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REVIEW: Watchmen

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment
Rorschach, Nite Owl II, Silk Spectre II, The Comedian, Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias

These are the people who are here to save you. Who saves them?

Second last article of Volume II? I think it’s time to do something special. And there is nothing more special in the world of superhero fiction or speculative fiction or comic books than Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. If you read one book in your life as a citizen of the United States of America or Canada with a basic pop culture background, it should be Watchmen. This book should be on the must-read list for every person who has ever heard the word “superhero”. This is one of the most fantastic, groundbreaking, innovative and frankly awesome works of fiction ever produced in any medium, let alone one seen with such disdain as comics. Honestly, the colossally impressive amount of work put into the panels and bubbles of this series impresses me even today, 25 years after the initial publication of Chapter I. It impresses me today, even on my second read-through. Anyone who hasn’t read this book, read it. Anyone who has, read it again. It is as rewarding the second time through as it is the first, and this time you can afford to slow down and take it all in.

The first time I read Watchmen, it blew past me in three hours on a Thursday afternoon in the summer. This is the first layer of Watchmen: a damn good detective story starring people who wear costumes to fight crime. There are more twists, turns and intriguing questions than in your typical four-star feature film. It begins with Rorschach, an indelible portrait of objectivist black-and-white morals in the form of a “hero”, investigating the murder of a man named Edward Blake. Edward Blake was formerly known as The Comedian–a “costumed adventurer” in the exclusive employ of the United States government for the last decade of his life. The year is 1985, and Nixon is in his fifth term as President. Juxtaposed with Rorschach’s investigation of the death of a Comedian are the stories of the disparate men and women who put on costumes to fight crime after seeing it in comic books and thus changed the face of the world. From the dawn of masked vigilantes, the world has come a long way–all the way to the brink of what looks like inevitable nuclear war. The clock ticks closer to midnight with every passing day. Read more…

Categories: Comics, Reviews

REVIEW: Kick-Ass

September 1, 2010 3 comments

I haven’t reviewed Kick-Ass yet. As it’s one of my favourite movies this year, I feel it’s kind of my duty. According to the Roger Ebert Criteria, I have to ask what Kick-Ass wants to be as a movie and find if it did that. For the purpose of this review, and to reflect my standpoint when first watching it, I’m going to assume it’s an adaptation of a comic book by Mark Millar and drawn by John Romita, Jr. That seems accurate–they’re credited in the opening, after all. As I read the book before I saw the movie, I expected something far different from what I got.

Roger Ebert hates this movie. He gave it one star, solely because it features an eleven year old girl messily killing dozens of low-level mooks throughout the course of the movie and climaxes in what must have been a shower of gore for some very unlucky New Yorkers. I love this movie because instead of apologizing for the level of onscreen violence, swearing and sexuality, it told me to ████ myself and not bother to wear a condom. I love movies like that. If I came to your movie to see gratuitous violence mixed with high levels of profanity, I don’t want you to cop out and tell me that’s wrong at the end. I want you to reward characters for living that lifestyle. Read more…