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    Would The Squid Plan Work In The End? (Book-Only) (Spoilers) 
  • Ozymandias's plan is that the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. will team up against the alien menace, and that will bring about a new era of peace. Wasn't that kind of exactly what happened in world war 2? And weren't the two countries at each other's throats the second it ended? Ozymandias's plan is crap.
    • The plan wasn't crap. The bomb, for lack of a better word, not only annihilated a giant city, it also sent out those psychologically damaging images and thoughts that caused people to become terribly afraid of the aliens. Without the added fear element it would be a terrible plan, but with the fear element it suddenly becomes far too plausible.
    • This is even pointed out to him, in the following paraphrased exchange:
    Oz: But I did the right thing, didn't I? In the end?
    Dr. M: In the end? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.
    • I would argue there's a lot of possible meanings for that exchange. The WWII comparison isn't apt, because the threat they united against was defeated (as well, the leadership of the US changed to a less Soviet-friendly President in 1945). The "threat" in Watchmen can't be defeated since it doesn't exist and there's no current way for Earth to reach it. It's also worth noting that Ronald Reagan (hardly a USSR sympathiser) actually had publically revealed plans to put aside differences with the Soviet Union and cooperate with them in the event of alien attack, something Moore probably knew when writing the series. Ozymandias' plan could go wrong in several ways, and it's unknown how he plans to keep things together after his death, but it's hardly impossible to pull off in the short term.
    • The main flaw that this troper saw in Ozzy's plan was that unless there's a new monster popping in every so often, people will eventually just forget about it. So, really, he has to keep murdering millions every once in a while to keep everyone running scared. Of course, since Dr. Manhattan left, there doesn't even need to be an alien threat, since the US has lost its big advantage, and things will probably follow the course of real life.
      • From Ozymandias' point of view, is that necessarily a critical flaw? Besides, he can always create a new monster out in the middle of nowhere instead of causing mass destruction with each reminder.
      • This is why this troper thought The Movie's take on Ozymandias's plan was way more thought-through and plausible. He used a massive energy generator system built by a duped Dr. Manhattan to destroy several cites, not just New York, which had several much more believable side effects: it looked as though Earth had been punished by a Physical God for its warmongering ways (the energy signatures from the blasts could be traced to him); both the Soviet Union and the United States (as well as various countries not involved directly in the Cold War) were damaged, which makes neither nation likely to swoop in and attack the other; and fear of Dr. Manhattan would make an extremely potent deterrent to keep war from sparking up again.
      • Of course, the downside to the adaptation's version is that Ozzy was credited as the inventor of the generator system, making it that much easier for a conspiracy theorist or even a dedicated investigator to consider his involvement in the crisis as well. Really, all you'd need is a map and some push pins and the Manhattan attacks are very obviously Veidt's generator locations, which we see the U.S. government knows about. The "alien" had the great advantage of seeming to come from someplace utterly unconnected to anyone on or from Earth.
      • That's wrong thinking, because there was only ever ONE generator and it was at Antarctica. The viewers see Dr.Manhattan complete the first and only generator, in fact, the science team even celebrates its completion. In addition, they had just completed the generator THAT DAY, so nobody knows that Ozymandias actually finished the generator yet. The energy explosions were projected from the same generator, that's why there was a time delay between the destruction of every city. When the scene of the energy projection is shown on screen, the glass of the observation room doesn't break, which it would've had the generator actually blown up. Also at ground zero of the explosion in New York, the ball of energy centers on Times Square, and you can see there is no building there to house a generator.
      • The problem with The Movie's adjustment to the plan is not simply that the attacks "by Dr. Manhattan" could be traced back to Adrian. Which given that Dr. Manhattan was working with Adrian on duplicating his energy signature FROM A FEDERAL FACILITY is not terribly far-fetched. The issue is more one of Ardian's changed motives between graphic novel and movie. In one of his many Motive Rants Adrian goes on about fossil fuels basically being the root of all evil. While this makes sense in some ways (fossil fuels are in limited supply, thus creating scarcity and a motive for conflict), it was a non-issue in the graphic novels (as Dr. Manhattan and Veidt had long-since solved the energy problem in the graphic novels), and it doesn't even begin make sense given the alterations made to Veidt's plan. Now, he CANNOT use Dr. Manhattan's energy to break humanity's dependence on fossil fuels without potentially implicating himself in the attacks. Thus something he spends almost as much time ranting on in one scene as he does about war in the entire movie is now impossible for him to fix. The scarcity still exists, the energy crisis must remain in existence for Veidt's plan to be kept secret, and thus conflict will eventually resume.
      • You are all missing the point. The point is/was, that if we cause some wide scale destruction, and blame it on something intelligent, capable of intent and malice, and make that thing non-human, we will stop seeing one another as Italian, Black and gay, and instead see each other as Human, even if only to band together against this literally alien menace....and not having an actual alien menace, a new era of prosperity and cooperation results. Warhammer 40K is proof of the success of this sort of plan, in that a catastrophe in the ancient past convinced all of humanity to stop fighting with itself... less so in that it convinced all of humanity that the rest of reality needed to be subjugated, and they haven't stopped being space nazis since.
    • That's not really the point. The real point is to get everyone out of the "we have to destroy them before they destroy us" mindset and into one where they're willing to tolerate the continued existence of the other side. Once that shift has been made, it's very difficult to reverse.
      • Really? Do you have any evidence for your assertion that tolerance is a difficult state to get out of once entered? Because I'm pretty sure history would beg to differ with you, being a succession of conflicts between peoples who are even the tiniest bit different from each other, be it economically, culturally, religiously, etc. The point was to introduce something more different from humanity than its individual groups are from one another...something to attract our natural xenophoia. Keep in mind that on the Sliding Scaleof Idealism Versus Cynicism Watchmen is about as far toward the cynicism end as you can get.
  • About Veidt's plan: His plan is to fake an alien invasion so that the US and USSR would ally and avert nuclear armageddon. All fair and good, but there's one major flaw; when a second "alien attack" fails to arrive, isn't there a major chance that the alliance will break apart and the world will be back on the road to nuclear holocaust? Or does he have a plan to ensure this doesn't happen that I just missed?
    • My guess is that this is part of the point. Veidt was incredibly short-sighted and didn't think about what would happen beyond his own plans and new marketing campaigns. Jon's final lines of "Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends" really drives this home for me. Veidt claimed moral superiority and believed that he was doing the right thing, but the plan wasn't really about saving the world. It was about proving just how clever and powerful he was. Veidt is the "smartest man in the world," but is a character driven by the "ends justify the means" thinking found in many superheroes, and Watchmen shows what that philosophy can lead to.
      • The aftermath is sort of, why, you know, they didn't kill Veidt. He's influential enough to try and prevent such eventualities from occuring.
      • And also, don't forget, Veidt is human. He won't live forever, no matter how much he might want to. And since nothing ends, eventually when Veidt dies, well, things will probably go bad again. Veidt has succeeded in his plan, yes...for now. It can't continue forever, and it won't. But he can't see that. And he won't until it's too late. All he's done is delay the inevitable.
      • The above point about Veidt being very short sighted is well-made, and has some support in that Veidt's idol is Alexander the Great: Alexander goes to Gordia to solve "the unsolvable riddle", which he does by cutting the Gordian Knot in half — thus missing the point, since Veidt idolises this as lateral thinking without realising that in doing so, it destroys the puzzle so it is irreparable, and that the Gordian Knot was more like a philosophical question than an actual puzzle to be solved as such. Alexander destroying the knot is sort of like being asked "If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it actually happen?" and answering "Dunno. Let's cut all the trees down and find out." Similarly, Veidt's plan is short-sighted: he'll stop the war, maybe, but the consequences range from a One World Government to nuclear annihiliation merely delayed by a couple of years. He'll simply have to intervene again shortly down the track.
      • The way it read to me was that he not only made people scared of aliens, but he brainwashed the entire world into believing in the aliens, so there would be no need for a second attack. This is a flaw with the movie's version, since it would rely on subsequent attacks. It's also implied that Adrian pretty much bought the world and made it a communist paradise under his rule through coorporations.
      • Veidt isn't unaware of anything. He just refuses to accept it. His entire response could be read as saying "screw you, human nature. I'm going to have lasting peace even if I have to use a giant psychic squid to get it!"
    • Does no one recognize why he's called Ozymandias in the first place?
      • "Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair! For I am Ozymandias, king of kings." For all his boasting, the Ozymandias in Shelley's poem was so thoroughly forgotten that only the engraving on the pedestal of a shattered statue remains to testify to his existence.
    • Interestingly, this is extremely analagous to something he says in his Motive Rant, that if the human race isn't saved from nuclear Armageddon then soon the only vestige left of it will be a plaque on the moon with Richard Nixon's name on it.
      • Which is terribly ironic given that the original Ozymandias - aka Rameses II - was responsible for a ridiculously large proportion of major Egyptian monuments and remains one of the most famous pharaohs to date.
      • And yet he's dead, most of those monuments are in various states of disrepair, his civilization is so dead that even puzzling out how to read their language was one of the most difficult problems of modern archeology, and only scholars and "Egyptophiles" even know much about him besides his name. Certainly your average schoolchild doesn't "tremble" or "despair" at his works except when forced to name them to pass a social studies quiz.
      • Pardon me, but you are? The very fact that we're having this discussion some 4,000 years after they shoveled sand over Ramses II's coffin would show you've undermined your own point.
      • Not the poster above, but how so? The point is that for all Ozymandias' clearly overwhelming arrogance in life (you don't get people to built statues of yourself calling you the "King of Kings" and imploring everyone to tremble at your mere existence unless you're deeply in love with your own awesomeness), he died, it all eventually crumbled away and he was largely forgotten about and ignored by future generations. Certainly, we're hardly looking at his works with despair or anything; more a sort of mild interest if that. You don't have to be world famous to, you know, recognize and point this out.
      • Ramses II is often called "the great." He has his own brand of condoms and was the second lead in "The Ten Commandments." He is widely accepted as the pharaoh of the Hebrew Exodus (Which only shows most people didn't fact check — Rameses II is not dated anywhere near the time of Exodus). So while most of the general population may not be able to give specific details about the guy, his mark on culture seems to have been made. Just that Shelley wrote the poem about him is telling.
      • Surely this just proves Shelley's point, though? Sure, we remember his name, but for most of us only because of a packet of rubbers and a completely inaccurate movie which isn't even about the real him. Same for the narrator of the poem, who only knows it through a vainglorious boast on a statue that's crumbling away. So much for the King of Kings, about whom we are supposed to tremble in awe and wonder and fear.
      • For that matter, based on ancient Egyptian cosmological beliefs, trembling and despairing before him is probably irrelevant. All that is truly necessary is that his name is spoken and his offering formulas are repeated/studied to bring him efficacy in the afterlife.
      • Although, unless someone actually is performing the offering formulas for a long-dead Egyptian pharaoh, there might be a bit of a problem for poor Rameses there. And it's not irrelevant to the maker (and presumably also the sponsor) of the statue, who is directly imploring people to tremble with despair at his very name. Hence, the whole point of the poem; that his arrogance has been brushed aside by the sands of history.
      • To go on a bit of a tangent, I always thought that Shelley's point isn't necessarily that Rameses II was completely forgotten, but that nothing lasts forever. He built a mighty, feared empire which, today, is completely non-existant. The testaments to his glory are crumbling away. The feared King of Kings might have been invulnerable in life, but he died as all men do, and what remains of him but memory? The sands of history washed him away, as they will do to all of us — including one day, despite his delusions, Adrian Veidt.
    • I was under the perception that Adrian was basically doing the only thing he could. It was obvious that humanity was racing toward nuclear devastation, even to people who weren't as smart as he was. Being the world's most intelligent human being (possibly to the extent of being superhuman), Veidt might have realized that someone would eventually take over the Soviet Union who would be more willing to work with the West, and history would go down a similar path to the one that it did in the real world. He was trying to hold off apocalypse until that could happen, and if it didn't work, at least he tried something.
      • First off, although a genius, Veidt has no superhuman intelligence. Only Dr. Manhattan has any superhuman traits, and even he doesn't come across as specially intelligent. Second, Veidt (Moore's avatar on the issue) doesn't seem to believe that World War III could be averted. There was always the possibility that Russia and America would reach a new understanding by fine tuning the new status quo, just like they did during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  • Am I the only person who thinks that Ozymandias' belief that the destruction of New York would cause the U.S. and the USSR to unite to be a bit naive? I mean, was he so blind to the possibility that a nation which had invaded other countries already might simply wait until the U.S. brings all of their weight to bear in repairing New York and attack them with their pants down? They still think that Dr. Manhattan is still on Mars and were probably planning on attacking the U.S. while it was at full strength as it was. Why not when they're weakened? Call me a commie-hater if you must, but it seems to me that the USSR would have thought "Gee, there's an extra-terrestrial threat. We can either work together with our mortal enemies and probably not agree on anything, or we can conquer them easy-peasy right now and then we'll call all of the shots and defeat the alien menace in the way we think it should be done without any interference.
    • Alan Moore is considerably more charitable to the Soviet Union than you or I, and he expects his geniuses to take a similar line.
    • Also, there's no evidence that the Soviets were planning a nuclear attack on the US. Historically, the Soviets never planned a massive nuclear first strike against the continental United States- sure, they had plans for using nukes in a war with the US. And they certainly had (and used) plans for invading other countries. But they didn't think in terms of the same "we have to annihilate the entire enemy nation before they annihilate us, and the war will be over in a few hours" idea that influenced US nuclear doctrine.
    • Um. New York being blown up doesn't make all of the US's nuclear missiles magically vanish, nor does "bringing all their weight to bear" to repair New York somehow make it impossible for someone to hit a button and turn on an automated flood of ICBMs. The USSR was not ruled by nice people, but it wasn't ruled by * suicidal* people either. Indeed in many ways looking back on the history of the Cold War it was the USA that was by quite some degree the more risk-taking, adventurous hard line, push-us-to-the-brink-of-apocalypse superpower (and Watchmen largely exists as a commentary on this).
      • Bear in mind Manhattan's presence is said to fundamentally alter Soviet psychology on Mutually Assured Destruction, though: the theory being that since it's actually unlikely they can now inflict complete destruction on the US (Manhattan can stop maybe 80% of the bombs), they will simply die trying rather than be ruled, thanks to the depredations of the Nazis.
    • Bear in mind that the Soviet leadership of the later Union was not amoral. Immoral, yes, but not sociopathic or suicidal. Put it this way - a man who thinks nothing of (or, more likely, can justify to himself) armed robbery can still be disgusted by a rapist or a pedophile (and a trip a prison can usually confirm this - the UK now has dedicated sex offenders prisons for their own safety). In the same way, the latter Soviet leadership was capable of (sometimes horrific) internal repression to preserve a system they believed passionately in, but not prepared to throw away millions of their citizens' lives in a nuclear war.
    • The Squid's psychic blast affected not just NYC but everyone with even the slightest bit of psychic sensitivity worldwide. It would be far more pragmatic for the USSR to side with the rest of the planet then try to take advantage of a paradimentional threat.
    • You're not even the only person on this page. And again, it's largely the point that Ozymandias's peace can't last. It's outright stated in the book by Jon.
    • When it comes to choosing between Americans and giant alien psychic squids, Soviet Union would choose America, I assure you. Aside from everything else, Soviet propaganda never really went out against American citizens; the demonization efforts were spent on American governmental system and the rich.
  • The Squid wouldn't have fooled anyone. As soon as scientists got their hands on the remains, they would have discovered it was based on the same organic chemistry as terrestrial life with DNA similar to human DNA. It contained no elements or compounds not found on earth and almost certainly had ratios of various isotopes that matched those found in terrestrial matter. Given that evidence they would not conclude that it came from some "alternate universe" or other alien world. They would conclude it came from Earth. Wackiness ensues as the US accuses the Soviets of biological warfare and the Soviets accuse the US of trying to create a new Dr. Manhattan. That's assuming they even wait for the tests, which if global tensions were as high as Veidt believed, they wouldn't. But they weren't and that was really the point: what Veidt did was totally unnecessary.
    • It's 1986. Don't you think that squid-crazy would work?
    • Does the original troper have some special way of distinguishing terrestrial matter for para-terrestrial matter? Because we don't know what an alternate universe would be like, we really can't say what something from said universe would be like. All we'd really have are the notes from the Institute for Extra-Dimensional Research, and it's very likely that Veidt was able to acquire any notes they had - if nothing else, he could have funded research on the condition that they provide him with the Cliff Notes version of their findings, and since he's the world's richest and smartest man nobody would complain.
      • Heck, he owns the institute, and it wouldn't be shocking if he did much of the work personally.
      • We know their universe has a sun, which is stable, and nuclear missiles, which are predictable. This must mean that nuclear physics works with a similar radioactivity system as ours. Therefore, there must be radioactive elements with long half-lives. And with these, indeed, we can see whether an object is terrestrial or not. Oxygen-16 ratios, Oxygen-14 Potassium-40, heck, even traces of Uranium can be used to identify what planet something is from. Oxygen-14 even tells you when the object was made solid (in other words, they would know the squid is only a few months old). What they would find is not one, not two, but dozens of different reliable dating techniques and origin analyses, all pointing to the same conclusion: the squid is terrestrial. And you don't need a superdeluxe trans-dimensional research institute to check for these things either. Radioactive ratio analysis equipment is something any chemical or physics research laboratory would have, and there's plenty of squid to go around. Any scientific community worth it's salt would see through the charade faster than you can say "Piltdown man".
      • That's only assuming that the same man who figured out chronotons and teleportation has somehow missed that detail. I'm sure Veidt has particle physics well in hand.
      • Veidt would simply need to do some isotope separation and spike the broth with remixed samples of various elements (e.g. a few cups of oxygen14-deuterium water, a dash of potassium-40 chloride salt, etc), and these tests would confirm rather than refute the "alien" nature of the squid.
  • This is all ignoring one key thing: the US and the USSR are on the brink of war by the time the squid-thing arrives. Don't you think that when Nixon, or for that matter a ballistic-missile submarine captain somewhere hears that New York has just been destroyed, he'll immediately assume that this is a Soviet attack and order an all-out launch? Would every single sub captain, all of whom have independent launch authority, wait for verification that it was not a Soviet attack?
    • Wait wait wait. Every single submarine captain independently has launch authority for nuclear weapons? You're saying that a submarine captain can, at any point, initiate nuclear war with no orders or authorization at all from the anyone in the higher chain of command? Do you realize how utterly daft that is?

      Granted, I'm not in the military, but everything I've seen indicates that you need the authority of the President and/or the rest of the government to even consider launching nuclear weapons. Giving that kind of authority to an entirely-independent submarine captain is a stupid idea.
      • Go watch the film Crimson Tide and see exactly how stupid the idea is.
      • It may be stupid, but it's real. In the UK, that's the actual orders: fire if you discover that Britain is gone. It isn't policy per se in the US or Russia, but the actual security needed to launch a missile is basically "the captain and X other officers push the button", for any X less than three. In fact, the Soviet "Dead Hand" system (Perimetr), was basically this for land-based missiles: if sensors indicate we've been hit, you push this button and end the world.
      • Um, this really isn't accurate. Perimetr requires being armed first by the soviet leadership, and can always be overruled by Soviet Command. Otherwise, US nukes are secured with Permissive Action Links, which prevent captains and generals from just launching on their own initiative. Overall 'Britain is gone' or 'America is gone' signifies a lot more than the destruction of New York or London. It requires that the normal leadership structure be considered destroyed, with no one left to give any orders. Nixon was very much still around, still sitting in Norad.
      • well, for the UK, 'Britain is gone' is determined by the absence of the Today programme. So just need to wipe out the Beeb studios in London & Salford then...
      • This isn't an accurate depiction of British policy either. Each sub contains a safe with a "Letter of Last Resort" - sealed orders on what to do if "Britain is gone", which change with each Prime Minister. It's unknown what they are as letters are destroyed when a PM leaves office - but the options suggested are apparently "fire nukes", "do not fire nukes", "make up your own mind" or "submit to the command of the French Republic, Australia or the US".
  • So, having read every post in this folder, I think I'm rather confident that for the most part the Veidt scheme would have probably worked for some limited amount of peace for some limited amount of time. But what really bugs me is this. Although the alien monster thing kills half of New York, it's never really explained exactly how it was supposed to have gotten there (obviously I mean in Veidt's official story that it's an extra-dimensional being). So what are the USSR and US going to do to arm up against ANOTHER one? What the fuck is the plan to fight a thing that just appears out of nowhere and blows up? Are they going to start sending US military forces into teleporters in the hope of finding the alien's home dimension? At the end of the book one of the voices heard on the news in Veidt's fortress even says "Could further attacks be imminent?" and the response is that they probably aren't and that the creature is some sort of alien bee that instinctively stings upon death. So yea, in summation, how the fuck are we supposed to come together in peace and harmony to fight non-intelligent creatures that appear out of nowhere at random and explode killing millions and themselves?
    • How? Ask Adrian Veidt, of course.
    • Which is exactly part of Veidt's plan all along. US and USSR join hands to figure such questions out together.
      • But exactly what is Veidt's plan to convince everyone that the Soviet Union and the US uniting against this alien is functionally different from the two countries uniting against hurricanes and floods? There's really nothing to indicate that this is anything more than a random natural disaster that CANNOT be fought. There's no indication that the alien is from an intelligent race that knows how to get here and is malicious towards us.
      • That's what's so great about humanity. It might be seen as natural, but humanity would still band together to wipe out the entire species to get revenge.
    • Surely no one believed that the aliens would just keep appearing and blowing up the Earth? I always thought the image Veidt was trying to paint was that the New York "alien" accidentally materialized inside a solid object and died, inadvertedly causing the destruction of the city. This would lead to speculation: where did it come from? Are there more of these things actively dimension-hopping around the universe? Are they scouting for something? Will more scouts appear in Earth's vicinity when the dead alien fails to return home? Are they hostile? How do we fight these teleporting creatures with immense psychic powers...? The USSR and USA would be preparing for an attack by aliens of the living variety, not randomly exploding ones.
  • Alan Moore basically acknowledges that Veidt's plan will fail by paralleling it with the Black Freighter story, right? A man realizes that his home is fated for destruction. The man decides he must do something to save the people he loves. He uses a literal pile of dead bodies to help save his home. A raw shark tries to stop his plan, so the shark must be killed. And in the end, it turns out that his home would have actually been safe, but his actions only brought death to the ones he loved most. Epic Fail. For the Black Freighter protagonist, and for Veidt.
    • No. The end of the story has Veidt talk to Manhattan about a dream he has - and that dream is the Black Freighter. The Black Freighter is Veidt's carefully concealed fear and self-doubt about his plan. Its presence in the story doesn't mean Veidt will fail. Rather, it underlines Veidt's humanity, that he actually questions himself, that he is serious about the guilt he says he feels about his action. No one else in the entire comic questions him, or actually really displays self-doubt or regret in any way, until Veidt makes them. (Even Rorschach does not feel that Veidt's actions are unneccessary. Rather Rorschach would prefer the world to be destroyed, for the perishing humanity to look up to him as he tells them, "told you so.") The movie changes things, of course, but I think this fact very important to the original work.
    • I mean, my overall view of Veidt is that we're looking at a world full of monsters. Of nihilists, or people who willingly blind themselves, of madmen that would kill billions to defeat communism/capitalism, of fools who either aid them directly, or re-elect them into office. Veidt's actually the only decent human of the lot, the only one who believes that humans can pull themselves out of the crisis that everyone else is sleepwalking into. Naturally he looks like a monster to them.
    • The keyfactor that drew the Cold War in an all-out war, unlike it was in the real world, is Dr.Manhattan, or rather, America's grown ego level with his presence. USA was convinced that Doc will ensure their safety and keep USSR scared of himself. Veidt knew that both do not apply. Not only Manhattan can't prevent nuclear destruction(USSR have more missles than he can counter) but soviets had quite an ego on themselves too, and they wouldn't tolerate America's behavior much longer. USA blindly led itself into an apocalyptic mess and needed it's eyes opened. Manhattan is trolled out from Earth and America makes Oh Crap face while Soviets realise that it's their chance. Both goverments understand that they'll end up blowing each other up, but their collective egos prevent them from stopping. As long as there's no excuse. That's where the "alien threat" comes in. It's an excuse to end the Cold War without losers. After "alien threat" will slowly fade, there will be no Dr.Manhattan, therefore no Ego Fuel to continue that crap. The world enters Modern Age. From my perspective, everything works just fine.
      • Dr. Manhattan isn't omnipotent. If he could do that, he would have, because he was affiliated with one side who put him through tests and the like. He can be confused by several natural things, including, by his own admission, massive electromagnetic pulses as well as tachyons.
      • Yeah. Dr. Manhattan didn't need Ozymandias to suggest something like that to him. It's strongly implied that if Dr. Manhattan just appears in a Russian missile silo and starts taking apart bombs, the Soviets will launch all their missiles- and they have so many not even he can destroy them all. We don't know how many places he can be in at once, either.
      • There are more ways to disable bombs than taking them apart in a big obvious way. If he were to teleport into a hidden place and start secretly turning all the uranium into iron, for instance.
      • This is addressed in the story. Even if he could stop many of the missiles, he couldn't stop them all. Even 1% would be enough to cause enormous damage.
      • At the very least, Veidt's plan did defuse the Afghanistan situation, which was the closest the world had come to nuclear war in the Watchmen continuity. It is possible that the Soviet system will collapse before Veidt dies/his plan is revealed. Bear in mind that his scheme does not mean nuclear war is inevitable on its collapse, merely far more likely.
  • Agreeing with the above troper, this troper further notes that the USSR isn't invincible- all Veidt needed to do was buy time. Lots of it. Enough for America to wake up from the ego disaster and for Soviet High Command (which must have been pushed to the brink harder and harder due to the American Dr. Manhattan Fiasco) to collapse under its own weight. Remember, the Soviets were already on their last strings. If America "wisens up", there's no more Dr. Manhattan, and suddenly their enemies don't want to murder or subjugate them all in a capitalist paradise any more since their magnum opus got destroyed by a monster from a parallel dimension, well... they might go the glasnot/Gorbachev path and just... fizzle out. Once the immediate extreme ego-induced danger i.e. America being delusionally aggressive due to Dr. Manhattan is removed, even temporarily by Squidy here, the USSR might very well fall apart under the socio-economic problems it was already filled with.

    Did Adrian had to kill half of New York? 
  • Couldn't Adrian have his squid thing be somewhere less populated area with a tv crew nearby. To me the destruction of New York is really just an Eiffel Tower Effect ploy to make end a bit more dramatic; I'm sure Adrian's plan could have worked in Kansas or near a coast of a city.
    • Kind of yes. He had to have a target that was not only visible, but would have an impact. He had to establish the 'aliens' as a threat, and if it doesn't kill a whole hell of a lot of people, then honestly? People won't care. It has to be something the whole country and whole world remembers.
    • Would 9/11 have had as much impact if the Taliban had smacked two jets into the capital of Kansas? They chose NYC for a reason. They chose DC for a reason. High-visibility, clearly political targets got their message across. (Incidentally, another reason that the squid wouldn't have worked, not in the post-9/11 world the film was released in, where we'd lived through an attack on NYC. We, the audience, would never buy a psychic squid smacking into NYC and ending the possibility of WWIII. We'd been through an attack there already, albeit on a smaller scale, and not From Space.)

    Would/Did Manhattan-Energy Plan Work in The Film? (Spoilers) 
  • The 'real' flaw is as follows: a) you have a nigh-omnipresent hero who can be multiple places at all times. b) This person can DISSASEMBLE MACHINES TO THEIR COMPONENTS AND PUT THEM BACK TOGETHER. c) This person is also immune to nuclear waste. So what does he do? He disillusions the character, alienates him from humanity and the people he loves and FRAMES HIM FOR MASS MURDER instead of having him remove all nuclear material from all the nuclear warheads, and dissasemble said warheads into bicycles or something! And Ozymandias was supposed to be a 'GENIUS'?!? more like Too Dumb to Live or Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! to me.
    • Don't be stupiring to Dr. Manhattan's ability to intercept ICBMs in the air. He could try render warheads inert while they're still on the ground, however, it only takes 1 sighting of him disarming missles to put people on alert and he doesn't know the location of every missle on earth.
    • I personally found it incredibly stupid. Nixon says something like "we will fight them, and we will prevail". Is he out of his gourd? Fight Mr. Manhattan. You might as well try to fight Q, or sue God for damages. Heck, yelling at a cloud would make about as much sense. But in the movie, they all seem blind to that fact and cooperate for no reason. In reality (and it seems that Watchmen tries to be realistic), such a peace would last days, at most, since then, with no more sitings of Dr. Manhattan, they'd realize how silly their cooperation was and go back to a Cold War, a real one with deterrances and proxy conflicts without Dr. Manhattan's supernatural intervention. It also slighted the real differences between the US and USSR, and the seriousness of the capitalist/communist split and their opposing worldviews, thinking that a little ol' Enemy Mine was going to stop all US/USSR conflict. So, Ozymandias killed millions of people for no good reason in persuit of a truely crappy plan. In the words of Detective Del Spooner Ozymandias is "the dumbest smart person, I have ever met in my life!"
      • Right, so you think that both sides should have just decided it was hopeless and given up straight away? Dr. Manhattan is incredibly powerful, but not omnipotent - he himself says that he would "only" be able to stop about 60% of Soviet missiles if they were launched. Ozymandias, working alone, was able to come up with a plan that he believed had a chance of destroying Dr. Manhattan. It didn't work, but if he thought he could come up with a solution then the governments may just decide that all of their best scientists working together would have enough of a chance for it to be worth trying. Hell, Ozy could suggest a vague outline of his plan as something they should work on, he doesn't need to tell them it's useless.
      • Wanna bet there would've been a rash of Dr. Manhattan sightings around the world, even without Veidt's instigation? People in real life report sightings of Elvis all the time, and Elvis couldn't spontaneously appear anywhere on the planet he felt like turning up. As disproving such sightings would be effectively impossible, it's likely that governments would need at least a few years to convince themselves that they were just B.S. By then, the superpowers might've actually caught on that they can talk to one another, rather than trade threats.
    • May we burn the nonbeliever?
      • Above posters: let's keep the complaints about the movie and the book separate, shall we? Otherwise it just gets confusing and gives the fans heart palpitations.
      • The flaw with all of these complaints is that it assumes Ozymandias just sits back and allows events to play out after the big scary Gambit Roulette. Ozymandias is a professional Chessmaster. He explicitly states in the comics that he has a massive plan to slowly take over the entire world, East and West, through his multitentacled corporate empire, once the barriers to such a takeover erected by the Cold War have been dismantled by the big alien-invasion freakout. He talks about how the real nature of this plan is to "put aside Alexander" and "become Rameses" — in other words the end state of his plan is becoming benevolent dictator of the whole Earth. Note that in the comic book, the company that created the "dimensional gate" that the monster came through was owned by him — the governments of the world will now probably start throwing their entire defense budgets at "dimensional research" in order to find a way to ward against or counterattack the "alien dimension", and this is a field that Ozymandias has monopoly control over.
      • This is even clearer in the film version, where it's strongly established that the world's greatest expert on Dr. Manhattan's powers, other than Dr. Manhattan himself, is Ozymandias. Combine that with the fact that in the film Ozymandias releases a Manhattan generator providing unlimited free energy to the world right after Dr. Manhattan's "attack", and Ozzie is well on his way to owning all of the world's governments outright.
      • If this is his plan, then one wonders how he has managed to solve the problem of human mortality, given that the flaw of the Roman Empire, decay into corruption over the course of centuries if nothing else, will eventually bite him in the arse, and likely create, if history is any indication at all, a culturally-atrophying totalitarianist world superstate focused above all else on the preservation of its own status quo. In other words, once he himself dies, Veidt may have just damned the world to a Fate Worse than Death.
      • The man built a machine that creates tachyons (particles that travel in time), perfectioned his body to an nearly impossible level (!he can catch bullets!) and engineered a source of energy similar if not equal to that of Dr. Manhattan. I really don't think death bothers him at all.
      • Considering his level of physical perfection and general total mind and body awareness, integration, etc., he probably thinks that when the time comes he'll have a chance at successfully copying Dr Manhattan's transformation. (Seems to me to be a more logical reason for owning another of those field subtractor thingimawhatsits.)
  • In the movie, why did Ozymandias need to blow up so many cities in order to create world peace? Specifically, an explosion of that magnitude in Moscow, attributable to the USA's pet god (even if it wasn't actually Dr. Manhattan) would have gotten every Soviet nuke in the air as soon as anyone could press the big red button, and there would not have been time to broker a peace. Just hitting New York would have gotten the ball rolling without pushing twitchy Russians over the edge. I never would have thought that a giant psychic squid would have been a more plausible ending than anything.
    • Because, to be blunt, we've already seen New York (or at least the most prominent structure in it) get blown up, and it didn't unite anybody for longer than about a week.
      • That's because in real life, you had 19 Muslim fanatics mount a kamikaze attack on the World Trade Center, and took out less than 5000 people. In the movie, Ozymandias uses tech developed by Dr. Manhattan to cast the fucking Dragon Slave on a dozen cities worldwide, and racks up several megadeaths. It's easier to unite the world against a suddenly inimical god than it is to unite the world against Islamic militants — especially when over a billion people consider themselves adherents of Islam.
      • As a Muslim I take extreme offense to that. It makes it sound like all the billion of us support militarist and terrorist Islam. If you would like for me to take you to school on such misconceptions, I've done it a million times before. But I'll be kind and assume you were just being callously sloppy with your wording.
      • It creates a less "New-York-is-the-center-of-the-universe" feel to it, and makes it slightly more plausible that all the nations of the world would get together a hug under one giant Americo-Soviet hegemony. Remember that the Soviets are really nasty bastards in this story but they're not suicidally insane — there's no point in sending nukes flying to kill Dr. Manhattan himself (or they would've done it already), and there's no point in blowing up Dr. Manhattan's home country when Dr. Manhattan has apparently already done that.
      • That said, his decision to target Moscow (or any other Soviet city) in the movie was still kind of risky and dumb (see above).
      • I don't see any evidence that the Soviets (or even Nixon for that matter) are villains of this piece, or that either side was any worse than Real Life. The presence of superheroes simply dictated both side's responses differently and provided fuel to the hard-liners on both sides.
    • Consider what would happen if Veidt left Russia out of his plan. Suddenly you have several cities around the world destroyed ostensibly by Dr. Manhattan, who's just had an apparent falling out not necessarily with Earth, but definitely with America, and America's big foe in the Cold War remains untouched by Manhattan's apparent attack. What's the US going to think about Manhattan's loyalties (and the idea of making peace with the USSR) after that?
  • In the film, Ozy substitutes Dr. Manhattan for the fake alien invasion. The idea still being that if he gives the world a common enemy, they'll unite to fight against it. But everyone in the world thinks Dr. Manhattan = America, so the movie-Ozy's plan should CAUSE nuclear armageddon, not prevent it.
    • The world knows, however, that Manhattan abandoned the US and humanity for Mars, his very absense destabilizing the US's hegemony. So no, they wouldn't associate "Manhattan"'s attacks on several American cities and several foreign cities to be the actions of an American agent. Not a plot hole.
      • Yes, still a plot hole (and the one that bothered This Troper the most about the changed ending). In the history of the cold war, every time the United Staes made a major blunder, the communist countries would draw tighter against us. Letting our blue, naked, weaponized man go rogue and start blowing stuff up certainly wouldn't have caused anyone to sympathize with us, or given us allies. Most likely, Ozy's new plan just would have turned the entire situation into "the world vs. the US" more, either from suspicion that we planned it and already backstabbed our own populace, or we're too incompetent to be trusted. IJBM
      • Nope. The movie explicitly implied the Soviet Union viewed Manhattan as a threat as well. It's still not a plot hole.
    • EXACTLY. That's the biggest flaw in the whole "movie vs book" argument about the ending. Blaming Dr. Manhattan, who has been a very prominant American, despite his trip to Mars, and assuming the Soviet Union, let alone the rest of the world, is going to not question it? Besides the fact, why would they have a reason to believe it's not a trick? What was the real motivation for Manhattan to do such a terrible thing anyway? "Well, the Americans recognize it as his power signature, so we MUST believe them!" Yeah, in 1980's Soviet Union (even Alternate Soviet Union), I seriously doubt they just accepted that one at face value. Granted, the squid idea was a little weird, but at least an outside force not connected at all to any antagonist would be a better argument for "Us Against Them."
    • I think the fact that AMERICAN CITIES got completely destroyed is a pretty good reason to believe that it's not a trick. No government would greenlight the destruction of their own major cities just for a political power play. I think that given the fact that Dr. Manhattan had abandoned the US, plus the fact that there would plenty of testimonies from US officials and Veidt (as mentioned above, the leading expert on Dr. Manhattan) of Manhattan's disillusionment of the US Government and human life in general, and the distruction of cities across the world including the US, the idea of Dr. Manhattan going rogue and attacking the world independently of the US would be pretty easy to argue to any skeptical Russians. The only real issue I have with the movie ending is that it make Ozy's Gambit Roulette an even bigger gamble than it was in the book, considering he had much less control over Dr. Manhattan's action's than he did of the squid project in the GN, and so the "Just As Planned" momment falls a little more flat. Seriously, they had to do quite a bit of tweaking to make the new ending believable, but I think—at least for me, anyway—they ultimately succeeded.
      • Also, the Soviets almost certainly have enough data on Dr. Manhattan's energy signature (their allies saw him in action in Vietnam, and if all else failed spies could have gotten access to American files) to verify that part for themselves.
      • They would also be well aware of Dr. Manhattan's increasing detachment from humanity — given his geopolitical significance, he was surely a high-priority target for Soviet intelligence and would be psychologically profiled by their best experts using every scrap of available information.
    One More Body Amongst The Foundations / (Spoilers) Was It Worth It?! 
  • You know what bugs me? The ending. Rorschach's death bugged me, if only because the character could be used for some interesting moral/psychological exporation. The implication that half of New York died for naught bugs me.
    • The most interesting thing about Rorschach is the way he chooses death, in my mind — especially since so much of his earlier existence seemed to be intricately bound to raging against death. (Rorschach has, at this point, been the unkillable man who refuses to give up against any odds whatsoever, and he rages against the idea of ever accepting death as a good thing in his speech about Anubis to Nite Owl.)
    • I think it is supposed to. Watchmen doesn't have a conclusion AT ALL, if I'm right, so it is left for the reader to come up with one. Besides, half of New York didn't die for nothing, they died for world peace. Or did they?
      • The 'or did they' is the part that bugs me. Granted, I doubt it would have worked as well if it had ended differently.
      • It's supposed to bug you. If all works of literature refused to "bug" the reader, literature would be a lot more boring.
      • I belive that was a solution, but only temporary. Everybody would be at each other throats in less than 100 years.
      • 100 years of world peace is worth half a city. Lot more would have died in the prevented wars, and money that would have gone to the millitary/industrial complex could be applied to medicine, food and economic buildup.
      • Don't assume that "peace between the U.S. and Russia" is world peace. There are plenty of countries and cultures where a mere alien invasion and the death of all New York would be an annoying distraction compared to the ongoing battles against the traditional age-old enemies of their people. There certainly would not be a cessation of wars for a single generation, let alone 100 years.
      • Peace between the USA and USSR leads to world peace — in this world — because an alliance between the USA and USSR leads to a single hegemonic superpower with the ability to crush any pissant Third World troublemakers under their boot. The Third World troublemakers have only existed as long as they have because the two superpowers use them as pawns against each other — now that the superpowers, their strength all intact, are working * together* , and now that they have a terrible and overriding responsibility to protect the Earth from the next alien invasion by any means necessary, it seems like an all-powerful One-World Government is in the offing. And Ozymandias has stated rather unsubtly that he plans to maneuver himself into becoming its leader (putting aside Alexander to become Ramses).
      • Yep, a single hegemonic superpower would have the ability to crush any pissant Third World troublemakers like Iraq or Afghanistan real easy. What a wonderful world they were able to make. Empire is never pretty, and it isn't nice. A divided world isn't pretty and it isn't nice. World Peace is a dream because human beings live in the world.
      • It's interesting how no one considers the possibility of the creation of an al-Qaeda-like organization that operates outside of international boundaries. Almost ten years into their notion of a "war on terrorism", and al-Qaeda continues to operate unchallenged and gather new members in plenty of the world. The fictional Brotherhood of Nod would be an even larger example as well, in that it's not tied to one specific religion. If a superstate were to form, its true greatest threat would be an enemy without a single location that operates in many respects as a virus does.
      • Unchallenged?
      • Bear in mind that peace between the USA and USSR doesn't mean a single hegemonic leadership. Even if we assume that there are no more military disagreements between the two for the rest of Watchmen's future, there's still the minor detail of their two completely incompatible systems of economy and government. Joint operations would become mired in red tape, politicians in both countries below the federal level would likely become increasingly resentful and corrupt, dealing with Afghanistan would probably be harder as they have to come up with a strategy and roadmap that both ideologies can accept, and throughout all this it gets even easier for al-Qaeda or Nod as, with the spheres of influence unchecked, more and more people get annoyed about whatever it is drives people to join at the same time as having more rival territory to hide in. Oh, and the Soviet government would be a lot less likely to collapse in such a world, meaning this situation would go on even longer.
      • Terrorism could be a problem. Perhaps that's why Ozymandias's cartoon is going to feature him fighting terrorists? Clearly he has his sights set on that particular problem.
      • God I never noticed that...Oz is such a dick!
    • Rorschach's death was set up to have as little motivation as possible, it seems. In the conversation on Mars, Dr. Manhattan foresaw that he would kill someone, but "their identity is not known to me." The way he says it, he may not have even gotten a face or much of a set-up for the time he would kill someone. If the tachyons were messing with his foresight enough, he may have been mistaken about it being a vision, and when the opportunity to kill someone presented itself, he took the easy path to a self-fulfilling prophecy and killed someone whose face he didn't recognize.
      • Possibly what happened was: Dr. Manhattan meant he literally didn't know who he was killing. He had never seen Rorschach without the mask off and didn't recognize who exactly that was.
      • Except Rorschach pulled the mask off in front of Dr Manhattan literally moments before he was killed.

    • One thing that I keep wondering about Rorschach's death is the tears. Was he killed to help ensure the peace, or was it suicide by "cop"? Basically Rorschach couldn't compromise. It was just so far beyond him that to compromise would kill what made Rorschach's mask the true face. Was he egging Dr. Manhattan along to do what he felt was needed without compromising?
      • Something like that. Remember that Rorschach's motto was never to compromise, even in the face of armageddon. In this scene, he's basically realized the irony of the statement: while he originally meant it as in opposition to the end of the world, he now finds himself compelled to cause it. Even for Rorschach, that can't be fun to swallow. Remember also that the last time he cried was when Kovacs "died" years prior, when the last vestige of his humanity was crushed out when an incompetent criminal attempted to cover up his mistake by turning a child into dogfood. Rorschach's world is about to come down a second time, and death's preferable.
      • In a sense, it's the same quandry that broke the Comedian when he found out about the Squid Plot: the world can't afford for him to prevail under the circumstances, and apparently won't have a place for his hard-line morality in the era to come. The Comedian was one of Rorschach's heroes, and Kovacs' before him as well, so it's appropriate that they'd both break down under the same realization.
    • Surprisingly, that's exactly how I interpreted it (TV Tropers unite!). Rorschach came up against his line at the end - he knew that revealing the truth would plunge the world into war and chaos, and that that was evil, but to stop himself would mean sacrificing his code and identity as Rorschach. So he just "broke" and went on autopilot, heading back to civilization to tell everyone, but when the opportunity presented itself, he went for suicide-by-God. It was a huge Heroic BSoD, basically. That's just my view though.
    • And, for the love of god, why do people keep on deleting my WMGs and JB Ms? Anyway, I used to have a similar question pased asking why Rorshach, who views Kovacs as a mere mask, would show that face to Doc Manhattan? Why not die as Rorshach?
      • Perhaps he thought that that way, Rorschach doesn't die. Only Kovacs dies. He doesn't give this evil, scum-filled world the satisfaction of Rorschach (and with him, the whole Rorschachian moral system) being killed. If he'd died as Rorschach, it would mean admitting defeat, which would be too much like compromise. If the face was not on, the face did not die, and neither did the moral system.
      • Funny. I took the tears to heart and figured that with the revelation of Ozymandias' evil plan the Rorschach persona just breaks. The character finds himself up against a wall where his code does not operate anymore and is so dwarfed by the scale of events as to be irrelevant, and so he tears off his mask. And we see that under that facade Kovacs is crying. He's weeping for the death of millions, for the death of a morality that has guided him for almost two decades, and for his utter impotence in this situation. And so he takes command in the only way that remainds to him, and demands to die alongside his persona.
      • Exactly. A this moment he has become Kovacs again. He is human. Rorscarch knowingly accepts his fate, but underneath Kovacs is still a scared little boy who doesn't understand. While few feel sympathy for Rorscarch, Kovacs is sympathetic without being nauseating, and so his death is heartbreaking, even if the film version has a giggle-worthy pretty bloodstain. In fact, it's worse if you know what's going to happen...
      • Also note that he is wearing the exact same trenchcoat he wore when he turned from Kovacs to Rorscarch (it's still covered with the dog blood that he didn't bother washing), and for me, that reinforces the fact that right then, he reverted back into the human Kovacs from the "monster" Rorscarch.
    • As Alan Moore put it when speaking on the Comics Britannia series, Rorschach gained a "king sized death wish." He was in incredible psychological pain his entire life, but could not let himself die without honor. I feel this supports the Death by Cop interpretation. Doc Manhattan presented him with a way to die. There was no way he was going to survive the book, being that psychotic and uncompromising to the point where his life was destroyed. I find his death, and the removal of his mask especially, to be quite poignant actually.
    • Actually... I thought it was open-ended if Rorschach died or not. Just a few pages later, Doc says something like "I doubt he'll find his way back to civilization." So either yeah, Rorschach was killed, or Doctor Manhattan just teleported him somewhere remote.
      • It's called a euphemism. The whole scene falls apart if Rorschach doesn't die.
      • It's also a subtle punishment of Veidt. Ozymandias obssesses on small details. Manhattan is fucking with his head a bit to suggest there's even a possibility that Rorschach is still alive.
  • I read somewhere that the reason Rorschach is crying when he unmasks himself is because he has realised about his hypocrisy. He was in favour of President Truman's order to use the atomic bomb, reasoning that it was better than having to invade Japan, which would have been much more costlier in lives, both in the Japanese and the American side. And now, he has realised that Ozymandias' plan is exactly the same (killing relatively few people to save many, many others), and he finds himself in the quandary that his morals want him to tell everyone, yet his personal beliefs want him to stay quiet. Probably he was crying because he realised that Manhattan, by killing him, would stop him from having to go against his morals or his personal beliefs.
  • I thought Rorschach was crying because he was crushed by the futility of being what he perceived as moral in a world he perceived immoral. Rorschach had a very strong opinion about what was the right thing to do, but no one else supported him. His superhero comrades - including his best friend - all agreed to accept Veidt's monstrosities. Then Dr. Manhattan stops him from leaving and basically tells Rorschach he's going to kill him for wanting to do his right thing. Rorschach breaks because he can't follow his moral code in a world full of people like this; he takes off his mask in defeat and despair for seeing that no matter what, he can't be Rorschach anymore.

    Why Did They Let Him Live?(Spoilers) 
  • Why did they all let Ozymandias live? I can understand why they didn't tell anyone that Ozymandias was behind the destruction of New York. But they're vigilantes. They kill outside the law based on their own moral code. How could they justify leaving him alive? It might be that I don't find the murder of innocents acceptable under any circumstances (not even to prevent a nuclear holocaust), but I would have killed Ozymandias and left his body to rot in the Antarctic.
    • Would it have saved anyone? Would it have brought back the dead? Nope. It's implied that Ozymandias has sentenced himself to his own punishment, a purely philosophical and spiritual damnation as suggested by his discussion of dreams and his last-minute doubt as to whether what he did was the right thing. For the Implacable Man/Determinator that he is, that's the worst punishment of all: being wrong.
    • Because the plan isn't over yet. Ozymandias still needs to sit behind the scenes and manipulate the chaos in the wake of the war into a strong, noble one-world government. Killing the puppetmaster before the puppet show is over might just ensure that the New York attack hastens rather than delays the end of the world.
    • How? I had this thought some time ago and it really annoyed me, until I realized that they might not be able to. Even assuming that Dan and Laurie could talk themselves into going along with a cold-blooded murder, I don't think that it's possible. Neither Rorschach nor Nite Owl could lay a hand on Ozy, and he's proved that bullets aren't necessarily effective. Doctor Manhattan is the only one of the group who could pose any sort of threat, and he more or less agrees with Veidt's actions.
      • He may not agree, but he's willing to go along with a done deal.
    • Plus, as alluded to above, Rorshach is the only killer among them. Even Manhattan only kills people by accident, or in the defense of The Masquerade, and Dan and Laurie never do anything deadly we hear about.
      • Then there's the question of "Would we really want them to?" Yes, it would be satisfying for the audience to see, but what good would it do beyond vengeance? Would it change anything for the better? It would be very out of character for Dan especially. And then add in the fact that they couldn't kill him, and you have your ending. Also, keep in mind that this is a deconstruction of previous comic tropes. Beforehand, heroes would always stop the villain from destroying the world. Watchmen takes on something more complex than "kill the bad guy and win" morality. In this story, the heroes/villains are trying to stop a hero/villain from saving it. The conclusion is that the characters realize this and choose to fail.
    • Theres a simpler reason. Ozymandias himself said it. "Will you kill me, risking further investigation?" He is a visible public figure, and if he were to vanish or die, people would immediately investigate the reasons as to why or how, which could cause the success to unravel anyways.
    • It should also be noted that Laurie does try and kill Adrian. He catches the bullet. There's nothing to suggest that Dan or Rorschach would do any better, and Manhattan doesn't care enough.
      • Also, Dan and Rorshach tried to whack Adrian before Laurie and Jon (Dr. Manhattan) showed up. They got their asses kicked.
      • And handed to them with a silver platter.
      • In my copy, the plate is gold.
      • While Adrian did catch that bullet, it wasn't a piece of cake to him. If they rapidly shoot at him several times, I doubt he can catch every single bullet. And even if the gun had only one bullet in it, they could try later, with machine guns and bombs to be sure. Not that they had the will to, as pointed out below.
    • Even if they didn't kill him, they could still have done something to ensure he doesn't get to rest on his laurels. Merely revealing that Veidt was the one behind the novel's fake extradimensional research program could have sufficed, without ruining his hoax, as he would've surely shouldered the blame for accidentally exposing New York to an alien squid-monster, rather than let the whole truth get out.
      • At the end of the graphic novel, Laurie and Dan set out on a career as vigilantes, playing cruel tricks on Adrian for the rest of their lives. He opens a door, and WHAM! bucket of owl pellets on his head. Dan reprograms Adrian's stuffed Bubastis dolls to say "YOU KILLED ME, ADRIAN" whenever the strings are pulled. Whenever he gets food from a Gunga Dinner, they've spat in it and he's the smartest man in the world so HE FUCKING KNOWS IT'S THERE but he can't do anything because he's in a business meeting and he's got play it cool.
      • In the end, he winds up in the padded cell next to Mothman after one string pull too many.
      • But of course he's anticipated all of that and one day will teleport a giant cream pie over the town they're staying in.
    • As far as Dan and Laurie go, it seems they just broke down. Giddy after some successes they had donned their costumes once more and faced off against the man they thought was the villain. And he kicked their butts, blew their minds, and then let them stay at his place because he didn't consider them a threat.
  • The other issue with killing Veidt is practicality — because Manhattan has been persuaded to Veidt's point of view. That being so, Dan, Laurie and Rorschach wouldn't be trying to kill Veidt alone. They'd be trying to kill a man now protected by a quantum-physics being that can turn guns to glass or outright disassemble people with a handwave, and who is now committed to preserving Veidt's life for the greater good. Manhattan is now Veidt's dragon.
  • Ask yourselves this...in-universe, would you feel comfortable that your murderous friend is walking around freely? Even if you are on Ozzy's side, how do you know the next city he blows up won't be yours? What if your relatives and friends were in those cities he blew up, would you still be on his side? How can you sleep at night knowing millions have perished? How do you know he won't arrange a hit on both you and your girlfriend for knowing too much? I would spend the rest of my life worrying about this psycho assassinating me.
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    Why did it have to happen to Rorscharch... (Spoilers) 
  • Why did Dr. Manhattan bother killing Rorscharch? The obvious answer is that he wants to prevent Veidt's secret getting out (preventing nuclear war), but that doesn't fit well with the next scene. Manhattan heavily implies that a war will occur anyway, and considering all what he had said earlier about "time being relative", this troper couldn't imagine him killing Rorscharch just to try and give mankind a few more months. After all, if he really wanted to give mankind as much time as possible, he probably should have done more to secure our future, rather then just blow up one vigilante and then leave Earth forever.
    • His statement isn't necessarily an implication that the war will occur. Only that things are by no means over. A war might yet be started or it might not. Perhaps Ozymandias will be exposed, but the peace he built will survive him. Or perhaps everything will turn into Crystal Spires and Togas yet. The point is, the issue is far from settled.
      • I always took that scene to indicate that Manhattan was subtly punishing Adrian. What could be worse for Ozy than to hear God (someone who can see the future) tell him that the future he's been working for is ambiguous at best. To deny the smartest man in the world the certainty of knowledge is the most fitting punishment imaginable. Seriously, imagine trying to steer the course of human history. And then you ask someone who can see the future if your doing the right thing, and he just shrugs and walks away. Horrible.
    • Doctor Manhattan didn't need to kill Rorschach. One vigilante (even a very persistent one) with a bunch of crazy journal ramblings isn't going to make a difference. He didn't need to kill him, but there was no real reason to let him live either. Doctor Manhattan doesn't care one way or the other whether Rorschach survives, and the guy was asking him to do it.
    • Rorschach was in the middle of a complete mental breakdown (a breakdown of his already shattered mind), it could easily be a mercy kill for someone who's tearing themselves up inside from being utterly unable to accept to what just happened. Alan himself said he felt Rorschach was in emotional pain and had a king sized deathwish the entire comic.
      • Indeed Rorschach's proposition that he intended to make his way back to the Owlship and then somehow repair it and fly back to America suggested a deathwish all on its' own. He's in the Antarctic. Manhattan killing him then and there at the very least avoided the likelihood of a slow, agonising death from hypothermia.
  • Short answer to all of the above: because Rorschach asked Manhattan to do it. Manhattan might have a renewed interest in human life, but he's still fundamentally detached from humanity. A live body and a dead body have the same number of particles ... albeit in a lot of different places.

    If He's The Smartest Man On Earth, Why Didn't He Just... (Spoilers) 
  • On the subject of Ozymandias: Veidt is described as being smart enough to see the confrontation between the USA and the USSR coming. To avert nuclear devastation, he embarks on his Gambit Roulette to kill half of New York to force the superpowers together. Why, if he is so rich, smart and charismatic, does he not see any alternative? I mean, the most obvious alternative is to run for president, and then work together with Dr. Manhattan (who is now his subordinate) to defuse world tension?
    • Why would he want to be president (or any other head of state)? They have annoying things like union strikes, elections and Cabinets to deal with. This way, he gets to keep his fame which he very much enjoys (the action figures), gets all the power and none of the hassle.
    • Working within the system would take longer and involve a lot of unpredictable random factors, mainly those involving human beings. And the established political interests would not want to lose control of their pet Superman and would fight very hard and very dirty to retain that control. It would also run the risk that said entrenched interests would panic when they felt their control endangered, and do something stupid that given unstable world situation, could trigger the very nuclear conflict Veidt wanted to prevent.
      • I think, given the almost superhuman power as a businessman and public relations expert Veidt is given in the book, that your obstacles wouldn't be insurmountable by Veidt. Then again, he could still try to work within the system and keep his 'alien invasion' plan as a backup. What bugs me is that someone of his assumed intellect doesn't even consider the alternatives, but goes straight for the mass murder plot as the only alternative.
      • Both the "alien invasion" plan and the "work within the system" plan take a very long time and use a lot of resources. He can only do one, so he does the one he figures is more likely to succeed.
      • Why on earth would you assume he didn't consider other plans?
      • Or that Veidt is even eligible to run for President? His parents immigrated to America the year he was born. It's not specified if he was born before or after they'd arrived.
      • With Veidt's money, fame, and charisma, a campaign to change the law to allow non-native US citizens to run for President would be a piece of cake.
    • It's also worth bearing in mind that Ozymandias is quite possibly fucking insane. Just like every other character, Ozy has been affected and twisted by his career as a vigilante. Rorshach became more brutal and paranoid as he went down his path; Manhattan became more detached and inhumane as he goes down his; et cetera. I don't think Ozymandias' plan is supposed to come across as sane and sensible; he's the idealistic monster, a psychopath with a God complex. You could see him as actually representing Rorschach's ethos, on a massive scale: Rorschach tortures and kills "scum" because he sees it as necessary to carry out justice; Ozy is willing to commit a crime against humanity because he sees it as necessary to save the Earth from itself. And as a result, I think both characters are supposed to come across as compelling and repellent at the same time. Neither is simply a "good guy" or "bad guy." And ultimately, Moore's depiction of their morality—men who have appointed themselves the arbiters of life and death for the "greater good" of others—directly parallels that of the government itself. When Nixon is shown sitting in a briefing room discussing how many millions of Americans are "acceptable" to lose in a nuclear war, he's on the same morally questionable ground as Rorschach, which is very much the sort of point Moore likes to make about governments and authority figures.
      • Veidt is insane. This plan isn't necessarily what Adrien Veidt would do. It's what Ozymandias would do. It's big, elaborate, and crafty. Veidt has little to no regard for the world's fate. He's doing this to satisfy the thirst for feeling like a hero. Why else do you think he executes his plan while wearing his costume?
      • Perhaps he feels it depersonalises him? That Ozymandias, who is not entirely human, may take on morale burdens that the merely-human Veidt may not? After all, the archetype of the superhero is about more than a clever disguise, it's about creating a animate personification of "right"; for the superhero to be something more than human, it is necessary for them to become something other than human. Veidt may feel that he needs to undertake his plan while in his Ozymandias persona to provide the distance from humanity needed to engage in such a tremendous act of, if we are frank, vigilantism, to allow himself to become something capable of playing god.
      • Doesn't fit with the end of the story and the fact Ozymandias recognizes himself as the mariner in "Marooned". He outright says to Manhattan that "I've made myself feel every death." Empathy's not in the vocabulary of a psychopath.
      • The above point can still stand, since The Unfettered does not have to lack empathy, just push it aside. There are implications that Kovacs, and even Blake, are indeed affected on some level by the deaths they cause, as much as they wish not to be. They either reassure themselves that it's the right thing to do (Kovacs, Veidt) or that they don't care (Blake). This might even make the interpretation above more profound, since it drives home how easily humans can go against their consciences.
    • Also, to paraphrase Scott Adams — he's the smartest man on Earth. Who are you to tell him that his logic is flawed? He says "this is the best way", how are you going to disprove that?
      • That is quite possibly the silliest thing Scott Adams ever said. And the competition is stiff. Smart, even —smarter than everyone else— does not equal "infallible." If the world's smartest man would care to share his data and reasoning with, say, the world's ten next smartest people, it is quite possible they would find the former to be incomplete or the latter to be flawed. And by flawed I mean the batshit crazy result of a warped savior complex the size of Jupiter, but that last bit's just character interpretation. NB: You cannot disagree with me on this, my IQ is higher than Scott Adams'. I am therefore inarguably correct. And remember, all tropers and Cretans are liars.
      • Maybe. But try telling that to the guy who goes around calling himself and certainly considers himself the smartest man on Earth.
      • Also don't forget that this is a book, and a superhero comic book at that. The genre is full of "super geniuses" who, aside from having their names on a number of diplomas and devices the author thought up, are dumb as a sack of bricks or at least no more intelligent than their almost certainly not super genius creators. I'd say Ozy fits neatly into this category.
      • Decision calculus. It's safe to assume that there were other options available to him; I can't imagine there could only be one single way to bring about potential world peace. But he assigns a value, say, to how many lives would be lost, the odds of his idea working, the potential number of factors that he can't predict, the probability of being caught, the length of the peace created, et cetera. Eventually he figures out that there is, objectively, a way to save the world with the smallest possible price. He's basically doing the moral equivalent of clipping coupons.
  • If he's the smartest man in the world, then why didn't he just leave well enough alone? He came up with this plan to prevent WW 3, but it became a self fulfilling prophesy because he's the one who drove Manhattan away, leading to the start of WW 3. Why not just wait it out? Wait until Manhattan takes off on his own accord (if he even does) and then start your plan?
    • It wasn't just the immediate threat of warfare. It was also the strain the Cold War put on the economy of both sides, the growing feelings of hostility, the food crisis, and other such issues. He wanted to end all of them at once.
    • Because World War 3 was coming sooner rather than later. Veidt thought that the war was not only inevitable, it was imminent. When he forced Manhattan away from Earth, he wasn't doing so in order to raise tensions from behind the Iron Curtain, he was doing it so that Manhattan couldn't stop him. It didn't matter if tensions rose during the brief period between Manhattan's disappearance and the appearance of the tentacle monster/worldwide catastrophe, because immediately thereafter, things would be fixed.
  • As to why Veidt didn't simply run for President: because it wouldn't have given him the power to stop the war in any event. The office of the President isn't a dictator with absolute power; he still answers to Congress and to the people every four years. He's the only one who can launch the nukes, yes, but that doesn't help — it was Manhattan's existence that provided (limited) protection from the Soviet nukes — and even that wasn't a shield since it just prompted the Soviets to increase their nuclear stockpile. More to the point, the President also does not have the power to force change through (as we've been seeing recently) no matter how hard he campaigns on it or wants the change to happen. And most importantly, being President doesn't control Russia's actions — it only controls the United States. Veidt also wasn't going to go to war to stop nuclear annihilation, either; he had logic and Alexander the Great's failed examples to show him that. No, he could only enact a scheme that would convince both nuclear powers at once to stop fighting and cooperate — something he could not do as the President.
  • There is one thing that bugs me about successness of Veidt plan: Dr.Manhattan can see the future, Veidt finds a way to stop him from doing it. Couldn't he instead to ask him whether or not the nuclear war was inevitable?
    • Dr.Manhatten would have answered 'yes'. Veidt's plan succeeded because the signal caused by his tachyons was indistinguishable from nuclear annihilation, and indeed Dr Manhatten described it as such to Laurie.
      • That would require depending on Dr Manhattan's answer. While he presumably does know the answer, whether he'd actually reveal it is another story. I suspect trying to use Manhattan to scry the future would prove a most frustrating oracle.
  • Couldn't he created a series of elaborate underground fallout shelter so that humanity can still survived in case of nuclear war while he tries to end the cold war more peacefully.
    • An endeavor of that magnitude would cost too much money, even for Adrian. As powerful and as rich as he is, Adrian still made sure to note that the 4 billion dollars he put into tachyon research to neutralize Jon's foresight was "no small cost" to him.

    Moral Implications Of Book Vs Film Endings 
  • It bugs me how the underlying moral of the story seems to have been changed from the book to the film. Ok, I'll admit this may be just a personal thing. But here's how I see it; in the book, Ozymandias' plan boils down to this: make the USA and USSR unite against an alien threat and therefore promote a peaceful coexistance between the two, the moral being that when the chips are down people will work together to survive and that all thats needed for world peace is a big enough threat for the world to unite against. In the film, the plan is roughly the same except instead of a manufactured alien, Veidt frames Dr Manhattan and the USA and USSR unite against him instead. Thats a little more unsettling to me because of the numerous comparisons across both adaptations between Manhattan and a god. Veidt essentially puts the fear of a god into the world. Suddenly the moral changes from "World peace relies on us all uniting against a common (but still natural) threat" to one of two alternatives, either "World peace relies on the abolishment of religion, the rejection of God, so that we can all come to an agreed atheistic world view" or alternately "World peace will only happen when God himself intervenes and punishes us, forcing us to coexist". Speaking as a liberal agnostic, neither one of those sit very well with me and I'm sure that they probably weren't intended by whoever wrote the screenplay, but Watchmen is the kind of work people read into, and this is what I read.
    • I don't see what the problem is. As a conservative Christian, I actually kind of like the latter moral. All things considered, throwing the fear of God (whether literal or figurative) back into people would probably go a long way toward establishing true world peace (even if only a temporary peace). Even if you don't believe in any type of god or gods you have to admit that the threat of punishment is a pretty powerful motivator for moral behavior. And as you say, people will read into it what they want, so people can choose whatever of those two morals they prefer. Or alternatively, they could choose neither one. After all, who's to say either one of those is the message behind the movie? Maybe the movie's message is identical to the book and you're just reading too much into it. Or maybe the movie doesn't have a deeper message at all. Maybe the book doesn't even have a deeper message at all. Maybe the story never had a message in the first place. And maybe that is the intended message. That sounds like something Alan Moore would do, get everybody feverishly searching through his book for a message that doesn't really exist as a social commentary on how people are constantly seeking hidden meanings that don't really exist.
      • As a conservative Jew, I find this terrifying. I'm sorry. There is much wrong with the idea that the world has to unite against a vengeful, angry god.
      • As a Flying Spaghetti Monster, I find all of these morals offensive because they do not acknowledge my noodly omniscience.
      • As an atheist, I find the former moral to be correct. Religion is responsible for millions of deaths, thousands of years of hate and more than a few human rights violations. Had religion never come into existence, many wars would have never happened, many lives would have never been prematurely snuffed out and millions of people could have been happy.
      • Bullshit. You can't say "well, if this one thing hadn't happened, everything else wouldn't have happened." You don't know, and one thing that's been made painfully clear throughout human history is that we homo sapiens are really really good at coming up with reasons to kill each other. If it hadn't been "my God is better than your God" behind a given conflict, it would've been, "Your land is better at making crops than my land."
    • As someone in the middle (grew up as a catolic christian, study mythology and comparative theology and I think that God maybe exist/existed but I believe that he maybe doesn't interfere on human existence as much as we made out to/or wish, because he can't/won't/is for the best/who knows but again is all a maybe) I think the movie message was just bringing it all into full circle: The presence of Dr. Manhattan brought the imbalance of power to the Watchmen universe that lead to almost nuclear war, it was only fair/just that he was used to bring peace and balance again.
    • Arguably, the problem wasn't the existence or rejection of God, it was the fact that God very clearly favored one people (Americans) over another (everyone else, but specifically Russia). "God exists, and he's American." So Russia was put into a situation where they literally could not win and there was nothing they could ever do about it. The reason that multiple religions can exist is because there's a reason to doubt everyone else: Jesus might or might not be the son of God, Mohammed may or may not have been God's favorite prophet, Hebrews may or may not be God's chosen people. Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, it's safe to assume that any of these are correct. But Doctor Manhattan was clearly there and he would fuck your shit up if you weren't on the right team. So in a world where God literally favors one people over another, and the only recourse for the other is the end of the world, Ozymandias chose to eliminate the threat. Since he couldn't eliminate Russia, he went with Doctor Manhattan.
      • Regardless of whether or not Dr. Manhattan is acknowledged as a god by the Russians, Ozymandias' plan in the comic was to unite the US and Russia against an alien threat. In the movie, it's supposedly the same thing, except that Ostrander has decades of siding with the U.S. against everyone else. How did the U.S.S.R. not see the destruction of several major cities in a manner that pointed directly at Dr. Manhattan as an attack by the U.S.?
    • I actually disagree with the notion that the moral is about uniting under the fear of god, because Manhattan isn't a god. He's a human being; a very powerful and alien human being, but still a human being, that represents a universal threat to both sides. Whether the threat is a human, an alien, or a deity, however, the human reaction is the same: unify against it and, ultimately, try to kill it.
      • It really comes down to your definition of "god." In terms of worship, no. Which, in our world, is basically all God is: a being that may or may not exist, but whatever state He or She is in, God needs worship badly. But on the other hand, when faced with a being who is literally capable of disassembling you molecule by molecule and would not care, you might as well call it a god.
    • I always believed that in both works, the "Manhattan is God" idea was rejected when "he" started giving people cancer. The movie simply took it a step further by turning him into the threat. It isn't a "fear of god" thing so much as a "fear of a blue guy who had us all thinking he was god so we're already kind of bitter" thing.
      • The main problem I have with the ending change has nothing to do with the moral ramifications of Dr.Manhattan being god, it's the fact that he has been shown to be invincible capable of bringing down countries alone, with zero effort on his part. For all intents and purposes, in terms of both power and ability, he IS a god compared to anyone else. Here's the issue, how is humanity supposed to rally against a god? They can't and they should know they can't, they've seen what hes capable of. Against the aliens they know they have a chance, the first one died, so they know the others can, it would just take an united front against them.
      • That may be the point. The world can't beat him, so they'll unite to toe the line to make him happy.

    Rorschach's Journal And The Cliffhanger Ending 
  • I have never understood how Rorschach's journal is supposed to represent much of a threat at the end of the story. Veidt controls most of the media, the New Frontiersman is a paper read only by right-wing nutjobs who don't tend to be taken seriously or liked even by the story's very emphatically Republican government, and Rorschach's public reputation is that of a paranoid psychotic, while Veidt's is practically saintly. It seems highly, highly unlikely that even if excerpts from the journal were published that they would do any ultimate harm to world peace, especially because all Rorschach said was that Veidt was behind it all. He didn't back it up with details or further explanations.
    • Of course.

Most it would do is create a conspiracy like JFK.

  • So Rorschach is supposed to be seen as paranoid kook - but how is it that his "mask killer" theory is supposed to make less sense than the actual plot?
    • Less sense? Rorschach's theory makes more sense than the actual plot, such that everyone is blind-sided by Ozymandias's ultimate victory. The problem is that, as stated above, Rorschach can't see beyond the small picture, and can't imagine it's more complicated than a simple plot to kill heroes.

  • Only just read it for the first time, so there's probably an answer: Why does everyone think Rorschach's journal could restart the arms race, given that he last wrote in it before his capture, and hence long before anything he had to say would be particularly earth-shaking?
    • Correction: He last wrote it just before he departed to Karnak, after he'd gotten proof that Veidt was responsible for whatever crazy business was about to happen.
    • For a certain given value of "proof," which consists of the semi-anonymous word of a madman in a fringe publication trying to bring down one of the most respected men in the western world. Yeah, I never thought that cliffhanger had a valid chance of stopping Veidt's plan. Not that I object to the world being saved...
      • Still, all he says is "Veidt did it". No how, no details, nothing. It's nothing but hearsay from a deranged sociopath, and that is not enough to cause any serious investigation.
    • Personally, I always saw Rorschach's journal as being appropriate fuel for those unhappy with the truce between the nations. It wouldn't take much to inspire the disgruntled who resent giving up the fight against the U.S.S.R. Yes, it would be the journal of a murderous hobo, but lesser things have definitely inspired conspiracy theories, domestic terrorism, political campaigns, etc. Anyone looking for dirt on Veidt and bringing down the new world order would take it as gospel.
      • Funny how folks demonize anyone who wants to bring down Veidt, because it might restart the cold war. As Dr. Manhattan pointed out, his plan won't end anything. And American society, for one, was based on revolution in support of ideals — Veidt's plan is a One World Government based on a lie. Why not tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may? Shouldn't people be moral free agents, responsible enough to make their own, well-informed actions? Given that the heroes always get to find out the secret plan in fiction, I like to think you'd want to know, too, if you lived in the Watchmen-world (since the heroes are audience-surrogates.)
      • Human beings are extremely stupid, reactionary, assholes. People shouldn't be "moral free agents, responsible enough to make their own, well-informed actions" because most human beings are irresponsible and don't give a damn about being well-informed, just told they're right.
      • In case you hadn't noticed, what happened last time the chips were left to "fall where they may" was the gigantic geopolitical clusterfuck Veidt was trying to solve.
      • Veidt took the steps he did not because he thought World War III was inevitable, but because it was imminent. Or so he claims, anyway. If the moral debate were simply "Aren't people entitled to even unpleasant truths, that they might make decisions accordingly?" I imagine it would be much easier. But when some of those people are in charge of nuclear warheads, it becomes more complicated. If the truth might end the world, I think it's justified not to let it get out.
    • Whether or not the journal itself is enough of an information leak to cause Veidt's plan to unravel it points to all the other things he might have missed, the infinite unpredictable factors that could lead to someone finding out the truth.
    • Rorschach's journal possibly forms the basis for a new group of vigilantes who fight against Ozymandias' New World Order. They may not win, but they cause enough chaos and confusion to knock everything off track.
    • Because a puzzle is much easier to assemble if you know what the final picture is supposed to look like. In Ozy's headquarters, Nite Owl didn't do anything magical or extra-secret- he simply used Ozy's database to connect the dots and realized that the corporate pyramid behind everything had Ozy at it's pinnacle. There's nothing to stop anyone else from following the money and putting the final picture together the same way they did, especially now that they know that there's a unifying figure behind seemingly unconnected events- Moloch, Janey Slater, the various people who disappeared. . .
    • Nothing to stop them, except that the trail Night Owl followed had its roots in a building that was presumably vaporized in the blast. Adrian covers his tracks well; he only left a thread for his old friends because he didn't want them disintegrated or continuing to investigate.
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