I first attempted to read Watchmen several years ago, when my interest in comic books was reignited. I liked (no, loved) most of Alan Moore's work, especially From Hell, which to me is still one of the most chilling looks at the twisted human mind.
I couldn't get into Watchmen, however, and a friend said I shouldn't force it. Maybe it just wasn't for me. So I decided to put it on the backburner. I wasn't completely signing off on it, but I thought I'd read other things first. Well it's been years, and I've finally read it.
Though it doesn't quite throw off From Hell, there's no denying that Watchmen deserves all the accolades. It's a very interesting look at the world of masked and costumed heroes, asking the question we've all wanted to ask Batman but never had the guts: why would you need to wear your undies outside your pants to fight crime?
It is very likely that the last person to ask Batman that question never lived to tell the tale.
I think the major stumbling block when I first tried to read the novel was Rorschach. He just felt so gimmicky and the speech pattern was throwing me off. It's therefore rather interesting that he's also the person to finally get me interested in the novel.
He's genuinely crazy, and he's the hero most likely to turn into a mass murderer, but the point is that he embodies the very point of the novel. When he finally explains the name, that's when everything falls into place and the genius of Alan Moore's novel is revealed.
Because he's right: there is no pattern. It's comforting to think that only crazy people are capable of such evil acts, but the truth is that there's no pattern except for what we want to see, and all human beings have the capacity to commit atrocities.
If that isn't a chilling thought then I don't know what is.