A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this landmark graphic novel is meant for mature readers and contains lots of violent imagery, profane language, and events of vigilante justice. That aside, Moore and Gibbons work together to create a genre-shaping graphic novel that's as engrossing visually as it is in plot.
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. 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?