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Characters / Watchmen

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This page contains folders for the characters of the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons only. Tropes applying to adaptations and follow-ups not created and/or not approved by Moore and/or Gibbons belong on the separate pages in the index below.

Other Watchmen works:

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

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Main Characters

    Dr. Manhattan (Jon Osterman)
"We're all puppets, Laurie. I'm just a puppet who can see the strings."

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

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

  • Achilles in His Tent: Finally leaves Earth after being accused of giving friends and associates cancer.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: His skin turned blue after the accident.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: On the one hand, his father's speech patterns. On the other, his apparent foreskin, which he may have reconstructed when he regenerated his body.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The story leaves it vague if John’s deterministic view of time is the correct one or if his lifelong difficulty with making his own decisions just leads him to assume he’s powerless to change things.
  • And I Must Scream: Jon’s body took a while to see itself back together, and the few times people catch sight of this it’s clear he was conscious and in absolute agony.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Has become this at the end of the story. While he believed that humanity was unimportant because life isn't important enough to give other planets a chance, he also believes that the sheer improbability of any relationship, especially one so horrid as Laurie's parents' (adoptive and biological), resulting in any one person makes that person's existence a miracle, since so many factors could have gone to either create no life at all, or a different life. Jon in fact becomes so anti-nihilist that he decides to create human life somewhere in the Andromeda galaxy just to study it.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Dr. Manhattan leaves the galaxy to create life somewhere else, effectively fitting the definition of God.
  • Badass Boast: After Veidt's attempt to kill him by disintegrating him fails, since figuring out how to reconstruct his physical body is the first thing he learned how to do after his Freak Lab Accident, he tells Veidt exactly how out of his league he is.
    Dr. Manhattan: I've walked across the sun. I've seen events so tiny and so fast they can hardly be said to have occurred at all. But are a man. And the world's smartest man means no more to me than does its smartest termite.
  • Badass Bookworm: Most of what he does with his powers, as well as what he did before he had them, was studying particle physics. It goes even further, it is implied that the reason he was able to return was both because of his knowledge of particle physics and the fact that as a child his father would make him dismantle and reassemble complex clocks. This meant he had both the knowledge and thought process to accomplish this. In other words, he brought himself back as a Physical God under his own ability.
  • Bald Mystic: When he gains his supernatural powers and abilities, John loses all of his hair. Overlaps with Bald Head of Toughness since those abilities give him Nigh-Invulnerability to the point of Complete Immortality and a Physical God.
  • Being God Is Hard: Fails to save a pregnant woman that the Comedian had impregnated then killed and gets so sick of dealing with humanity after being falsely accused of giving people cancer that he leaves Earth and heads to Mars.
  • Beware the Superman: The very existence and the enormous extent of his powers almost leads to a nuclear war. Although benevolent enough by himself, he is very weak-willed and kills uncounted Vietcong in the Vietnam War and a solid number of American criminals (petty and otherwise) only because somebody told him to. Throughout all of this, he becomes progressively detached from humanity, at one point watching a pregnant woman being killed without even trying to interfere.
  • Blessed with Suck: Manhattan's power. The accident erased him from existence, but he came back with godlike powers. Then again, he's gradually detaching from the rest of humanity...
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Even after rediscovering the value of life, he sees life in terms of predictable/unpredictable, instead of good/evil.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Inverted. He grew up in Brooklyn but he's completely detached and unemotional.
  • Came Back Strong: Although it's not solely his death that is the catalyst of his powers, but the way he died. That is being disintegrated at the sub-atomic level but remaining conscious and disembodied for months before figuring out how to make a new body.
  • Chekhov's Skill: A very rare case that doesn't manifest in the story itself, but in the backstory: Jon could only come back to life after the accident with the intrinsic field because he had learned to be a watchmaker during his adolescence, thus gaining the skill to reassemble himself from scratch.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: With the flaws emerging from being increasingly detached from mankind.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Due to his intellect and power, Jon becomes very distant from everyone. For instance, he treats "What's up, Doc?" as if it's a logical question.
    Jon: "Up" is a relative concept. It has no intrinsic value.
  • Complete Immortality: There's only one known way of destroying Dr. Manhattan's body, and that's by disintegrating him through the same method that gave him his power. That doesn't even matter, because Dr. Manhattan's mind and powers exist outside of his physical body, and no has even guessed what could possibly destroy or debilitate those. He doesn't need his body, and can easily make a new one if it’s destroyed (much faster than he made his first). As he points out, it is inane to try and kill him using the first trick he ever figured out (reassembling his body from being atomized).
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Since he's an all-powerful being who can see through time, teleport people anywhere and destroy entire areas of the planet with a thought in a world of unpowered humans and vigilantes, it's fair to say Jon doesn't have to worry about losing fights. One notable scene of his origin has him going up against gangsters armed with guns. It doesn't end well for the men. Even Ozymandias is no match for him, with Jon claiming "the world's smartest human poses no more threat to me than it's smartest termite".
    • He singlehandedly and utterly annihilates the Vietcong army. It's so pathetically one-sided he not only wins the war but the vanquished worship him like a god.
  • Cursed with Awesome: He's an all-powerful, omnipotent and omniscient being who can do almost anything...and he absolutely hates it as it has killed almost any traces of his humanity.
  • Death-Activated Superpower: Dr. Manhattan is created after his human self is blown apart atom by atom.
  • Death by Origin Story: Physicist Jon Osterman is atomized in a nuclear experiment, but returns as "Dr. Manhattan", an immortal indestructible ascended godlike entity. Dr. Manhattan was an Expy of Captain Atom, so it is not surprising that Cap's origin was the same in both the original Charlton version and post-Crisis DC version: his body atomized by a nuclear bomb, he returns with superpowers.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: The Physical God, with a bit of Messianic Archetype thrown in for good measure. While superhero stories have taken ample inspiration from mythology and religion since the genre began (with Superman, in particular, being famous for his Christlike qualities), Doctor Manhattan takes that subtext to its logical conclusion by showing what it might look like if a superhero effectively was God. The story fully explores the complications of that fact, demonstrating how difficult it would be for a man to relate to other humans after being blessed with divine powers, as well as how profoundly his very existence would affect the world.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Laurie even called him that when he appeared at Daniel's apartment.
  • The Disembodied: A Magical Particle Accelerator tore apart Jon's body, but his mind continued to exist. Apparently thanks to knowledge of nuclear physics and mechanical design, his mind found itself still able to affect the physical universe, even remaking his body. This was and remains his true existence, as his still-disembodied mind does not rely on his physical body to live—his body isn't just replaceable, it seems to just be a convenience.
  • Disposable Superhero Maker: Dr. Manhattan's accident.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Another deconstruction. He could have easily solved the main conflict of the story if he had cared enough to, which in the end, he didn't. Rorschach calls him out on this towards the end when he and Nite Owl show up too late to stop Adrian.
  • The Dreaded: So ridiculously powerful, even American citizens who know he's on their side fear him. His mere existence is enough to cow the Soviet Union and other imperialistic regimes into non-aggression, and the Vietcong army's sheer terror and respect ends the Vietnam War.
  • Expy: Of Captain Atom.
  • Extreme Doormat: He only became a nuclear physicist because his father ordered him to. Even after he became the most powerful man in the world, he still remained a doormat, following the orders of the government. This contributes to his increasing detachment, as he's not motivated by belief in justice or Patriotic Fervor.
  • The Fatalist: To an extreme degree. His ability to see the past, present and future has made him believe that free will is an illusion and everyone, even him, is completely at the mercy of the universe's whims and there's nothing they can do about it, to the point that he now regards life and death themselves with little more than intellectual curiosity.
  • Fighting a Shadow: He exists in a state beyond physical form, such that completely vaporizing his body is about as trivial as stubbing a toe.
  • Freak Lab Accident: How he got his powers.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: An unusual case. He starts out in a black bodysuit. As he grows increasingly inhuman, he wears less and less — he's in a thong by the Vietnam War. The nudity symbolizes his detachment from the human race, as well as emphasizing his utter invulnerability: nothing can hurt him, so why bother covering up? The only times he bothers to get dressed are at the request of others.
  • A God I Am Not: Despite being nearly omnipotent, he states that he doesn't think there is a God, "and if there is, I'm not Him".
  • Heroic Build: When you're rebuilding your body ex nihilo, you might as well treat yourself to some abs.
  • Humanoid Abomination: He shows signs of becoming this throughout the story due to his growing detachment from, well, everything. He ultimately embraces humanity, sort of, but not his own. At best you could say he recognizes the value of humanity. What he actually does is to go off to a galaxy far, far away to play God. According to Nite Owl:
    Nite Owl: "The first time you see him, your brain wants to scream, blow a fuse, and shut down immediately, refusing to accept that he's there. This lasts for a couple of minutes, at which time he's still there and hasn't gone away, and in the end you just accept him because he's there and talking to you and it almost seems normal.

  • Human Weapon: Treated as the ultimate nuclear deterrent and anti-nuclear weapon by the US government. He decides to go play God in another galaxy before things go that far.
  • Hunk: Jon gave himself quite the muscled body. That and his godlike power make him attractive to many women in universe. Apart from Janey and then Laurie, one of the minor characters mentions that his wife also finds Dr. Manhattan hot.
  • Immortal Genius: Blessed with Complete Immortality, being not only effectively unaging but invincible. He's also a brilliant scientist and, thanks to his ability to perceive and interact with sub-atomic particles, is directly responsible for the technological uplift that the world has undergone. Indeed, it's implied that the only reason why he was able to reassemble his disintegrated body and become Dr Manhattan in the first place was because of his unique knowledge of both particle physics and watchmaking.
  • Innocently Insensitive: As he strays away from humanity through the years his tact begins to suffer. When Hollis Mason happily looks forward to spending his retirement repairing cars, Dr. Manhattan more or less informs him that electric cars will shortly make such work obsolete, seemingly unaware of what a bomb he'd just dropped on Hollis (then again, his lack of interest in bombs dropping is a plot-point).
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: The way Dr. Manhattan sees it, all life on Earth could end, "and the universe would not even notice."
  • Invincible Hero: Jon is completely indestructible and there doesn't seem to exist any weapon that can put him down permanently with Veidt only able to inconvenience him for a few moments at best.
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers: Despite Doctor Manhattan being a near-omnipotent man, he fails to be a satisfying lover to Laurie. This is due to his omnipotence leaving him too apathetic and dispassionate to connect with her on an emotional level, leaving their sex feeling mechanical and lifeless. In their last attempt at intimacy, he uses his powers to duplicate himself while in bed with her, thinking she'd enjoy the idea of a Twin Threesome Fantasy, but this just ends up creeping her out and she runs out of the bedroom... only to find that he had more duplicates working on an experiment the whole time while they were supposed to be having an intimate moment. This incident causes her to break up with him. In contrast, her next lover Danny has problems with impotency, but because he and Laurie still manage to emotionally connect as human beings, they do eventually end up having mutually fulfilling sex.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Jon Osterman: Osterman means "man from the east" or more literally "man from the rising sun." Jonathan means "God has given," and is a name given to the Bible's example of The Ace.
    • "Oster" can also be translated from German as "Easter", effectively making his surname "Easter Man". An appropriate name for a Jewish man with both human and divine traits who miraculously rises from the dead after his apparent death (Easter being the day that Jesus rose from the dead).
    • His superhero moniker, Dr. Manhattan, is meant to invoke this, meant to strike the same terror into the Soviets that the Manhattan Project struck into the Japanese. It's also meaningful in another sense, given that, like the Manhattan Project, Jon has ushered in a new age and brought the human condition into serious question.
  • Messianic Archetype: Deconstructed. He has multiple striking parallels with Jesus: he's a Jewish-born man who miraculously rose from the dead after his apparent death, he has the power to perform miracles, he's treated as a god in human form, he's the son of a watchmaker ("The Watchmaker" being a popular epithet for God in Deism), his arrival heralds the beginning of a bold new era in human history, and his story ends with him leaving Earth and ascending to the heavens. But his powers are also exploited by the military, he eventually becomes detached from humanity, he openly dislikes being worshipped, and he ultimately concludes that Earth is better off without his influence.
  • Monster Modesty: He becomes increasingly immodest as he gets further from his humanity.
  • Mr. Fanservice: His new body is quite impressive and he spends almost all his time naked or in nothing but underwear to show it off.
  • Mundane Utility: For all his amazing power, one of the main things that makes him able to change society is not his status as a walking nuke, but rather his comparatively less cool ability to synthesize normally rare elements. He can use this to make lithium and helium for free, allowing them to see use in electric cars and airships where they would normally be prohibitively expensive.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: He was created by a lab accident that was "unplanned, and just as certainly unrepeatable", meaning that they can't just make more superpowered beings like Doctor Manhattan. Adrian found that one of his powers, teleportation, could be reproduced, but without Jon's mind controlling the process, anything living died of shock upon transfer, or materialized in an occupied space and exploded. Fortunately for Veidt this was not a problem, since he didn't need his monster to survive the transfer, and he intended it to do as much damage as possible. It's heavily implied that Jon's background as a watchmaker is the key element to the process, with Jon gradually rebuilding his body with the same certainty he did his father's pocketwatch. This is seemingly discounted by everyone, including Veidt and the Russian attempts to duplicate the accident off-camera.
  • Non-Linear Character: Past, present, and future is going on at the same time and so he cannot do anything. This leads him to be positively giddy when he discovers that Veidt has blocked off his ability to perceive the future, as experiencing uncertainty for the first time in several decades also allows him to actually feel excitement again.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • After the accident, he only shows genuine emotion during his interview and later when Adrian attempts to destroy him. According to Veidt however, he might as well have been crying the whole time he was just not able to show his distress or communicate it properly.
      Doctor Manhattan: Please if everyone would just go away and leave me alone... I SAID! LEAVE ME ALONE!
    • He also gets downright giddy at realizing Veidt has blocked his ability to see the future, as he realizes how much he actually missed the excitement that comes with uncertainty.
    • Despite placidly going along with everything he's told, he gets annoyed when shown the stylized 'atomic' logo chosen for him. As a nuclear physicist he finds it meaningless, and replaces it with the hydrogen atom.
  • The Omniscient: In the first part of the story, while he's still a side character. Although while he can see the future, past and present simultaneously, his knowledge of events is limited solely to the point of view of himself at that point in his personal timeline. For instance, he reveals that he knew that Laurie was sleeping with Dan, not because he saw it happening, but because she told him about a minute into the future.
  • One-Man Army: He's one of the key reasons America wins The Vietnam War.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Professor Milton Glass' book excerpt discusses how Dr. Manhattan, with his godlike control over all matter, has tipped the balance of power between the United States and the Soviet Union by his mere existence. In the event of World War III, he could theoretically destroy large areas of Soviet territory instantaneously, and intercept at least 60% of the missiles launched at the U.S. before they reached their targets. In other words, he is a walking nuclear deterrent. Only two months after he arrived in Vietnam, he had single-handedly turned the tide of the war, to the point where the North Vietnamese were expected to surrender within the week. The moment he is gone the Soviets invade the Middle-East.
  • Physical God: Though Dr. Manhattan disputes the trope, it's explicitly stated by Milton Glass. Contrary to popular belief, Prof. Glass didn't coin the phrase, "The superman exists, and he's American." What he actually said before the news changed it was, "God exists, and he's American."
  • Posthuman Nudism: Initially Naked on Revival, Manhattan dressed in a black leotard-like costume when in public; as the years went by and he grew more detached from the human condition, he downgraded to a pair of skintight shorts, then a speedo. By the start of the story, he spends his days completely naked, and only bothers with clothing in the event that he needs to make a rare appearance on TV.
  • Power Glows: Usually emits a bright blue luminescence. Though once a television producer complains he's too bright, he turns it off temporarily.
  • Powerful and Helpless: Jon laments that despite all his vast power, he is just a puppet of a deterministic universe who can see the strings and cannot alter the future even if it ends in the destruction of humanity.
  • Prescience Is Predictable: Dr. Manhattan describes himself as "a puppet who can see the strings." Since he views all time simultaneously, he can't change the future because, to him, it's already happening. This causes him to stop caring about what happens and just go with the flow. When a tachyon storm disrupts his ability to tell the future, he becomes excited, saying he had forgotten the joy of uncertainty.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman: At the same time as his transformation to The Anti-Nihilist, as he comes to champion humanity and eventually create life in another part of the cosmos.
  • Radiation-Immune Mutants: Which is great for him, but not for his loved ones who got cancer from him leaking it. That was all a lie by Veidt.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted. His presence and abilities have definitely solved many of the world's problems. (Not as many as he could solve, though.) Lampshaded by Nite Owl I. He states that he plans to run a car repair shop after he puts up the cape, saying that even Dr. Manhattan can't change cars. Manhattan then explains how he can do exactly that.
  • Self-Made Man: Both in the sense that he came from working-class roots to become a nuclear physicist, and in the most literal sense possible when he reconstructed himself at the quantum level.
  • Shameless Fanservice Guy: His preference is being completely nude, and he'll only wear clothes when he needs to. After his accident, he was actually given a costume which he reluctantly wore. But as he slowly detached himself from humanity, he chose to not be associated with anything in relation to humankind, and clothes were one of the first things to go.
  • The Spock: Once he becomes too insensitive. Even referred to as "goddamn Mr. Spock there" by a minor character at a cocktail party.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Ironically, it doesn't do much. Even when Dr. Manhattan is vaporized and comes back.
  • Straw Nihilist: Dr. Manhattan initially fits this trope. His nonlinear view of time convinces him that his own actions are predestined and he is powerless to change the course of events. His godlike perception of reality leaves him unable to see the lives of individual humans as significant. As a result, despite being the most powerful man on the planet he just does whatever the government orders him to, because life is so devoid of meaning he can't see why it matters. Later he gets better, and comes to value each human life as unique and precious because of its unlikelihood.
  • Superman Substitute: His actual powerset is completely different, but he's the most powerful being in the setting and had his own Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen equivalents...until he grew so detached from humanity that he drove them away. Much like Superman is the "core" of the DC universe, Manhattan's existence irrevocably alters all of society.
  • Superpower Lottery: It's not even fair—nobody else in the series has any powers at all, and he's a Physical God!
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: Inverted when it comes to the clothing aspect. Doctor Manhattan's nudity represents the fact that he's far beyond anything mortal, but also that he's mentally, emotionally, and socially disconnected from humanity and morality, unbothered by the idea of wearing clothes outside of public appearances.
  • That Man Is Dead: Manhattan's above quote applies to Jon.
  • Time Dissonance: He experiences time in a non-linear sense. It can make it difficult to have a conversation with him as he simultaneously hears what you're saying, what you've said, and what you're going to say. This gives him an extreme sense of fatalism.
  • Tin Man: Doesn't seem to have any emotions at all, anymore. He does.
  • Token Super: The Trope Codifier. Dr. Manhattan wins big on the Superpower Lottery and ending up as the only hero in the Watchmen continuity to have powers, which are god-like. The rest of the Watchmen are all Non Powered Costumed Heros.
  • Transmutation: He can rearrange matter on the subatomic level, meaning he can effectively turn anything into anything else at a minimum. His control of this power is such that he can be in multiple places at once, teleport, and make people explode.
  • The Unfettered: It helps his powers manage to keep him without many hurdles to do what he wants.
  • Walking Wasteland: Dr. Manhattan's presence is said to give people cancer. Subverted, as it's actually Veidt deliberately inducing cancer in Manhattan's past acquaintances.
  • Walk on Water: Near the end of the graphic novel, as he notes his interest in creating life, he's standing on water. The implication is obvious. In the movie, the walking on water scene is visible in a commercial but lacks the symbolism.
  • You Cannot Change The Future: Dr. Manhattan exists in a multidimensional quantum solid state, and quickly tires of listening to his friends talk about what "could have happened" or what "should happen", since he already sees his time-stream. For him, the only difference between past and future is directional causality. The effects of causality on Dr. Manhattan himself are slightly contradictory, as future events can affect him backwards by causing him to report them, but not in any other way; he's unable to use the knowledge to interfere, and sees himself as bound by one-directional causality much like normal people. Especially pointed out when Laurie tries to confess that she slept with Dan, only for Dr. Manhattan to premptively reveal she is going to in a few minutes, leading to them discussing his future sight and state of puppetry. When concluding the discussion by apologizing for sleeping with Dan at the exact time Dr. Manhattan said she would confess it to him, he becomes upset as if being told this for the first time.
    Dr. Manhattan: Miracles by definition are meaningless. Only what can happen does happen.
    Dr. Manhattan: (repeating himself twice) Excuse me, Rorschach. I'm informing Laurie 90 seconds ago.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Gradually came to such a belief due to his immense powers. Despite being a Physical God, he felt himself powerless before the forces governing the universe. Even though he could see key events before they occurred and could easily have shaped history to his liking, he felt anything he did would be so insignificant in the long run that taking action was pointless. His ability to see the future being disrupted is one of the reasons he stops being passive.

    Nite Owl II (Dan Dreiberg)
"It's all crap. Who needs all this hardware to catch hookers and purse-snatchers?"

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

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

  • Acrofatic: He's noticeably gained weight since his retirement but is still surprisingly quick and agile, able to easily keep up with and beat up the muggers and perform impressive martial arts moves.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: His name and background seem to suggest that he's Jewish.Alan Moore apparently intended for him to be a Dutch-German Calvinist, but his religion is never touched upon in the series.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Animal Alias variety. Though in contrast to his inspiration Hollis Mason, he bears more of a physical resemblance to an owl in both costume and facial structure, and he has a keen interest in ornithology to go along with it.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Deconstructed to some degree since Dan describes his crimefighting career as "Some schoolkid's fantasy that got out of hand".
  • Awesome, but Impractical: He notes in retrospect that his career as Nite Owl was basically this. He was an undeniably effective crimefighter and his equipment is a major scientific accomplishment in its own right, but you don't need a sci-fi airship or lasers to fight purse-snatchers.
  • Badass Bookworm: Although he isn't as tough or smart as Ozymandias, he's still a caped crimefighter with enough technical wizardry to build his own crimefighting weapons. He doesn't look threatening, and is effectively a comic book geek living out a childhood fantasy.
  • Badass Normal: He has no powers, but his brains and gadgets make him a good crimefighter.
  • Badass on Paper: Really, if Dan didn't live in the Watchmen universe, he'd fit right in among the Badass Normal characters of DC or Marvel. He's an incredibly skilled martial artist (good enough to take out entire gangs even while out of practice) who invented a physics-defying airship and a ton of crazy gadgets. But in a world where the only thing to use this stuff on is gangs and drug-pushers, he's just some rich fool playing hero because it's the only way he can get it up.
  • Bash Brothers: With Rorschach. He's considerably less unhinged than Rorschach, but he still fondly remembers the times they spent crushing thugs together.
  • Batman Parody: If the first Nite Owl, Hollis T. Mason, was a parody of The Phantom, Dan Dreiberg was created to be a parody of Batman, being themed after a nocturnal animal, using money to fund his crimefighting, having a utility belt, and generally being Crazy-Prepared.
  • Battle Couple: With Laurie.
  • Beautiful All Along: Dan's fashion sense does not flatter him at all, with his dumpy clothes and thick-framed glasses emphasizing his beak-like nose and creased face. However, when the glasses come off, Dan reveals that he's actually very handsome (remarkably similar to his actor in the movie, Patrick Wilson), enough to pleasantly shock Laurie.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Timid and kind but as he pointed out to a bearer of bad news, Archie has the firepower to kill any gang in New York. Upon finding out that Hollis Mason, his old hero, mentor, and the original Nite Owl was murdered in his home by hoodlums, mild mannered Dan Dreiberg utterly flips the fuck out and shouts that he's going to kill whoever is responsible. Rorschach has to hold him back.
  • Big Beautiful Man: Once he stopped crimefighting, Dreiberg presumably stopped getting his usual exercise (read: thrashing bad guys) and put on some weight. Under that, though, he's still quite strong, and he has a pretty handsome face to go with it.
  • Boring, but Practical: His approach to crimefighting seems like this next to Rorschach. It doesn't seem very dramatic, but it's far more effective. Rorschach wants to pursue his Entertainingly Wrong assumption about a mask killer by beating up more suspects, while Dan takes the time to question that very assumption, leading them to the trail of the real culprit behind the Comedian's murder: Adrian Veidt.
  • Butter Face: Inverted. Dan is a bit overweight and doesn't have good fashion sense but he's quite handsome, at least when adopts a more flattering hairstyle and choice of glasses.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: Needs his costume to overcome his shortcomings.
  • Cool Airship: Archie.
  • Cool Car: The Owlcar.
  • Covert Pervert: His first attempt at lovemaking with Laurie fails because The Loins Sleep Tonight, but he manages to perform when they try it in their hero costumes later.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When Laurie frets that the cops have figured out Dan is Nite Owl, he nonchalantly mentions that he had set up back-up identities years ago, just in case. He also made one for her. Dan is like the poster boy for the The Silver Age of Comic Books. The amount of equipment he had built for himself is just plain silly. His ship, built for fighting urban crime, has a fog generator, a water cannon, flame thrower and air to freaking air missiles. He also had a different Nite Owl suit for every environ you could possibly imagine. He even has a Snow-Owl suit for crime fighting in extreme cold. Why would you need one of those?
  • Crimefighting with Cash: A deconstruction of this trope, at one point openly admitting how spending millions on dollars on crimebusting equipment to fight purse-snatchers and prostitutes isn't exactly the most economically sound thing to do.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: His and Laurie's fight against the muggers. Even years out of practice and having let himself go, he's still able to easily demolish them in a fight.
  • Dating Catwoman: Implied to have had this going on with the Twilight Lady.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: To Laurie.
  • The Everyman: Means well but is out of depth with the realities of being a hero.
  • Expy: Of Ted Kord/Blue Beetle.
  • Fetish: Seemingly can't maintain an erection unless he and his partner are in costume. While it's partly due to the power and adrenaline that come from thinking of himself as an indomitable superhero, Dan also admits that the spandex itself plays a role. This gives a slightly humorous bent to his status as an Ascended Fanboy of costumed heroes.
  • Formerly Fit: While he isn't extremely overweight, he had the traditional sculpted hero physique as a young man but his years in retirement have caused him to let himself go and sport a fairly notable gut. Subverted in that it hasn't slowed him down very much, if at all and, unlike most examples like Captain Metropolis before him, he's still quite handsome and looks good in the suit.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Has an insane amount of gadgets devoted to fighting crime in his basement. Also, while we repeatedly see Airships are commonly used in 1985 as a viable form of transport due to Dr Manhattan being able to synthesise Helium; the fact that Archimedes on the other hand is able to hover with no visible jets seems to suggest that Dan invented some form of anti-gravity technology. That he has Archie in the first (and only) Crimebusters meeting, means that he had cracked this technology as early as 1965!
    • Not just Archie, during that timeframe Dan had created a working exoskeleton, a tiny handheld laser gun, and night vision goggles that at least were as good as the stuff we have available nowadays.
  • Geek Physiques: He's rather chubby, and very geeky.
  • Genius Bruiser: He's a brilliant engineer and scientist and a skilled detective, even more so than Rorschach, as well as an extremely effective combatant.
  • Goggles Do Something: They have infra-red vision.
  • Heroic Build: Let himself go after retiring. Since his return to superheroism, he may work to get it back.
  • I Call It "Vera": He calls his airship "Archie", short for Archimedes.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: After retirement he tries to convince himself that he's normal, until he gets back into action.
  • In Harm's Way: He probably could have gone on without it, but it's clear he missed his old hero days and was eager to go back.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: He becomes good friends with his predecessor Hollis Mason and the two meet up once a week to have drinks
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Gets turned on after committing heroics.
  • The Lancer: The role he ends up playing to either Rorschach, Comedian, or Silk Spectre whenever he's paired up with them. When they're all together, he settles into being The Leader.
  • Legacy Character: He even wrote a letter to his predecessor for permission to use the Nite Owl name.
  • Manchild: Downplayed, but Dan does have a certain child-like wonder when it comes to be a superhero, considering his status. He also likes to wax nostalgic with his old mentor, as if he's a kid reminiscing with his dad about nicer times.
  • Nerd Glasses: In his secret identity.
  • Nice Guy: What else can be said about a man who can make friends with Rorschach?
  • Night-Vision Goggles: He's incorporating an owl, after all.
  • Odd Friendship: With Rorschach. No-one else seems to even like being in the same room as Rorschach.
  • Only Friend: He's also the only person who Rorschach calls a friend and is willing to actually apologize to. Dreiberg himself admits how hard it is to deal with him, a fact Rorschach also admits to.
  • Passing the Torch: The first Nite Owl handed off the hero-ship to him.
  • Powered Armor: Tried to make a set at one point, but the prototype broke his arm in three places and he gave up. (It's one of the only things he leaves behind when fleeing the police. Wonder if someone tried it out?)
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue Oni to Rorschach (Red Oni) though it's briefly flipped when rioters kill Nite Owl I, he then proceeded to give a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown so bad that Rorschach has to hold him back.
  • Second Love: Becomes Laurie's lover after she leaves her first love, Dr. Manhattan.
  • Secret Identity: As Dan Dreiberg, he pretends to be a harmless intellectual. As Nite Owl, he's a gadgeteer superhero. After he retires, it's not so much an act...
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Rorschach's Manly Man.
  • Stout Strength: He's noticeably gained weight in retirement but is still very strong, able to easily beat most opponents he comes across.
  • Stylish Protection Gear: The Snow-Owl suit.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: As an analogue of Batman, a natural.
  • Super Zeroes: Zigzagged. On the surface, he seems a straight example, a once impressive hero who's since become an paunchy nerd it's hard to imagine was ever a capable vigilante. However, he's still extremely capable, utterly demolishing a group of much younger thugs even after years of being out of practice. He eventually borders on an outright subversion as he picks up vigilantism again with no issue and while he fails to stop Ozymandias' plan, it's simply due to Adrian's skill and resources rather than Dan's competence.
  • Superior Successor: The original Nite Owl freely admits it. Daniel himself is less certain.
  • Technical Pacifist: He was the least bloodthirsty of the group.
  • Token Good Teammate: Alan Moore says that of all the Watchmen, he is the most like a classic superhero.
  • Tragic Bromance: With Rorschach, and the movie even allows Dan to punch Veidt in revenge once he dies.
  • Unkempt Beauty: He's paunchy, awkward and clearly doesn't put much effort in his looks, and yet still manages to have an undeniably handsome face.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Hollis Mason (a kindly old man and Nite Owl I) is murdered in his home for the 'crime' of being tangentially associated with superheroes, Dan freaks out. We'll say it again, he unnerves Rorschach with his fury.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Dan's plan to bust Rorschach out of jail gets Hollis Mason killed.
  • When He Smiles: Dan almost always has a worried expression. When he occasionally relaxes and smiles, he's remarkably handsome.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: He is a wealthy Gadgeteer Genius, and thus makes his own wonderful toys. He also made Rorschach's grappling gun, explaining how the vagabond had such a good gadget.

    Silk Spectre II (Laurie Juspeczyk)
"I don't know anybody! I don't know anyone except goddamned superheroes!"

"I'm used to going out at 3 in the morning and doing something stupid."
Stage-mothered almost from birth into continuing her mother's legacy, Laurie has become very bitter and disillusioned since the Keene Act and starts out in the story as Dr Manhattan's girlfriend.
  • Action Girl: More than a match for any man except Veidt.
  • Anti-Hero: She's only in the hero gig because her mother pushed her into it, making her a Classical Anti-Hero.
  • Battle Couple: With Dan.
  • Big "NO!": When she realizes that the Comedian is her father.
  • Combat Stilettos: She wears heels as part of her costume.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: Of both Dinah Laurel Lance/the second Black Canary and the Phantom Lady.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially with her mother.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: While her father smokes a cigar, she goes for an unusual-looking Zeerust device, resembling a long metal tube with a circular cavity that holds balls of tobacco.
  • The Heart: Of the main characters Laurie is by far the most selfish and the one the least concerned with ideals, but the moment she sees the aftermath of Adrian's plan she's completely horrified, to the point of trying to kill Adrian on sight.
    • She immediately (along with Nite Owl) leaps back into costume to rescue people from a tenement fire, despite the fact that she could be arrested on sight for unsanctioned superheroing.
  • Hime Cut: Along with a headband in the comic.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Initially; she doesn't actually enjoy being a costumed vigilante and chafes at being kept by the government as Dr. Manhattan's leash. When she comes out of retirement with Dan, though, she remembers what a thrill heroics gave her.
  • Legacy Character: The "original" Silk Spectre retired early in this world's history and started training and stage-mothering her daughter to succeed her. After discovering The Comedian is her real father she seems eager to become a Legacy Character for him instead. She's last seen discussing new elements she wants to adopt into her superhero persona; a mask, a more protective leather outfit, and a gun.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: She's aware that her mother's husband (Laurence Schexnayder) is not her birth father, but doesn't find his the actual identity until later, largely because she grows up assuming Hooded Justice was her dad. It's the Comedian, Eddie Blake. Her conversation with Jon on Mars makes her realize that all the evidence was there the whole time, she just didn't want to see it.
  • Morality Pet:
    • For Dr. Manhattan. Likely a Morality Chain as well, as he says she's his only connection to humanity.
    • For The Comedian as well. She's the only woman in the story that attacks him — in Laurie's case, spilling her drink on him at a party while intoxicated — that he doesn't maim or hurt. It's because he's her father, and for all his wicked deeds, Blake never wants to hurt her.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Though she (and Rorschach) hated her costume.
  • Mysterious Parent: At first, she thought that her real father was the first costumed vigilante, Hooded Justice. Then it turns out to be Edward Blake, the Comedian.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Laurie inherited her mother's identity, and spends the graphic novel dependent on her love interests, only deciding towards the end to take up crime-fighting again.
  • Nom de Mom: Granted, she never knew her father, so going by Sally Jupiter's pre-Americanization surname is a given. Her birth father, Edward Blake, offhandedly notes (in a flashback) that Laurie didn't take her "father's" last name, apparently alluding to Laurence Schexnayder, Sally Jupiter's ex-husband, but actually making a surreptitious reference to himself.
  • Oblivious to Love: To Dan at first.
  • Only Sane Woman: The most level-headed of the "Watchmen", given she's not as depressed as Dan.
  • Passing the Torch: More like having the torch shoved into her hand against her will, gratefully throwing it away, and then deciding it wasn't so bad after all.
  • Pretty Freeloader: Until the events of the novel, she's spent most of adult life on the government payroll as Doctor Manhattan's girlfriend. A spook even points out that, after Doctor Manhattan exiles himself, she's out of a job. She takes up with Dan instead, who's rich and wants company. She's been raised from birth to be a superhero and has no other skills.
  • Satellite Love Interest: She was employed by the US government essentially to be one of these for Dr. Manhattan after she quit her old job in the Superhero business. Deconstructed in that she actually does have a personality, and it winds up conflicting to some extent with her mission of keeping Manhattan focused/sane/human, because the fact that he's too much the first of those and not enough the third upsets her, which in turn upsets him.
  • Shared Family Quirks: A reread shows just how much Laurie matches her father. She's quick-witted, smokes like a chimney (she even made the same mistake of thinking that Archie's flamethrower was a lighter), and has a fairly snarky nihilistic view on life, much like the Comedian himself. An even less subtle example is near the end where she decides she wants to dress in leather and carry around a gun, just like her old man did.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She eventually realizes that Jon really loves her. Although his detachment from humanity caused him to be used as a walking murder weapon during the Vietnam war, she's attracted to his omniscience, his virility and his power over her. She also realizes that, as a god, he's unable to care for her the way a normal guy could. So she ends up with the nerdy, mild-mannered, fat, initially impotent Dan Dreiberg, and they live happily ever after.
  • The Smurfette Principle: She was the only female "Crimebuster." But being Watchmen, this is a Deconstructed Trope. Most Token Female characters in The Silver Age of Comic Books were presented as the most emotional and/or empathic, and usually as the less physically powerful of their respective teams. Laurie is definitively the most emotionally-driven of the main characters, being almost exclusively motivated by her relationships (with Jon, with her mother, with Dan and with her real father). The empathy part is quite arguable as Laurie acts with indifference at best and great skepticism to the value of the superheroes or the ideals other characters fight for. And as for the "less physically powerful", she ironically is the one that comes the closest to defeating the arguable Big Bad Veidt by engaging Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? on sight.
  • Stripperific: Her superhero outfit. She doesn't like it (and neither does Rorschach).
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The Comedian notes that Laurie looks just like Sally except for the brown hair... something she inherited from him.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: What Laurie decides to be in the end.
  • Superior Successor: Her mother had her train practically her whole life to be this.
  • Teleportation Sickness: Doctor Manhattan teleporting her about always makes her ill.
  • Token Good Teammate: Shares this role with Dan as the two best-adjusted superheroes.
  • Tyke-Bomb: Trained from a young age for the sole purpose of being a superheroine.
  • Women Are Wiser: To the rest of the team, especially Doctor Manhattan.

    Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt)
"I don't mind being the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one."

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

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

  • Actually a Good Idea: At one point, the Comedian disrupts the first Crimebusters meeting by pointing out how the inevitability of nuclear war would render the Crimebusters' efforts of fighting petty criminals unimportant in the long run. Ozymandias quietly agrees with the Comedian and decides to end the Cold War by killing half of New York with a psychic "alien". However, it's subverted by the fact that only Ozymandias thinks his plan is a good one as most of the other protagonists find his plan to be morally questionable and Dr. Manhattan implies that Ozymandias's solution is only temporary.
  • Affably Evil: In addition to being a Well-Intentioned Extremist, he's also gentlemanly, witty, and calm, even in hand-to-hand combat. He treats his underlings kindly (right until he drugs them and leaves them to die of exposure to prevent his secrets from getting out.) When his former crimefighting colleagues track him down and learn of his already-in-progress master plan, he gives them the opportunity to keep silent, and when all of them (except Rorschach) agree, he trusts them enough to not only let them live, but to offer them hospitality in his fortress and allow them to leave freely. Hardly seems fair to hold the deaths of millions of innocent people against him.
  • All for Nothing: A few words from Jon (a being who can see the future) throw the end goal of Adrian's plan completely upon its head. The "world peace" Veidt achieves is still extremely fragile, all things considered, and if Rorschach's journal gets published, there's no telling what effect it could have upon the world.
  • Allegorical Character: It's heavily insinuated that the Sea Captain from the Show Within a Show pirate comic book interspersed throughout the main story is a parable for Ozymandias, which does not bode well for the implied consequences of Adrian's actions.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Was his master plan tragic but necessary or just wrong? Or both?
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    Rorschach's Journal: Possibly homosexual? Must remember to investigate further.
    • He's handsome, charming and super wealthy, and Nova Express reporter Tim Roth comments on how "every woman I know wants to lay this guy". But he's never depicted in a relationship with a woman, even short term. And what was up with that file titled "boys" on his computer?
  • Anti-Villain: His ultimate goal is to prevent World War 3 by massacring millions to make the world powers assume it was an alien attack. A horrendous course of action, but done with the best intentions in mind. Also, the subsequent weight of this action torments his conscience.
  • Artistic License – History: On page 20 of Chapter 12, Adrian quotes the Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses "Canaan is devastated, Ashkelon is fallen, Gezer is ruined, Yenoam is reduced to nothing...Israel is desolate and her seed is no more, and Palestine has become a widow for Egypt...All the countries are unified and pacified." The Annotated Edition points out that the Merneptah Stele hieroglyphics from 1203 B.C.E., which this quote stems from, were done at the behest of Pharaoh Merneptah (to celebrate the victory of a major invasion he had successfully repelled) who ruled Egypt immediately after Rameses II, so Adrian is technically incorrect in his quotation, though not disingenuous since surely some of the aforementioned pacification was Rameses' doing. However, Dave Gibbons suggests in the same anecdote that Adrian simply made a mistake due to the mental stress from all that had just happened (flying to the Antarctic, killing millions of people, catching a bullet, etc.)
  • Awesome by Analysis: One look at an opponent's fighting style and he already learns how to counter it. According to him, The Comedian had a skillful feint and a devastating uppercut, but little else. Not that it stopped the Comedian from beating him to a pulp in his younger days.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: While the bad guy part is left up in the air, Adrian certainly isn't the good guy.
  • Batman Parody: A less obvious example than Mothman, Nite Owl II, and even Rorschach. While Ozymandias lacks the nocturnal Animal Motif, the Hardboiled Detective aesthetic, or even the tragic aspects of Batman, he still plays the other traits straight; born into a wealthy family, lost his parents at a young age (although he was old enough to take care of himself and process whatever grief he had of them at that time), spent years Walking the Earth before becoming a superhero, runs a corporate empire and has trained himself to both physical and mental perfection. Unlike Bruce Wayne, Adrian quickly reasons that he can do far more good with his wealth, public image, and company than with actual superhero exploits, and his super intelligence and self-made fortune lead to him making the horrific pragmatic decision to kill millions of people to save the world.
  • Big Bad Friend: A genial and polite man who's made a friend/acquaintance out of most of the characters in the story later on turns out to be the primary source of all of the mishaps going on throughout the story—with the exception of the Cold War tensions, mind you.
  • Black-and-White Insanity: Subverted and Played With. Both Dan and Rorschach initially assume that Adrian must be insane, finding his description of his own master plan too ludicrous to believe. He assures them that he is more than rational. However, Adrian's views of the world are rather unrealistically binary. To him, there's the savagery of the past (and present) where chaos and unrest run rampant, and the utopian unity of the future where humanity's flaws will magically cease to exist. He is seemingly vindicated by the ensuing world peace brought about by his act of destruction, but Jon leaves him with a margin for doubt that the peace will last.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Absolutely defies this, given that the common 007 villain mistake is revealing their master plan way sooner than they should, giving their enemies a chance to stop them. Veidt only tells Nite Owl and Rorschach because it's already been carried out.
    Ozymandias: Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.
  • Broken Ace: He is a handsome blond super genius who is insanely rich, at the peak of intellectual and athletic achievement, has America in his hands and defeats Rorschach, Silk Spectre, Nite Owl and Dr Manhattan at the end. He is also the antagonist, who kills millions of people in order to save the world from nuclear war.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": The symbol of Veidt Industries is a giant letter "V", and he stamps it on everything he owns. The main exception is his costume, because having his initials on it would've kinda defeated the whole Secret Identity thing - although the zigzag pattern on his armour alludes to it.
  • Bullet Catch: He pulls this off near the end of the story, because he is Charles Atlas Superpower incarnate. And even he admits he wasn't sure he could actually do it. Also, he is injured by the bullet, as there is a considerable amount of blood. In the film version, he has an inch-thick padding on his palm, into which the bullet sinks (but still breaks the skin). The bullet's momentum causes him to lose his footing and go tumbling down the stairs, leaving him stunned for a few seconds at the bottom.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: His feats are mostly believable through most of the story, but in the final act, he catches a bullet. (It tears up his hand, and he doesn't quite believe it himself.) There's an interview he has at the end of the second-to-last comic where he firmly believes any normal human can be just as physically capable as he is; you just need the will to see it through.
  • The Chessmaster: Engineers the entire villainous plot, manipulating everyone from normal civilians to superheroes to virtual gods like pawns.
  • Child Prodigy: He was exceedingly intelligent since early childhood, and had to hide his intelligence for a time on orders from his parents due to his genius intellect having the strong possibility of ostracizing him or causing unwanted attention.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Has a savior complex that can be seen from space.
  • Contemplative Boss: Does this while fighting two superheroes. When his Right-Hand Cat joins the scene and the fight ends, he continues while walking his corridors.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: His Evil Plan is so ridiculous that when he sums it all up in a single sentence Dan can't help but break out into laughter; Adrian plans to end hostilities between the world's superpowers by unleashing a fake Eldritch Abomination onto New York; when said Abomination kills millions upon impact due to its horrific psychic abilities, the world's leaders will conclude it is a creature from another world, and therefore will be forced into uniting their forces against the possibility of an impending alien invasion. The sheer absurdity of the plan is what ultimately makes it work; The Comedian and the other heroes are brought to their knees when the Fridge Horror hits and the scale of Adrian's plan becomes fully known to them.
  • Crazy-Prepared: While it doesn't clarify if he did build it solely for that purpose or not, The Annotated Edition of Watchmen points out it would have required some remarkable foresight on Adrian's part to build an Intrinsic Field Separator (a device that basically recreates the accident that created Dr. Manhattan in the first place) for the sole purpose of using it to rid himself of Dr. Manhattan should he be cornered in spite of already handicapping him with the Tachyon Generators. Of course, if that was the case, Adrian probably didn't factor in that Dr. Manhattan could just rebuild himself again afterward, which he immediately does—it's not like the accident that gave him his powers managed to kill him in the first place, after all.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Dishes one out to the Comedian before killing him, then later subdues Nite Owl and Rorschach in similar fashion.
    • Was on the receiving end of this when he was a younger hero, courtesy of the Comedian. He never got over it.
  • Dark Messiah: He causes the deaths of millions in order to unify the world and prevent the nuclear Armageddon he believes is otherwise inevitable. The comic itself refuses to either obviously support or condemn his actions.
  • Deliberate Under-Performance: He was always brilliant, but deliberately downplayed his intelligence in school to avoid unwanted attention.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: It's implied that part of his reason to kill the Comedian (as he knew he was too much in shock to do anything with the truth about his evil plans) was payback for their first fight where Blake laid him out. It's why he personally beat him up instead of using his usual roundabout methods.
  • Dissonant Serenity: While ultimately remorseful and uncertain about his plan's success in the long run, Veidt is initially ecstatic that his master plan seemingly went off without a hitch, triumphantly yelling "I did it!" like a child. In general, he's intelligent enough to understand the gravity of the horror he has inflicted upon the world in scientific terms, but clearly unable to reconcile it with his egotistical messiah complex.
  • The Dreaded: Even Rorschach is wary of this man to the point he leaves behind his notes before confronting Veidt because he knew he likely wouldn't survive the confrontation.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Say what you want of his methods and end goal, but Adrian doesn't discriminate against a person's race, gender, political views, etc.
  • Evil Plan: He is motivated by the desire for a 'better, more loving world'. To this end, he orchestrated the Comedian's murder and the destruction of New York to avert a nuclear war.
  • Expy: Of Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt.
  • The Extremist Was Right: He brought the world's superpowers together at the cost of millions of lives, which is exactly the goal he'd pushed for since the beginning. That being said, the story makes it very clear that Veidt's artificial hope is just as fragile as the state of the world had been even before he'd executed his plans, and the very last panel of the story indicates that his efforts may very well be reduced to nothing.
  • Fallen Hero: He appears to have averted this given he managed to become a rich businessman instead of a nervous trainwreck once retired from superhero duties... but then the ending reveals he truly went from hero to Knight Templar.
  • Fanboy: He's a huge fan of Alexander the Great and sees him as his only worthy peer, pitying the fact that his greatest idol died millennia before his birth. During his global travels, Veidt retraced the exact steps of Alexander's crusade of conquest throughout the civilized world, wishing to one day realize Alexander's goal of uniting the entire world under one banner. He concludes that the only way to do so is not through conquest, but trickery. Veidt even professes a desire to gain the direct approval of Alexander in the "Hall of Legends".
  • Foil: To Rorschach. Both are ultimately unstable Übermensch who are unflinching in doing what they think is right, no matter what the cost. They just play it in very different ways.
  • Genghis Gambit: Plans to force America and Russia to put aside their differences and work together by making it seem as if a massive Alien Invasion is imminent. Whether or not it works, in the long run, is left up to the reader.
  • Genius Bruiser: Smartest man on Earth, still strong and fight-capable enough to take on two fellow heroes.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: He would save billions of people from dying by causing millions of people to die.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Adrian really isn't motivated by greed or a lust for personal power. He obtained his vast wealth through a skillful understanding of the stock market and legitimate business ventures. He's a Knight Templar or Well-Intentioned Extremist, but not a sellout.
  • Hunk: The picture of the Western ideal of male beauty.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Destroying half of New York City to save the world from nuclear armageddon.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: By his own admission. Part of what leads to his Evil Plan is that as the smartest man he believes it's up to him to find a solution but his loneliness means he either can't trust anyone's help or simply fails to see a better way.
  • Invincible Villain: He completely gets away with everything he set out to do, utterly outclasses the heroes mentally and physically and it's made abundantly clear that they never had a chance of stopping him.
  • It's Personal: While he kills the Comedian because He Knows Too Much, it's strongly implied that this was simply an excuse to finally get some payback on the Comedian beating the ever-living snot out of him when they first crossed paths in the 60's. Granted, Blake had caught wind of Veidt's plan, so the necessity of killing him was still there.
    • He also takes great personal satisfaction in denying the amoral nihilist Comedian his "last laugh at the world's expense".
  • Just Between You and Me: He talks freely about his plan because the Rorschach and Dan are too late to stop him. Furthermore, they are not his enemies but his former comrades, and he believes that he can convince them that he did the right thing. He succeeds with Dan.
  • Just Giving Orders: There's a hint of this regarding his actions as noble due to the fact it's not like he killed them with his own hands (his mass murder of millions in New York) or giving a noble spin for his actions (Killing The Comedian for being an Asshole Victim or saying that Vietnamese servants "died" due to being so drunk to open the Vivarium).
  • Karma Houdini: He commits a massive act of unadulterated mass murder and not only gets away with it scot-free, but is actually aided in covering it up by the heroes - because to expose the scheme would endanger the world even more. Although it's left open to interpretation whether or not his plan will ultimately succeed: before chasing Adrian, and with strong suspicions about his plan, Rorschach left his personal notes at the local newspaper. In the last page, after the Happy Ending, a guy at the newspaper reaches for a stack of papers and documents ("the crank file"). The diary is near the top.
  • Kick the Dog: He hires numerous artists from across the world to help make his monster. Once they're done, he kills them. Likewise, he poisons his servants, who have Undying Loyalty to him, simply so they won't tell anyone about what he's up to. While he feels bad about doing these things, it also doesn't stop him actually doing it in the first place.
  • Knight Templar: Sacrifices millions to save billions.
  • Lack of Empathy: He's said himself he has trouble relating to others which is why he executes his Evil Plan without regret. Ultimately subverted, however, since the weight of his actions severely troubles him afterward.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: He has a very impressive chin, befitting his "perfect human specimen" image.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: These fights happen a lot in Superhero stories, and he got into a meaningless brawl over nothing with The Comedian the first time the two of them met. He seems amicable about the "misunderstanding" when recollecting it, though he does spin it to sound as if he lost to the Comedian on purpose. Of course, by the time the reader finds out about this fight, it's been revealed that Adrian is guilty of murdering The Comedian, so it's entirely possible he's more bitter about their encounter than he's letting on.
  • Light Is Not Good: Well, it's not entirely bad either, but he wears the brightest, most pristine-looking superhero costume out of all the main ex-Crimebusters yet commits the most unthinkable atrocity for the greater good.
  • Logical Weakness: In his backstory, Veidt's relatively fighting inexperience and tendency to analyze his opponent's fighting style worked against him when engaging Blake (whose much older, experienced, and harden) in a fight for the first time. One "skillful feint and a devastating uppercut" is all that Blake needed to take down the short term, as the latter stated.
  • Lonely at the Top: Hidden under dense layers of ego and posing for the eyes of history. The reveal is his insecure last exchange with Dr. Manhattan.
  • Manly Tears: When his monster attack causes the US and Russia to discuss peace.
  • Meaningful Name: Ozymandias, which suggests the final fate of his "better, more loving world". His last name, Veidt, comes from German actor Conrad Veidt, whose appearance in The Man Who Laughs directly inspired the character design of The Joker.
    • The Greek meaning of "Adrian" is "rich". It is also a name that can be used for males and females, which fits Veidt's slightly androgynous quality.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Subverted. When discussing the aftermath of his plan, he tries to make it clear to Dr. Manhattan that he's made himself feel every death he's responsible for.
  • Narcissist: Adrian is implied to have some narcissistic tendencies. Rorschach decries him as vain, and a sellout, due to the man's willingness to make a lucrative business about his past as a superhero. Adrian also personally carries out the violent death of the Comedian, implied to be payback for Blake's previous beatdown of him. Finally, Adrian is convinced that he alone has the resources and the will to carry out his plans and avert nuclear war, and is wholly unconvinced of humanity's potential to avert war on their own terms. The fact that he constantly compares his own achievements to Alexander the Great's also compounds his vanity.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: ZigZagged. He frames Rorschach for killing Moloch, which only further convinces Rorschach that there is a larger conspiracy at play and even convinces Nite Owl that there is something going on, which gets him and Silk Spectre involved and eventually realizes that it's him who is behind it. That being said, it doesn't count for much when he succeeds in his plan and drops his psychic squid on New York, killing millions of people in the process.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Ozymandias is a misunderstood villain. He single-handedly kills off half of New York City in order to avert a nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union that would destroy the world.
  • Older Than He Looks: He is still quite good-looking despite being in his forties. As the unproduced movie screenplay describes him:
    Although he's DREIBERG's age, his face is serene and unlined by worry. Blond and pale, he looks thirty. When he's sixty he'll look forty.
  • Omniscient Hero: He has everything so well figured out that the morality issue is reduced to whether or not the goals he achieved was worth all the lives he sacrificed. However, two of the last few scenes make the whole thing ambiguous, leaving it to the reader/viewer do decide if the trope is played straight or subverted.
  • Out-Gambitted: Its implied that Adrian built an Intrinsic Field Separator for the sole purpose of dealing with Dr. Manhattan physically (by recreating the accident that initially destroyed him) should the Tachyon Generators fail to keep him occupied. While it technically does do its job, Adrian doesn't factor in that if Dr. Manhattan was able to rebuild himself from scratch after being disintegrated in the first place, what's stopping him from doing it again? As a disappointed Dr. Manhattan spells out to him immediately after regenerating, that was remarkably shortsighted for someone as intelligent as him. That being said, Dr. Manhattan's survival or lack thereof was irrelevant to his plans succeeding, he only needed to keep him distracted and out of the way long enough.
    Dr. Manhattan: I am disappointed, Veidt. Very disappointed. Restructuring myself after the subtraction of my Intrinsic Field was the first trick I learned. It didn't kill Osterman'...did you think it would kill me? I've walked across the sun. I've seen events so tiny and so fast they hardly can be said to have occurred at all, but are a man....and this world's smartest man means no more to me than does its smartest termite.
  • The Paragon: Many see him as the best and most successful of the team, considering he manages to maintain a stable superhero career through sheer strategy, sharp intelligence and skill. He is popular for being considerably smart, charming and philanthropic and is the last person anyone suspected of being the Big Bad.
  • The Perils of Being the Best: As a child he came to realize that performing at his full capacity would bring ...unwanted attention from others, and adjusted accordingly.
  • Prescience by Analysis: As the world's smartest man, he's able to use his vast intellect to predict and anticipate changes in politics, society, culture, human psychology and by smart timing, such as publicly revealing his secret identity at a time of widespread distrust in superheroism, he is able to cultivate an image of respectability and goodwill that he uses to build an immensely successful corporation, whose resources he then taps into to unleash his devastating master-plan to save the world. He also anticipates that in a world without the cold war nuclear tensions, there would be an incipient baby boom, and he advises his company to invest in baby-care products to maximize profits.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Not only does his plan destroy him, he isn't even sure it worked and asks Jon if it was worth it. Adrian ends the story without a friend in the world he's completely destroyed himself to save.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: He was averting this long before ...well, it hardly needs to be said at this point.
  • Rich Recluse's Realm: Has become so wealthy that he's been able to create his own private retreat in Antarctica — and given that no governments hold any claim to the continent, he is allowed to do as he pleases there. Known as Karnak, his estate comes complete with a palatial house, a laboratory complex and a terrarium garden, all decorated in traditional Ancient Egyptian style. Normally quite chummy with journalists, Veidt has begun to spend more and more time here in recent days — and not out of fear of assassins. He's actually using the place as a base of operations for his efforts to prevent World War III via faked alien invasion.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Ozymandias's genetically-engineered lynx, Bubastis.
  • Self-Made Man: He inherited a fortune. He then donated all of it and proceeded to make his own fortune from scratch just to prove that it's possible.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Adrian's whole role in the story is sort of ironic, really. He goes through all this trouble to create a fake Eldritch Abomination and use it to kill millions in order to force the world's powers to see how utterly meaningless fighting each other is when there are "much bigger things" at risk. But in the end, he finds himself full of doubt as to whether or not his actions really would have the effect he wished for, and the very last panel of the story gives a vague implication that all of his efforts will be for naught anyway.
  • Shoot the Dog: He springs a trap that kills Bubastis and disintegrates Dr. Manhattan. He hadn't intended to kill the former, but when Manhattan pursued him to confront Veidt for his actions, he had to use his pet as bait and sacrifice him .
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: For most of the comic, Ozymandias dresses in civilian clothing. When he gets ready to launch his plan, he wears his old superhero costume in his Arctic lair even though there is no apparent need for him to do so. In his mind, Ozymandias sees this as the culmination of his superhero career and wears an outfit to better suggest how he views his actions, and especially given he's aware that Dan and Rorscharch are approaching the lair, he wants to impress on them the context in which his actions should be seen.
  • Straw Nihilist: His nihilism exceeds even The Comedian's — but weirdly, he's a somewhat optimistic variation without really being considered an Anti-Nihilist. His ultimate plan is to kill half of New York with a giant eldritch horror of his own creation. The reason it works is because Earth's leaders come to the conclusion that it is a creature from another world, and they decide to pool their efforts and resources into uniting themselves against the threat of alien invasion. In short, Adrian manages to bring the world together by making them see how utterly insignificant they and their struggles truly are. And what pushes him to do this is his desire to bring peace.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: Along with Nite Owl, one of the few who decided to keep them.
  • Technical Pacifist: He prefers brains over brawn, but is not above punching enemies.
  • This Is Reality:
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: His goal is to end the Cold War and then use his abilities to control the Earth and make it a paradise on Earth. His problem is mainly a type 1, killing half of New York in a Genghis Gambit, but the ending implies it may also be a type 2, assuming naively that this is all that is required to defuse a 40+ year old nuclear standstill and failing to take into account Rorschach's diary.
  • Trade Your Passion for Glory: Rorschach sees him as a sellout. Ozymandias merely sees his work as doing what superheroes ought to do in real life, save the world and avoid nuclear war, no matter the costs.
  • Tragic Villain: While he is never punished for his actions; they do hurt him psychologically, though. But the real tragedy is that in trying to save humanity, Ozymandias loses his soul by becoming the very evil he wanted to destroy. His vast intelligence even grants him the ability to not only fully comprehend his terrible actions but also "feel every life" he has taken.
  • Übermensch: Adrian represents the Nietzchean post-human ideal almost to a tee, being a borderline superhumanly intelligent specimen with his own peerless moral percipience, (mostly) free of any fear from a divine creator's judgment. His vision to unite all the nations of the world under one peaceful society also reflect the Ubermensch's role in rejecting nihilism that Rorschach and the Comedian embody, instead providing humanity goals to strive towards. In the end, though, Veidt still demands Dr. Manhattan's appraisal, fuelling his doubts.
  • The Unfettered:
    Nite Owl: No. I just don't buy it. Any of it. You wouldn't kill half of New York. You couldn't...
    Ozymandias: I could. I did. If you like, I'll tell you how.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: He is a public hero and has his own product line, including action figures.
  • Villainous BSoD: Implied after his conversation with Doctor Manhattan—when he asks Jon for assurance as to whether or not what he did truly had been the right thing "in the end," Jon's reply is a benign "Nothing ever ends, Adrian." This pulls into question if Adrian's new peace will truly last as long as he believes it will, and the last we ever see of Adrian himself is a single panel of him with an intensely troubled expression on his face.
  • Villain Protagonist: One of the main characters who just so happens to be the Big Bad.
  • Visionary Villain: Ozymandias slaughtered half of New York, killing millions, in an attempt to save the rest of the world from a nuclear apocalypse.
  • Walking Spoiler: His true plan to kill millions of people in New York to stop the Cold War doesn't get revealed until the last few issues.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Possibly the most successful one in fiction. He kills 3 million people to achieve world peace...and, as far as the reader can tell, it works, though the last panel opens up the possibility that it may have all been for nothing.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ozymandias, though this may not entirely be too apparent on an initial reading (which speaks volumes of Moore's writing skill). In the end, the results of Adrian's schemes have pretty much gone the way he'd planned them to go. Earth's leaders are now collaborating to better keep the world safe from the threat of war. But in the end, this peace is on a very shaky foundation that can easily be shattered by the notes written in Rorschach's journal — the "stronger loving world" that Adrian has created is still standing on the precipice of the apocalypse. In short, his efforts may very well be rendered meaningless due to forces outside his control. This parallels the ultimate fragility of the original Ozymandias's great achievements, which he believed would be memorialised eternally, only to instead be buried under the desert dunes and forgotten by the passage of time.
  • You Are Too Late: Was originally the Trope Namer via "Thirty Five Minutes Ago", and has one of the most iconic uses of it.

    Rorschach (Walter Kovacs) 

    The Comedian (Edward Blake)
"Whatever happened to the American Dream? It came true. You're lookin' at it."

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

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

  • Anti-Hero: At best, he's a hero only in name. That said, he does have a few redeeming qualities.
  • Artifact Alias: In-universe, Eddie Blake continues to operate under the nom de guerre "The Comedian" long after he discards the wisecracking jester gimmick that he used in the 1930s. The name takes on a different meaning later in his career, though, as it references his nihilistic worldview and his belief that higher ideals are a joke. The smiley face pin is the only vestige of this in his costume.
  • Asshole Victim: Not many people were saddened upon hearing of The Comedian's death. By the end though, some readers do feel some sympathy for him. But he was still a sociopathic asshole. Oddly enough, Sally Jupiter actually felt sorry for him since they had reconciled by then.
  • Bait the Dog: During the flashback to the day the Minutemen had their group photo taken, he's shown cracking wise and engaging in playful flirtatious banter with Sally, behavior that would hardly be out of place for the Plucky Comic Relief of a standard superhero team. Then he tries to force himself on her when she stops playing along, and suddenly all illusions of him being a Lovable Rogue are shattered.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: He originally invokes The Gadfly trope, trying to show society its own dark side with a jester-like costume, but when that image fails to gain traction with the public, he quits that idea and settled into being a Troll. Come the Crimebusters meeting, he manages to transcend both of these aspects, becoming a full on Unwitting Instigator of Doom without even trying by showing the truth to young crimefighter and idealist Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt). This results in Blake crossing the Despair Event Horizon when he discovers Veidt's Evil Plan, forcing Sarcasm Failure in The Comedian.
  • Becoming the Mask: At one point Rorschach theorizes that The Comedian took on his persona in order to become a satirical reflection of society's corruption. If this theory is true (Rorschach is hardly an unbiased observer), Blake appears to have gotten into the part a bit too much. Also, he defies this trope when he discovers Ozymandias' plan and raves about it to Moloch: He discovers that even he cannot laugh this off as just another joke...:
    I mean, what's funny? What's so goddamned funny? I don't get it. Somebody explain... Somebody explain it to me.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Comedian probably killed President Kennedy, Woodward and Bernstein and singlehandedly rescued the American hostages in Iran.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality:
    • Sally Jupiter mentions that after they met again in 1949, he legitimately had no idea why she would hold a grudge for his attempted rape years earlier, and his baffled response at her shouting at him led her to realize that emotions worked differently for him than other people. Upon this realization, she couldn't sustain her anger any longer.
    • Similarly, after their affair, he believed all the bad blood between them had been dealt with. As such, he was legitimately confused when Sally refused to let him near her — or rather, their — daughter.
  • Boring, but Practical: He tends to rely on simple boxing moves while fighting ("a skillful feint, devastating uppercut- little else"), using his considerable strength as well as using whatever weapons he can to end fights as quickly as possible, in sharp contrast to the flashier martial arts moved used by the others.
  • Byronic Hero: Fits it perfectly. Intelligent, bitterly cynical, has a pronounced disdain for humanity and the world in general, carries strong personal convictions, and winds up getting killed because of said convictions... it all fits.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: A justified example; he can never tell Laurie outright that he is her father and that he wants a genuine positive parental relationship with her, largely due to his inability to live down once attempting to rape Sally Jupiter (her mother), battering her and breaking her ribs in the process. Sally for her part tells the Comedian to back away when the latter tries to talk to Laurie as a teen, and The Comedian respects her wishes to not tell Laurie who her father is. He does come awful close, though...
    The Comedian: "Christ, we were just talking! Can't a guy talk to his— y'know, his old friend's daughter? I mean, what do you think I am?"
  • Captain Patriotic: Subverted to hell and back. He crafted this persona late in his career, wearing flag-printed body armor as he helps quell riots in New York and eventually fights at the front lines of the Vietnam War. He looks like a patriotic superhero to the average citizen, but the whole gimmick is really just his way of mocking the high ideals that most superheroes claim to uphold. In reality, he's an amoral sadist who believes that ideals are a joke, and he only fights crime as a way of venting his violent urges.
  • Carpet of Virility: By the time he's hanging with the new generation ("The Crimebusters"), his uniform leaves his thick chest hair out.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Prefers guns and a straight fighting style over the more stylized moves others use.
  • Cool Mask: After receiving his facial scar in 'Nam he began wearing a leather gimp mask with the rest of his costume.
  • Cool Old Guy: Remains a very effective black ops agent right up until his death at sixty-one. "Cool" doesn't necessarily mean "nice".
  • Corrupted Character Copy: Of Peacemaker. Also, the Comedian in his younger Minuteman days looks a lot like Captain America's teenage partner Bucky, who somehow grew into a wise-cracking, cigar-smoking, woman-beating version of his mentor. His Captain Patriotic elements and wartime status come from The Shield, whom he was actually going to be in the very earliest pitch of Watchmen. Not only that, what with his path from being a dashing young war hero in WWII to his later life as a top super-spy with greying temples, a facial scar, and a fondness for cigars, he bears a strong resemblance to the original Nick Fury.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His whole shtick.
  • Death Seeker: Downplayed. Everything indicates that in his last days, The Comedian, while not outright suicidal, was nothing but a sad, lonely, old man full of regrets about the life he'd led while knowing that it was far too late to atone for any of it. In the bits we see of the flashback of Ozymandias' murder of him, he doesn't put up any kind of resistance against his attacker as he whales on him, and just before Ozymandias lifts him up to throw him to his death, the beaten and broken Comedian just looks up at him with eyes full of both misery and resignation.
  • Deconstructive Parody: Reportedly, Moore created him as something of a mockery of the character he's loosely based upon, the Peacemaker: a character whose tagline was "a man who loves peace so much he's willing to fight for it!" Moore saw Peacemaker as an imperialist justifying his actions with a philosophy of blatant hypocrisy, and so Blake doesn't shy away from depicting the nasty sides of a Super-Soldier, and his own philosophy is "At Least I Admit It" taken up to maximum.
    • Could also be a parody of Golden Age propaganda heroes (like the Black Terror) in general as The Comedian was only useful as a soldier and a mob-buster. He is sorely lacking in "role-model hero" attributes, but he excelled at being a living weapon.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: His most brutal on-screen acts (assaulting Sally Jupiter, murdering the Vietnamese mother of his child) occur in response to attacks upon his person...which he provokes.
  • Domino Mask: The only thing he wears on his face from the onset of his career, up to the Vietnam War. However (towards the end of the war), after getting a nasty facial scar from a Vietnamese girl he impregnated, he switches to a leather gimp mask that covers his whole head.
  • Eagleland: A solid type II. He's a self-righteous jingoist and who happily gets his hands dirty on the behalf of the Nixon administration whether he's overthrowing foreign governments or assassinating political enemies. Interestingly, he openly considers the American dream to be a farce and doesn't even consider himself a patriot.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Genuinely attempts to connect with Laurie on two separate occasions and notably doesn't react the way he usually does after she lashes out at him in public (throwing a drink in his face). According to the RPG, he is composing a letter to Laurie before Ozymandias breaks in and kills him. He also has real feelings for Sally Jupiter and (for the most part) stays away from Laurie out of respect for her. As much of an amoral, callous asshole he is, he at least cares for the family he could've had.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Rorschach stresses that the Comedian is essentially a nihilist, just like him. Unlike Rorschach's anti-authoritarian belief in justice, however, The Comedian is fundamentally amoral, driven only by a desire to be uglier than the world (hence his breakdown once he realizes that Ozymandias's nihilism exceeds his own). As for the Comedian himself, even he was horrified at his attempted rape of Sally.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He's also genuinely sickened when Sally implies that his interest in his child is incestuous in nature, and he thinks Hooded Justice was a sick man. Also, Ozymandias's plan to slaughter millions of innocent people was too much for even him to shrug off.
  • Excellent Judge of Character: For all that he's an amoral asshole, he is very good at reading people. He picks up on Dr. Manhattan's increasing isolation from humanity well before anyone else appears to have, and is quite insightful about the shortcomings of most costumed vigilantes.
    The Comedian: You're driftin' outta touch, Doc. You're turnin' into a flake. God help us all.
  • Famed In-Story: Somewhat. According to the RPG Sourcebook, a movie called "Okinawa Dawn" was filmed in 1949 about The Comedian's exploits during WWII. Well, not exactly...
  • Foil: To Rorschach. He is seen as a good guy simply because he works for America yet he is completely amoral. He also discovers Veidt's ruthless plan to end the Cold War and gets killed because He Knows Too Much.
  • The Gadfly: He invokes this trope in his early career, using jester costume to show society their own dark side, but nobody got the joke, so he quits that persona and opts to be a Troll. He genuinely enjoys pushing people's buttons and making them realize ugly truths, which ultimately comes back to bite him in the ass when he does it to Ozymandias.
  • Glasgow Grin: Half of one, courtesy of his upset Vietnamese girlfriend. Laurie notices how it made him look like he had a permanent smirk or sneer on his face.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The Comedian falls into this upon learning of Ozymandias’ plans and the depths he’s willing to go to for it. The Comedian ends up a blubbering mess and winds up crying in front of Moloch an old arch nemesis, his ramblings nonsensical and fragmented, while his mind is unable or unwilling to make sense of the horrors Ozymandias is going to unleash. Even when he is killed by Ozymandias he doesn’t even fight back.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: The Comedian smokes cigars in almost all of his appearances.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: If one thinks about it, The Comedian is the true villain of Watchmen's story. It was he who gives Ozymandias the idea to try and "save the world", he tries to rape the first Silk Spectre, sows seeds of doubt in the second Nite Owl and drives him away from being a superhero, and is the even more depraved, morally bankrupt version of Rorschach, who, quite ironically, idolizes him. Oh, and he also shot JFK. If it weren't for his cynicism and cruelty, perhaps Watchmen might have had a happier ending for all.
  • The Gunslinger: He's the only one of the adventurers who regularly uses plain old firearms, keeping with his military theme, and showing that he's quite a bit darker of an antihero than the others.
  • Hate Sink: Despite his redeeming qualities, Alan Moore intended The Comedian to be completely unsympathetic and despicable. He is a rude, selfish, and violent rapist who uses nihilism as an excuse to hurt people. It's very telling that the mentally disturbed Rorschach is the only person who mourns his death. Unfortunately, many people missed the point, much to Moore's frustration.
  • "Have a Nice Day" Smile: Wears a pin with that. Once hit with a splash of blood, it becomes the series' Trademark.
  • He Knows Too Much: The Comedian found out Veidt's plan to end the Cold War. He was very much aware that this meant Veidt would come for him sooner or later:
    Veidt: He understood. In the end, he understood.
  • Heel Realization: He was fully aware of how cruel and amoral he is, but just before he died he started to feel bad about it.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Sally Jupiter.
  • Heroic BSoD: He freaks out when he discovers Ozymandias' plan.
  • Heroic Build: Kept in excellent shape even in his sixties.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: A possibility come up with In-Universe by other characters.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Won a bet during WWII about whether he could kill seven Japanese POWs with just eight bullets at a range of 50 paces. Y'know, he might, just might, not be a very nice guy...
  • Jerkass Has a Point: His major trademark. The Comedian is a complete asshole, but much of the things he says to antagonize others often have some truth to them. He was one of the first to notice Dr. Manhattan's humanity beginning to falter after he did not stop him from killing an innocent woman. Even Ozymandias admitted that his analysis about the futility of the masked vigilantes to resolve the real problems of the world was right.
    Ozymandias: [He] opened my eyes. Only the very best comedians can do that.
  • Kick the Dog: Killing a pregnant woman and attempting to rape a fellow superheroine, for example.
  • Lack of Empathy: Doctor Manhattan says that Blake sees the stupidity and pain but just doesn't care.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: In a parody of how superhero stories tend to just have heroes fight each other over vague misunderstandings, the first time The Comedian came face-to-face with Adrian Veidt he attacked him immediately, "mistaking [him] for a criminal." That reasoning is the typical logic that leads to these sorts of fights in comic books, but given The Comedian's abrasive and antagonistic personality, it's a transparently flimsy excuse. The Comedian won, for the record, though Ozymandias's recollection of the event is conveniently phrased to imply he lost on purpose.
  • The Lost Lenore: He becomes this to Sally.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: It's eventually revealed that he's Laurie's father. Unusually for this trope, though, neither he nor Sally actually reveal this themselves to Laurie. She figures it out on her own by putting two and two together about her mother's conversation with her ex-husband and refusal to let Blake be around Laurie, and is horrified when she realizes it.
  • Made of Iron: His medical history in the RPG Sourcebook is a long list of injuries (and STDs), which could have easily ended his career as a government agent, but he kept on truckin'.
  • Mistaken for Misogynist: When Laurie confronted him about her mother's rape, Blake answers with It was only once. He is not trying to insult Laurie or her mother Sally, but instead he is trying to explain her that he reconciled with Sally after that, and in fact Blake is Laurie's father. Laurie thinks the worst of him because Blake is a well known troll.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: By the end of his life, he's a regretful mess, sobbing a confession to Moloch about the horrible things he'd done to women.
  • Never My Fault: The Comedian kills the Vietnamese woman he impregnated yet blamed Dr. Manhattan for not stopping him.
  • Not Helping Your Case: The Comedian has another chance to talk to Laurie, only she's mean drunk and angry at him for attempting to rape her mother. She confronts him about it, and his response is, "Only once." True, yes, as we find out that the had a consensual affair years later, but it's also not the thing you want to say to your daughter.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • When he and Sally reunited in 1949, he was apparently very kind and gentle toward her, something she recognized as deeply atypical. In her eyes, she felt that she touched something romantic and beautiful within him.
    • It's shown he was kind and civil to Laurie, even after she smashed a drink into his face. It's because she's his daughter.
  • Posthumous Character: The book opens with the aftermath of his murder and every time we see him, it is in flashbacks.
  • Practically Joker: Subtler than most, but his psychosis, attitude, association with smile and alias are reminiscent of the Clown Prince of Crime. Interestingly, his Straw Nihilist views predate the Joker's characterization as such that was popularized by The Killing Joke.
  • Psycho for Hire: To a certain extent, suggested to have merely become a masked vigilante for a reason to kill people. Despite most of his comrades recognizing this he appears to have impressed part of the mindset that led him to such actions onto every one of them, with varying reactions. He becomes a more classic example, or so it's implied, after the very government that claims vigilantes are dangerous hires him as a political assassin.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil:
    • Attempted, of the first Silk Spectre.
      The Comedian: Only once.
    • It's also faintly implied he did more than attempt rapes during the Vietnam War, and possibly other wars prior to that.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Downplayed as he didn't repent but he dies after refusing to go with a plan that will result in millions of deaths.
  • Sarcasm Failure: His Heroic BSoD to Moloch shows even he can't crack jokes at Veidt's plan, begging someone to avert his own personal interpretation of Don't Explain the Joke.
    The Comedian: Someone explain. Someone explain it to me.
  • Scars are Forever: He never loses the half-Glasgow Grin he got in Vietnam, just as the perpetrator intended.
  • Silver Fox: Whereas the rest of the surviving Minutemen have all to varying degrees gone to seed, he remains a roguish Hunk well into his sixties. His rather despicable behavior and, in his later years, nasty-looking facial scar take away from this somewhat, though.
  • Straw Nihilist: Frequently spews how life is meaningless, particularly given how men have all they need to wipe out every living being on Earth.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Two .45 caliber hand guns, according to the RPG. He's also made use of rifles and the like.
  • Token Evil Teammate: He even went as far as to try to rape one of the other members of the team. Whether or not the other members are any better than the criminals they go after is debatable (excepting both Nite Owls, whose biggest flaw in both cases is being largely ineffective), but The Comedian is definitely the worst of them and seems to thrive on torturing and killing people. He even kills a pregnant woman (carrying his own child!) back in Vietnam. He's also more or less the exact opposite of Captain America (consider his stars-and-stripes patriotic outfit), inverted on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.
  • Took a Level in Badass: He was already badass when he started out, but over the years he started wearing body armor (after getting stabbed) and carrying guns.
  • Tragic Villain: Likes being mean for supposedly heroic sakes, but can cry at the atrocities he does. Rorschach's Pagliacci Joke is about him.
    • His defining trait as the Comedian, being a nihilistic parody of human ideals attempting to vainly mask its "true nature of savagery", grants him a point of view which mentally breaks him when he discovers Veidt's plan and can fully comprehend both the full scope of its horror as well as its seeming necessity. It is the ultimate conclusion and example of his view on life and it destroys him utterly.
    • Point in note. One of the most iconic images of Watchmen franchise and especially of the Comedian is a blood-spotted Smiley face pin button. The bloody splotch is actually the Comedian's bloody tears as he mournfully declares that "It's all a joke" just before his death.
  • Troll: He eventually gets to a point where he says things just to try pissing people off, especially in the "Crimebusters" flashback.
  • The Unfettered: It's all a part of his persona: he regards all of society's conventions as a joke, so he laughs at them. With his fists. And occasionally his gun.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Kept calling Veidt's Evil Plan a "joke" and "gag".
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Much like Captain Metropolis, his mockery about the futility of another superhero team like the Crimebusters to resolve the real problems of the world — like prevent a Nuclear War — is what gave Ozymandias the first point in his plan.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: For all his acts, he's a sanctioned, government-funded operative after the Keene Act.
  • Villain Protagonist: As detailed in Token Evil Teammate, he's the least heroic of the main characters.
  • War Hero: He fought in both World War II and The Vietnam War, though the "hero" part is questionable.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: According to Veidt, he has a skillful feint, a killer uppercut and not much else. He generally gets by fine with just those, though he almost always packs heat in case they aren't enough.
  • Who Shot JFK?: The trope is played straight here. In the movie, the assassination is shown outright. He's also implicated to be behind Woodward and Bernstein's deaths (which didn't happen in our timeline), although this is much more speculative, and Blake also remarks while he's violently dealing with an angry mob: "I haven't had this much fun since Woodward and Bernstein!"
  • Worf Had the Flu: Not only was he well into his sixties by the time he took part in the fight that ultimately killed him, but he was also caught off guard and clad in only a bathrobe. That he had recently crossed the Despair Event Horizon also likely impacted his performance.
  • Would Hit a Girl: The first (depicted) occasion is when he assaults Sally Jupiter, the original Silk Spectre, and the second time is when he and Nite Owl are doing riot control. He also kills a woman who is pregnant with his child!

Supporting Characters

    Nite Owl I (Hollis Mason)
"Y'know, it was a cryin' shame they put you youngsters out to grass in '77. You were a better Nite Owl than I ever was."

"This is the left hook that floored Captain Axis!"

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

  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Animal Alias variety. His costume really isn't owl-like at all.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Hollis is an admitted fan of proto-superheroes like The Shadow and Doc Savage, and fondly recalls a long-cancelled comic about a super-strong alien as one of the things that convinced him to become a hero.
  • Black-and-White Insanity: Downplayed, as he is not insane, but he does display this viewpoint, and it's meant as a show of the immature mindset that was needed for him to become a superhero. He claims that when he put on the costume, or even thought about it, things just felt a lot simpler—he even claims that one of the things that first drew him to Superman, his favorite character, was that Superman lacked that sense of moral complexity and skeeviness held by characters like The Shadow. Though he's one of the more benign examples in the story, he still has a noticeable tendency to classify people into "good" (his fellow Minutemen) or "bad" (the Comedian, criminals in general), with Under the Hood being largely unforgiving to the Comedian for his Attempted Rape but glossing over the racist comments made by Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis, who are both framed quite positively.
  • Boxing Battler: His primary fighting style. Best seen in the film, when he drops into a 30's boxing stance to take on a group of home invaders. He's eventually overpowered and killed, but puts up a hell of a fight beforehand, expertly ducking and parrying the blows of the much larger, younger men.
  • The Cape: He was inspired by Superman, after all. When he was Nite Owl, people described him as "a big bouncy boy scout."
  • Cool Old Guy: He was always the nicest and most level-headed of the Minutemen, and he's only gotten better with age. The movie amps this up, showing that he's almost as spry as he was as a young man, fighting off 3 Knot-Tops before they gang up on him and kill him.
  • Death by Irony: Only ever a brief blip on the pop culture radar, poor Hollis gets killed in a case of mistaken identity, with the murder weapon being an old award.
  • Domino Mask: He points out the advantages of spirit gum adhesive versus a simple string or piece of elastic when wearing a Domino Mask.
  • Expy: Of the first Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: The first time we see him in the story, he's telling Dan about how he'd just bumped into one of his old enemies, The Screaming Skull in the supermarket. Bit of a wrinkle on this trope as they're both long retired, but the sentiment is the same as they still hit it off like dear old friends. "We traded addresses. Nice guy!"
  • Good Old Ways: Only knows how to fix cars that run on gas. Manhattan accidentally ruined him when he made mass produced electric cars possible.
  • Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: Was forced to testify and reveal his true identity to the HUAC. Thanks to his services in the police, he was cleared almost immediately.
  • Heroic Dog: Phantom; Nite Owl brought him along on missions during his vigilante days, and the hound later attempts to save his master.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: Writes an autobiography called Under The Hood about his superhero career. It also touches on the lives and careers of his contemporaries and their successors, as well as their effect on the world at large.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: He attempted to incorporate a cape into his costume design when starting out in super heroics. He got rid of it after he kept tripping over it.
  • Ironic Echo: His "left hook" quote advice. We hear it again during Dr. Manhattan's flashback but there Mason outright admits that that is all he has to fight crime with, as opposed to Manhattan and his godlike power.
  • The Last Dance: The elderly, long-retired Hollis puts up a fight against his murderers before they kill him.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: He spends a lot of time in his autobiography expressing puzzlement over Hooded Justice's relationship with Sally Jupiter, implying he had no idea he was gay and she was acting as his beard. Given he did vote to kick Silhouette out of the group for being openly gay (even if he regretted it later), they maybe figured it was best to keep in the closet around him.
    • Doesn't find out his friend and protege' Dan Dreiberg is even considering making a comeback to superheroing (let alone planning to free Rorschach from prison) until he hears about it on the news. This has fatal consequences shortly afterward.
  • Manchild: Downplayed, but it's there. He has a very simplistic Black-and-White Morality view of the world, and he admits in his autobiography that when he put on the costume, it made him feel like a kid again.
  • Mistaken Identity: Killed because the second Nite Owl broke Rorschach out of jail, and one guy in a drugged-up gang of top knots knows where "Nite Owl" lives.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Although he voted along with the other Minutemen to kick Silhouette out for being a lesbian, he felt ashamed afterward and expressed his regret in Under the Hood.
    • According to the RPG Sourcebook, he mentions in an interview that he feels pretty bad about airing Sally's dirty laundry (re: The Comedian's rape attempt).
  • Nice Guy: Doubles as the Only Sane Man. He's humble, friendly, and took up his career because he genuinely wanted to fight for justice and help people. About the only thing he did in the story that could even count as mean was calling out a few people in his autobiography, and the only person who really got it was The Comedian. And even then, everything nasty he said about the guy was entirely true.
    • He also went along with everyone else to expel the gay Silhouette out of the Minutemen, but he clearly regrets that decision.
  • Old Superhero: He retires long before the story begins.
  • Only Sane Man: Nearly every hero in the book has some outstanding psychological problems, and even many of the ones that don't have their dark secrets or ended up being horribly messed-up by the job. Hollis, meanwhile, is a mentally stable and genuinely affable and goodnatured man who has no regrets about his time in the cowl.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: According to him, this was why he retired, as he felt that the new generation of heroes was superior to his own. He doesn't have any superpowers, he's not a Gadgeteer Genius, and his combat skills even in his prime fell far short of Charles Atlas Superpower. By all appearances, he's quite happy to tell people that the second Nite Owl was the better one.
    [to Doctor Manhattan] "You can do anything. All I got to offer is a good left hook."
  • Passing the Torch: Handed off the heroship to a fan of vigilantes and nocturnal fowl, and retires to be a mechanic and neighborhood old guy. Until his head is bashed in by a mob of drug-addled punks for being vaguely related to Rorschach, that is.
  • Retired Badass: Subverted - a reader accustomed to this trope might expect him to fight off the street gang that breaks into his place with ease. This, to say the least, is not how it plays out.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: A nice old man victimized by mob violence and the unintended consequences of his Legacy Character.
  • Self-Deprecation: His autobiography is full of it. He fully embraces the silliness of his old life as a super-hero and mocks himself for indulging in such a childish fantasy, though admits he still loved it. When we see him paling around with Dan, he openly boasts about what a better Nite Owl the younger hero was.
  • Silver Fox: He looks rather good in his old age, though he's still visibly elderly.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: Tried it, but after he discovered how hard it was to walk around his own house with the thing on without it catching on things, he decided to go without.
  • Token Good Teammate: Like Nite Owl II, he comes the closest of the Minutemen to being a true hero.
  • Vigilante Execution: Inverted trope — He is killed by a sadistic gang of drugged-up "top-knots" who apparently think they are dealing out street justice on "the Nite Owl." And even then, they panic when they realize he's dead and split, leaving him Dying Alone.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Downplayed. While he's surrounded by his own memorabilia and has nothing to do but tell Dreiberg stories of his past exploits, he seems to have mostly made peace with his obsolescence.

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

"Things are tough all over, cupcake. It rains on the just and unjust alike."

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

  • Action Girl: A Badass Normal fighter and one of two female members of the Minutemen alongside Silhouette. Her daughter continues the tradition.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Even after Eddie Blake viciously assaulted her and attempted to rape her, she still ended up starting a romantic relationship with him and had his child. She explained to her husband that Eddie's demonstration of gentleness at the time for someone like himself was worth it as she managed to reach a part of him that was seemingly impossible to uncover or in her words: "That magical romance and bullshit that they promise you when you're a kid." Her husband thought otherwise.
  • The Beard: She got with Hooded Justice, which hid his affair with Captain Metropolis.
  • Becoming the Boast: A rare-third person example. Her first fights were staged, but she eventually learned how to genuinely fight.
  • Blaming the Victim: In an interview in #10, she's shown to noticeably have this attitude regarding the infamous attempted rape. She can't bring herself to fully hate Eddie for it and keeps wondering to herself if her own actions somehow led to it, even though she knows, objectively, that what Eddie did to her was an irredeemable crime and her feelings are misplaced.
  • Broken Bird: She's a typical superstar tragedy story, except she's also coping with a failed marriage to her former agent, an estranged daughter, and a barely thwarted rape by a former comrade (and her subsequent self-loathing for later having his daughter). Nowadays, she's stuck in a California rest home, subsisting on memories of the days when she was a household name.
  • Civvie Spandex: It's a showgirl costume.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: Of both Dinah Drake Lance/the first Black Canary and the Phantom Lady.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Her family was broken up after the death of her sister Linda and she ran away from home at sixteen. She narrowly avoided becoming a prostitute and was used by Larry to make himself a fortune.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It's pretty much all she can do at this point. When she stops snarking, it's almost always a case of O.O.C. Is Serious Business.
  • Fiery Redhead: When she was active, she was a real firecracker. She still is, she just lost the red hair
  • Glory Days: She constantly harps on hers during her younger days. See her quote.
  • The Heart: She served as this along with Lawrence Schexnayder, as all the members (except Silhouette) were very fond of her and the group fell apart after they left.
  • Hiding Your Heritage: Changed her name from Juspeczyk to cover up her Polish heritage.
  • I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: A dark example. Judging from dialogue and a couple of pictures, she and Eddie can be said to have been a bit flirtatious with each other while he was with the Minutemen, but she never took the flirtations seriously. However, he very clearly thought there was more going on there than there actually was and acted horribly upon it.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: To the point where she decides to keep a Tijuana bible of herself to remind herself of the good old days.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: The light to the Silhouette's dark in her Minutemen days.
  • Lady Drunk: Loves her spirits.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The entire point of her career.
  • My Beloved Smother: Laurie feels her mother put a lot of pressure on her to follow in her footsteps.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Later in life, she would decry the expulsion of The Silhouette from the Minutemen as unjust.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Sally's career was aggressively built by her husband/manager.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Her costume consisted of this and some fishnets, obviously playing up her sex appeal for all it was worth.
  • Rape as Drama: Part of Sally's backstory.
  • Rule 34: In-Universe. Sally has an unlicensed porno comic of herself among her memorabilia, making this trope Older Than The Internet.
  • Self-Deprecation: Is fully aware that the main factor in her former popularity is her sexuality, and status as a porn fetish icon, but jokes about it and even retains memorabilia alluding to it well into her declining years.
  • Sole Survivor: The sole living and sane member of the Minutemen by the end of the story.
  • Stage Mom: Coached her daughter to take up her profession.
  • Stocking Filler: She wear stockings and suspenders.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Although her first fights were staged, she had to learn how to fight properly as a member of the Minutemen.
  • Violation of Common Sense: The fact that she would end up sleeping with Eddie Blake, the man who attempted to rape her, is a massive plot point that factors into why Jon changes his mind about humanity. The fact that someone like Laurie could come from an interaction as improbable as that, convinces Jon that human existence and life itself is a biological miracle.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: By the time 1985 has rolled around. Subverted in that while she's lost her beauty and her following (and never got the actress career she wanted), she is happy in retirement, with no wish to take up adventuring again, only to reminisce about her glory days and live vicariously through her daughter (whom she raised and trained to be Silk Spectre II) a bit.

    Moloch (Edgar Jacobi)
"I did my time. I'm not Moloch anymore. What do you want from me?"

"You know the kind (of cancer) you eventually get better from? That ain't the kind I got."

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

  • All There in the Manual: The Under The Hood excerpts give the clearest indicator of what his criminal career was like.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: He leaves roses at the Comedian's grave, being one of the last people to see the man before his death, drunk and rambling cryptically about his discovery of Veidt's plan.
  • Asshole Victim: He's long since retired and is just a pitiable, lonely old man living in a run-down apartment when we see him (and up until he's killed), but leave us not forget that he was a career criminal in his youth, responsible for much mayhem himself.
  • Boring, but Practical: It's suggested that for much of the 40s, he committed acts very recognizable as supervillainy (the Minutemen trophy room has a "solar mirror weapon" he reportedly made use of), but by the late 40s, he had switched to being, more or less, just a somewhat gimmicky mobster—something far less grandiose, but more likely to actually turn a profit.
  • Convenient Terminal Illness: Turns out to have terminal cancer, seemingly caused by Dr. Manhattan.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Retired. We don't know too much about what he got up to, save that it involved "vice dens."
  • Dies Wide Open: With a horrified expression, no less.
  • He Knows Too Much: He's the only person left who has even an inkling of what Veidt's up to, so he had to go.
  • Joker Immunity: Averted. He went to prison in the 1960's. And is killed years later.
  • Master of Illusion: Moloch's gimmick as a "super"-villain was to use parlor tricks to mislead and frustrate police. His closest real life analog might be Mysterio.
  • Motifs: In his day, he favored demonic/occult motifs, to the point of having his ears tapered.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: His reaction when he realized he accidentally gave Janey Slater cancer.
  • Noodle Incident: There is brief mention of him using a "Solar Mirror Weapon", which eventually ends up in the Minutemen's trophy room.
  • Pointy Ears: To emphasize his status as a former supervillain. He apparently had them tapered himself for the sake of his occult motif.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Either by Veidt or on his orders.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Maybe not originally, but after prison he has no desire to return to villainy.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Mostly averted. After spending years in prison, only Rorschach is still suspicious of him. And even Rorschach declines to turn him in for committing a crime in which he is more victim than perpetrator in taking an experimental snake oil drug as a desperate and pathetic last resort.
  • Retired Badass: Old, ill, and long retired, he's still ready to shoot what he thinks is a burglar.
  • Retired Monster: Was once considered a heavy-hitter in the mob world, though it's hinted that Moloch is pretty mild by today's standards.
  • Stage Magician: He mixed it into his crimes as part of a flair for the dramatic.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Of Ozymandias.
  • Well, This Is Not That Trope: "You know the kind of cancer you get better from?... That ain't the kind I got."

    Twilight Lady (Elizabeth Lane)
Men Are So Naive

An influential vice queen and bordello owner who operated in the 1960's and a Old Flame lover and later enemy of Nite Owl.

  • Dark and Troubled Past: During a stakeout, she implied to Dan she was once an abused prostitute who clawed her way into becoming a current influential criminal, deeply regrets it, and wishes to at least create an environment where women who made similar mistakes can be safe from harm.
  • Dating Catwoman: Played straight and deconstructed. Dan's relationship with Lady, though passionate and loving, is inherently toxic and ends in tears. Dan wants to make the city a better place, while Lady profits and advances its darker enterprises for profit and fun. Becomes worse in End Is Nigh as Lady becomes more corrupt after her breakup with Dan and he ends up threatening her to leave the city in disgust.
  • Does Not Like Men: Due to her past, she has a deep disgust of men in general, but will gladly exploit them through sex and trickery to get what she wants.
  • Expy: Of Catwoman.
  • Mama Bear: She's this to her call-girls and prostitutes in general due to her own dark past in prostitution.
  • Miss Kitty: A rather influential Madam who runs a stable of high-priced call girls and fetish operations. Her clients include much of the police force, commissioner, mayor and the state senator, offering many connections and protections from the law.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Her costume consisted of this and some bondage gear, obviously playing up her dominatrix appeal for all it was worth.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Loves to flaunt her sexuality to confuse and taunt men, much to the disgust and rage of men like Rorschach. Her first meeting with Dan was her apprehending a perp of his while stark naked and playfully taunting him for being embarrassed.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Was originally a helpful flirty ally of the Crimebuster Duo. At some point in 1968 she was sent to prison as seen in the videogame End Is Nigh. Upon being released, she engaged in more corrupt practices and has started employing teenage girls as prostitutes for her business. When confronted, she even tries to have Dan and Rorschach killed for trying to stop her.
  • Tragic Keepsake: She left a portrait of herself for Dan and he keeps even in his older years due to lingering attraction.
  • The Vamp: Makes a business out of using sex from her call girls and sometimes herself to gain money and power.

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

"We are alone. There is nothing else."

Rorschach's court appointed shrink at Sing-Sing, Dr. Long has a comfortable life and an optimistic belief that his therapy can improve the lives of troubled inmates. Rorschach gets under his skin, however, and he finds himself increasingly obsessed with the patient who's making him question his beliefs.

  • The Anti-Nihilist: By the end he has lost all optimism and happiness of his life, but is still determined to help people where he can. When his wife tells him not to intervene in a street fight, he responds: "I have to. In a world like this... I mean, it's all we can do, try to help each other. It's all that means anything..."
  • Black and Nerdy: A successful black man with a doctoral degree who wears bow ties and glasses.
  • Break the Haughty: Starts out with confidence in his ability as a psychoanalyst as well as a belief that he's doing good, but the difficulty of analyzing Rorschach shatters his professional and moral opinion of himself.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Eventually gets so preoccupied with how he can help the most vulnerable of patients that his wife can't take it anymore. In the middle of a discussion with his wife where she's telling him to transfer to work with different patients, he sees a fight in progress. She tells him "Don't you dare get involved!" and that it's over between them if he turns his back on her, but he says:
    "Gloria, I'm sorry. It's the world. I can't run from it."
  • Critical Psychoanalysis Failure: First went into his sessions with Rorschach with the genuine hope he could help him get better. Around three days later Rorschach has completely broken down Long's positive worldview and replaced it with his own existentialist perspective, driving Long to resign.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Introduced in his first session with Rorschach. The narration taken from his notes reveals that he's thinking about how solving such a high-profile case could make his reputation. He's friendly to Rorschach in a condescending way, and smug about his ability as an analyst. At the same time Rorschach's manner makes him uncomfortable even before he becomes openly hostile, revealing his susceptibility to having the tables turned on him.
  • Hannibal Lecture: When he tries to psychoanalyze Rorschach, Rorschach turns the tables on him in a way that makes him question his own life.
  • Henpecked Husband: After his sessions with Rorschach begin to change him, his wife begins to complain about how he doesn't pay attention to her anymore, and gives him the cold shoulder after he scares off another couple they were having dinner with by bringing up the rather grotesque Blair Roche case in conversation.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: At first he underestimates Rorschach's insanity and mistakenly thinks that his attitude toward treatment is improving.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: As he gets wrapped up in Rorschach's story, he becomes emotionally and sexually distant from his wife—the latter of which is highlighted for the reader when he notes that she subjects him to a number of crude sexual insults before leaving him.
  • N-Word Privileges: Dr. Long is walking home after a particularly disturbing session with Rorschach when the street vendor (who is black) tries to sell him a knockoff Rolex watch. When Long ignores him, the vendor screams at him "Nigger! Hey Nigger!"
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: All of his personality changes and different outlook on life is rendered meaningless as he's one of the millions killed by Ozymandias' plan.
  • Token Minority: The only black POV character.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Believes that the world isn't dark and grim like Rorschach sees it, and that he can convince him of that somehow, but soon learns the error of his thinking.

"In this world, you shouldn't rely on help from anybody. In the end, a man stands alone."

"See, everything's connected. A news vendor understands that. He don't retreat from reality."

A news vendor on the streets of New York City. He provides a running commentary on the events of the story.

  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: At the penultimate issue Bernard confess to Bernie that he feels lonely since her wife's death, that he realized she was the one who had friends, because all of them stopped calling Bernard when she died, and that Bernard took the news vendor job only to meet more people, showing that his Know-Nothing Know-It-All and selfish attitude was only a façade.
  • Break the Haughty: Starts his debuting chapter espousing how connected and well-informed he is, presenting himself as a world-weary authority on everything. But when it is announced that Doctor Manhattan has left the Earth, causing the Russians to invade Afghanistan (an act of aggression likely to bring the world to the brink of nuclear war), he becomes ashen and considerably less loquacious, at least for awhile.
  • Character Development: His initial Know-Nothing Know-It-All and selfish attitude is demolished by the Break the Haughty events of the nuclear annihilation menace, encouraging him to help Bernie and in the penultimate issue he futile but sincerely tries to protect Bernie.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: A platonic example with Bernard, as in the last moments of both their lives, he tries to embrace and shield the boy.
  • The Everyman: Represents the average person's perspective on the story's events. Alan Moore himself describes him as such, making it clear what he thinks of the everyman in the process. But, at the same time, he's not wholly devoid of redeeming qualities, and he perishes trying, futilely but sincerely, to save the life of a boy he barely knows.
  • Given Name Reveal: His name is not revealed until the penultimate issue, when he discovers that he shares it with the young boy who has been reading the Tales of the Black Freighter comic.
  • Greek Chorus: His role is comparable to this, showing the general population's reaction to the story.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: He invokes this trope to justify denying help to young Bernie, but when Bernard learns about World War III and the impending nuclear menace, he prefers to invoke The Power of Friendship and help young Bernie.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Has one with the younger Bernard.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: He thinks that being a news vendor gives him unique insight and knowledge on world affairs, but it's clear to the reader that he's full of it.
  • Old Windbag: He rambles constantly to everyone who will hear it, but mostly to the younger Bernard, who is too engrossed in his comic to listen.
  • One Degree of Separation: Rorschach and Dr. Long both frequent his newsstand, Veidt's Institute for Extraspatial Studies is right across the street, the thugs who murder Hollis Mason get the idea at his newsstand, and ultimately half of the supporting cast ends up on his street when Veidt executes his plan.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: His first line of dialogue is him opining that the US should nuke the entirety of Russia, and later on he expresses disgust at a poster for a lesbian event.
  • Spit Take: The "End is Nigh" sign holder makes him do one with coffee in the third chapter.
  • Start X to Stop X: Bernard justifies the murder of Russia's children in the war, because America must protect their own children.

    The Sea Captain
"Exhausted, I slept atop the grave, dreams ringing with the horribly familiar screams of children. I saw the black freighter bearing down on all I loved..."

"Truly, life is hell and Death's rough hand our only deliverance."

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

  • All for Nothing: The Captain survives trials and tribulations beyond the ken of normal people to get home and protect his family from harm, only to become the very threat he struggled so hard to save them from.
  • Allegorical Character:
    • At first, the comic just seems to simply be paralleling certain scenes in Watchmen, but otherwise comes off as pointless to the narrative, until you realize that the Sea Captain is in fact supposed to represent Ozymandias and his own supposed fate after his horrible (but good intentioned) actions...
    • He also is one to Bernard, because when Bernie reads about the Captain realizing the error of his acts of revenge, Bernard justifies the murder of Russian's children in the war, because American must protect their own children.
  • Badass Boast: "Soon I would venture upon evil men, and make them fear me..."
  • Companion Cube: The figurehead on the prow of his sunken ship, shaped like a beautiful woman, which he clung to, saving his life.
  • Determinator: Endures unspeakable hardship to survive his oceanic ordeal and return to his home.
  • Due to the Dead: Despite his fear for his family's safety, the Captain still take considerable time to properly bury the many bodies of his murdered crew. Subverted by his later actions, however...
  • Heel Realization: It eventually dawned on him that the Black Freighter wasn't going for his hometown, but for him, and that all the atrocities he committed to get home were ultimately for nothing.
  • Heroic BSoD : Suffers an utterly epic one when he realizes that he nearly beat his own beloved wife to death, in front of their children, no less.
  • I Am a Monster: "I was a horror: amongst horrors must I dwell."
  • I Did What I Had to Do: And how. He commits heinous acts including murder to return home to his family.
  • MacGyvering: A dark and grisly example, to be sure. Uses the dead, bloated bodies of his crewmen to make a raft.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: His reaction when he discovered he's brutally beaten his own wife to a near pulp in front of his daughters.
  • Sanity Slippage: Slowly but surely, through the course of his travails.
  • Sole Survivor: Of the pirate attack that destroyed his ship and killed his entire crew.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Brutally murders a woman (thinking her a pirate collaborator) to prevent his return from being uncovered.
    • Mercilessly pummels his own wife, thinking, in the dark (and in his insanity) that she was an intruder in his home.


    In General 
  • Badass Crew: Deconstructed. The Minutemen, while they can fight well, they're very dysfunctional, and their relationships to each other varies from respect to apathy to outright hatred.
  • Badass Normal: Unlike the Crimebusters, they were all normal humans.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: After Silhouette is murdered and her death is avenged, the Minutemen break up. With many of its many members either retiring or dying.
  • The Cape: Deconstructed. Most of the Minutemen, despite their good intentions, included bigots, glory hounds and even an attempted rapist among their members.
  • Dwindling Party: Starting with the death of Silhouette, the Minutemen slowly drop like flies, with everyone but Sally and Byron being murdered or dying in an accident.
  • Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: They were all subjected to this in the 1950's for suspicions of Communist sympathies. While Nite Owl and Captain Metropolis and Comedian were cleared almost instantly due to their service as a Police Officer and military records respectively, Mothman was put through the ringer and ended up having a nervous breakdown. Hooded Justice refused to reveal his identity and simply disappeared.
  • Nazi Hunter: As the were created during WWII, they were often recruited to fight Nazis and Nazi sympathizers. One of their enemies is called Captain Axis, a former member of the Third Reich.
  • Precursor Hero: To the Crimebusters.
  • Slave to PR: They were forced by Laurence to not deal with crimes like child trafficking because it wasn't "cheerful enough".
  • Two Girls to a Team: Silk Spectre and Silhouette were the only women on the team.

    Captain Metropolis (Nelson Gardner)
"Specialized law enforcement is standing still. Crime isn't."

"Please! Don't all leave...Somebody has to do it, don't you see? Somebody has to save the world..."

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

  • Ambiguous Situation: It remains a matter of debate whether his death was an accident or suicide.
  • Batman Gambit: In one of the RPG modules (which had input from the original creators), he secretly arranged the kidnappings of the 1960s heroes' loved ones in order to force them to work together, in an effort to make them more amenable to the idea of teaming up as The Crimebusters. If considered canon (there's nothing in the comic that contradicts it), the plan obviously didn't work, but he wasn't exposed as the mastermind.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Was very conservative and reactionary like many white Americans of the spite of the fact that his being gay would be detested by such a group. He voted Ursula Zandt out of the Minutemen for having been revealed to the public as a lesbian as well.
  • Broken Ace: In his prime, he was a confident leader and an ideal hero, being handsome, intelligent, charismatic and a skilled fighter and tactician. He was also a neurotic mess who was tortured by internalized homophobia and keeping his sexuality a secret and had to see his dream of heroes changing the world for the better die before him.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": An "M" on his chest, though its significantly more subtle than most examples.
  • Butt-Monkey: Compared to the rest of the masked heroes, much of Captain Metropolis' screen time is devoted to making him seem rather pathetic and desperate.
  • The Cape: Of all the characters, both first generation and second, he is one of the least cynical. To the point of Deconstruction, actually, as he naively believed that superheroes and teams could be a force for positive social change, when most people regarded them as fad celebrities at best. His idea of positive social change is also a bit reactionary, to say the least.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Check his quote.
  • Cool Old Guy: Harshly averted. He tries to position himself as this to younger heroes when he reforms the Crimebusters in the 60's and clearly thinks of himself as one and that they'll regard him as a mentor and father figure. In reality, they regard him as a relic and a pathetic middle-aged man in a costume and that's when they aren't put off by his conservative and outright racist social views.
  • Determinator: Continued attempting to uphold justice as a masked crimefighter well into middle-age, long after the other surviving Minutemen had retired after acknowledging their obsolescence or, in the Comedian's case, allowed cynicism to crush their pretensions of being a hero. While his doing this is presented as being admirable to a degree, it's mostly used to emphasize how ineffectual trying to be a superhero is at resolving the world's problems.
  • Did Not Think This Through: The massive societal and political problems of The '60s are not going to be affected by some superheroes dressing up and taking on a supervillain, as the Comedian points out to him.
  • Disco Dan: He tries to maintain his old-fashioned, 1940's superhero persona well into the sixties and is laughably out of place amidst the more morally ambiguous heroes and the world they inhabit with younger heroes seeing him less as an inspiring hero they can learn from and more as a deluded has been who refuses to change with the times.
  • Formerly Fit: Had a classic Heroic Build in his youth, but sported a prominent gut in his later years.
  • Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: Was forced to testify and reveal his true identity to the HUAC. Thanks to his military record, he was cleared almost immediately.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: He becomes this in his later years due to making racist remarks about Black and Latino people and openly regarding the Civil Rights and anti-war movements as social evils he and other heroes needed to stand against.
  • Heroic Build: In his day. Toward the end of his career, he went to seed.
  • I Was Quite the Looker: He was a chiseled blond with a Heroic Build in his youth. By the end of his life, he was a paunchy loser, which was only further emphasized when he wore his superhero costume.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After making racist remarks at a cab driver that accidentally muddied his costume, Mothman punched him hard enough to give him a nosebleed.
  • The Leader: Was implicitly this for the Minutemen, being the one responsible for uniting them in the first place as well as the only one among them with the strategic knowhow to coordinate a team. By the time he attempted to form the Crimebusters, though, he had long since decayed to the point of being a Leader Wannabe.
  • Life Will Kill You: He dies, albeit rather gruesomely, in a car accident in 1974, 11 years before the book's present day of 1985.
  • Military Superhero: He was in the Marines which is where he learned both his combat skills and tactical skills.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: Racist and hidebound, but he means well enough.
  • Non-Indicative Name: In spite of taking the name Captain Metropolis, he was actually only a Lieutenant when he was in the Marines. Of course, "Lieutenant Metropolis" doesn't sound as catchy.
  • Off with His Head!: He is decapitated in a car accident.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: He has some questionable views on race, even for the time, regarding the Civil Rights movement, anti-war movement and other such activities as social evils to be fought against. Under the Hood, a memoir published in 1963, alludes to since-notorious comments he'd made in the past about Black and Latino people, which Hollis acknowledges as "difficult to argue or deny [are] both racially prejudiced and inflammatory", and apparently were bad enough to warrant mention alongside Hooded Justice's Nazi sympathies.
  • Posthumous Character: Died in a car crash before the beginning of the story. He was around recently enough that he's still a fairly regular presence in relatively recent flashbacks, though.
  • Semper Fi: Averted Trope - this former Marine is a lot less confident and boisterous than this trope would lead you to expect.
  • Sickly Child Grew Up Strong: Asthmatic and sickly as a child, but overcame it has he grew up, eventually joining the Marines.
  • Straight Gay: Had an affair with Hooded Justice.
  • The Strategist: Largely an Informed Ability due to lack of appearances.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: A .38 special, to be exact. (According to the RPG.)
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: He's got one.
  • Super Zeroes: Probably the most conventional example in the story; a racist washed-up loser whose biggest scene is as a paunchy has-been desperately trying to claim that his moderate fighting skills will solve all the ills of America. Even Dan, otherwise the closest example of this trope in the story, comes across as much more competent, self-aware and dignified.
  • Undignified Death: Getting beheaded in a car accident is likely not the way a man who presented himself as The Cape would want to go out.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The line at the top of his entry here is what gave Ozymandias the first point in his plan.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Captain Metropolis is a borderline male example; clinging to his heroic past and trying to organize a new team in the late 60s, despite the fact that where he was once dashing and handsome, he has since become a neurotic, paunchy mess whose prejudices have come to the fore.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: He honestly believes he and the new heroes of the 1960's can work together to solve society's issues and is heartbroken at realizing how powerless they and him especially really are.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: He believes he's one of the leads in a traditional, idealistic Golden/Silver Age story about heroes changing the world with their actions and inspiring example rather than a brutal takedown of that very idea. He later tries to reform with younger heroes and thinks they will look to him as a wise leader and mentor when they really see him as a relic from another time and pathetic old man still playing dress up and his views make him look less like an exemplar of old-fashioned heroism than someone who is laughably behind the times at best and outright bigoted at worst.

    Dollar Bill (Bill Brady)
"If he'd designed (his costume) himself, he might have left out that damned stupid cloak and still be alive today."

"Dollar Bill was one of the nicest and most straightforward men I have ever met, and the fact that he died so tragically young is something that still upsets me whenever I think about it."
Hollis Mason, Under The Hood

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

  • All-American Face: He was designed to play this up. His background as a small-town college athlete definitely helps.
  • Alliterative Name: Bill Benjamin Brady.
  • Born Lucky: According to the RPG, his sporting and superhero career were studded with incredible strokes of good luck. Up until a certain day, that is...
  • The Cape: Both the attitude, and personified by the actual cape on his costume which gets him killed.
  • Cape Snag: In the backstory, he was ordered by his sponsors to get a cape as a part of his outfit, in order to increase his marketability. However, one day, when he tried to stop a bank robbery, his cape got caught in a revolving door, allowing the bank robbers to shoot him to death. Nite Owl notes (somewhat bitterly) in his memoir that Dollar Bill would likely be alive today were he allowed to design the costume himself.
  • Captain Patriotic: His outfit has red and white stripes on a blue background, likely intended for this image by his sponsors.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: He was made to wear a garish costume as one of the conditions of his sponsorship. The cape was caught in a revolving door, trapping him long enough for a crook to shoot him dead as he tried to stop a bank heist.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The titular Dollar Bill one shot.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: The bank who sponsored him insisted that he wore the cape that led to his untimely death.
  • Meaningful Name: "Bill" is part of his superhero name as well as his real name. His middle name is Benjamin, another slang term for money.
  • Nice Guy: At least, according to Hollis Mason in Under the Hood.
  • Posthumous Character: Died long before the events of the story take place.
  • Satellite Character: The least focused on of the Minutemen, to the point of not getting so much as a single line of dialogue. Almost everything we know about him comes from the two brief paragraphs discussing him in Hollis Mason's autobiography.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: Deconstructed, as Alan Moore was showing how impractical wearing a cape is, and how wearing a cape led to his death.
  • Undignified Death: Got shot up by a random bank robber after getting his cape stuck in a revolving door.
  • The Voiceless: Never utters a word throughout his (limited) screen time.

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

"Frankly, I don't go in for all this razzle-dazzle. I'd rather be on the streets, doing my job."

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

  • Abusive Parents: Rolf Müller's father violently abused him and his mother, until thirteen-year old Rolf (then over six feet tall) beat him senseless.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Sally called him "HJ" for short.
  • Anti-Hero: Vicious, cruel and a Nazi supporter. Only the fact that his rage was directed at criminals keeps him on the "hero" side.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: The comic only implies he's in a gay relationship with another Minuteman, but it's heavily implied in the movie that he's very sensitive about it. Given that he's a third Reich supporter and that Nazi ideology was anti-gay to the point of exterminating them in death camps, he probably wanted to suppress the contradiction.
    The Comedian: (Being beaten by Hooded Justice) Is this what you like, huh? Is this what gets you hot?
    Hooded Justice: WHAT?!
  • Berserk Button: He absolutely despises rapists and women beaters, nearly killing Blake on the spot after seeing him assault Sally.
  • The Berserker: In his first ever case as a vigilante, HJ beat up a street thug so bad he lost the use of his legs for the rest of his life.
  • The Big Guy: The largest, strongest member of the Minutemen.
  • Bondage Is Bad: His outfit invokes this and he is one of the most brutal vigilantes.
  • Boomerang Bigot: A homosexual with Pro-Nazi views.
  • The Brute: An anti-heroic version.
  • The Cowl: He is a really intimidating vigilante by size alone and his beatings are savage.
  • Culture Equals Costume: Justice's costume references the circus (leotard and cape), The Klan (face-concealing hood, noose), and bondage (ropes on ankles, wrists, waist and neck) — all things Muller/Justice are associated with.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Was a big supporter of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. In general, too, his costume evokes the horrific form of vigilante "justice" enacted by lynch mobs and the Klan in the past who would hang racial minorities for the flimsiest reasons. He's also noticeably cold to Silk Spectre immediately after saving her from being raped by the Comedian, assuming his disgust isn't for a different reason.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: One theory of his death put forward by Ozymandias. When Hooded Justice disappeared, the Comedian was charged by the government to track him down, but failed to do so. Ozymandias suggests that the Comedian actually succeeded, but instead of bringing him in, killed him in cold blood and reported failure. All as payback for Hooded Justice stopping his attempted rape of Silk Spectre.
    The Comedian: (after Justice stops him) One day the joke'll be on you.
  • The Dreaded: He quickly establishes himself as this to the criminal world due to his size, strength and brutal fighting style where he regularly kills or cripples people with just his bare hands. Even his fellow heroes are wary of him, not least because they don't know a single thing about him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: As extreme as he was, he did seem to genuinely care about Sally, and immediately came to her aid when he witnessed Blake attempting to force himself on her.
  • Freudian Excuse: According to the RPG Sourcebook, Rolf Muller's father abused both him and his alcoholic mother, then ran off and left them, whereupon his mother crawled even further into the bottle and never got out. Eventually Rolf ran off and joined the circus as a young teen, where he was implicitly sexually abused by one of the male performers, after which he burned himself all over with a red hot poker and collapsed into tears. So he's got a couple of issues going on.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He would have been a straight up villain if he didn't prey mostly on rapists and criminals.
  • Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: When super-heroes were required to appear before Congress during the McCarthy-era witch-hunts, Hooded Justice instead just vanished, apparently having chosen to end his super-hero career rather than go through the process. As Under The Hood points out, this lends credence to the idea that he might have actually been Rolf Müller, who was a German immigrant. Between that, his homosexuality, and the many statements he made supporting Nazi Germany, there would have been no way he'd get through the witch-hunts.
  • Heroic Build: Hollis Mason suspects that Rolf Muller is Hooded Justice due to their disappearances occurring at the same time and their distinctive strongman physiques.
  • Hide Your Gays: In-universe, Hooded Justice had to keep his sexuality under wraps due to being a super-hero active in the 1940s. Silk Spectre (possibly out of gratitude for saving her from a rape) acted as his beard in public. This was so under wraps that even certain other members of their team didn't know; Hollis Mason briefly muses in his book how weird it was that Hooded Justice never seemed to return any of her affections despite publicly dating.
    "Even though Sally would be always hanging onto his arm, he never seemed very interested in her. I don't think I ever saw him kiss her, although that might've been because of his mask."
    • This extends to Laurie assuming that Hooded Justice was her real father.
    • Sally Jupiter also hints at Hooded Justice's sexuality in an interview following Silhouette's murder, where she uncomfortably admits that other members of the Minutemen were also gay.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: It's implied a few times that he's into BDSM and when he's beating up The Comedian, he's mocked that the only reason he became a hero was because of the sexual thrill he gets out of beating the crap out of people. Would explain his tendency to be so violent.
  • Irony: He was a Nazi sympathizer back in the day, yet was suspected of being a Communist spy by HUAC. One way to get investigated by HUAC officials was Premature Anti-Fascism.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Fast enough to take on three armed men and win, strong enough to cripple and kill with his bare hands.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: According to Larry, Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis were like this in public. Larry complained that this made it harder for him to cover for them.
  • Manly Gay: He's a closeted gay man who is also a hulking behemoth who can snap most people he meets like a breadstick.
  • Married to the Job
    "I'd rather be in the street, doing my job."
  • Minor Major Character: Hooded Justice is a fairly insignificant character within the conventions of the main plot, but is responsible for the setting branching off into an Alternate History through his actions as the world's first masked crimefighter.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Might have been a circus strongman. Might have been a Russian spy. Might have been a Nazi spy. Might have been all three or even something else entirely.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: He threw Captain Axis, an actual Nazi and former member of the Axis Forces, into the freezing ocean.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: His pro-Nazi views caught up to him and he had to disappear. His costume also evokes the Ku Klux Klan, although it's unknown if he intended it that way. (The Mayfair RPG gives snippets on Rolf Müller, and note that Müller was very credibly accused of being involved in a Klan lynching.)
  • Riddle for the Ages: Was he Rolf Müller or not? Either way, are "they" dead? Hollis has no idea, and concludes that reality is a messy place where mysteries often go unresolved.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Moore has often complained, in the years since Watchmen, about the intrinsic fascist bias he sees in superhero comics and that one can draw a straight line from the scene in The Birth of a Nation (1915) where the founder of the Ku Klux Klan sees a child playing with a white sheet and gets the idea for their hooded outfits to terrorize black people and the scene where Bruce Wayne sees a bat in a window and is inspired to become a Terror Hero. Naturally, this is why the progenitor of all superheroes in this universe not only has pro-Nazi and pro-Klan sympathies but is wearing a black KKK hood and symbolically wears a noose tied around his neck.
  • Shrouded in Myth: He might have been a circus strongman by the name of Rolf Muller. The implication is strong, but still somewhat ambiguous. There are semi-canonical sources from Moore that imply that he was Rolf Muller, but that was just one of his many aliases.
  • The Spook: His identity was never known and he promptly disappeared when people started asking questions, never to be seen again.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: Played with: his cape is decidedly more villainous-looking than the others, but he's still ultimately a (anti)hero.
  • Uncertain Doom: No one's sure if Hooded Justice is still alive.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: Seeing women hurt gets him furious. His first appearance involved him stopping a rape (crippling one of the attackers in the process), he beat the Comedian severely following his attack on Sally Jupiter, and according to the backstory presented in the RPG Rolf Müller's father abused his mother — Until thirteen-year-old Rolf beat the crap out of him.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: If he's indeed Rolf Müller, according to Under the Hood he was assassinated by his Communist superiors.

    Mothman (Byron Lewis)
"I think that the pressure he was under at the time prompted the beginnings of the drinking problem that has contributed so much to his later mental ill-health."

"My friends! My friends. What time is it?"

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

  • Addled Addict: His drug addiction and alcoholism destroyed his life.
  • The Alcoholic: Eventually committed to a sanitarium due to his alcoholism.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Animal Alias variety. With Moths as the theme.
  • Batman Parody: Mixed with Killer Moth's aesthetic and complete with the neuroses that should cripple him.
  • Berserk Button: Racism, which led to him attacking a fellow student in his youth and getting into a fight with Captain Metropolis at one point.
  • Broken Bird: A male version of this trope.
  • Fisticuff-Provoking Comment: He hates racism. He punched a kid in his boarding school for making a racist comment, and later did the same to Captain Metropolis for making racist remarks at a cab driver that muddied his costume.
  • Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: Which didn't help his alcoholism one bit. Compared to the rest of the Minutemen, he was subjected to particularly lengthy and ruthless investigations from the Committee due to having had left-wing friends during his student years.
  • Irony: As Sally pointed out, Mothman's in the bughouse now.
  • Millionaire Playboy: And guilty about it, hence why he became Mothman.
  • Military Superhero: Not as obvious as most examples, but he was an army medic before he became Mothman.
  • Not Quite Flight: Thanks to the wings on his costume.
  • Rich Boredom: This and guilt are two of his prime motivating factors.
  • Survivor's Guilt: A factor in his fall from grace was his guilt that he survived while his teammates kept getting killed. His alcoholism is noted to specifically get worse after Dollar Bill's death.
  • Token Good Teammate: Along with the Nite-Owls, he's the closet to a true hero out of all the cast.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: The RPG sourcebook reveals that, like Captain Metropolis, he believed that he could use his fame as a superhero to be a force for positive change in society (progressive change, in his case).

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

"I mean, she wasn't the only gay person in the Minutemen. Some professions, I don't know, they attract a certain type..."
Sally Jupiter

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

  • Action Girl: A Badass Normal fighter and one of two female members of the Minutemen alongside Silk Spectre I.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Gives off the vibe of being a cold, arrogant beauty from what little we see of her.
  • Bury Your Gays: Not long after being kicked out of the Minutemen, she was murdered in a hotel room along with her girlfriend by an old foe.
  • Civvie Spandex: In the comics, her costume is a simple black pantsuit with a red sash. The Film of the Book makes it look more super-heroic.
  • Deadpan Snarker: If her sole line of dialogue is anything to go by, she was prone to this trope.
  • Death Glare: The RPG Sourcebook describes her as having a particularly fierce one of these.
  • Expy: Of Nightshade.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: The dark feminine to the first Silk Spectre's light.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Feminine-looking enough not to qualify as a Butch Lesbian.
  • Posthumous Character: Died long before the events of the story take place.
  • Rebellious Princess: Well, Rebellious Aristocrat, but according Hollis Mason in the RPG Sourcebook, she was the wild "Blackboard Jungle" type who hated people telling her what to do (and would often do the opposite for spite) and a "women's libber" ahead of her time.
  • Rich Bitch: Her only line (seen under her picture) is an insulting dig at Sally (who had changed her name to hide her Polish heritage), and indeed, Sally found Ursula to be an unpleasant person in general. In an interview, Hollis Mason notes that he and Mothman got along with her decently, but that she was rather standoffish with the others. Ironically, he also notes that she seemed quite friendly with Larry Schexnayder.
  • Rich Boredom: One of the reasons she became a hero, though in her favor she seems to have taken her crimefighting very seriously. It's noted she was one of the only sincere heroes in her team (and by extension of the few overall) who did good for good's sake without complication, ulterior motives, corruption or doubt.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: When her sexual orientation (officially) became common knowledge, Laurence Schexnayder, the Minutemen's publicist, pushed hard to have her kicked off the team, as it would have hurt the group's image at a time when superheroes were falling out of favor. (If the film adaptation is anything to go by, she might have been invited back for Sally's retirement party, which would be her last public appearance before her murder.)
  • Smoking Is Cool: Ran with and held her own among a pretty badass crowd, and was always seen with a cigarette in her few behind the scenes appearances.
  • Smoking Is Glamorous: Pretty damn attractive, and loved her tobacco.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Being Jewish, she despised Hooded Justice, who was openly supportive of the Nazi regime.
    • According to the RPG sourcebook, she and Sally grew to hate each other. Even so, she did attend Sally's retirement party if the film's opening credits sequence is anything to go by, and Sally, for her part, still feels guilty about her death.