So, that blew my freaking mind. I actually feel sick to my stomach, and unable to come up with an intelligent review. I'm not sure I even want to bother.
Alan Moore hates people, but the alternatives are so much worse.
It's late, and I should be asleep, and Jack and Rexella Van Impe are muted on the tv quoting from the book of Daniel. Which is perfect. Moore owes something to Scorsese in this book, with all the endless intertwining of one event with another. So I type, and these late night tv maniacs go one about the end of the world (also, send them money) and I type, and maybe I should go put on a suit and kick someones ass?
A friend's ditsy sister once went to see a production of Hamlet, and complained afterward, "It was good an all, but so much of it was cliche
" There's a little of that here. Watchman
came first, and covered a lot of ground in things I'd read before, but of course it came first. Watchmen
hits on a lot of the themes that I've seen in other musings about superheroes (such as Chabon's excellent novel): sex, Nietzsche, death, Antisemitism, nationalism, humanity, blah blah blah.
Moore lines up the human and the inhuman, the superhero with the antihero, and they annihilate each other in a sort of nuclear fusion. Boom. And you, dear reader, get to be totally complicit. There's something deliberately off-putting about his style, like gothic or horror. One conversation, one timeline is always overlapping another, and it's hard to keep them straight. But boy, when he lets you feel something for our characters, when you're clearly supposed to identify with someone, that's when you should look the hell out.
Dan and Laurie are our emotional entrance points into the plot, and I really feel the rush of them reclaiming their alter egos, acting out their nostalgia for a fading youth and a more Manichean time. Their ultimate "well, whatever" (I'm trying not to get into spoilers too much) is the "well, whatever" of growing up and putting away childish things, and it's the fucking worst. They visit Laurie's mom, with new yuppie haircuts, and show off how they got theirs and what's done is done, and never has childhood's end seemed so final and unredeemed.
Rorschach is the perpetual child in this reading: traumatized by adult sexuality, completely dualistic and with poor violence control. (Hey man, I love my kids, but they're total savages in their sticky little hearts.) I'm certainly not saying that Rorschach is somehow the hero or something, with his "never compromise" deal. No way. Faulknerian idiot man-child with enormous sexual issues? Not model behavior.
He's ultimately what Dan and Laurie annihilate when they make their choice and put on this disguise of suburban normalcy, and it makes a kind of sense. Rorschach's finger breaking and flattened affect are no way to go about a life. Dan and Laurie choose membership in society over solitary righteousness, and it's an icky, horrible, unflattering compromise. They walk off in the sunset, like the surviving couple at the end of a horror film, and symbolize the middle-class dream of domesticity and heterosexual ideal. God help us all.