crying is Byron.
- Bondage Is Bad: Nelly is clearly way, way over his head in his relationship with HJ, whether the bondage itself is the issue or not. The original Watchmen implies Hooded Justice is a sadist, but it doesn't say anything about Nelson being a masochist, or the two of them being well-matched.
- Break the Cutie: It's quite a shock to see Nelson Gardner, previously a neurotic wreck in Watchmen proper, as a fit and self-assured younger man. His relationship with HJ probably had a lot to do with it. Byron is following a similar downward trajectory.
- Bring My Brown Pants: The guy Hooded Justice advances on in the first issue wets himself.
- Bullet Proof Human Shield: Averted. When Ursula rescues a child, she is shot, the bullet passes through her back and into the child's chest, killing her.
- Bury Your Gays: Ursula and Gretchen were killed by one of her foes, both for being an enemy and for her orientation. The page still has them as its image.
- Cerebus Syndrome: The first issues have some really funny moments. The latter issues are noticeably darker.
- Coat, Hat, Mask: The nature of Ursula's costume, though whether it's a full redesign or simply her original costume before Lawrence made her over into something more sellable is debatable.
- Combat Stilettos: Sally has them, until her Let's Get Dangerous moment. Silhouette's silhouette had the appearance of them, as it was Juxtaposed with a cover of Vogue which she appeared on, implying a fashion motif, but upon getting into a fight reveals that they're regular boots.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Nite Owl fights The Comedian dressed as Hooded Justice, and Hollis is beaten quite badly, and has his ribs broken.
- Cynicism Catalyst: When Ursula was in Linz, she and her sister lived in the orphanage. She met Gretchen, her girlfriend, and prepared to flee with her, but found that her sister had been taken and murdered by a Nazi torturer. Since then she's become devoted to saving children from those who would do them harm, closing herself off from others in her crusade.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Ursula fled from the Nazis after they murdered her sister Blanche. Hooded Justice also seems to have one, because after he broke into her apartment, he could be seen waking up crying and screaming Nein.
- Dead Hand Shot: How we see Ursula's death, via bloody slashed hand. The Liquidator's death is shown this way as well, seeing only his hand from the bathtub.
- Dead Hat Shot: A non-drowning example in Issue #6 we see a flashback of Ursula's death with her Nice Hat turned upside down, and her bed in the back.
- Silhouette's first appearance has her descend a building by jumping on ledges to get to a large man carrying a kid in a carpet. When she gets to the ground, the guy uses her momentum against her by punching her in the face. When he runs off, he waits behind a corner to blindside her and then kick her in the face while she's down, and then Neck Lift her. She is close enough to slash and kick him, and he runs after that.
- Mothman's a determinator too. His original tests resulted in some pretty bad breaks. He continued on, still wanting to help people, but always living with the fear of falling, dying and all of his trust in a machine which had let him down before.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Doomed by Canon: In one way or another, they're all bound to wind up dead or shells of their former selves by the time the main Watchmen series starts.
- Due to the Dead: Played with When Ursula and Gretchen are killed they're given an unmarked grave by Byron's request as their deaths were a hate crime, he wanted to preserve their dignity, and not have anyone vandalize the burial. Sally even pays her respects, apologizing for treating Ursula with scorn, and reveals that she hunted down and executed her killer. Even Eddie appears to pay his respects. As time went on, Hollis mentions that despite all the good Ursula did in helping children, the tabloids turned her into a joke, and that's all the public really remembers.
- Engineered Heroics: After the fact variant. The Minutemen succeed in stopping a criminal act, but rather than being Italian fascist saboteurs smuggling bombs, they blow up a warehouse full of smuggled fireworks. Nelly even holds up one of his armored car's own shells as proof the criminals were arms smugglers.
- Establishing Character Moment: Issue #1 is built on this, and it gives one to each and every member of the Minutemen, showing a promotional picture, and then their scene. Hooded Justice is big threatening and invokes a Mook Horror Show. Silk-Spectre is shown in a pin-up, and then shown taking down a crook, while Hollis narrates about how her manager hired an actor to play the crook, payed off the cops, and had a failing jewelry store get robbed to get publicity. Hollis debuts jumping onto an armored car, subduing the crooks, and causing it to flip over, right before jumping out and saving a mother and child from getting hit. Mothman debuts with a pan of his house, showing his wealth, accomplishments, and finally his alcohol, then, he's seen on a roof, looking all the way down, and drinking to get the courage to fly. Silhouette debuts jumping down the ledges on a building to stop a man carrying off a carpet. She catches him and takes quite a beating before slashing his chest and making him run off, before opening the carpet revealing an abused child, and telling him he's safe. Dollar Bill debuts on a movie advertisement, where he beats up some crooks, and encourages people to invest in the bank. Finally, Captain Metropolis debuts, with a pan of his estate, costumes, and technology, all as he talks about putting an ad in the paper to attract other heroes.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Rolf Mueler was kicked out of the Nazis because he was too sick for them, and judging from the Comedian's dialogue, and his actions against Blanche and Hooded Justice, it's easy to see why.
- Face-Heel Turn: A kinda hard one to spot, but the Iron Lid (wearing the armor and welding mask and carried a blow torch) showed up to audition for the minute men ("We burn them all, yes?"), later he's apparently become a bad guy and can be seen in the background getting beaten by Dollar Bill.
- Fanservice: Sally at all times, looking like a pinup. Nelly in the bath, looking like a gay pinup. In issue #3, Sally and Ursula do pin-ups for the war (Ursula noticeably with a look more resembling her look in Watchmen proper). Sally's more racy pictures are all rather clear, but the woman in the pictures with her has a mask, an obscure face, or a different hair type, making it unclear if Ursula is in them as well.
- Fan Disservice: Hey, a HJ/Nelly sex scene! Hey, uh, what are you doing there, Justice?
- Foregone Conclusion: It's a prequel, and by the time Watchmen starts things, the Minutemen have completely shattered.
- Foreshadowing: All over the damn place.
- One very good example is when Ursula tries rescuing the girl, and is shot, with the girl dying. She states that the girl is fading like a flickering light, with the image of Silhouette and the girl, small and featureless, in a flickering light-bulb foreshadowing her own death.
- When Ursula calls Hollis at the police box, a poster for the Bluecoat comics can be seen behind him, though the figure is wearing a red cape.
- General Ripper: Eddie revealed to have served under one in the war. After Eddie, and one of his troops, Greg survive their squadron's attack (by one sniper and a mine field), through the kindness of a native and her child, they report the attack to him. The General Orders the placed shelled against Eddie's protests. When Eddie tries to warn the woman, he comes too late, and finds her, disorientated, and severely burnt, with her child fused against her side. The General shoots her, in a mocking gesture of mercy. In true Comedian fashion he slits the general's throat with a Japanese Bayonet.
- Good Samaritan: In WW2, Eddie's viewpoint is challenged when he almost gets killed in the pacific islands by a mine. A local woman and her son rescue Eddie, and Greg, and she and Greg carry Eddie back to patch him up. After he and Greg report to camp the general has the area she lived in shelled.
- Gory Discretion Shot: The abducted child's corpse at the end of Minutemen #2. We see Hollis reeling from the foul smell before they even enter the room, and then horrified reactions' on the three's faces. Byron is just standing there stock-still, tears running down his face. At the same time the panels keep cutting away to HJ assaulting Captain Metropolis, showing little more than their faces and hands. Ultimately Ursula's death was this. With the perpetrator breaking in advancing on Gretchen and Ursula sleeping, and a final panel of her trying to defend Gretchen and holding out her hand in defense. A panel before only showed a limp bloody hand, and the word "Lesbian whores" written in their blood. The Liquidator also dies this way, with Sally hunting him down after he murdered Ursula. Ironically, his body was discovered with a limp bloody hand as well.
- Gut Punch: In issue 4, the series hits the moment where the tone falls firmly into cynicism, more character deaths occur, and the team starts to lose membership in one way or another. Specifically the moment where Ursula and Gretchen die.
- Hannibal Lecture: Eddie turns the meeting that's meant to be his official dismissal from the Minutemen (for sexually assaulting Sally) into an opportunity to beat up HJ and accuse the rest of them as being just as bad as he is.
- How We Got Here
- Impractically Fancy Outfit: Hooded Justice: The Noose looks cool, but it serves as an easy thing to grab onto in a fight. When Comedian left, he used it to flip Justice over and subdue him and in issue #6 Hollis grabs onto it, breaking his neck. Lampshaded
Comedian:"What kind of stupid shit fights crime with a noose around his neck?"
- Incompatible Orientation: Hollis has a crush on Ursula, who's gay. He finds out in issue #4 and looks crushed.
- Ironic Nursery Tune: Minutemen #2 uses Robert Louis Stevenson's poem "The Unseen Playmate" juxtaposed with a child going missing at the fairground and the frantic search for him. Ursula seems to have it in her notes about finding the kids, and it may be connected to Hooded Justice.
- Jabba Table Manners: Not quite so extreme, but Eddie shaking down a bartender for some pickled eggs and then wolfing them down is pretty gross.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: How Eddie fights crime, beating up criminals because it's fun or to get out anger, not out of any moral obligation Rolf Muller dies this way.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Upon hearing about Silhouette's death Sally forgoes her stilettos, grabs some boots, a brass knuckle and a knife, and goes out to torture and kill the murderer, The Liquidator.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Sally is a glamorous, strawberry-blonde all-American girl who's happy to take the credit for a few busted crooks but doesn't like to get her hands dirty. Ursula is a trenchcoat-wearing, raven-haired Jewish lesbian immigrant, capable of real ruthlessness but deep compassion.
- Like Brother and Sister: At the end of his career, surrounded by dead friends and ones trapped by physiological problems, Hollis is still very close to Sally, becoming an "uncle" to her daughter Laurie. He admits he has few personal connections, but Sally and Laurie mean a lot to him.
- Marijuana Is LSD: Averted. Byron takes hashish for his leg and back pain, and he's still coherent and doesn't suffer any hallucinatory effects. Compare that to when Ozymandias takes the drug in his series and the original.
- Mook Horror Show: Hooded Justice's debut involves him stalking two murderers after beating two others. He takes one out and advances threateningly, silently and visibly onto the final man as he drops his gun, begs and wets himself. HJ throws him out the window, and Hollis mentions that the crook's body smashed a car and coated the officer standing next to it. Said officer retired the next day.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Hollis is horrified to realize that Hooded Justice, whom he killed, was innocent.
- Nice Guy:
- How Hollis regards Dollar Bill, in spite of his Politically Incorrect Hero status, Hollis calls him a friend and mourns his passing in issue #5
- Hollis himself is also one. He takes time off during his beat to help an Italian family with getting the car to start, even giving a kid his hat to play with. He mentions that after that they "thought he was alright for an Irishman." He mentions the wife of the guy he helped helped him pick out flowers, and he went looking for her son when he was taken.
- Nominal Hero: Sally is, as ever, in it for the publicity. This puts her at odds with many of her teammates, particularly Ursula, who willingly takes on difficult and unglamorous cases. (Dollar Bill is also transparently a marketing ploy rather than an actual crime-fighter, but he's less ostentatious about it.)
- Nostalgic Narrator: Hollis's opening narration displays him as such, but he's written the book to show that nostalgia or no, the truth needs to be known.
Hollis: "Over the months it took me to complete, I found the act of writing seemed to purge me of the darker aspects of my secret life. As if I trapped all of it in a bottle I could now toss away into the surf. Lately, when I think of those times the dark parts fall farther and farther away from my limited line of sight. From down here on earth, I can only see what I want to see. From here, in my empty apartment, I can only see the good."
- Not Quite Flight: Byron's wings.
- Opaque Lenses: Gretchen in the present day, looking more stoic. Larry has them as well.
- Opaque Nerd Glasses: Byron. Gretchen in her flashback.
- Pet the Dog: Ursula is hardly a villain, but she's still closed-off and none too friendly with her fellow masked adventurers. She goes out of her way to combat child abuse and child trafficking in particular — it's not glamorous compared to catching wartime saboteurs and stopping bank robberies, but somebody has to think of the children. She also considers Hollis and Byron her friends.
- Politically Correct History: Averted, within the first few pages of Minutemen #1 someone's getting casually called an antisemitic slur by a police officer. Likewise, the series touches on anti-gay prejudice with both the Silhouette and Hooded Justice/Nelson Gardner.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Due to the Deliberate Values Dissonance of the times, Captain Metropolis calls the Japanese they're going to try and stop 'heathens', and has some racist tendencies. Dollar Bill is shown to be homophobic during a discussion with Hollis, and questions Eddie's guilt in assaulting Sally, citing the way Sally dresses. The Comedian is a borderline case, he's seen killing Japanese crooks and dishing out slurs, but he's the Comedian, he hates practically everyone.
- Rape as Drama: The child Ursula rescues from the child porn ring pleads for no more when she finds him. Later, when Hooded Justice and Nelson Gardner have sex, it's clearly and explicitly not what Nelly wanted, and he looks terrified. We also see the aftermath of the Comedian assaulting Sally.
- Really Seventeen Years Old: Hey, Eddie's old enough to bust crooks he's old enough to have a beer, right?
- Red Herring: The child killer's identity was implied to be the man from Ursula's past. Hooded Justice was the prime suspect; he wore a hood and similar colors. Numerous hints were dropped that he at least had some connection to the case. The true suspect being Rolf Mueler (who was the man from her past), with Eddie pointing out the Fridge Logic of him not being Justice, the age difference.
- Retcon: It's revealed that the excerpts from Under the Hood in Watchmen weren't completely honest.
- Slave to PR: Sally refuses to help with depressing cases, because she wants the team's name (and her own) to be associated with happy, triumphant things in the minds of the public: Gang bosses, terrorists, or some new super-villain named... Moloch.
- Sophisticated as Hell: When an angry General Ripper tears into the Comedian, questioning his integrity as an independent agent, Eddie says, standing at attention with a straight face, "With all due respect sir, go fuck yourself."
- Superhero Packing Heat: Silhouette dual wields pistols as part of her ensemble all the time. In issue #5, Captain Metropolis shows that he has several automatic weapons and handguns, and he, Hooded Justice, Nite Owl, Mothman, and Bluecoat all take up arms.
- Tagalong Kid: Subverted; while young, Eddie is far from useless, and good luck trying to kidnap him.
- Terrible Interviewees Montage:The auditions for the Minutemen. The hopefuls range from amusingly ineffectual (Liberty Lassy, a cheerful Statue of Liberty-themed triple threat who can cook a mean brisket) to strange (Iron Lid, a crimefighter in a welder's mask and metal armor who wants to burn crooks with fire, and The Slut, a perfectly ordinary-looking woman who likes to take her clothes off and do...stuff) to just sad (Hank, an overweight man in a dirty sweatshirt with a bucket on his head who's "just Hank").
- Token Evil Teammate: Eddie's not yet the bastard he'll grow up to be, but he's still pretty fresh-mouthed, and robs the crooks he apprehends. In his debut, he beats up a bunch of thugs in a bar, and then threatens the bartender for pickled eggs, which he then eats, knocks the old man out, and robs him. We also see the aftermath of him assaulting Sally.
- Understanding Girlfriend: When Ursula is shot, the first person she goes to is her girlfriend.
- The Unreveal: Hooded Justice isn't Rolf Mueler, and we never see his adult face outside of shadows (though we may have seen him as a child), and when he dies, Nelson demands that his mask stays on when he blows up the tower.
- Warts and All: Hollis is writing the book to show what the team was really like, in success and in failure. This becomes a running motif, things like comics and other idealized drawings contrasting how the team really functioned, and ultimately failed.
- Wham Episode:
- Minutemen #4 is where the ball really drops: Silhouette is killed, Silk Spectre quits, Mothman's severe alcoholic problems increase, and Hooded Justice is revealed to have some connection to the child murders.
- The death of the boy who became Scout in #5.
- The revelations about Hooded Justice in #6.
- Wham Shot: The case at the end of Minutemen #2.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Sally gives one to Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice after they all voted Silhouette off, and she was killed as a result. She then quits.
- Where It All Began
- Yellow Peril: Japanese are considered the enemies as the war rages, and as it ends. When Eddie goes Solo he's seen killing armed Japanese gangsters. Two new heroes, Bluecoat and Scout, inform the heroes of a plot by bitter Japanese after the war ended. They all plan to blow up the Statue of Liberty, so they team up with the remainder of the Minutemen to go in there, guns a-blazing, and slurs a-saying. Bluecoat and Scout are based on a fictional comic, where the titular heroes beat up the "evil Japanese." Turns out that the two are actually Japanese themselves, a father and son who had lost their wife/mother in the internment camps, and the boy's grandfather is starting the whole scheme. The two did not want so many people to die, so they teamed with the Minutemen to stop them, dressing as the all-American heroes lest they be distrusted.
- All of the Other Reindeer: As a boy, Edgar was bullied for his freakish appearance. His parents didn't even want to look at him as they raised him.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Averted, Edgar mentions he could have tried other faiths but was drawn to Catholicism for various reasons, like the Latin texts and a chance for redemption.
- Continuity Nod: There's a blink-and-miss-it to Comedian #1 in issue #2, where Moloch says that after JFK got shot he and the Comedian bonded and Edward knew he could talk to Edgar, which goes against what we know about them from Watchmen, but does make sense if you remember the moment in Comedian when Edgar and Edward are watching the TV news report about JFK's death together.
- Downer Ending: Poor Edgar... He was Doomed by Canon.
- Heel-Faith Turn: Edgar turned to religion after his stint in prison. If one looks in Watchmen proper, Moloch has a crucifix and a statue of the virgin Mary in his home.
- Kids Are Cruel: During Edgar's childhood.
- Let Them Die Happy: At the end, is told by Adrian everything he wished to accomplish with his plan and how he would do it. Edgar is happy to help the world in his own way, to participate in "the ultimate magic trick".
- Looks Like Orlock: Moloch's appearance is exaggerated compared to his appearance in the original comic.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: In-Universe, Edgar admits that some of his henchmen believed he had real magic powers, while some thought it was illusion. He was only using smoke and mirrors, and later advanced technology to achieve his feats.
- You Can't Fight Fate: That's the feeling Edgar got when coming face to face with Dr. Manhattan, who could do the amazing feats of power Edgar only could pretend to do with magic. He saw no possible way to outrun or defeat him, ending up in jail. The further conflicts he had with Ozymandias and The Comedian were pretty much pointless as long as Manhattan existed.
- Ascended Fanboy: Dan, as ever, with a bedroom full of Nite Owl merch. He tracks down Hollis' hideout and shows up to tell him so.
- Big Bad: Taylor Stone.
- Big Damn Heroes: Nite Owl and Rorschach both pull one.
- Bondage Is Bad: Twilight Lady makes an appearance as a...negligent dominatrix supervillainess.
- Continuity Nod: The papers that Hollis gives Dan to read are probably, or at least possibly, a reference to the less honorable stuff that the Minutemen did in Minutemen.
- Creepy Child: Walter in #4.
- Crimefighting with Cash
- Deadpan Snarker: Rorschach. Before the Roche case destroys him psychologically, he even jokes about Laurie's costume giving Dan a boner.
- Domestic Abuse: Dan's dad is abusive, in pretty much a direct reversal of the fanon sensibility that Adrian's parents were abusive Nazis and Dan's were ineffectual but well-meaning.
- Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: Young Dan walks in on his dad beating his mother with a belt.
- Downer Ending: Rorschach and Nite Owl don't work together anymore, and Dan doesn't get together with the Twilight Lady.
- Foregone Conclusion: You know that no matter what happens, Rorschach and Nite Owl will survive safe and sound.
- Kid Sidekick: Hollis is cautious at first about taking Dan on due to his age and vulnerability, even after he's proved himself as technically apt for the job.
- Knight in Sour Armor: In #4, Rorschach makes it clear that he considers himself to be one.
- Plot Hole: Rorschach has already adopted his clipped monotone and black-and-white worldview long before the events that triggered his breakdown in Watchmen proper.
- Riddle for the Ages: What Hollis Mason decided to let Dan know about his past. Though it might be the stuff we read about in Minutemen.
- Sinister Minister: Reverend Taylor Stone.
- Teen Genius: Dan is a really smart kid.
- Wham Line: "You should go inside. It's cold. Oh, and at some point you should call the hospital. Looks like your father had a heart attack. I'd do it myself, but for some reason I just can't remember the phone number.''
- Badass Boast: "So, crime fighter huh? Is that what you are? Nice to meet you. I am crime." Rawhead's first lines.
- Big Bad: Rawhead.
- Bittersweet Ending: Rawhead and the Bard get what they deserve, but the only truly sympathetic character (Nancy) ends up traumatized for life and leaving the city, which has the side-effect of damning the last shot at humanity Rorscharch had. And in the end, when it's all said and done, it's clear that despite Rorscharch's quest to fight crime, the world remains as rotten as always and nothing will change.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: As a result of his inflated ego, Rawhead always decides to capture Rorscharch and have fun with him rather than just kill him.
- The Cameo: Travis Bickle comes to Rorscharch's aid in issue two.
- Caught with Your Pants Down: In issue #1, Rorschach kicks down the door on a crook while he is in a booth at an adult cinema.
- Costume Copycat: Rawhead takes Rorschach's mask and goes out to fight crime in it.
- Darker and Edgier
- Deadpan Snarker: Rorscheard is in top form.
- Distant Finale: The epilogue jumps forward five years, to Rorschach finally punishing the Bard for his attack on Nancy.
- The Dragon: "Lucky", Rawhead's main henchman who is more than able to match up Rorscharch in a fistfight.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: Rawhead after putting Rorscharc's mask.
- Everything Is Racist: A black guy working in a diner misinterprets a comment by a female cacuasian workmate.
Woman: Nobody's safe anymore... We're livin' in a jungle, surrounded by wild savages...
Man: What's that supposed to mean?
Woman: I didn'... You know. Don' pretend you...
- Former Regime Personnel: Rawhead and his crew are former Vietnam veterans turned to crime.
- GIFT: For every character who's not Rorscharch, anonimity comes as a curse. When the blackout happens, everyone turns to crime and Rawhead, when wearing Rorscharch's mask, decides to do crimefigthing, only to be executed himself.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: Rorscharch's torturing a man while a porn movie plays.
- Left for Dead: Happens to Rorscharch.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Rawhead's tiger end up being used against him.
- Karmic Death: [[spoiler: Rawhead is executed
- Humans Are Bastards: The underlying theme of the story.
- Made of Iron: Rorscharch is pretty roughed up by Rawhead's men, but he pushes on.
- Obligatory Swearing: Shove it up it!
- Right-Hand Attack Dog: Rawhead has a tiger. Ironically it is siced against him by Rorscharch.
- Scenery Porn: It's a Lee Bermejo comic. What else did you expect?
- Temporary Love Interest: Rorschach gets (something resembling) a love interest in Nancy the waitress, for whom he seems to feel some kind of affection and whom he asks out on what is essentially a date. However, the date never happens, as Rorschach gets captured by Rawhead, while Nancy is assaulted by the Bard.
- Torture Technician: Both Rorscharch and Lucky.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Rawhead's gang as the A-plot; the Bard as the B-plot.
- ‹bermensch: Rawhead comments tis is the gist of Rorscharch's mask. It makes one feel above society by removing their face.
- What You Are in the Dark: The central theme of the story. For example, when the city blacks out, the city becomes chaotic and violent, and Rorscharch takes this as a statement of the city's nature.
- Action Girl: Laurie, even more so than in Watchmen proper.
- Alpha Bitch: Betsy in issue one needles Laurie over her mother's past, and her heritage. Laurie takes her down in a single punch after a jab at her mother's more explicit career.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents
- Attempted Rape: A gang of playing-card-themed criminals Laurie takes down seem to have designs on this, or something worse; it makes the ass-kicking they receive particularly brutal.
- Body Guard Babes: The Chairman calls them the Shake Sisters.
- Breather Episode: Issue #1 is a surprisingly touching mother/daughter narrative that's much more tender, even at its strained moments, than we see in Watchmen proper. And it looks like Laurie's biggest issues are all relatively low-key.
- Call Forward: In the final scene, Laurie's thoughts about the other heroes during the Crimebusters meeting.
*about Ozymandias* I bet he's the kind of guy that thinks the world can be changed for the better without punching and kicking.
*about the Comedian* Some hero. More like somebody's old man.
*about Nite Owl II* Oh, God, I could never go out with a guy like that. Total square.
- Civvie Spandex: Laurie's first costume in issue #2 is in her iconic yellow-and-black colors, but it's just a skimpy Minidress of Power she asks one of her hippie friends to design for her rather than the layered, more identifiably costume-like outfit she will later wear.
- Coming-of-Age Story: Laurie clashes with her mother, experiences first love, gets her first boyfriend, and kicks the hell out of some crooks.
- Daughter of the Town Tramp: Laurie gets a lot of flak from her classmates for the fact that her mother was once a sultry pinup girl featured in Tijuana Bibles and sleazy B-movies.
- Eye Scream: The Chairman shoots Spades through his glasses in his right eye.
- The Generation Gap: Personified between Sally Juspeczyk, who hit the peak of her career in the 40s and never recovered, and Laurie, who's coming to adolescence at just the right time to acutely feel all the social changes of the 60s.
- Granola Girl: Some of Laurie's friends in issue #2, when they're not just classic hippies.
- Groin Attack: Laurie removes her boot from a criminal's throat when he complains he can't breathe, but pins him down by kneeling on his junk. When he complains about it, she retorts that she can kneel harder.
- Hypocritical Humor: Unintentionally, when the doctor has treated Laurie's friends who've overdosed on drugs, he tells her to stay safe and to stay away from harmful stuff like that, while he and the nurse light up cigarettes, probably unaware of its detrimental effects.
- Knight Templar Parent: Sally really wants Laurie to succeed at being a superhero, even at the cost of Laurie's personal life. Laurie feels that Sally is projecting on her. The Comedian beats up and threatens to kill Greg if he doesn't break up with Laurie and join the military.
- Mushroom Samba: Laurie and her friends get drugged in issue 3, and she proceeds to talk to her now triangular three legged cat. Then she talks to the skeleton of the bird she left at home, which she thinks has starved, then she argues with Larry, her supposed father, sees a hallucination of Hooded Justice, then a bunch of her possible fathers, and so on and so forth. The panels get wavey, and soon turn into a spiral to reflect her state of mind.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: In issue #2, we meet a band that, for legal reasons, we'll call... uh... The NotBeatles.
- Off Model: When Laurie kicks the hatchet wielding mook with the spades suit painted on his face, his hair turns from blue to heart's red, his spade's painting disappears, and so does his beard.
- Parental Substitute: Hollis was the closest thing to a Father Laurie had.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Laurie is a product of her time — she thinks of herself as plenty liberated but has no qualms about calling two female Mooks she beats up nasty names. Understandable, as she's still a teenager and no one in Watchmen is exactly spotless in any way.
- Retired Badass: Hollis may be old and retired, but he can still track down Laurie and beat-up the most competent of the Big Bad's henchwomen.
- Road Trip Episode
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Laurie hitches a ride with some friendly hippies, and the tagline for issue #2 is "The best part of the trip...is the trip." They weren't kidding. Laurie smokes a lot of weed with her roommates and the main crime to be busted involves sinister acid and shout-outs to Ken Kesey.
- The Sixties
- Slice of Life: Not entirely, since the costumed adventurer/civilian life tensions are still present, but this miniseries focuses more on Laurie and Sally as people and Laurie's coming of age.
- Subliminal Seduction: The scheme masterminded by the Big Bad of issue #2 involves manipulating the young and trendy with subliminal messages in the songs of a band that, for legal reasons, DC Comics would like to point out is not actually The Beatles, as well as tainted LSD.
- True Companions: At least for now, Laurie's housemates and traveling companions.
- Voiceover Letter: The textual equivalent in issue #2; the text of Laurie's letter to Hollis, assuring him and her mom that she's having lots of good clean fun with her new friends, accompanies scenes of everyone getting stoned and cuddling and Laurie and her new boyfriend in bed.
- Would Hit a Girl: The Mooks with the card suits on their faces try this, but Laurie outclasses them, The Chairman and Hollis play this straight.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Chairman has all the local enforcers, promoters, and cookers terminated when he packs up shop.
Curse of the Crimson Corsair