By Grace Le,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Retired heroes fight to save themselves in gritty classic.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Sometimes even superheroes need saving. Working as a team can help get the job done.
Positive Role Models
Damaged characters host a slew of moral vices. But they team up to solve the mureder of a superhero.
Violence & Scariness
Exaggerated comic book violence depicts guns, explosions, mutation, hand-to-hand combat, animal abuse, and the horrors of war. One startling scene features a brief but brutal attempted rape (not explicit). In another, a pregnant woman is shot in cold blood.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some mild sex scenes, references to prostitution, and a cartoonish porno comic called a "Tiajuana Bible."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Some name-calling and swearing, such as "s--t" and "goddamn."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Fictional brand Veidt dominates the market, but some familiar brands remain to retain realism. Big names like Kleenex and ABC make occasional appearances.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking, drug addiction, and aesthetic cigar(ette) smoking reminiscent of old Hollywood. A political cartoon caricatures a woman offering reefers and heroin to a chained Captain America figure.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Watchmen is a landmark graphic novel meant for mature readers and contains lots of violent imagery, profane language, and events of vigilante justice. Still, author Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons work together to create a genre-shaping graphic novel that's as engrossing visually as it is in plot.
Where to Read
Based on 17 parent reviews
Amazing book but filled with dark content kids wouldn’t understand.
Report this review
Amazing masterpiece! But not really for kids
Report this review
What's the Story?
When even superheroes need saving, you know you've got a major problem. In WATCHMEN's alternate history, America is on the brink of social combustion. By passing the Keene Act, the government banned vigilante justice, forcing America's greatest superheroes into retirement. Years later, the murder of The Comedian draws old colleagues back into action, but the circumstances behind his death may run far deeper than mere personal vendetta.
Is It Any Good?
With its sophisticated plot, complex characterizations, and spot-on rendering of the human condition, Watchmen is the quintessential graphic novel. Dave Gibbons' expressive, brooding illustrations complement, not carry, the literary merit of its writing. Poetic in verse and saturated with psychological realism, Watchmen is the only graphic novel thus far to make Time's "100 Best Novels" list, an accomplishment that's well earned.
On the flip side, parents may have a hard time stomaching the story's graphic violence and crass dialogue. Watchmen has come a long way from the cartoonish "POW" and "KABLAMO" of its comic book predecessors. Keep in mind that this graphic novel is meant for mature audiences and is chock full of adult themes and complex issues. That said, Watchmen is a gripping read for any fan of the science fiction or mystery genre.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the many ethical issues raised by the actions and circumstances of the characters in Watchmen. What is a nihilist, and how might being one affect The Comedian's actions?
How does the story's alternate history differ from what happened in reality?
Is it ever OK to take the law into your own hands?
- Author: Alan Moore
- Illustrator: Dave Gibbons
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: DC Comics
- Publication date: April 1, 1995
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 15 - 17
- Number of pages: 416
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Read
Our Editors Recommend
Best Superhero TV Shows
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate