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Headscratchers: Watchmen


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Do not adjust your set. You are about to embark on a journey to the outer limits of Headscratchers/Watchmen.

No discussions have been removed, just put in folders by... The Architects Of Fear!

For technical reasons, Veidt Enterprises has moved some folders into their own pages.

For folders about the ending and the villain's plot, go here.

For folders about characters, go here.

  • Folders courtesy of Veidt Enterprises. Please drink responsibly.

    If The War Starts Up Again, Can Dr. Manhattan Stop It? 
  • It's explicitly mentioned in the comic that if the USA and Soviet Union start launching nukes at each other, Dr. Manhattan can stop some of them but even he can't stop them all. This is the reason why Americans haven't attacked the Soviets even though they have Dr. M on their side.
    • Bullhockey. Regardless of what in the comics says, it's pretty clear from what Dr.Manhattan actually does in the comic that a bunch of nukes flying about would be no problem for him. He'd probably be able to turn them all into flowers; heck, he might even be able to just stop time and get rid of them one by one.

    Would Masked Vigilantes Be Taken Seriously As Extranormal Heroes / Threats? 
  • The police strike has never made sense to me, mainly because the rationale the picketers seemed to be using was that regular cops were being put out of work by annonymous vigilantes. However throughout Watchmen I can't recall any indication that there were more than a dozen or so superheroes active at any one time, and only one of them had superhuman abilities (and he was exempt from the superhero ban anyway). Given how realistic Moore was trying to be in Watchmen, I don't see how a handful of individuals could pose a legitimate threat to police job security. Sure, if you're going to survive as a superhero you've got to be more skilled than an average cop, but most police work doesn't require expert fighter/master detective/escape artist skills. The occasions where such skills are necessary are (a) not that common, and (b) tend to be so dangerous that most cops probably wish they could pass the buck on storming the mansion filled with heavily armed gangsters. I can certainly see why the police would protest the government's endorsement of vigilantism, but not for the reasons they gave in Watchmen.
    • Nah hints are dropped that there were others around the country. The ones you see are just the East Coast/NY minute men types. Presumably Chicago, LA, etc saw their own masked loonies running around. They just don't tie directly into the plot so they're not mentioned. Hooded Justice and the like are easy to miss from a quick reading since they're not part of the main Veidt plot, but they still existed in the back story.
    • You know what bugs me about the police strike? That it takes place during 1977, the year of the Great New York Blackout, and the Summer of Sam. How could the police be so irresponsible? Why would everyone rally around the cops like that? In the 70s people where very anti-police, mostly because of the still fresh memories of the civil rights movement, and the general public image of police as storm troopers eager to crack some hippie skulls. I very much doubt the police would receive any sympathy in 1977 of all years. Think about it, people in major cities don't generally have any sympathy for garbage workers when they strike, because it turns the city into an unsanitary landfill. Do you really think the average New Yorker would sympathize with "The Man's" problems, especially when there's a Serial killer on the loose, and a major blackout that leads to looting and riots? Come on Alan! You seem like the kind of guy who would know this kind of thing!
      • Wow! Put that way I can actually see it going the other way, with people going "fuck the cops, let's all take matters into our own hands! These superheroes seem to have everything figured out, let's all go be like them!"
      • Which is just going to make a police strike aimed at getting rid of superheroes even more likely. Bad enough you've got lunatics in stupid clothes running around fighting crime, but you've now got them inspiring even more lunatics to do the exact same thing, thus eventually leading to the complete breakdown of social order as more people just follow their example and start running around doing whatever they want and saying "hey, that's what the superheroes do!" if they get caught. So when the police eventually get fed up and go on strike, it's a wake-up call of Be Careful What You Wish For for the general public who might have been ambivalent or resentful of the police — "You want everyone taking the law into their own hands instead of letting the police do their job? Here you go! Enjoy watching the city burn down!" However unpopular the police and popular the superheroes might have been, most people don't actually want the complete breakdown of social order and the rule of the mob just because some nut-cases feel like putting some tights and a mask on and beating up criminals to satisfy their own weird lusts, so their positions would have reversed pretty fucking quickly once the choice became getting rid of the superheroes who were inspiring all the trouble in the first place or watching society completely collapse all around them.
      • It's entirely possible neither of these things are present in the Watchmen universe. Besides, people would be more tolerant of "The Man" since "The Man" won the Vietnam War handily, undercutting the major reason for the anti-government sentiments at that moment.
      • It's also quite plausible if not likely that Son of Sam crossed paths with Rorschach at one point, thus cutting that particular problem off at the head . Alternatively, in all the lunacy going on surrounding blackouts, a police strike, superheroes running around and general mayhem, who's going to be stupid enough to sit in their car in the middle of the street in the middle of the night making out? And who's going to notice some nutcase shooting people who do? The former might as well paint a target on themselves, and the latter just gets lumped in with all the anarchy.
      • Also, when considering that it took place during the Civil Rights Movement, which is a greater threat to civil rights? The police, who are restrained by due process, or some guy in a mask who beats the snot out of you without a warrant, probable cause, or any authority whatsoever? It makes one wonder if the vigilantes did any good at all, considering they couldn't exactly show up in court and testify against the people they "apprehended" without revealing their true identities.
    • I think the strike was more about gratitude and credit. People idolized the masked vigilantes because they went out and enforced the law. Police were doing that for years, every day and no one gave them NEARLY as much gratitude and appreciation they gave the Comedian or Nite Owl. How would you like it if one day someone came off the street, VOLUNTEERED to do your job for one hour and got showered with praise while you were ignored. The ingratitude irked them.
      • Cops are never accepting of vigilantes, especially successful ones. It hits them where they live. And the fact that these "heroes" weren't even willing to show their real faces, dressed like clowns, and got all the public acclaim of war heroes just for stopping a liquor store robbery, and were even allowed by the government to continue to operate with no oversight... well, no wonder it made them mad.
      • I thought it was more to do with distrust of super-heroes. After all, if a guy's crazy enough to run around in tights and a mask, what else might he be crazy enough to do (See Rorschach and the Comedian)? Sure, they say they're watching over us, but who's keeping watch on them? Who watches the Watchmen?
      • Vimes.
      • The Boys. Well, they'd keep a close eye on Dr. Manhattan, anyway.
    • Could also be a case of the heroes doing more harm to communities and the rule of law than good, in the same way that Doctor Manhattan's amazing powers have only brought the world closer to armageddon.
    • I keep wondering why the Comedian is considered an "extranormal operative" along with Dr Manhattan. What exactly is it that he does that no normal mere mortals can do? His celebrity let him solve a hostage situation, once. But put him in a combat situation and he's just a big damn target. The same costume makes the idea of him performing covert assassinations ridiculous. I think it's a general problem in Watchmen that there are these people who work out and run around in colorful costumes and for that are considered more than human.
      • To quote Ozymandias, he's supposedly "the perfect fighting man"- factoring in the fact that he also once defeated an admittedly young and inexperienced Ozymandias (i.e.: the guy who beats up Rorschach and Nite-Owl simultaneously and catches bullets with his bare hands) in single combat, it's likely that he had some sort of Naked Snake style Charles Atlas Superpower thing going on. Plus, as you already pointed out, his "celebrity" is something of an advantage- if nothing else, having a guy going around fighting America's enemies dressed up in the flag must be something of a propaganda boost. As for the others- Silk Specter hung around with Doc Manhattan, so didn't really need to be that effective herself, Nite-owl had ubertech, Ozymandias had a Charles Atlas Superpower thing along with being the smartest man on earth, and Rorschach... Rorschach was just plain crazy.
      • Rorschach too has a Charles Atlas Superpower, or at least a hobo version if it. He is a tiny 45 year old amn who basically takes no care of himself and subsists on a diet of sugar and cold canned beans, and yet he is described as being in extraordinary physical condition.
      • I assumed "extranormal operative" simply to mean "operative outside the normal chain of command."
      • "He split from the whole fuckin' program."
      • It's not like he has to wear the costume all the time, you know. I consider it fairly obvious that he has carried out covert assassinations undercover several times, as well as leading battles from the front in his Comedian identity.
    • IIRC, Moore stated in interviews - during the original run of Watchmen - that the legality of masked vigilantes lead to a breakdown and things got out of control. By the '70's, the police and the courts were faced with numerous cases of a guy putting on a mask, beating on somebody he didn't like, and then when arrested saying "It wasn't assault and battery, I'm a superhero!!" But still, this troper was a bit annoyed at how while this and the existence of other superheroes (other than the main characters we saw) was lightly implied it was never shown in the comic and thus, it seems that cops across America are on strike because three people in costumes are beating up guys who like being beaten (c.f. Captain Carnage).
  • In New York City, a densely populated area with about 8 million people, there were only shown about a dozen superheroes and it wasn't implied that there were any more. Seriously, would that small amount of people cause such a big deal? With that distribution, there would only be a couple hundred vigilantes in the entire country, if not less. Even if these people are more "super" than regular vigilantes (which kind of undermines the realism aspect of Watchmen), there would be no way they could make a significant dent in any sort of criminal activity.
    • The realism aspect of Watchmen is already a bit hazy. Ozymandias is in his late forties but he's portrayed as a semi-Superman, catching bullets and the like. Dan and Laurie have been in retirement and out of practice for ten years, Laurie in her mid-thirties, Dan in his forties or so, but when threatened in an alleyway they take down or disable five armed thugs half their age without a mark on either of them. During the riots — something it would take literally dozens of police to shut down — Dan and the Comedian are handling an entire section of the city. Rorschach's holding a section on his own. Laurie and Jon are holding the entire city of Washington on their own (granted, it's easier with the Doc.) It's sort of like that old joke: "Where's the reinforcements?" "Commander, ''I am'' the reinforcements." These guys are capable well past human norms.

    All Those "Darker And Edgier" Imitations 
  • The fact that everything Alan Moore has written since has basically been an apology for Watchmen. The fact that he was surprised that Rorschach, the most interesting character in comics up to that point, proved to be popular, basically the whole attitude he has about Watchmen, the way he seems to hate it despite the fact that it's by far his best work. That bugs me to no end.
    • Moore has never apologised for Watchmen exactly - quite the contrary, he has often expressed pride in his and Dave Gibbons' achievements in the book. What he has expressed regret over is the fact that many comic book writers who came after him were inspired not by the storytelling techniques, characterisation and literary depth that he brought to the superhero genre, but rather by such surface qualities as the violence and the perceived "gritty, seedy, dystopian" attitude. Likewise, he has only expressed regret that Rorschach is popular for being a violent character, not for being an interesting and complex one. In short, Alan Moore is not sorry for Watchmen, only for the negative influence that "Watchmen" has had in some areas of comics writing.
    • I was talking about his crappy Silver Age revival peices, like Supreme, and Tom Strong. Those seem to me like an "Oh shit, what have I done! I'd better try to bring comics back to the way they where before Watchmen!" attitude.
      • You presume they are, in fact, crappy. A hell of a lot of people *like* his Supreme and Tom Strong. ( also, Tom Strong isn't retro Silver Age, its retro Pulp )
      • Er, that's because most of the comics based on Watchmen suck quite hard. The whole "Watchmen taught us that comic book superheroes have to be dark and grim and depressing!" is one of the most colossal examples of missing the point I've ever seen, and the eventual backlash against it almost destroyed superhero comics as a medium (if nothing else, because some Moral Guardians were quite justified in saying that "Modern Age" comics were increasingly about justifying and glorifying mindless slaughter because it was awesome). Hardly anyone who was involved in the shitty faddism of "post-Watchmen" comics will talk about it now without apologizing for it — even Rob Liefeld admits it was mostly stupid BS.
      • Also, Rorschach is awesome. The half-dozen hundred clones of Rorschach that came afterwards, not so awesome. Especially when you subtract the tragedy and moral ambiguity and replace it with an endless droning chorus of "FUCK YEAH I'M AWESOME I ROCK". (The Authority, I'm looking at you.)
      • I think he may also have been surprised Rorschach became popular because Rorschach was meant to represent a way of thinking that he viewed as unhealthy (he literally dies because of his unwillingness to compromise for gods sake) so he's not so much surprised people like the character as surprised that people seem to think that he intended for the reader to agree with the character. You're not supposed to look at Rorschach and think "this guy is awesome!" and agree with everything he says, you're supposed to look at him and think "look how sick this guy is." One of the whole points of the graphic novel is supposed to be that if super heroes really did exist, there would be some very emotionally unhealthy people in those costumes.
    • There's also the fact that it's success resulted in DC Comics screwing him over, which in turn pretty much caused a complete fallout between the two, which would result in some understandable bad feeling. Ultimately, though, Moore's never expressed any dislike for the work itself — it's more his frustration that the success of Watchmen kind of led to a trend of comics that were equally as superficial and shallow as the worst of comics before Watchmen, but instead celebrated a kind of nastiness disguised as being more 'adult' and used his work to justify it; his exact words at one point were that there was "an awful lot of the comics field devoted to these grim, pessimistic, nasty, violent stories which kind of use Watchmen to validate what are, in effect, often just some very nasty stories that don't have a lot to recommend them."
    • Unless you like that kind of thing. I myself am a huge fan of the so called Dark Age.
    • I honestly don't think Moore has apolgised for anything he has ever done, ever. It's just not in his nature.
    • Alan has expressed bemusement that the angry period he was having at the start of the eighties got inflated into the new paradigm of comics. He didn't apologise for it, because it's not his to apologize for, he just went on doing his own thing.
    • Basically, after Watchmen came along, a huge portion of the comic book industry devoted itself to 'deconstructing' the superhero genre through a lot of gratuitous violence. Whether you like the Dark Age or not, it was missing the point. As gritty ultra-violence and malevolence became the norm for supeheroes, the best way to deconstruct comics again would be to go for something Lighter and Softer. Hence, the stuff which seems like an 'apology' from Moore is really just more of the same, with different pants on. I think the real source of disappointment here is that he hasn't made anything quite like Watchmen again since - but really, it's lightning in a bottle. You very often can't do something like Watchmen twice.
    • Put yourself in Moore's shoes. How would you feel if everyone told you that book you wrote 25 years ago was your best work, even though you've been putting other books in the years since? Most people I know believe their skills improve with age, and I'm sure Moore prefers his recent efforts to some of his first.
      • It may also be that Moore is sick and tired of people reading way too much into a freaking comic book; just because he puts so much craft into his scripts doesn't mean he wants them to be taken as seriously as if they were written by Nietzsche or that Rorschach or Guy Fawkes should be the role model for a whole generation of Nietzsche Wannabes.
      • I doubt that's true, he recently talked about how he's proud of the fact that V for Vendetta led to the Guy Fawks mask becoming the symbol the the Occupy Wall Street movement, when a writer goes to the trouble of putting meaning into books he usually wants people to notice it. He also doesn't see comic books as things that aren't meant to be taken seriously, his entire early career was devoted to trying to get the graphic novel legitimized as an art form. So I doubt he has a problem with his fans taking his work as seriously as they would an actual novel because that would mean that he had achieved his goal. You seem to be projecting your own feelings onto him.

    Black And Grey Morality 
  • The fact that one of the three characters I found vaguely comprehensible from a moral standpoint (Rorschach, Doc Manhattan, and Silk Spectre II for reference) ended up dead, and another had a Face-Heel Turn. This book is not black and gray morality or even grey and gray, it's purple and green and hell why not yellow morality. IMHO, and don't tell me I'm missing the point, Rorschach wasn't the one who dealt with monsters and became a monster, Ozy was. Ozy, and everyone who went along with him.
    • Then go ahead and call me a monster too.
    • You are missing the point if you thought that was anything but exactly what was intended. Human morality is complex and difficult, otherwise people wouldn't talk so dismissively about reducing the world to terms of 'black and white'. As for Ozy being a monster, it's probably true, but I would point out that Rorschach's brutal quest to deliver justice was meaningless by his own admission, changing nothing, whereas Ozy's crime meant peace - at least for a while. Is it worth shattering that? Wouldn't that make Dan and Co. more monstrous? It wouldn't bring back those who died, and it might very well cause billions more deaths. It would be hard to protest the value of truth and integrity while being vaporized in nuclear fire.
      • It seems to me the whole point of the morality in Watchmen is expressed by the very concept of Rorschach, as he expresses it to the shrink: the world ordinarily doesn't have meaning or morality. It's just a random set of events, as meaningless as a Rorschach inkblot; one only makes order by imposing some meaning on the inkblots. That's why Kovacs becomes Rorschach: he is simply functioning within the world as he understands it to operate. You get an interesting echo from Dr. Manhattan on Mars when Laurie realises whose child she is — Manhattan only regards human life as less than meaningless because of the "thermodynamic miracle" that led to Laurie's existence nonetheless despite all the odds against it happening. But even this, too, is Dr. Manhattan imposing some form of meaning on otherwise random events — just an optimist's spin on it instead. That's what Moore was doing: telling us, "This is a set of events that can be regarded as evil or good, but it is up to [i]you[/i] to determine which and assign meaning to it." Indeed, even Dr. Manhattan's newfound reverence for human life in the wake of perceiving the "thermodynamic miracle" is subverted: in order to revere human life and prevent further death and destruction, he, too, must say nothing and go along with Ozymandias's plan.
      • Peace achieved by permitting a mass murder and letting the killer go free is an empty peace. It's like saying leaving Nazi Germany alone, or doing nothing to Hitler once WWII was over is the right thing. And no, they'd be more heroic bringing Ozy to justice and letting the system do what it wants to him. In addition, consider this- If you had a patient in a hospital, going to die no matter what, and you could keep them alive a bit longer, but they'd be in intense pain, would it be better to let them die, or keep them in pain even longer? Keep them in pain, or let them die in peace?
      • Nothing is like the Nazis. The key assumption here is whether or not Ozy averted the end of the world in doing what he did; if he did, then would that not, objectively, logically, be worth that tiny fraction of the billions of human lives on the planet? If he didn't (and that seems to be what you've decided), then yes, he's a monster and a mass-murderer, and so is everyone who willingly went along with it. Dan and the others decided that yes, Ozy saved the world, which seems to be supported by Ozy's TV screens. Whether or not they were right is supposed to be a standing question at the end of the novel, with the subtext that these decisions cannot be made by normal humans; but then, who can make them? Who decides right and wrong? Who watches the watchmen? (For the record, I'd ask the patient.)
      • Moreover, whether he averted Armageddon or not, the fact is that revealing what he did may well start it. Doctor Manhattan is already gone, so the USA is no longer the ultrapower of the world; the USSR, if the fancy took them, could very easily destroy us. Mutually assured destruction is not only possible, it's probable. What you're basically saying is that it is more right to kill billions in the name of justice than to let one man live in the name of injustice.
      • So? The thought process of which you speak is a very real moral code. "Fiat iustitia et pereat mundus". Let justice be done, even if it destroys the world.
      • That's... um, kind of insane. What the hell would be the point of gaining justice for one man at the cost of everything else? Who would it benefit? But that aside - Ozy's implied to have made his own punishment. He's going to be wracked by doubt and guilt for the rest of his life, and one day he'll realise that when he dies, the peace may collapse without him to maintain it. For a man as arrogant as him, that would be a truly terrible realisation - that his genius amounted to nothing.
      • Also, "Fiat iustitia et pereat mundus" translates more literally as, "Let justice be done, and destroy the world", making it something of a foregone conclusion, rather than a possible outcome.
      • In Real Life, the post-Stalin leaders of USSR were nowhere near as monstrous as some Watchmen-readers seem to assume. They are hardly the "unseen, Sauron-like threat" - Ozy is. And to a lesser degree, the superheroes themselves - who allowed themselves to be used by corrupt politicians to push the world to the brink of Armageddon. How are Ozy's motivations any better than Nixon's? Of course, the Soviet leaders had Stalin's blood on their hands (though they rejected and condemned Stalin after his death), but they certainly weren't in the same league (and if Ozy had been a bearded Middle-Easterner, would all those enlightened utilitarians still defend his actions?) This thought process is not "Fiat iustitia et pereat mundus" — it's a Jack Bauer mentality. "The real bad guys want to destroy us for our freedoms, so revealing the truth would put our brave men and women in danger" or some-such.
      • It'd benefit the heroes, in my view. Picture this- Nite-Owl and Rorschach have brought in Ozymandias, and are exposing his action on a global address. "All this time, you've been scared of those of us who wear masks, while the real evil was right there all the time, peddling himself to the masses." Can you say Keene Act repeal, justice is served, and an overall show that even in a cynical world, there's still a place for ideals? And hey, we managed to outlast the Russians here- Who says we can't in that Earth? False dilemma, anyone?
      • Uh, sure, and what would that accomplish? Why is repealing the Keene Act some kind of objectively good thing, given that many superheroes * were* objectively psychotic violent bastards who abused their anonymity and their power * all the time* ? Part of the point of Watchmen is that it starts you out thinking the story will be about the Keene Act and ends up showing you how ridiculously narcissistic such a point of view is — Rorschach is obsessed thinking about the legacy of his little masked-costumed-adventurer fraternity while the world is about to die in fire.
      • Also, we outlasted Russia in our universe because we didn't become totally dependent on Dr. Manhattan for our national defense, and because we didn't shove the Soviet leaders into a corner and force them to go out in a blaze of glory rather than simply be crushed by the American juggernaut. In real life the USSR had the chance to crumble under its own weight, because it had the chance to run its own little empire and fail — the worst thing you can do to an extremist is give him responsibility for actually running a country. In the Watchmen universe the USSR wasn't able to do a single damn thing outside its nuclear sphere of influence without American power blowing it to shreds in its face — that's a recipe for creating a deeply pissed-off and xenophobic population that is very, very deeply attached to said nuclear sphere of influence.
      • You can't claim someone is objectively a bastard while asserting that there is no fixed moral absolutes. Also, Watchmen is a commentary on the American empire, and the hypocrisy of American obsession with "Soviet expansionism" when we own and claim military hegemony over half the world. Nixon was an Expy for Reagan, don't forget.
      • Rorschach took that path and he died for it. Principles intact, but he's still dead. Look, what Ozy and the others did wasn't right. I'm not saying it was, not at all, but I am saying that it's understandable that those characters would allow it, and I'm also saying that it's not exactly right to bring him in, either. (There's a variety of reasons, one being in the era Watchmen was written everybody did not expect the Soviet Union to collapse and lived in a state of constant paranoia which is hard to grasp today, another being that I would be astonished if Ozy allowed them to bring him in.) Moore's point (and mine) is that there aren't as many right choices in a situation like that as many comic books would have us believe (i.e. possibly none), which he spends every one of his pages setting up and explaining. It sure would be nice if there was, but Watchmen isn't about nice, which the scenario you described would completely undermine, rendering the book's tone deeply schizophrenic.
      • Really? IMO, the dark tone would make it all the more inspiring and frankly enjoyable. Like walking through a city on a dreary day and then noticing a flower poking from the sidewalk.
      • In your opinion. In my opinion, and that of everyone I've ever heard talk seriously about the book, every page is leading up to that end - a subversion of the shiny-heroes-beat-the-black-caped-villain-and-stop-his-plan end - in ways too numerous to list. Honestly, dude. If you want a story that celebrates heroes where everything is clear-cut with a happy ending, you really should look elsewhere. Watchmen is not that book and it never was intended to be, except possibly way way back when it was still the original Charlton characters.
      • Oh - and there are moments like that. They're not very frequent, but they're often enough for there to be too many to type up.
      • Some folks seem to be defending "Darker and Drearier" for it's own sake, as if Deconstructionism automatically equals Diabolus Ex Machina. A lot of postmodern writers seem to believe that. The worst part is they take the "How I learned to love the bomb" stuff seriously, and try to sell us on the notion that thanks to our own Dr. Manhattan — be it technology or ideology — that this is the best of all possible worlds — an ancient fallacy that can be used to justify anything. This troper's understanding of Watchmen is that Alan Moore wanted to show a cautionary tale of flawed characters who should not be emulated.
      • No one has provided a feasible way for Adrian to be brought to justice at the confrontation in Antarctica. Veidt already pummeled Walter and Dan without breaking a sweat, and Laurie couldn't even finish Adrian with a gun. The person who actually outmatched Adrian was Jon, who is more or less down with Veidt's plan.
      • In addition, as Veidt points out, there's virtually no evidence they could use to convict him even if they did bring him in. Everyone who knows anything about the plan other than the four of them is dead, and it's hard to think that Veidt didn't go to similar efforts with the paper trail. So you have one of the world's most popular celebrities being accused by two illegal vigilantes and a living god that everyone's scared of, with no evidence... don't see it working.

    Metastory, Trope Use, Adaptation Issues 
  • Why is Tales of the Black Freighter now Frank Miller's Tales of the Black Freighter? It's a comic printed in The Eighties - the "cartoon" version should look like a Darker and Edgier episode of "G.I. Joe", not the end credits of 300 (although I can understand why).
    • This troper thinks it was just a joke, really.

  • What Just Bugs Me is reading all the Alternate Character Interpretations on Nite Owl II (is "Dan Dreiberg" his real name? could he be related to one of the older heroes? might he have been working as Veidt's lacky?? Could they be half-brothers?? could he have killed the Comedian??!) in the Wild Mass Guessing that I didn't even think about while reading the book, and knowing this would make for some interesting background for him but that's impossible due to (1) the slavish devotion to the comic and (2) this thing isn't getting a sequal (probably).
    • Dear God. If they make some kind of sequel to the Watchmen film the fans will start setting Hollywood on fire building by building, and I will be one of them.
      • Jeffrey Dean Morgan illustrated it well when he said that Hollywood would never make a sequal unless they wanted the actors to be murdered by rabid fans.
      • Just going to put this here: Rabid creatures should be put down.
      • Men get arrested. Fans get put down.
  • Look, maybe this is just me, but I've never understood just how Ozymandias became so freaking uber in the last few comics. I mean, this is a world where superpowers are explicitly stated not to exist, barring Jon as a unique exception (mumble mumble cloned the brain of a psychic mumble), but Veidt is just ridiculous. Effortlessly defeating Nite Owl and Rorschach despite being much older than them (and I can't imagine when he finds time to hit the gym with everything else he does) is bad enough, but catching a bullet?? Why doesn't it go right through his hand and into his body?
    • He isn't that much older, and remember that this is a guy who's explicitly said to have been honing his body to the very peak of physical perfection, unlike plump, out-of-shape Dan or likely-malnourished and already-injured Rorschach. Ozy's also the smartest man in the world, and if you watch the fight closely you can see what he does to set them off balance - a key thing is that he yanks on Rorschach's mask, necessitating that Ror pause and adjust it because he's kind of obsessive about that. He knows them both well enough to exploit those weaknesses. Besides, Ozy beat the Comedian, a highly experienced government operative, before the first book. He was always that uber. As for the bullet-catch, uh, I'm going to go with calculating angles and lines of fire and distribution of force? It does go into his hand a bit and knocks him off his feet.
      • Also probably intersects with Ozymandias's "travels to the east". When he catches the bullet he's going in for what appears to be some sort of kung fu flying kick, so I read that as implying the 'catch the bullet' trick is some little technique he learned from a martial arts master somewhere a la Batman.
      • It's also possible that the whole "catching the bullet" thing is actually a combination of Kevlar body armor and sleight of hand. I wouldn't put it beyond Ozy to simply let them believe he's actually that good.
      • Another alternative: maybe he doesn't catch the bullet from the initial shot at all. He catches its ricochet off a part of his armour that we haven't seen. A straight shot from a gun certainly has all its kinetic energy intact, but a ricochet is much slower and has less penetrating force. Hence the blood on his hand, getting knocked off his feet by the sheer force of the shot, and catching the bullet anyway with a mild injury to his hand (the bullet's bloodied in the book, remember). The bloodied hand is just to conceal the fact he's wearing body armour. As for the problem of Ozymandias remaining uber when everyone else seems to be aging, you might as well ask Frank Miller how the hell Batman isn't a complete arthritic wreck at 50+ and leaping off rooftops after roughly ten years of not doing that sort of thing. The answer for both Ozy and Batman is that they are constantly training, constantly honing their martial skills and constantly pushing to remain at their physical prime, even for their age. Ozymandias also adds terrifying intelligence to that equation, and his Curbstomp Battle against Nite Owl and Rorschach has as much to do with him knowing them so well he can predict what their tactics will be: remember he messes with Rorschach's 'face' by messing his cowl; he knows Nite Owl is more about nonlethal takedowns and gadgets than physical skill, so he anticipates the mini-laser and Dreiberg giving him a chance to surrender first. Superpowers is one thing, but the world of Watchmen seems to anticipate that the average costumed hero has physical prowess and combat skills well above the average person; Ozymandias is just at the uppermost end of that spectrum - even Rorschach concludes that he can't imagine a more dangerous opponent, and that Veidt is faster than Nite Owl and perhaps faster than Rorschach himself.
    • Just a heads-up for anyone talking about the bullet knocking him off his feet — that's a NYPD duty revolver Laurie took off a cop, so it'll be a .38 Special, which was THE cop caliber all over the US for decades. A .38 will knock over a bowling pin, but not much more (voice of experience here). As for moving a 200-pound man, the inventor of the kevlar vest, Richard Davis, used to sell his early vests by shooting himself with a .44 magnum and staying on his feet. Veidt was either trying to dodge, or employing misdirection to cover whatever trickery he was using.

    • The "No Superheroes Except Dr. Manhattan" rule isn't a real "rule" — it's a result of the heroes being adaptations of Charlton Comics, which mainly had Badass Normal heroes aside from the quasi-Superman Expy Captain Atom. That said, most of these Badass Normals were very heavy on the Charles Atlas Superpower stuff (the original Blue Beetle, inspiration for Nite Owl, even had a "mystic scarab" that gave him peak-human-condition martial arts skills and athleticism without much training). Ozymandias is a pastiche of Thunderbolt, who is one of several old-school pulp heroes who achieves the "peak of human condition" through a collection of various mystic-babble abilities (meditation, martial arts, special diet, etc.) Ozymandias plays off this trope beautifully in the book, actually peddling his version of a Charles Atlas course teaching you how to be like him.
      • 1) Nowhere is it explicitly stated that other people with superpowers don't exist. We just haven't seen them. One argument is that the psychic's brain bit and the fact that everyone on Earth is psychically receptive, in fact shows that they do exist but everyone else is unaware of them. 2) Catching a bullet (at least from a low-powered gun) is not physically impossible in terms of the hand or body movement, but Veidt would either need absolutely perfect timing, or precognitive powers (because the bullet would move too quickly for his eyes and optic centre to process, let alone his reflexes).
      • I think the film did a nice job of explaining this by having Ozy wear gloves, which likely were Kevlar-based.
      • And the bullet is partly red, so it still hurt him a bit.
    • I explain that in a much simpler way: Alan Moore is not only a user of mind-altering substances, but a mystic, who has typical misunderstandings about quantum mechanics, and misrepresents James Randi. The reason that Alan Moore had Ozymandius do comic book nonsense despite making Dr. Manhattan the only super-powered person is that Alan Moore doesn't understand that those things are comic book nonsense.
  • I'm going to provide an alternative explanation: Alan Moore has admitted that he does everything in the first draft, partially as a result of the limits of the medium. The first parts are in print by the time that you're writing the end, so you can't go back and rewrite stuff. As a result, Moore wrote himself into a corner and needed a Deus ex Machina to save the plot. This Troper's reaction to the finale of the comic was, "flying kung-fu and psychic powers exist? Since when?"
  • I read it as a sly joke, in the context of the rest of Watchmen at least. The whole thing is a serious deconstruction of comics as a whole, that culminates with the villain suddenly unleashing seemingly super-human level abilities despite being a normal. It's the kind of thing that wouldn't look at all out of place in most comics, yet comes completely out of the left field in Watchmen and is much more effective for it.
  • Alternative explanation: Ozymandias cheated. We know he has beyond-realistic levels of scientific capacity in the field of genetics specifically. Its not out of the question that he, at some point between his fight with the Comedian and the present, juiced himself and augmented his own physical capacities. He just never told anyone because he preferred to come off as a mysterious martial arts guru.
  • Why did the movie seem to go so far out of its way to tell the audience who the villain was? In the comics, up until The Reveal Ozymandias's personality was that of an intelligent businessman with some idealistic goals; in the movie he seemed cold and imperious from the get-go. His costume was changed from shiny gold to dark synthetic armour. The attempt on his life involved a bullet between the eyes for a man who Ozymandias was moments prior having a tense argument with. He was even given Captain Metropolis's red herring motivation against The Comedian, as now the Crimebusters were his brainchild that The Comedian savagely shot down. What's the deal? Did they figure the audience wouldn't accept a superhero turned supervillain? Did they think they would be frustrated at a mystery where, heaven forbid, they didn't know who the bad guy was until the end?
    • This bothered me too. I wonder if they weren't going for The Untwist, in this increasingly Genre Savvy time. Think about it...all the other suspects are morally grey at best, so making one character seem like the messiah would be a bit of a dead giveaway.

  • Would most modern comics even have the chance to be told in extended page length chapters full of slow character development, novel like plot progression and narration, more dialog and less action, and sections full of prose, to tell an entire story like a novel, or would such a project just get canceled before it was finished? Most of Alan Moore's stories take time to simmer in the back of comic anthologies until they're ready to be collected as one story, but today's single issue comics lack that freedom and need everything to happen immediately. Watchmen is an example of the graphic novel done right, so why don't more companies use a similar publishing format for telling complete stories instead of relying on 22 page serials with a required shock at the end of each issue?
    • You do find companies that publish graphic novels in one go, they just tend to be small press independents who don't always get the same shelf space as DC and Marvel.

  • Why did they take the "Nothing ever ends" scene out and just give the line to Laurie as a throwaway? If ever there was a perfect scene to be The Stinger - not to mention a fantastic deconstruction of Saving the World.
    • To me it seemed like the film was trying to minimize the moral ambiguity present in the comic as much as possible.

    Random Character Moments, Odds And Ends 
  • Why are a lot of people (fanficiton writers in particular) under the impression that Rorschach is especially misogynist? As far as I could tell he has a blanket disdain for all humanity based on a sort of ultra-conservative paranoia, women don't seem to have any special place in his "people I hate" pantheon. So why do I see so many fan depictions of him where he hates women especially and above all other groups? I mean, he lists "whores" among the things that he believes are contributing to the corrosion of society but he never really says or does anything that implies that he is of the "all women are whores" mentality and his motivation to become a masked crime fighter in the first place is the murder of Kitty Genovese. If he just generally hated women I can imagine him being that affected by the death of one.
    • It's probably just an extension of some minor implications of the book. In the comic, at least, Rorschach seems to have slightly more trouble dealing with women than with men, probably as a result of his childhood problems with his mother. The only women we see him consistently interact with are Laurie, who he doesn't get along with at all, and the landlady, who he treats with disdain. Not to mention the fact that all of the criminals he pursues, and indeed everyone he ever voluntarily interacts with, are male. Of course, Rorschach probably doesn't have any inherent dislike of women per se, but it's possible he has some slight aversion to being around them and fanfic writers Flanderized it (as they're prone to do).
  • So what exactly was it that started psychologically breaking Rorschach in the first place? I know the scene with the dogs sent him off the edge, but what started him breaking down?
    • Presumably, his entire childhood. The day-to-day superheroing probably didn't help either.
      • Indeed. The dog scene was probably when he broke down because he was finally forced to kill anything(IIRC, he was attacked by the dogs, though the movie goes too quickly on the whole flashback), he used to go "lighter" on the crooks until then. From there he went downhill.
      • Nope, he wasn't attacked by the dogs in either medium. He cleaved them in the head after he figured out that they were used to dispose of the little girl's remains. In the comic he says it was Kovacs that brought the cleaver down on the dog's head and closed his eyes, and it was Rorsharch that opened his eyes.

  • Rorschach is apparently well known and feared by the underworld, judging by the reactions when he enters those seedy bars. In the comic there is a scene where he is walking down the street, some prostitute propositions him and flips the bird when he walks away. In the equivalent scene in the film she even taunts him. Given his reputation, it is odd that she fails to recognise him and realise that it would be unwise to provoke a vigilante who is known to be violent to lowlifes.
    • Violent to male lowlifes. At least on-screen.

  • Why did Ozymandias kill The Comedian? It didn't look like he was going to do anything to stop him.
    • He probably wasn't, but he might have—he was evidently pretty upset by the idea—so Ozy took him out just in case. (The real question is why he let Dan and Laurie live.)
      • Ozy went after the Comedian because he was afraid that the Comedian might tell somebody about his plan. The Comedian had already told Moloch about it. Even though he wouldn't have interfered, he was also in such an unstable state that an unintentional leak was possible. Not to mention that Ozymandias might have held a grudge against the Comedian for beating him up decades earlier. Ozy let Dan and Laurie for the same reason he lured Rorsharch and Dan to his Antarctic base; he still values his friends.
      • Or because he was only afraid the plan was spilled before it was put on practice, when he could be stopped. After it was done, there's little chance they'd risk the state of peace they achieved for the truth, specially because it couldn't be undone, anyway.
      • Quite. His level of assurance was so great even Rorschach's departure didn't cause him to intervene. He knew his friends that well.
      • I had always assumed it was actually a bit of revenge for the Comedian beating him in hand to hand comba. It's mentioned in Veidt's interview with the Nova Express that Blake defeated him in a 'misunderstanding'when Veidt was just starting out. Years later Blake sees the island,spillls the beans to Moloch who Veidt was already watching due to the Manhattan cancer thing, and sees an oppertunity to kill (presumably) one of the only people to beat him. Just Ozzy trying to mend his ego a bit.
      • Because the Comedian threatened Veidt's Batman Gambit, but Laurie and Dan didn't. Veidt says himself that even he couldn't predict what the Comedian was going to do, since he (the Comedian, not Ozymandias/Veidt) was cracking.
    • In addition to being scared of the Comedian ruining his plans, who's to say Veidt didn't also have a flat-out grudge against him? The flashback Veidt has at Blake's funeral, implied to be his most prominent memory of the Comedian, is one in which he accuses Ozy of being powerless against the Arms Race crisis. Maybe Ozy took advantage of the Comedian catching on as an excuse to kill him AND send him the message that if he's out of the way, Ozy can make a difference.
    • It was at least partly motivated by Veidt's desire to lead Rorschach off track by getting him to investigate his "mask killer" theory, thus preventing him from investigating Veidt's real plot.
      • No, it wasn't. Rorschach doesn't have a "mask killer" theory until after the Comedian dies, and Veidt doesn't hear about this theory until Rorschach/Dan tells him about it later.
  • So, ok, the comedian had to die because he get an idea what Ozy planed. But what List exactly did he found and how could he find this hint of a plan of the most intelligent man on the planet?
    • He found the island while flying overhead and investigated it. It turned out it was the island where the missing people were being held, which is good enough reason for him to investigate further. At one point, he finds a list of the people who are to be given cancer to incriminate Jon and he eventually works out the plan from there. His finding out about it was sheer bad (good?) luck.
    • Personally, I think Ozymandius killed the Comedian because the Comedian wanted him to kill him. The Comedian was not opposed to Ozymandius' plan, but was distraught over how the world becoming saved would invalidate his entire nihilistic existence. So, the Comedian waited, unarmed and alone, after contacting Moloch in an apartment he knew Ozy was spying on, for Ozymandius to come kill him, and Ozy obliged. Think about it - why would you go back to your home, sitting at night, calmly waiting and watching television, when you are a badass who fights with guns and armour who knows your arch enemy is about to attack and kill you? This was an JBM for me about the movie - that they had this long fight scene, when in the comics the fight scene was very much shorter with no scenes of the Comedian attempting to fight back, narrated by Ozy who claimed that the Comedian had realised his own obsolecence and sought out Moloch intentionally, giving the fight much more of the feel of an execution.
    • How about this idea: Perhaps the Comedian, wanted to die, but wanted to go down, in one last fight?

  • Why doesn't Dr. Manhattan wear clothes?
    • It's an indication of how detached he is; how he doesn't really care for societal norms any more. Notice how, in the flashbacks, he wears less and less clothing as he grows more distant. Just something to make him a little more alien and a little more godlike.
      • This troper reads it as an ironic reference to the Book Of Genesis, specifically how Adam and Eve felt shame and covered their nakedness after eating from the Tree Of Knowledge. You could say that Jon's eaten the whole damn tree, and as a result, he feels no shame or need to cover his body.
    • Simply put, he slowly realized that no one can make him wear clothes if he doesn't want to. He doesn't need them to keep warm or clean, so he just doesn't wear them.
    • It's symbolism, showing that, for all his power, he's still a sexual being. Hell, he falls for Laurie Juspeczyk after Janey Slater gets old.
    • Relatedly, why does it bug everyone that they show his privates in the movie? OMG, no! Naked blue man!
  • Can someone tell me how is it that even though Veidt is the smartest guy in the world, he couldn't think of a better password that his name and what's behind his desk?
    • He may have done that on purpose. Perhaps he knew Rorschach and Nite Owl were going to investigate him and he wanted someone to gloat to. At least, that's how I see it.
    • Or Veidt may not be the smartest man in the world. He doesn't regard himself as such, merely that he has good PR.
    • Because it would have been suspicious to not have a password at all, so he left the most obvious one he could find. If they'd been in his office a week earlier, the password would have been a string of twenty six random characters.
    • Because this book was written in the 80s. It may be a trope all on its own that TV-shows have passwords a person can guess by knowing about the person.
    • It's implied that Veidt wanted his password to be found, but only by his friends. Otherwise they would have been killed by the last phase of the plan.

  • Two points and an Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: why does everyone mention that we outlasted the Cold War when this was written during the Cold War; two, part of Dan Dreiberg's appeal was that he was a slightly squishy pot-bellied human, not quite cute as in the film and three, Ozymandias's shoes in the film. They are HUGE.
    • Hollywood casts pretty people when average ones would do, and above average people when unattractive people would do.
  • The fact that the guy who killed half of New York is the most optimistic and hopeful person in the book bugs me. Does it bug anyone else?
    • Bothers me because no one smiles except for him. Come on, lighten up!
    • Kind of makes sense. Ozymandias has to be an optimist, he has to believe that this is the best of all possible worlds, otherwise, what's the point? Pessimist: "Millions of people are dead, and hundreds more all over the world have Gone Mad From The Revelation." Optimist: "The sacrifice of a few million will ensure the continued survival of billions."
      • No, no, it doesn't bug me that Ozymandias is an optimist. It bugs me that no one else is.
    • Always look on the bright side of death!
    • Dunno from the film, but in the book at the end he doesn't seem incredibly optimistic to me; he puts on a front of confidence and optimism when his plan's gone through and it looks like he's won, but then he confides to Dr. Manhattan at the end that he's making himself feel the death of every person he killed, he confesses his nightmare, he practically begs Manhattan to tell him he's done the right thing and that he's made the world better... that sounds like someone struggling from a pretty serious case of doubt rather than someone who is the most optimistic and hopeful person around.

  • I find it weird that Silhoutte's murderer was polite enough to write "Lesbian whores!" instead of "Dyke whores!".
    • Was dyke in common parlance at the time? And if it was, was it a slur? And if it was a slur, was it an effective one? Technically "gypsy" is a slur, but no one thinks of it as one.
    • As a reader of pulp stories from that time, yes. The D-word is thown around a lot.
      • It's mildly implied in some part of the book (I think it's some part of Under The Hood) that Silhoutte's murder may not have been a hate crime, but an attack on superheroes disguised as much, so who knows, perhaps the killer even had a bit of respect for homosexuals.
    • The killer might have had idiosyncratic personal standards — just because you're committing a homophobic murder is no reason to use vulgar language.
    • This could be a case of Fridge Brilliance: Watchmen is set in an alternate universe, and there may be some subtle differences in language. Note that the lesbian characters in the comic never refer to themselves as "lesbians", but as "gay women". It's possible that in the Watchmen universe "gay woman" is the neutral term, and "lesbian" is a slur word, equivalent to how in our world "lesbian" is neutral, and "dyke" is a slur.
    • The answer is fairly simple: The kind of person who kills people for ideological reasons is usually pretentious, and a pretentious person would prefer to use the more formal "lesbian." That's why Bible-inspired crazies prefer the King James translation. (This is not intended to be insulting towards the religious people here at T Vtropes who aren't crazy, so please, no flame war.)
    • This seems to be getting just a wee bit nitpicky. Let's be honest here; "lesbian whores" isn't exactly that much more polite than "dyke whores". There's still the whole "whores" part of the phrase to consider and it's still being written in the blood of the two women the killer's just murdered, after all, so it's not exactly as if the former version is showing a heck of a lot of respect for the victims in this case.

  • What did the death of the prisoner Rorschach threw the grease on have to do with the sudden release of all the prisoners from their cells? If they could break out and get at him before, why did only the guy and his henchmen go to taunt him before everyone else started rioting, and then wait for the guy's heart to stop (how did they even know?) before attacking? (If this is included in the book, I haven't had a chance to read it yet.)
    • They weren't "released", there was a riot. Prison riots happen, and sometimes some of the inmates get loose. They couldn't break out and get to him at any time. The reason Big Figure and his goons go to taunt him before hand is because they have some leverage over the guard (they're shown talking to him, and asking about his wife and kid in the comic).
      • Sorry for that being vague on that term. I didn't mean released as in intentionally set free, I meant released as in unbound. Not in their cells any more. What I was asking, though, was why the time was linked to the death of the guy in the hospital bed. I know the Boss guy had "privileges", but why were they all waiting for the guy to flatline, and if they weren't, what was stopping the from getting out of their cells earlier/suddenly allowed them to get out?

  • Why does Veidt's german accent vary in the film? Sure, he puts on an American accent in public, but even when he is in private the german tinge seems to fluctuate. Like when he talks to Dan it is very heavy and pronounced, yet at the end it is only lightly there. Does the actor's accent just slip?
    • That's something the actor did on purpose, as noted on the main page. In public, he practices a perfect News Anchor Accent. With a good friend, like Dan, he just speaks normally and naturally; he doesn't yet know why Dan's there, so he's just talking to an old friend. The one at the end is more in between, probably because he had planned the confrontation and wanted to make sure he was clear.

  • After they drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Jon's father says what boils down to "They have atomic bombs now, therefore watchmakers are useless". I'm sorry, that fails logic forever. I mean, is he talking about relativity? Because it's not like relativity only existed after the bomb.
    • Not really. He doesn't mention atomic bombs, he is talking about relativity. In fact, his actual line is something like, "They say time is all relative now, no point in making watches."
    • Also, note Jon Osterman's origins as a "watchmaker." This is a reference to the theory in Deism in where "the world is a watch and God was a watchmaker who left the universe to move on and work on another watch(or world). This "watch" theme is also displayed through the reoccurring "bloody smiley" that symbolically resembles a clock ticking five minutes away from twelve. Keeping up with the Deist themes is the ending where Jon(now Dr. Manhattan) leaves Earth to "perhaps create some life out there." Practically, although Jon is now a God and above normal men, he is still a watchmaker, and he is done with the world and is now moving on to better things by metaphorically creating other watches. Thus, because the world is a "watch," we are all little "watchmen" in it watching over one another. It alludes to what John F. Kennedy said about us all being "the watchmen of the world."
  • Why does Moloch have Pointy Ears?
    • Probably he modified them for dramatic effect when he was a supervillain, and never got around to having the cosmetic surgery to fix them.
    • According to the comic, he once was a stage magician. He had them then, so it was likely for making himself more "mystical".

  • Maybe it's just a Red Herring, but the supplementary material of Rorshach's pysch file has a childhood note he wrote about admiring Truman for making the tough call and dropping the Bombs on Japan to end the war. Shouldn't someone with this viewpoint have gone along with Ozymandias's plan once he knew?
    • That was entirely the point. Rorshach despised Veidt's plan, but realized the hypocrisy of doing so while still supporting Truman's actions. This, combined with the realization that whether or not he told the world about the ruse he would be violating his own moral code, is what finally broke him.
      • Or it could simply be that you are missing the point. Truman attacked a legitimate military target of an actively hostile nation engaged in war, in order to end the war. Veidt attacked a city of innocent bystanders not as yet engaged in any war with him, in order to deceive them into doing what he wished. He didn't see New York as enemies to be killed until they surrendered, he saw them as props to be used for his global theatrics.

  • In the film, why does Nixon give the order to "Start fuelling the bombers"? At this point in the war, both sides would be using ICB Ms rather than bombers to launch their nuclear attacks. Reasoning that our universe =/= the Watchmen universe makes no sense either since, if anything, ICBM technology would have been even further developed due to the existance of Dr Manhattan.
    • Because the USA still has a "nuclear triad": Land-based ICB Ms, SLBMS, and manned bombers. The USA only stopped using bombers after the START agreement in 1991, and still stockpiles gravity bombs for bombing missions. Up until 1991, Strategic Air Command kept nuclear armed B52s on standby 24/7. What Nixon wants is to ready the bomber fleet so that they can take off instantly if the balloon goes up, and thus be away from US and European soil and on their way to Russia once the ICB Ms are in the air. Second-strike capability. It's perfectly historical, and remains part of US and Russian nuclear doctrine to this day.

    Ozy And Manhattan Assumptions 
  • Why does everyone expect Ozymandias's plan to fail? It looks to me like the guy knows what he's doing. He can play evidently play the world governments, his old co-workers, the media, and a living god like a fiddle, gleam fairly accurate predictions of future trends from information presented, fool people, and hide things in plain sight. It seems as though once the people started listening he could get them to play nice.
    • Because it's so fragile. All it takes is one loose cannon in the right place at the right time to make everything fall apart.
      • Not really. Because everyone knows Adrian Veidt is a good man. He's a philantropist; he's a genius whose inventions have benefitted everyone; he's a world-class gymnast despite being middle-aged; he's the only former superhero who still has the respect of the public; he's an upcoming star of his own Saturday morning cartoon. As far as anyone knows, he represents all that is good in ther world. Who's going to believe someone suggesting that he ordered his own assassination? After all, most people don't know he can't catch bullets. Moreover, anyone accusing him of trying to start World War Three is clearly insane, since World War Three clearly hasn't started; on the contrary, world peace looks like a real possibility. Quite frankly, the only people who'll believe it are lunatics.
      • That assumes none of those loose cannons can produce any evidence proving what Adrian has done. There's no telling what's in Rorschach's journal, or what evidence the journal might lead to. Adrian may be the smartest man on Earth but he's still human and therefore fallible. Given the incredible complexity of his plan, one tiny mistake could doom it.
      • Well, we get to observe Rorshach for most of his investigation, and he doesn't seem to have solid evidence of anything. Only suspicions. Anything those suspicions might have led to has been covered up thoroughly. Anyone who could confirm the story is dead. Evidence seems pretty hard to come by.
    • "Why does everyone expect Ozymandias's plan to fail?" Because peace based on a common enemy ALWAYS fails eventually.
      • But peace based on bringing nations together and convincing the people they're not so different doesn't have to.
      • But that's not what he did, he created peace by making the world unite against a perceived common enemy. It is also not necessary for anyone to provide proof of what Veidt did in order to ruin the plan, there are a variety of complex reasons we don't already have world peace (religious difference, uneven distribution of resources, the ability of corrupt people to gain political and economic power, racism, nationalism, etc.) it would only be a matter of time before one of those things reared its ugly head again. World peace is a naive goal for anyone to have because human nature ensures that there will always be more conflict.
    • It might have something to do with the fact that Veidt's plan depends on him accurately predicting how people will react to the situation he's created. But just a couple issues before he reveals his plan, we have that whole scene on Mars where Dr. Manhattan realizes how utterly unpredictable people can be. Veidt may have thoroughly planned things through to the point where he's convinced the alien threat can end the cold war, but the whole thing is one "thermodynamic miracle" away from falling apart.
      • And yet the "thermodynamic miracle" that convinced Jon to return was a good thing (Laurie) that had miraculously and defiantly risen in the wake of a terrible thing (the Comedian's assault on her mom). Veidt's plan might have results which are unexpected, but that's not necessarily bad.
      • But rather or not they will be bad is a complete gamble, it is not possible to control for every single variable.
  • Did Dr. Manhattan really killed people permanently? I mean it looks like he does to them the same thing that happened to himself (removing their magnetics fields) so is possible that if any of them had the same will to come back they could rebuild themselves but for some reason none of them haven't he might be doing this to see if someone else could pull the same trick at some point. I like to fan wank that Roschard will to punish crime would allow him to come back as a dark more willing to kill because of his own initiative Dr. Manhattan. Maybe he could call himself Dr. Antarctica.
    • Even assuming he is indeed using the same exact process, it takes a lot more than sheer force of will to come back from it. It seems that in-depth knowledge of particle physics and an analytical mind well-suited to piecing things together are required as well.
    • I think his watchmaker background was one of the main reasons he could comeback, since he learned from a young age about how smaller things fitting in harmony, togheter are needed to create complex mechanisms. I wonder why he never reflected on his own rebirth as miracle since the contradictions of him learning watchmaking from his father and then the same father doing the same with pushing him to become a scientist plus the broken watch and the automatic lock were what lead to him becoming Dr. Manhattan in the "end".
    • Dr. Manhattan said that the same experiment will never work again, and I think we can trust his word. So, any other IF Red creature is just lost forever. That sais, IF Ring people seems quite an foul move, as it just cause entropy. Turning them to inert matter would work better.

  • The smartest man in the world attempts to kill the most powerful being in the galaxy using the same method that gave that being his powers in the first place! I mean come on! What was Ozymandias thinking? It seems like such a fundamentally flawed plan to kill Manhattan
    • Well, nothing else anyone's thought of worked either and so he used the only thing he knew Doctor Manhattan to even be affected by. And it did slow him down a little.
    • Dr. Manhattan warned that the IFR process was not going to produce creature like him again. He didn't exposed any more on the topic, so there was possibly a chance that Dr. Manhattan himself could find impossible to reassemble himself. Sort of "once in the universe" process. Tiny chance, but what else was Veidt supposed to try? Asking him to sing the whole π ?
      • Oooh! Ask him to sing the score to the H.M.S. Pinafore!
  • Just how does Dr. Manhattan know that everybody's going to get blown to hell by nukes if the truth behind the squid gets realized? The tachyons were screwing with his ability to perceive the future and manage his way through the timescape (like where he tells Rorschach that he informed Laurie about something twice, once while he was entering and once while he was actually talking to Rorschach), and his other powers don't seem to be affected (he teleported anyways, and was still able to do everything else he did under the influence of them).
    • I never got the impression that Dr. Manhattan was using any kind of special foresight when he said that they couldn't reveil the truth behind the squid. In fact, all he said was "Logically, he's right. Exposing this plot, we destroy any chance of peace, dooming earth to worse destruction." He was using logic to come up with this conclusion, not ESP or whatever. Although it could (and has, even on this page) been argued about whether or not exposing the truth would result in armagedon (although I think most of that argument is specifically about Rorschach's Journal), remember that Moore has a tendency to use Manhattan as a Straw Vulcan, and that in this instance, his deduction is meant to be taken at face value.
      • Also, Manhattan knows that he is the only thing preventing a nuclear war (he leaves for a few days and Nixon can barely keep from pushing the button). He knows that he's leaving, so without Manhattan or Ozymandias' new world order, there's nothing to stop the missiles.

    Pirate Comics Vs. Superheroes 
  • Why is it that pirate comics have completely replaced superhero comics in this universe? just because something exists doesn't mean people will not buy comics based on them. And if the masked aventurers could collect image royalties for action figures, they can do the same for comics.
    • Maybe they just never showed you the superhero comics, did you ever see any Giraffes in Book? No? Doesn't mean they don't exist.
    • Ever notice how there aren't a lot of Martian stories nowadays? The reality that we won't be getting any visits from Mars, pretty much dried up the stories. When their universe saw real superheroes, the allure went away and questions of reality drifted in. People would start wondering why Superman caused a train accident instead of lifting the stopped car out of the way or how he could catch Lois Lane when she falls off a building without killing her in the process. Plus you can't laugh off even the most ridiculous of villains if everytime you open the newspaper you read about some horrible thing a real masked vigilante just stopped. When superhero stories stopped selling as well as the pirate comics did, they were probably cancelled.
    • This Troper thinks that Moore was lampshading the popularity of superhero comics in the real world - saying in effect that the answer to 'why does the superheroe genre dominate the comics industry and the medium' is 'why not, it could have been ANY genre. Like pirates, for instance.' When superheros faded from popularity in the real world, following WWII, science fiction, horror, and western comics took over; if DC had never revived and redesigned the Flash in 1956, we could easily have nothing but sword and sorcery titles on the racks. And, FWIW, this troper thought the idea of pirates dominating comics to be stupid - then realized that like superheroes, there are many possible kinds of pirate comics (16th century buccaneers, '30's road pirates, space privateers...)
      • And then, he saw how popular Pirates of the Caribbean and the card trading game Pirates of the Spanish Main were, and he promptly shut up.
      • Also FWIW, note in issue one that we see on the newsstand a comic called X-Ships. I'd like to know if the pirate ship Phoenix was in it and if it was all powerful and stuff.
      • To argue it another way, Policemen exist in real life- doesn't mean people don't watch police procedurals does it? As for fridge logic stuff like the above, well, watch an average episode of CSI- why did Grissom/Horatio/Mac do this stupid thing that serves to advance the plot but doesn't reflect the reality of policework? Doesn't matter, its just a TV show- same principal would probabley apply to media based on superheroes if they existed.
      • Point of order: in our world, police dramas are very popular, but police comics are not. Maybe in the fictional universe, superheroes are very common in TV fiction that we just don't get to see.
      • Possibly it's because superheroes struck an inspirational, yearning, psychological chord with the audience of a 'lower' form? And because, with real idol-figures walking around, it wasn't necessary to get that 'fix' from comics anymore?
    • In Watchmen's world, costumed vigilantes are shown to have lost public interest/popularity after the Second World War, and have developed public resentment to the point of public violence by the 60s. It seems likely that, not only did the public become disinterested in the splashy exploits of costumed "heroes" (and remember, until Dr. Manhattan emerged none of these were "superheroes," they were just people in costumes beating other people up), but had probably had enough time to become skeptical of the idea that someone could just put a costume on and start enforcing whatever morals he saw fit. I think Hooded Justice was included as one of the original vigilantes for a very good reason: the reader is supposed to have a twinge of moral discomfort at the idea of a "hero" who is wearing the icons of racist lynchings. Someone like Rorschach, randomly wandering into "underworld" bars and torturing people for information, isn't likely to win sympathy from the wider public for very long. We like the idea of Jack Bauer, until we imagine the idea of actually being around Jack Bauer...
      • Hooded Justice is not wearing racist clothes—he's literally dressed as a dead criminal, a hangman with a black hood and noose around his neck. The whole reason superheroes came about was because he had the twisted idea to dress up in a mask, just like the crooks did, to fight them (the abyss gazes also, etc.). That's his canon reason for doing what he did and starting the whole fad. Everyone after him misread his intentions and started dressing in crazy ways to distinguish themselves.
      • In fact, the news vendor mentions that there used to be loads of superhero comics around - they just started dying out after the war. Hero comics still exist in Watchmen; they just haven't become the overpoweringly primary genre. It's also a dig at superhero comics themselves: the idea that the narrow field of 'pirate comics' would become the main genre seems really absurd, perhaps until we consider how bizarre the superhero genre is. It's ostranenie.
      • Indeed, in this universe superhero comics predate real superheroes — Nite Owl I mentions being inspired by reading Superman comics as a boy. The history of superhero comics, including the wild and sudden popularity of Superman igniting a whole genre, still happens in this world — it just gets massively derailed by large numbers of people successfully doing it in real life.
    • There's also the fact that the Keene Act made superheroes something like outlaws, and superhero comics didn't feel like they were "escapist" anymore. Also, publishers might have wanted to avoid publishing books with such controversial subjects, especially when they are intended for a younger audience.
      • Very feasible, especially given that a large part of the resurgence of superheroes was the need to find a "wholesome" theme after censors began cracking down on the more ambiguous crime comics that had previously been popular.
    • My favorite example when people bring up how superhero comics are such a strange and narrow way for comics to have developed is to bring up manga. Manga has a lot of genres, including all sorts of things that aren't superheroes, to the point where it's the poster child for non-superhero comics. But there's a huge (and hugely popular) chunk of it that basically is superheroes in all but name. Naruto and Bleach are about people using incredible powers to fight each other. I don't agree that superhero comics are such an unlikely event. (Also, the rationale that real superheroes made them unpopular doesn't work well; fictional superheroes have powers and Watchmen-world real ones didn't, except for Dr. Manhattan. And Dr. Manhattan was still unlike comic book superheroes, just in the opposite direction.)
      • ...and I can't help but bring up One Piece, which is basicaly superhero pirates.
      • This troper would suggest that this simply reflects the human tendency to create larger-than-life heroes, as seen in both the heroic mythology- contemporary and historical- of almost every human culture, rather than of any objective tendency towards the particular, idiosyncratically American tropes of the superhero genre. To lose sight of this is to lose sight of the unique qualities of the superhero mythology, to render oneself unable to speculate as to the ubiquity of one particular genre within American comics, and so to rather miss the point of Watchmen itself. Beowulf to Superman, Judge Dredd and Naruto may be a reasonably expected progression, but Beowulf to Superman, Batman and Spider-Man rather less so.

  • Not to mention that, basically, almost all mythological stories, from ancient times to the modern day are either Superhero stories or Human Animal stories. Sound familiar?

  • Because Superhero comics died out after real ones started popping up, would that mean Stan Lee never got his big break? I mean, I know it's a DC universe, but that's basically what's implied... right?
    • No, he's the well-known creator of Peter Parker, Pirate of Penzance.

  • The Silver Age was part of a backlash agianst comics started by the book The Seduction of the Innocent In the Watchmen universe, "The Seduction of the Innocent" was never published, the feds shuting down the guy who wrote to protect the reputation of "comic inspired" opperatives in the US military.

    How Would Dr Manhattan REALLY Have Affected The Cold War? 
  • While we're talking about Dr Manhattan - why, why, why can't the Russians try to replicate the experiment? Surely they have spies. If they can figure out how to build one of those Intrinsic-Field-Remover things, (and Ozymandias manages, so it can't be particularly hard or under wraps), they can keep MAD going. Sure, they may lose a hell of a lot of test subjects, but they need this in a way that makes moral concerns pretty much irrelevant. So again: why isn't there a Dr Arzamas-16?
    • Would you deliberately throw people into a test chamber and disintegrate them on the off chance that one would develop godlike powers? Sure, you wouldn't mind the deaths if were ruthless enough, what happens if you succeed? Now you've got a godlike being on your hands. And the last thing they remember is you throwing them into a test chamber and disintegrating them painfully.
    • Just because the circumstances of the accident that led to the creation of Doc can be replicated, doesn't mean the results can be. We don't know exactly what happened to Jon in the accident, but it's clear that it was an improbably rare event that isn't going to happen again anytime soon. That said, for all we know, the Russians had been trying to duplicate it, and had been losing people in test chambers for years.
    • You guys are missing the point here. Manhattan isn't a man. He's a ghost. A ghost with god like powers that are the result of all the matter in his body being turned to energy. Like all ghosts he can't move on. Think how tragic his death was. His (up to that point) one true love is standing outside watching him as he's about to die. she then abandons him because she can't bare to what him die. He's been abandoned. That's why he's haunting her. Why do you think that the first thing he did when he came back was visit her? He came back in the Cafeteria where she was eating, after her not being there since his death. SHE was the missing factor that stopped him from coming back before. How are you guys not getting this? It's the most obvious thing in the world. You can't just turn a man into Manhattan, you need to give them a reason to haunt you before throwing them into the chamber.
      • It's never implied that Jon's particular state of mind had anything to do with his becoming Dr. Manhattan. It was a fluke.
      • The book, at least, implies/explains that his viewpoint—as a watchmaker—of putting everything together in its correct sequence (notice how he comes back, bit by bit at a time as he's reconstructing himself) is part of what helped him become Dr. Manhattan.
    • When was it mentioned that the Russians had any idea how Dr. Manhattan was made? Wouldn't that be, um, classified?
      • There was a whole research center full of people who saw what happened over a period of months and were shocked enough to talk about it publicly. No real way to ensure secrecy retroactively when you aren't even sure at first what the secret is.
      • Yes, but the research center's research was * itself* classified. They were all government scientists working in top secret research. They were talking about it "publicly" in a company town staffed entirely by government employees. Remember that the whole concept of the "intrinsic field" was supposed to lead to the next A-bomb/WMD (which it indirectly did).
      • There is no way that the USSR wouldn't dig as deep as they could to get their own Dr. Manhattan. Honestly, the Russians were VERY good at intelligence gathering, and I'm pretty sure that they could have found out what they wanted to. For example, how much would they pay one of those government employees for even a vague description of the IFR machine? Finding out what happened wasn't their catch, it was replicating it.
      • And on top of that, who's to say they failed? The experiment could have easily have created a DR. Leningrad who simply looked at the hellhole Earth became and left to make new life, just like Doc M did in the end. The Reds would not want news of a failed attempt to counter the "lynchpin of america's defense strategy" to reach American ears, so they wouldn't tell anyone. Dr. Manhattan might not have been the only superman, just the only one dumb enough to stay.
      • It's mentioned in the comics that Dr. Manhattan warned the Americans that any attempts to make a second superman wouldn't work — and they had the exact same equipment used on him. It's safe to assume that the IFR can't replicate the events. Whether that's because the local universe is monotheistic, because only a very specific type of mind and situation can survive the IFR process, or because Manhattan himself would prevent others like him from forming, it's safe to see that he can be trusted on the matter.
      • It could always be assumed that Manhattan was lying to prevent someone from becoming like him. Maybe he didn't want the government locking people in a chamber to be disintergrated in the off chance of making a weapon.
      • Personally, if this troper watched a man get disintegrated before my eyes because of a "safety feature" the first thing she would do would be to take the machine apart to make sure it never happened again. It might only be dismantled enough to make it impossible to get locked inside, but any change could have a big impact on the result. By the time Dr. Manhattan appeared again there might have been a lot of changes done to the machine that would prevent someone else from coming back.
      • I assumed that the Russians would definitely have attempted to replicate the experiment. Bearing in mind that you are trying to invest someone with god-like powers you'd have to be sure they were loyal. This means that experiments may have been halfway ethical, relying on security cleared volunteers, surely not too hard to find amongst very old people, especially with all that ideology and a healthy desire to put the US in it's place. I assumed the re-creation of a Dr Manhatten was just too unlikely. (Also just because Oz made a machine capable of obliterating Dr Manhattan, does not mean that he duplicated the experiment).
      • Well it's never actually said that the Russians didn't attempt to replicate it, but it's pretty heavily implied that Osterman's ability to re-assemble himself is based on his already strong understanding of the intricate detail of things from both his work as a watchmender and an atomic physicist.
      • So? Maybe if you go into the box you have a 1% or smaller chance of immortality, and a 99+ % chance of death. In the long run, those are the best odds available.
    • Perhaps Soviet leaders simply and ultimately couldn't accept the existence of not only a potential threat to their authority and power (as the ruling class of the Soviet Union would inevitably end up viewing an omnipotent, omnipresent God-like being walking around in their own backyard as being), but of their ideology? Soviet thinking, at least in public, is based around a classless, egalitarian society (of course, the reality didn't quite end up like that, but the Soviet government was very good at accepting two contradictory viewpoints simultaneously, to misquote Orwell), something which is a lot harder to accept — and, just as importantly, convince the working plebs beneath you to accept — when you have a hyper-powerful God walking around your own backyard. Plus, pretty much handing ultimate power in the Soviet sphere of influence to one of their own grunts or gulag-inmates — not something the hyper-paranoid, power-hungry types who ran the Soviet Union would be that enthusiastic about doing.
      • In any case, look at what the Americans ultimately ended up with Dr. Manhattan; a distant, uncaring figure who, for all the propaganda, couldn't give a toss about ideology and who sort of aimlessly obeyed orders whilst it suited him but then ultimately completely flaked out, leaving the Americans galloping up Diarrhoea Road without a horse and saddle in the process. No matter how brainwashed and fanatical they were before they went in the chamber, there's no guarantee that when he or she reforms the molecular structure of his / her body that Dr. Soviet is going to be any more willing to obey orders or devoted to the Revolution than Dr. Manhattan ended up being devoted to the United States. Any Soviet spies would doubtlessly gain information about Manhattan's psychological state and make-up (which would be much easier to determine and observe than the circumstances that lead to his creation) and would presumably pass this on, which would give the old men in the Kremlin pause for thought about how much control they'd ultimately have over their own God, given how enthusiastic they were about controlling their citizens.
      • It doesn't help that Jon Osterman was never much of a patriot to begin with. He spent his whole life doing what others told him to do. If he had had anything resembling a backbone, he would not have let his father push him into becoming a nuclear scientist. Nor would he have let the US government turn him into their pet god.
      • The experiment to create Dr Manhattan may not be repeatable, but the team at the original lab ran the field remover several times and so did Veidt. The Soviets would logically direct their attention to building a god-killing machine rather than a god-creating machine, as they can still get plans for the original device (since they don't have access to the Man himself, they don't necessarily know it isn't quite that easy - equally, just because Veidt's method didn't work doesn't mean it's impossible).
    • Perhaps they did try to replicate it and over the decades got absolutely nothing for their trouble but a few thousand people converted to radioactive vapor. It just...didn't work.

  • Why do people think that the US and USSR will just sit around, static and unchanging, until they stop being afraid of Dr. Manhattan/Giant Teleporting Psychic Alien Death Squids From Nowhere and resume nuking the hell out of each other? Nothing ever ends, but nothing ever stops, either. Look at what's happening at the end of the graphic novel - it's Glasnost, times two. Granted the lack of open conflict with the West changes things as well, but by the time Cold War tendencies reassert themselves, Veidt's plan may very well have brought down the Soviet Union.
    • This question has been raised so many times on this page in one form or another. In short, the answer is always: That's the point. Ozymandias's peace is by no means guaranteed permament, and it remains extremely up in the air as to whether it was worth the atrocities he committed.
      • But my point is that even if Adrian's peace doesn't last forever, that doesn't mean he'd have failed. Assuming the USSR's internal politics are anything like they were in the real world, he only needed to buy enough time for the country to collapse from within.
      • Seems like the US would have collapsed from within, under 16 years of Nixon. The Soviet Union was brought down because of Gorbachev's willingness to allow states to secede from the USSR, plus the US massively outspent the USSR in proxy warfare in Afghanistan. Meanwhile they appointed a Carter-esque liberal (Gorbachev). What really destroyed Communism was when the hard-liners attempted a military coup against Gorbachev, causing the then-powerless Russian Republic (controled by "neoliberals" such as Yeltsin) to secede from the USSR itself. (The rough US politics equivalent would be if the US had elected Ralph Nader president, allowed Vermont and Hawaii to secede and all our overseas bases, then Bush invalidated the election with tanks in the streets, prompting Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwartzenegger to secede NY and CA from the Union). None of this would have necessarily happened in an alternate timeline.
  • I can understand winning in Vietnam, but winning and Vietnam becoming the 51st state are two very different things. Seriously, what's the story behind that? Did they just abolish the South Vietnamese government after they won? Why didn't they cover this greater detail?
    • It didn't really matter. It was a throwaway nod to the politics of the Watchmen world. It said, "This is how powerful America has become with Manhattan on their side. They have the money, the resources, and the luxury of time such that they can incorporate an entire country into their fold as an equal member without undue effort." Moreover, it plays into the ambiguity of the setting: should America have conquered Vietnam, and, having done so, is it better or worse that they made them equal to anywhere else they've conquered?"
    • I'll be less charitable to Moore on this. In the eyes of an anti-war European who grew up during the 1960's, "becomes the 51st state" would be a shorthand way of saying "imperialistic oppression", and "Vietnam becomes the 51st state" is his worst nightmare for how the Vietnam War could turn out. The fact that US states are equals probably never crossed his mind; we only see it as ambiguous because we're not where Moore is politically.
    • Yeah, in short, Moore didn't really get what being a state actually meant. He probably intended it to be more like an annexed territory or something.
      • As much as I dislike the man, Moore did get it. States aren't equal. Depending on their size and population, they're stronger or weaker than others. That's why people who want to become president want certain states to vote for them. Because those states have the most power over who wins. US states aren't equals. Citizens of Rhode Island, for example, basically have no say in national politics. Besides for the president thing, bigger states have more Representatives in Congress, meaning that the larger states have more power. States that have smaller populations have less Representatives in Congress, meaning they have less of a say. Vietnam would make for a big state with lots of power. Bribe those Representatives (what do you think big business does with the Representatives?) to vote for what you want and you've got that much more control. Alan Moore did his homework.
      • Not really. Becoming a state requires the state's population itself deciding to become one. It's a willful decision to join up, and it's not something that would have been imposed, especially not as quickly as it seems to have happened in Watchmen. Hell, Puerto Rico has had a few votes on the subject and has actively decided not to become a state (one reason being that their current status allows them to get the benefits of being a state without the drawbacks of paying taxes). Moore wanted to show that Vietnam was a conquered territory of an imperialistic America, and that's not really what being a state of the union means.

        Hell, there's tons more reasons why people in the US wouldn't want Vietnam to be a state. For one, it's removed ideologically, geographically, and ethnically from the whole rest of the US. Do you really think that, say, New York or California are going to want a country half a world away both literally and metaphorically have as much of a say in national politics as they do?

        Moore didn't do his "homework," he tried to come up with a shorthand for "conquering America" and he missed the mark.

        As a sidenote, can you please stick to arguing about facts and stuff rather than using "people, particularly Americans, are utter douchebags" as the basis of all your arguments? It's getting a little tiring to read.
      • Also, the United States' Senate is where all fifty states, regardless of population, have completely equal representation. The Senate also has a little more power than the House of Representatives. Bigger population does not automatically equal more power.
      • Who knows? Who cares? That's all just a lot of conjecture and speculation for a topic Alan Moore didn't really give much detail to in Watchmen.
    • Perhaps you're all forgetting the way the Viet Cong surrendered to Manhattan, thinking of him as more or less a god. Why wouldn't you want to be on god's side?

    Alternate-Timeline Science, Economy, Etc 
  • Given that the corpse of the creature is mostly intact, wouldn't any but the most cursory examination of it reveal that its brain is basically human and that its biochemistry would indicate a terrestrial origin?
    • Maybe, maybe not. I seem to recall that Ozymandias hired the best geneticists in the world to create something that could convincingly pass for non-Earthly, down to the cellular level, and they had a decade and unlimited funds to work with. And it * was* 1987. "DNA testing" had not yet come into daily household use in the English-speaking world.
    • You're forgetting that this is a world in which genetic research is far more advanced than in our own, even now. So presumably DNA testing would be a familiar concept.
      • On the other hand, given how sophisticated they are in bioscience, if DNA testing is available Ozymandias' company would probably dominate the field. It's quite possible that he could... strategically manipulate any attempt to do an autopsy on the monster.
      • This raises an interesting question about science fiction: when current technology surpasses then-advanced "future" technology, is it reasonable to assume that it carried on the same path? Keep in mind, much of the technology advanced explicitly because of Dr. Manhattan; it's as likely as not that he just didn't care enough to say, "By the way, this is how you do DNA testing," and no one thought to ask because there was no money or weaponry to be made of it. So by the time you get to 1987, DNA testing isn't even in its infancy yet, because the scientists who would have been working on that shit were all busy with Super Science or whatever. Then Ozymandias becomes the Power Behind The Throne and keeps any technology that could reveal what he did from advancing.
      • What? Of course there's money and weaponry to be made of DNA research. Genetic engineering alone would be a massively profitable business and a huge boon to the military (why spend months putting a soldier through basic when you can simply engineer a faster, stronger, more intelligent soldier?). And genetic engineering cannot possibly exist without advanced DNA testing techniques.
      • America doesn't need super soldiers, we have Doctor Manhattan. We don't need biological weapons, we have Doctor Manhattan. We don't need disease-free crops, we have Doctor Manhattan. Since Veidt seems to be the only person who puts a lot of effort into genetics, it may well be that the government was too busy asking Manhattan to build death rays and shit to get into toying around with DNA, thus any advances come only from the world's smartest man rather than the super science of the world's smartest god.
      • I don't agree. The government has contingency plans for everything up to having to invade Canada. The idea that Dr. Manhattan is a single point of failure and that they need to have contingency plans for his disappearance is something that should occur even to bureaucrats.
    • It's mentioned in the post-event TV coverage that it appeared on an "institute researching other dimensions". If anyone notices the DNA similarity, they'll probably guess that it came from a very earth-like alternate dimension instead of thinking it's a fake.
      • The teleportation that killed it may have disrupted its structure to the point where no clearly undamaged DNA is available.
    • Want to bet that Ozymandias owns all the best DNA testing labs on Earth?

  • Here's what bugs me: this story in a world in which the United States, thanks to Dr. Manhattan, has commercially viable electric cars, and electric flying cars, for that matter, as early as the sixties, but this is also supposedly a world in which the economy is on the brink of collapse by the eighties. How does that make any sense? Also, how is the Cold War still going on? If we have electric cars, plus the ability to mass produce however much of any petrochemical feedstock we might want, you have to figure that the price of oil is close to zero. That means that, first, there's no Middle East crisis, and, second, the totally oil-export-dependent Soviet economy implodes at least a decade earlier than it actually did. Add to that the fact that America won the Vietnam War, and the United States wins the Cold War well before 1980. And not primarily because the United States would have so much more military power because of Dr. Manhattan. More because the United States would be the source of the flying cars and other technological miracles.
  • Also of note, one of the reasons the Soviets collapsed in the 80s was due to the immense amount of redundant nuclear weaponry they had to make to match the Americans' non-existant Star Wars system crashed their economy. Its mentioned in the film that the Soviets had 50k nuclear missiles at hand, nearly twice the amount they had when they collapsed, just for their to be a chance for them to get through Dr. Manhattan. Having to sink so much time, money and labor into those missiles would leave essentially nothing left for them to build say farming equipment. They would have been having even worse mass famines and shortages in Watchman's version of the 80s than they did in the 30s. They should have collapsed years before the film took place.
    • And let's not even get into the degree of environmental degradation that would be avoided if we had Dr. Manhattan. Actually, let's get into it: no mining, strip or otherwise, for any minerals, when Dr. Manhattan can just create them. No industrial, chemical, or nuclear waste, when Dr. Manhattan can just turn it all into air, or water, or, for that matter, any useful substances we might want. And this is just scratching the surface. To be perfectly clear, a world in which we have Dr. Manhattan would be a paradise, not a hell.
      • We send him to fight commies, that's a pretty lame use for God. I think he's not being utilized as useful as he could be.
      • Think about this: a world such as you describe... then Manhattan abruptly leaves one day. And our entire infrastructure revolved around things only he could do. Sure, it doesn't really answer the question at hand, I just find it pleasingly horrifying.
    • Read the book and pay attention. Why is the economy fucked up in Watchmen? Y'know how when Hollis Mason talks about his plants to open a garage and Manhattan is all "Well, you're going to have to learn how these new cars work because all the skills you've spent your life developing are pretty much useless"? I'd say making large swaths of the workforce obsolete would have something to do with it, actually speeding up the rate of unemployment and worker obsolescence.
    • If you want basic economy theory, think of it this way: a capitalist economy is based almost entirely on supply and demand. The price of a particular good is determined both by how much people want it, and how much is available. Oil is considered a precious commodity specifically because there's a finite supply of it. So, what happens when God basically says, "you know what, here's enough oil forever. And if you use that up, I've got more."? Economic collapse. There's no demand because the supply is in abundance. Everyone has what they need. The economy is fucked up because God is on the side of supply, and there can be no demand.
      • The economy in Watchmen is in bad shape because we won Vietnam. After losing a major war, a country's currency undergoes massive inflation. Germany after WWI was one of the worst examples, and as a result of WWII, Japanese still need thousands of Yen to buy anything. Same thing happen in our timeline's United States after Vietnam. (One reason Carter wasn't re-elected was that his administration wasn't very good at controlling it) while this is bad in the short term, having to pay a dollar and half instead of a 25 cents for a bottle of coke, and all, in the long term this was a good thing, as it helped to stabilize the downward spiral that the US economy had been in since the Post WII boom ended in the early 70s. Without the inflation of the late 70s, the Reagan era boom would not have been possible.
      • Do keep in mind that the film invented the whole sequence about Ozymandias creating generators to make infinite free energy out of nothing (somehow) using Dr. Manhattan-based technology. I don't remember that in the book at all — the book just said that Dr. Manhattan was able to manufacture enough lithium cells by magic to make cheap electric cars practicable. He's made a very efficient * battery* , in other words, but he hasn't invented an * energy source* . Electric cars still use up petroleum — they use it up more efficiently, through the power grid, but you still have to burn something to get the energy. And look up "Jevons' Paradox" on The Other Wiki; increased efficiency is never really a solution to an energy crisis. Unless we actually replace petroleum as a source of power, a more efficient use of petroleum will just lead us to * use more petroleum* . Flying cars are incredibly wasteful compared to ground-based transportation when it comes to energy consumption, but once the price of oil drops enough what was incredibly wasteful just becomes a relatively common luxury. The rate of consumption just keeps going up and up; consumer demand is an endlessly voracious black hole and technology can't solve that. Only legal regulation and social change can, and that's Mr. Amoral World Conqueror Ozymandias' department, not Dr. Manhattan's.
      • An unlimited supply of oil would most definitely not result in economic collapse; it would be the opposite—economic growth would proceed at a marvelous pace. One of the cost factors in the production and distribution of goods and services would be reduced to basically zero. In the real world, the cost of communication is being relentlessly driven down through the Internet and other technologies, but that is a net benefit to the world economy, because it frees up resources to be used for other purposes. The reason that the economy in Watchmen sucks so badly can be attributed to Nixon, who was a dedicated Keynesian, being in office for so long. He probably instituted all sorts of governmental policies that interfered with the production and distribution of goods and services. The economy is fucked up because God is on the side of supply, and there can be no demand. This is not basic economic theory, which clearly states that while resources are scarce, human wants (that is, demand) is unlimited. An unlimited supply of oil would be treated like air is in the real world. Other resources would presumably retain some level of scarcity, and so require some way to determine how they are distributed; with laissez-faire free markets and total government control being the opposite ends of the spectrum of methods to do this.
    • Nixon just sucks at economic policy. The characters blame "Nixonomics" for the terrible shape the economy's in.
  • Why did the intrinsic field subtractor have its indelible effect on Osterman? What part of that process granted him such power - and why didn't others attempt the same trick? Further complicating things is that, at Karnak, the same type of device is used to obliterate Bubastis, another living creature. Does this imply it only works on humans, or that it was just a one-in-a-hundred-trillion shot in the first place? (We can probably safely leave out the bit in the film where it was used to vaporize a roomful of corpses, though.)
    • You might as well ask Bruce Banner why gamma radiation gives him super strength and kills virtually anyone else. It's just a convention of the genre that weird shit can happen inside a nuclear reactor.
    • It's strongly implied, if not outright stated, that Osterman's meticulous personality helped him rebuild his body after it was disintegrated. That's one of the reasons why the comic emphasizes his past as a watchmaker. He had learned to take apart a clock and then reassemble it perfectly, and he had to do a similar job of reintegrating to his body, only it was a million times more difficult, since a human body obviously has a lot more parts than a watch. We can assume that, after your body has been disintegrated by the intrinsic field subtractor, whatever's left of your consciousness is in an extreme state of confusion, so managing to rebuild your body is an extremely difficult task. Even with Osterman, it took him months to do that. So the IFS probably was tested on other people, but they didn't manage to rebuild their bodies like Osterman did, so their consciousness just slowly dissolved into nothingness (or something like that). As for Bubastis, obviously an animal doesn't have the sort of mental faculty required to reintegrate one's body.

    Continuity Issues And Fridge Logic (Book/Film) 
  • When Manhattan says "there is no difference between life and death, they have the same amount of particles"? That is completely wrong. Live and dead bodies are very different, (decay, blood loss, microbiology, so many other fields in forensics can show this difference,) so it seems very stupid for him to claim "no difference between life and death." Any ideas for an explanation of this?
    • This Troper took it to mean that at the moment of death, there was little difference. Of course, afterwards there are many differences such as those listed....
    • No defining line. "Dead now? Nope." Nanosecond later: "Dead now? Nope." Nanosecond later: "Dead now? Nope." A few billion nanoseconds later: "Dead now? No- Um... Maybe? He's been dead for a little while? when did that happen? I guess there isn't really a difference, everything's still pretty much there. Nothing left or anything." Only, you know, in Manhattan-think.
    • I blame it on Alan Moore. Alan Moore doesn't understand science. In this scene, Dr. Manhattan is basically being a Straw Vulcan: he's a caricature of a logical thinker. The difference between a live and dead person supposedly can't be explained scientifically, a Straw Vulcan can't comprehend it. Of course this is still straw; a real logical thinker can recognize a difference even if he can't fully analyze it, and he would use a level of abstraction that's most useful for understanding, rather than reducing everything to atoms and molecules. It would be like a real scientist reading a scientific journal and complaining that the journal is meaningless because it's made of the same kind of carbon atoms as all other journals.
      • It was really a philosophical point, not a scientific one; Dr. Manhattan is essentially espousing a nihilist form of materialism which denies the existence of conciousness as anything more than a prolonged series of physical reactions, lacking in any objective value. He understands the differences between a living and dead body, he just denies that they matter. It is only when he comes to appreciate consciousness as a unique subjective experience that he changes his mind. It is essentially Moore suggesting that nothing in the universe has objective value, but that this does not prevent us from seeking and finding subjective value.
    • What made his argument especially silly is that Dr. Manhattan himself is perhaps the ultimate example of how life animating a set of particles makes a huge difference. When Osterman's body was destroyed, his mere consciousness built himself a new body from the scratch. What more proof do you need for the fact that life controlling certain particles makes the result very different from those particles being "dead"? The realization he came to when observing Laurie's life should've been obvious if he'd merely considered his own miraculous rebirth as Dr. Manhattan.
      • That simply reflects the ability of a consciousness to manipulate matter, it does not lend such manipulation any value, which what he was really commenting on. From a nihilistic point of view, why is the spontaneous generation of a body more important or unusual than anything else that happens?
    • Personally, I just figured that Osterman was a physicist, so Dr. Manhattan wasn't accustomed to thinking about things from a life-sciences perspective, rather than physical-sciences. If not for that bias, he would've caught on to the phenomenal improbability inherent in conception, ages ago. As it was, he notices that the atoms of a human body aren't any different after death than before it, and dismisses the umpteen-trillion changes that crop up at the chemical and higher levels as trivial due to his particle-physicist reductionism.

  • How does Rorschach see through his mask?
    • Hrmm...
    • Light can penetrate it to his eyes. However, only a very tiny amount of light that penetrates it will be reflected back out to the eyes of anybody looking at him. It's the same reason that, if you stand outside on a dark night and look through a window into a brightly-lit room, you can see what's happening in the room, but somebody in the rom can't see you unless they press their face to the glass.
    • The same way you can see through a black sock pulled over your eyes.
    • Once a week or so he coated the inside of his mouth with a paste made up of lard, pig fat, and Twinkie filling. He had also cauterized the salival glands inside his mouth. Every time he went "hrm" his diaphragm/lungs would release moist air at body temperature which interacts with the paste, creating a mixture of air and pure fat. The fat air dispersed up and through his facial mask and would allow him to see.
    • Could you explain how that works please? And when does it show him doing this?

  • Hollis "Nite Owl I" Mason's autobiography is shown in one panel to be a two-volume hardcover. However, the fifteen pages of "excerpts" included in the graphic novel cover everything from his boyhood to his retirement. Either those excerpts were seriously abridged, or Mason had the very large print edition....
    • The bulk of it was probably anecdotes going into the details of individual cases or other incidents.

  • How does Rorschach survive? This isn't even talking about his ability to overpower better armed crooks who are a lot bigger than him - he carries his "The end is nigh" sign all day and beats up criminals all night - wouldn't he die from the fatigue? And if he's a crazy man carrying a sign, how does he make a living? He pays rent in an apartment, after all.
    • He probably doesn't hold his sign all day long - only when people are coming off work. As for how he pays the rent/makes a living, I'm pretty sure I remember him emptying the pockets of the crooks he kills. And of course, whenever he visits his "friends", he mooches off of them (e.g. Nite Owl's sugar cubes, the contents of Moloch's fridge).
    • Well in the book it's shown that he does over-exert himself. One entry read that he had been awake for 50 hours. The next was that he passed out without removing the skin from his head. Living on sugar-cubes and coffee will do that. As for money, it's reasonable to think that he steals money off the corpses of his victims. They say he moves constantly as well, so he probably gets evicted a lot.

  • If Roschach's mask (and by extension the dress) are heat and pressure sensitive, then why do they always form a perfect mirror image down the middle?
    • The human face and body are relatively symmetrical. The fabric might not be sensitive enough to respond to every tiny variance, so the result is fairly even all over.
      • Plus, Rule of Cool. It wouldn't be a Rorschach inkblot if it wasn't symmetrical. And when he gets kicked in the head, it isn't. But I see your point.
    • This has been tested by various fan-made Rorschach masks using heat-sensitive invisible ink and found to be more or less accurate. Unfortunately, invisible ink always takes the same overall shape, so it's not the same effect; a hippie-light or mood ring might be a better example.
    • Actually it's specifically pointed out that the material uses quantum phlebotinum to maintain symmetry or some such nonsense.

  • Rorschach ambushed Moloch by hiding in his refrigerator. To do so, he had to leave the funeral early, break into Moloch's home, remove food and shelves from the fridge, hide them somewhere, and then climb in and wait. What if Moloch decided to pick up some groceries or something on his way home? Or if he came in the door and just climbed the stairs and went to bed? It was a little presumptuous of Rorschach to assume that Moloch would definitely walk near to the fridge.
    • Ironically, all of the above is Fridge Logic.
    • I'm sure that if Moloch had gone straight to bed, Rorschach would have heard, and gone and assaulted him in bed. If he'd picked up groceries, he would just drop them in surprise when ambushed.
      • How would he get out of the fridge?
      • It's Rorschach. He'd probably use that little technique known as "being strong enough to shatter a sink with one kick".
    • Short answer: Rorschach is crazy and has too much time on his hands.
    • The real question is how did he intend on breathing? Sure, he might have been able to handle the cold, but there still wouldn't be a lot of air in there.
      • If the air started going bad, he could just open the door and breathe for a minute or two. He'd still (probably) hear Moloch fiddling with the door and be able to ambush him.
      • His mask is made of two layers of latex. He's essentially got two condoms pulled over his head at a time. There's no logic in how he manages to even see, let alone breath.
    • Less-short answer: Rorschach doesn't need to wait in the fridge the whole time, he can get in when Moloch comes home. Rorschach had investigated Moloch for years, so it's reasonable he'd know his habits.
      • For that matter, he'd looked through the medicine cabinet, so might've found some pills that had to be taken with food at bedtime. That would guarantee Moloch's visit to the fridge.
    • Rorschach WASN'T IN THE FRIDGE. Why does this keep coming up? Moloch opens the fridge to find a note reading "Behind you", & Rorschach is indeed behind him.
      • That's in the film. In the comic, he makes several trips to Moloch's—the first time, he's in the fridge. The second time, Moloch finds the note.

  • What was Moloch doing with a can of hairspray in his apartment anyway? Seen his hair?
    • As related on this page already, it might have been for the funeral roses. Hairspray preserves cut flowers. Besides, it might not have been hairspray - that's hardly the only flammable hygiene product in existence.
      • It has the words "Veid- Fo- Me- Hai- Spr-" on chapter 5, page 25, panel 6. The funeral roses explanation seems most likely.
    • It was the 1980s, before spray can deoderants were banned due to the CF Cs they contained. It was Moloch's deodorant.
      • As stated above, it's probably Hair Spray.
      • Spray can deodorants are still commercially available; just not CFC-based ones.
      • Probably a moot point (or at least wildly off-topic), but CF Cs have nothing to do with aerosol products' flammability. Most use a propane- or butane-based propellant - the same stuff that fuels gas grills and cigarette lighters. Spray deodorant is still quite flammable.
    • Okay, so he doesn't have MUCH hair, but he still styled it. I've seen that hairstyle on my Dad for years, and he still has his hair.
      • Moloch is a cancer patient. He probably did have plenty of hair when he bought the spray can, before starting chemotherapy.

  • Also, what was with the funeral? British-style pallbearers? Not folding the flag into a triangle shape? Huh? (And don't get me started on Nixon's "nuclear football.")
    • Just a mistake, maybe. Or somebody figured nobody'd care.
      • Considering Moore is English, not all that surprising.
      • Two Words: Benny Anger. Everything about him comes across as a British BBC host/presenter.
    • It's an Alternate Universe, duh. Unless we all just happened to forget Nixon winning four Presidential elections in a row (and, y'know, superheroes). Fashions are different, history is different, technology is different—some as a result of Dr. Manhattan, and some gratuitously so. The nuclear football is a bit of a groaner, but it makes for quick visual shorthand.
      • Verisimilitude dictates that military traditions would be the same in the Watchmen setting because there is no reason for them to change.
      • Unless military tradition changed because of the victory in Vietnam. The film did have the flag folded into a triangle.
    • Edward Blake was buried in his civilian persona. Therefore, no military funeral for him.

  • By the way,how does Rorshach break the goon's fingers and pin him to the cell door? I've bent my arms like that and, granted, I'm more flexible than most, but even my dad can twist his arms that far without pain. And why do they have to kill him to get to the door?
    • When did anyone say that his fingers were broken? They had to kill him because there wasn't enough time to cut through the bars (only the lock on the door).
      • Uh, right there on that very page, the goon says "He broke my fingers . . . "
    • They have to kill him because any attempts to untie the hapless goon's arms would just result in Rorschach doing something horrible to /their/ hands as well.
      • It still doesn't make sense for them to have to kill the guy. If they were gonna cut the door open anyway, the guy with his hands tied could have just... you know... stood as much out of the way as possible. By killing him, they had a big, fat, limp corpse in the way.
      • I found it odd that they didn't just cut his hands off, or something.
      • In the movie, they did.
      • They're gangsters. They didn't have to kill him, but why not? Go sadism.
      • Just to clarify a point that I think some people have spotted but others haven't- the fat criminal's hands were tied with some of Rorschach's clothes. It's a bit difficult to move your arm through a solid metal bar...

  • Although Rorschach's mask is a veritable quagmire of unexplained mechanics, I'd like to know just how the hell he sees out of the damned thing, especially when he's apparently blinded towards then end when Veidt twists it around his face.
    • I always thought the mask kept spots of black over his eyes, and that the black liquid was more translucent than the white one.
    • Rorschach isn't blinded when Veidt pulls the mask round. Veidt has obviously worked out for himself that Rorschach is pathalogically attached to his "face" and can't bear to have it removed involuntarily (see Rorschach's arrest at the end of Chapter 5), so pulling his mask askew is an effective fight move against Rorschach as he will be compelled to stop fighting and put the mask back on.

  • In the film version they eliminated the subplot of Rorschach getting an extra outfit from his apartment, instead, he gets his gear back from Dr. Long's case file. Okay, but he breaks into Dr. Long's office during the riot, waits untill Long gets there, then orders him to find it for him. But this is Rorschach we're talking about here! He's incredibly fast thinking and good at locating things quickly and easily, as evidenced by his search of Blake and Moloch's homes. Surely he could have entered the room, got his face, and left within a few seconds, particularly since they WERE RIGHT ON THE SHELF FIVE FEET AWAY FROM HIM! There was no need for him to wait for Dr. Long to get there.
    • Rule of Cool and Rule of Drama. It was more entertaining that way instead of doing the practical thing of ransacking the place or reading the labels.
    • Well, they were actually in a box under a load of other boxes. Besides, you don't know how long he was in there for. It's entirely possible he broke in, tore through a few of them, got frustrated (and he's probably not thinking particularly straight at that moment, considering) then noticed the doctor coming in and decided to a) find his face quickly and b) scare the piss out of Doctor Long.

  • Why does movie Moloch have hairspray in his house? The man is bald.
    • Maybe he bought it for the funeral. Hairspray preserves cut flowers.
    • Or maybe the hairspray was left over from before his cancer diagnosis. The guy could've been bald due to chemotherapy, not his age.
      • And even if it was baldness due to age, he just might not have bothered to throw it out.
    • No he wasn't. Moloch had hair.

  • Rorshach said his mask is made of latex, which is airtight. How the hell does he breathe when he wears that thing?
    • He was wrong.
      • He never specifically said it was Latex, if I remember correctly, it was something Doc Manhattan whipped up for Kitty Genovese that just happened to respond the same way to heated scissors...
      • Crap, just reread that sequence last night, it actually did specify the dress was latex.
      • Perhaps it was latex nanotubules with the ink inside.
    • He doesn't.

  • Rorshach routinely wears gloves. So, okay, Veidt shoots... Moloch, and Rorshach walks right into the trap set up for him. But, what evidence would the cops have that Rorshach shot Moloch? Or are they just arresting him because of his years upon years of vigilanteism?
    • If you find a a known vigilante with a history of going too far in the same room as a recently murdered crook, what are you going to assume?
    • He's an outlaw vigilante who just set a cop on fire. That's more than enough to hold him, at least as long as shown in the film.
    • He was already wanted for two counts of Murder One. They didn't need Moloch to get him to prison; they might be holding him on the man he burned to death when he snapped, or Captain Carnage, or another killing we don't know about.
    • In the extra notes just after Rorschach gets caught, there's a police report about his capture. There's a line in it that says there were no finger prints on the gun, as expected since Rorschach wears gloves.

  • Doctor Manhattan became who and what he is when his intrinsic field was subtracted. At the end of the film, fifteen million people had their fields subtracted. Granted, Osterman was an extraordinary man in terms of intellect, education, and force of will, but what if just one of those fifteen million people was equally exceptional? What if more than one was?
    • Different thing altogether. The experiment Dr. Manhattan was involved with was dismantling the object particle by particle. In the movie, it was just a powerful explosion, similar to an A-bomb - if no, there wouldn't have been any rubble left, just a big-ass hole.
      • Also, Jon Osterman had a very unique history. He was a nuclear physicist whose dream was to become a watchmaker. Not many of those around, not even in New York. He also had a watch with him. And he was played by sexy, sexy, Billy Crudup.
      • Recall the quote from Albert Einstein in the book which very clearly influenced Osterman's early bio: "The problem lies in the heart of men. If I had known, I should have become a watchmaker."

  • It only just hit me last night, but doesn't the change in Silk Spectre II's costume from the book to the film (silk nighty to latex body suit) render her name a complete misnomer?
    • Didn't Silk Spectre I explained her new reasoning behind the name in that 60 minutes expy they released? Something about the name being exotic and though.
    • She probably did wear silk for photo shoots. Remember that she became a masked heroine to promote her acting career.

  • Why, oh why did they write out all of the secondary characters? Bernie the News man is my favorite character in the entire book, and they wrote him out? WHY?!?!?!?
    • Because keeping them in would have added at least another fifteen minutes to what was already a very long movie. Something had to be cut, and as entertaining as Bernie and the others are, they are in no way essential to the main plot.
    • Don't worry, it's All There In The Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition.

  • What's with the change in look? Why did they change the cars, fasions, etc, to look like The Eighties? I mean it seems they looked at the book and said "this isn't Eighties enough" and changed it so it looked more Retraux. This seems like they're missing the point, as it's not meant to be the "real" eighties, it's meant to show a completely different eighties that came about because of Dr. Manhattan.
    • The youth culture draws from Asia more beacuse Vietnam is now part of the country (The punk equivelent is the Knot tops). Crazy different technologies because Doc Manhattan and Viedt let all kinds of sixties Sci-Fi technologies come in existence, affecting fashion, and the look of the cars, men where 1940s style suits because Manhattan wore a suit to his unveiling. None of this is like the "real" Eighties.

  • Why did they screw it up so badly? I mean they have a shot for shot storyboard in the book! The motion comic was better because it stayed true to the original cinematography.
    • Comics are not storyboards. Despite the appearance, comics are intended for a reading audience, not a viewing audience. Ask any artist who's worked in both media and he'll tell you the intent and the art in each are entirely different. That's even before you get into the "Fearful Symmetry" part of the story which has separate pages mirroring each other, something that no film can ever do.

  • (Movie tie-in related) Does anyone know if any of the winners of the "Veidt Advertising Contest" actually had their commercials in the movie? I know YouTube played the winners — was the "Unforgettable" commercial in the beginning one of them?

  • Why is it that in the comic Dr. Manhattan asks someone "What's up?" at one point and at another point seems utterly unfamiliar with the expression, taking it literally and saying, "'Up' is relative; it has no intrinsic value"? Doesn't he experience all times simultaneously?
    • Probably just a continuity eror.
    • He knows what the expression means (he knows a lot of things!), but sometimes chooses to question it and other times just uses it as an idiom.

  • How can a tachyon stream blind Dr. Manhattan to the future when he experiences all times simultaneously?
    • In the same way a snowstorm blinds you to what you are currently experiencing in this present moment. He foresaw his lack of foresight due to the tachyons, because he was experiencing it then and there in the future.
    • The exact effect of the tachyons seems to be to temporally dislocate Manhattan, making him confused about which moment in time is which, as suggested when he repeats what he said to Laurie to Rorschach "forty-five seconds ago." "It's these tachyons..."

  • The above answer perhaps (but perhaps not?) solves the problem that has Just Bugged Me more than ANYTHING else about Watchmen: why Manhattan was surprised to learn Janey had cancer, and tells her "I didn't know".
    • Manhattan has to react on a set fate, regardless of how he feels about it. His dialogue, actions, you name it, are all scripted, the same as everybody else (in Watchmen, not necessarily reality). The only difference is he is that he "sees the strings." So he knows all that has, is, and will happen to him, but he still has to act chronologically. He can't change his present to compensate for what he knows will come. It's like he's riding a roller-coaster. He can see everything ahead of him, but he's stuck on that track whether he likes it or not.
      • Yup. It's even more explicit when he and Silk Spectre II have a conversation about her love life. Manhattan basically says "You're about to tell me you and Dan are sleeping together" ... and then, when she does imply it, he asks, as if he doesn't know, "You mean you and Dan are sleeping together?"
  • The oft-repeated claim that the movie renamed the Crime Busters to the Watchmen. Maybe I'm missing something (and I haven't seen the extended version so this may be it), but the group never seemed to be given any name at all in the film. The word "Watchmen" came up a few times, but it always seemed to be referring to superheroes in general rather than any particular group, in a similar way to the "Who watches the watchmen?" graffiti. In particular, Hollis Mason was referred to as a watchman at least once, despite never being in the Crime Busters.
    • In the title sequence, "WATCHMEN" comes up right as they are showing the Minutemen group photo. If someone wasn't familiar with the source material, it might be easy to miss the banner behind them and conclude the group itself was called the Watchmen.

  • Ozy catches the bullet. Totally cool thing to do. But he still get hurt and bleeds. In the film he has armor on his hands that stops the bullet so he doesn't get hurt. Except, if he had armor on his hands that could stop the bullet then why not just let the bullet hit him in the chest where he has even more armor?
    • The bullet does hurt his hand. He has to yank it out and it's noticeably bloodied. Armor on the chest doesn't mean it's perfect, and while it may stop the bullet, it's still going to hurt like hell. Also, she wasn't aiming for his chest; watch where his hand moves, it's level with his head.

  • The murder of Hollis Mason doesn't make sense. The Knot Tops went after him because Nite-Owl broke Rorschach out of prison, but why would they assume it was Mason and not the second Nite-Owl, whose existence was well known by the time Mason's book came out?
    • They're obviously not very bright. Their logic goes thus: Rorschach hospitalized one Knot Top's cousin —> A Nite-Owl worked with Rorschach and may have been involved —> This guy who was Nite-Owl wrote a book —> We know where to find him Nite-Owl, and not Rorschach. The comic book has the additional detail that their ringleader is very drunk.

  • Dr. Jon Ostrander was a remarkable man, even an extraordinary one. But several millions of people have just died in the exact same way as he did, and in places where people similar to Dr. Ostrander congregate. Is there any reason to think that none of them would be able to reassemble themselves after having their intrinsic fields subtracted?
    • Osterman used to work with watches when he was a child. He knows how to put things apart and pull the little parts back together, he has the skill and patience of a watchmaker. the watch sequence was there to underline this. And, as for whether some watchmakers would be able to pull that off, too, Osterman was ALSO a brilliant physicist, and he was able to apply his Watchmaking skills to subatomic particles, while most of the watchmakers are not.

  • You were wondering what was in the other folders on Veidt's Magic Floppy?
    Disclaimer: TV is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Veidt International Enterprises. All inquiries should be directed to Veidt Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. Revenue growth for the third quarter remain strong thanks to an increased popular interest in memes driven by the declining threat of global annihilation. Note to Self: TV Tropes may be a good subsidiary to finance my sequel plot, titled simply Boys.The Boys from Brazil? More study is needed. —Veidt
  • And an idea for new security software that DOESN'T tell you that the password you typed is correct, but incomplete? So that, you know, you can't type in one letter, trying each possible one untill you guess the first letter right, which will be listed as 'incomplete', then repeat the process for the second letter, then the 3rd, etc.
    • It is highly likely that was a deliberate ploy by Veidt to lure his friends Nite Owl and Rorschach to Antarctica and thus out of harm's way.
  • And I try not to think about Veidt's Magic Floppy much.
  • "Boys" could have been a music file. Maybe Adrian is a big fan of the Shirelles.

    What was the reasoning behind the big bad's secrecy-killings (spoiler) 
  • Veidt's methods for keeping his plan a secret seem all over the place. First, he kills his superloyal assistants, to make sure the plan stays secret. Then when two people who know part of his plan come to stop him, he doesn't bother killing them but instead tells them the rest, even though he could easily take them. Then Dr Manhattan shows up, and Veidth immediately tries to kill him, even though he's not sure it will work. And when it in fact doesn't work, he shows them that his plan worked, and they can't afford to kill him anyway without risking WWIII again. When one of the people announces he'll try to expose it anyway, Veidth declares he doesn't care. So WHY kill extremely loyal people, when you think even your enemies can't afford to betray you. Why try to kill a very powerfull being before trying to explain it to him, but ignoring a weaker man who announces he'll try to betray you anyway?
    • Well, I figure it's this: Veidt's confidence and self-love is pretty much a front. Personally he is filled with self-doubt and guilt about his plan. This explains his dreams - in which he expresses his greatest fear, that he is wrong about his actions. So when he's shouting 'YES!', he's also doing it to sooth his own self-recrimination. What Veidt most seeks is justification, for people he respects, who are not merely loyal yes men, who are indeed his enemies, to agree with him and tell him that 'yes, you did the right thing'. For that purpose, he 'invited' these people there. And made sure that they were not judging under duress. He tried to kill Dr Manhattan because Dr Manhattan had an immediate ability to undo anything he does, while he would let Rorschach leave because in some senses, he was his friend, and because he thinks he can control any damage Rorschach does.
    • He kills his assistants because they could have undone his work by warning the world it was coming. By the time he explains himself to Nite Owl and Rorshach, he's already accomplished his plan (thirty five minutes earlier). He baited them out of New York because he cares for them as friends, after all Nite Owl's first act after hearing the "mask killer" theory was to try to warn Ozymandias. He allows Rorshach to leave because, even assuming he survives the trip back to the flying craft and the flight back to civilization, he's a pre-discredited loony. As for Manhattan, Ozy needed to talk to him but Manhattan wouldn't listen initially, having just come from the disaster site with Spectre. So Ozy tried to kill him.
    • This troper always felt that Ozy wasn't trying to kill Doc Man, but just slow him down.

    Timeline Quandaries 
  • What did Laurie do while Jon was out conquering Vietnam? They met before Jon was drafted into the war, but no mention of what she was doing durring that time.
    • Jon probably only joined the war effort (as it were) after Nixon became president. Once Doctor Manhattan got involved, it was probably a really quick war.
      • It was. In the comic Manhattan says he's been in Vietnam for two months and the Viet Cong are expected to surrender within the week.
    • And bear in mind Osterman can be in more than one place at the same time. What did Laurie do while Jon was out conquering Vietnam? Probably Jon.
    • Laurie was herself still a superhero at this point (Manhattan's intervention in Vietnam was well before the Keane Act); she was probably busy kicking ass back home in New York.

     Real World Cold War versus Watchmen 
  • At the time this was written was this a more optimistic world ultimately than our own? It was written when Glasnost was just really getting going, but many still saw no way out. Was this Alan Moore's cynical way out? How much of this is just his own prejudice showing through? Especially with Nixon and USSR relations? Or instead of being a dystopian alterantive history as we'd now see it, is it a mixed bag alternative history where peace prevails and we've got clean technology.
    • Well, our world thankfully turned out to be more optimistic. Word of God has it that Watchmen was meant to be anti-Reagan, but he used Nixon because "you're not going to get much argument that Nixon was scum". It was satire on the way many powerful people at the time seemed to believe that America was indestructible and had nothing to fear from the USSR's nukes.
      • We're polluting the planet, causing climate change. We're wiping out rainforests and species for money. Big business controls the American government. We're overpopulating, now we're up to 7 billion people. Our news is all You Can Panic Now New Media Are Evil Moral Guardians. The RIAA can sue Limewire for 7 trillion and not instantly have their case thrown out. People can lose tens of thousands of dollars if a company decides to make them an example for pirating. Companies treat customers like criminals. The US is at what, four wars now? We're living in an optimistic world.
      • The pollution problem is overstated (we can fit all our trash for the next 1000 years in a landfill 35 miles long and there are more trees nowadays in the US than in when Colombus arrived time). Lobbyists from all different groups have always influenced the government. It's called politics. And be glad we're in a country where the government doesn't control your everyday lives (unlike where this troper comes from). We're no where near complete overpopulation, considering populations naturally collapse when they grow over peak size, and yet, the population is still rapidly increasing (and what do you plan to fix it? Kill a few billion people?). Ah, the wonders of modern technology, right? Overly sensational news are also typical for news media for centuries, and the fact that Old Media are losing many people shows that people aren't taking that crap anymore. Pirating is and has always been a crime, so you always run a risk when you do it. Deal with the consequences. And if you hate dealing with all that DRM crap, go play console games. They're just plug n' play. And there has always been wars, but even then, the wars the US were involved in are still far less bloody than the wars that were in the past. We lost about 5000 people in all these current wars combined. Meanwhile, 600,000 Americans died in the Civil War, 60 MILLION people died in World War 2, and over 50,000 Americans died in both Korea and Vietnam. The world is not Heaven, but it's still always getting better. There are still people out there who'd consider your life to be quite optimistic, indeed.
      • Interestingly, it's the Comedian who notes that if the US had lost in Vietnam, it would have driven the States a bit insane as a country. Draw from that what you will.
      • Heh, I remember reading that in the 1980s some joints in Vegas were taking bets as to when the USSR/US would nuke each other. All those problems mentioned in the above post (with possible exception of climate change) are surmountable if US citizens would actually take a stand, but legalizing pot and arguing over who is more American than the next guy (birthers...) takes priority. Nuclear annihilation was a very real fear in the Cold War, especially the 80s. I mean, come on, If that had happened, none of the aforementioned societal problems would even exist.
      • It must be noted (especially for those too young to remember the 80's) that at the time the comic book came out **very** few people saw World War III as something that might happen the very next day. Sure, it was a threat but sort of like the way we see global warming nowadays, serious but not in your face. This feeling got even more diluted the minute everyone noticed that the U.S.S.R. was softening its attitude starting with Gorbachov. The only time the general public (at least in the U.S.) really worried about nuclear war was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. So essentially Moore was hamming it up in the Watchmen's Cold War.
    Captain Metropolis's death 
  • I keep reading in some places e.g. The Other Wiki, that Captain Metropolis's car crash decapitation was actually suicide. I've read over the graphic novel several times but I can't seem to get this piece of info anywhere. Could anyone point to where it might be?
    • Actually, from what I've heard the leading theory isn't that it was a suicide, but a faked death.

    Superhero=Sexual deviant? 
  • It seems Moore & Gibbons are implying that superhero/vigilante types tend to be not quite right down there in the sex department, or at the very least, have very original bedroom habits. Consider if you will, out of a total of 13 heroes there are four implied homosexuals in both 30's and 60's lineups: Captain Metropolis, Hooded Justice, The Silhouette and Ozymandias (although only The Silhouette is outed beyond any doubt). Only the original Silk Spectre was known to marry, and she was in love with another guy that beat her up and tried to rape her. The Comedian can't carry a normal relationship without violence being involved: he tried to rape the mother of his child and KILLED the mother of his other child. In fact, it seems he can only love the people he beats up, considering Moloch the closest thing he has to a friend. Dr. Manhattan is so passive he couldn't care less if he didn't get any for the rest of eternity. Nite Owl has impotence problems. Rorschach doesn't seem to care either, but even if he did, he has MAJOR hygiene issues. Only Dollar Bill, the Mothman, the original Nite Owl and the second Silk Spectre seem to be sort of level headed in that aspect.
    • In fairness, homosexuality is not a form of sexual deviancy. The 30s and 60s were not nice times to be gay in America - perhaps their vigilantism was a way of dealing with their repressed sexuality?
    • Even if we believed that the gay characters were not deviants, the majority of the public back in the 80's (when the comic was released) still considered it so.

    Atomic Crisis? 
  • I know that in the book everyone believes that World War 3 and the Armageddon is inevitable, but all of the newspaper sources are distinctly biased, along with most characters. Would the USSR really commit to suicide in order to bomb out the USA? What about the other way around? It seems unlikely that either side would bring out the big guns, in realization of what pressing the button would do, especially one more war over East vs West government in another country.
    • I see someone missed the scenes where Nixon is in a planning meeting for a first strike on the USSR, considering losing the east coast acceptable losses.
    • One of the intermission pieces in the novel tries to explain the Soviet psychology in the Watchmen world, which basically boils down to: given they spilled more blood than the Allies did in World War Two, and they were subject to destruction on their own home soil, Dr. Manhattan's presence and powers compels a death-wish psychology in them given that since they cannot prevail, they will die trying. By default, if one side launches its' nukes, the other does as well. Also bear in mind how this is borne out in real events: literally the moment Dr. Manhattan leaves for Mars, Russia invades Afghanistan.
    • Bear in mind that it's not a universal "explanation" about "Soviet psychology", it's an assumption by an (American) author of the intermission. In the end he just sees the Soviet people (and, I presume, the leaders of the Union) as "those wacky commies" with some suicidal inhuman ideas. But, yes, the WW2 greatly influenced the mindset of Soviet people about the theoretical WW 3 - that is, they never wanted such a destructive world conflict to ever happen again (IRL Soviet people were very scared of an idea of a nuke apocalypse - to the point when "I wish there would be no more wars" was a usual wish for any person). In fact, we never actually SEE the perception of the crysis by Soviet people or by the government of USSR in the comic book.
      • This. The Soviet Union suffered far more than the USA in WWII (arguably, Russia in general has suffered far more than the USA - Napoleon, Khan, Japan, the Civil War etc), and their strategic reflected this - they even acknowledged that they had an advantage in both population and space in a nuclear war, and still didn't want one at all. They never had first strike plans, and during the Cuban emergency they didn't even raise their missile alert status. By contrast, Strategic Air Command went to DEFCON 2 and stayed there until mid-November.

    Create new thread / Unsorted 
If it doesn't fit one of the aforementioned folders, create your own.

  • I read somewhere that Ozymandias' parents were Nazis. Were they scientists who genetically engineered Veidt into the perfect human genius that he is, or am I reading too much into this?
    • Where did you hear this? There's nothing in either book or movie that implies anything of the sort.
  • Ok, the original heroes were cops, right? Well then, how were there female heroes? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think women were on the police force back then.
    • Not all of the original heroes were cops. In fact, the first Nite-Owl is the only one we know is identified as a police officer.
      • Oh, ok.
  • The Roche case. If Grice was a small-time guy with no gang connections or any other connections, how would breaking 15 guys' arms lead Rorschach to him? Maybe Grice was an idiot who went and bragged to his lowlife buddies, but "break some random guys' fingers and hope they know something" doesn't seem like a logical strategy. Rorschach is described as "tactically brilliant", he should have come up with something better than that.
    • Since the girl was kidnapped because Grice thought she was the daughter of a wealthy couple, he was obvious he would need some means of ransoming her. So Rorshach probably went to every lowlife he could think of that would know about that sort of stuff. Really, he had no other means of tracking her, so he decided to play the odds and see if he found anything.
  • About a minute into the film, when the body falls god knows many stories from an apartment building. My first thought was, why the heck was the smiley-face button totally unscathed after hitting the ground? The edge should have been puckered, the metal bent, at the very LEAST there should have been a dent in the side of it similar to what happens to the edge of a bar of soap when you drop it in the shower. What gives (or in this case, doesn't?)
    • Mass. A button like that has very little of it, and thus very little force behind it when it falls, or is thrown. It's simply not going to fall with the kind of force that's going to do any real damage to it. It'd have to be going at a ridiculous speed for it to be deformed, which isn't going to happen from just a fall because it's not at all aerodynamic.
    • It's like dropping a piece of paper - the shape, combined with the tiny mass, actually slows the descent. The button should have arrived after Blake, and it did.
  • Does anyone else think that in the movie, Rorschach decided too quickly to share his backstory with the psychiatrist?

    He starts out lying about the inkblots and probably thinking something like, "Got some secrets. Won't ever tell you," then a few minutes later he's like, "Okay, I suddenly feel like telling you all the details of my descents into insanity."
    • The difference is that in the book, the psychiatrist buys his lies about the inkblots, and it's only later on that he catches on and talks Rorschach into telling him the real story. In the movie, he recognizes that Rorschach's bullshitting him right away, so they skip right to the backstory. Call it a product of having to compress the storyline for a movie.
  • The Comedian taunts Hooded Justice- "Does this get you off?" Why does this make Hooded Justice so enraged? I've never read the comics, could someone expound on this?
    • In the novel, Hood was implied to be homosexual. At one point it was believed that he took in boys from the street and beat and raped them. He probably got pissed because Comedian was making fun of this rumor.
      • Beating up your sexual partner gets you off? Unfortunate Implications, anyone? More likely, it's tying in directly to a large theme in the graphic novel - that to get in a costume and go around beating people up, you have to have an extreme personality, that there's a very blurred line between the good guys and bad guys because the good guys actually like to beat the snot out of criminals. Moore was basically suggesting that the reason, in some cases, is because some "superheroes" are just plain sadists - they get sexual pleasure out of inflicting pain. No homosexuality required.
      • In defence of the troper above, there are actually some hints / subtext in the book / supporting material that Hooded Justice is in fact a homosexual sadist (there are also some implications that he's having a relationship with Captain Metropolis at one point). So yeah, Unfortunate Implications they may be, but in this case they apparently belong to Alan Moore himself rather than this troper specifically.

  • Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) and Hollis Mason (Nite Owl 1) are supposedly the only two "Watchmen" who have ever gone public with their identity. The Comedian's mask barely covers anything — he doesn't even wear it in Vietnam. Neither of the Silk Spectres actually wear masks. How is it that Veidt and Mason are the only ones whose identities are public? Rorschach has to do detective work just to figure out the Comedian's actual identity!
    • Well, in the novel, at least, the Silk Spectres were public figures, by virtue of the first trying to use her publicity as a masked hero to jump start an acting career that never took off.
    • From about the Second World War onward, the Comedian also spent most of his career as a government Black Ops operative doing all kinds of top secret stuff; he's not in the public eye as much, and no one really cares about his brief public career as a superhero fifty-odd years later.

  • Why is it spelled N-I-T-E Owl, not N-I-G-H-T Owl?
    • Because poor literacy is KEWL

  • Two things of the movie I've read here;
1) Were audiences that concerned about if Doc Manhattan was circumcised or not? Why?
  • Because people pick really, really stupid things to worry about.
2) No smoking for Laurie? If they have prolonged sex scenes in a film I don't think smoking is that big a deal
  • As I understand it, Laurie didn't smoke because the actress didn't want to smoke.

  • How does Rorschach make a living? He doesn't seem to have a job, so how can he afford the rent (which he's late with, but he's not evicted yet) and food?
    • He mooches from people like Dan, and steals from the crooks he kills.
      • In the book, he's in the garment industry for a while- that's how he gets the material for his mask- so he could be working as a tailor part time too.

  • When some criminals are trying to get to Rorschach in prison, he ties up one's hands on his side of the bars so he'll be in the way of others. In the comic, they cut his throat. How does that in any way help the situation? Shortly afterwards they manage to break through the bars, and the dead guy is still just slumped down there, so they didn't do anything further to his corpse to get it out of the way. This is one point where I actually felt the gratuitous violence in the film made sense as they saw through his arms.
    • Agreed.

I'm going to bed now. Night night.
  • ... is this troper the only one who read that as a comment from Veidt? Oh my.
    • Ha! I went to bed thirty five minutes ago!
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