Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen shows an alternate history where the country is dangerously close to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Justice was once kept in this world by a group of costumed vigilantes—superheroes without the special powers—who have since retired. However, when one of their former numbers is killed, the group finds themselves pulled back into their superhero lives to investigate.
Moore and Gibbons makes full use of the graphic novel medium—it’s not just a story enhanced by pictures, rather the visual aspects move the plot in ways that words cannot. The 2009 movie, though not perfectly loyal to the plot, is certainly worth watching—especially for the shots that are exact replicas of the comic’s panels.
The book can be a bit dense, especially for those expecting the typical superhero comic read, but it is worth taking your time and noticing the details on every page. Watchmen is the perfect example of how graphic novels can be more than just comic books.
Watchmen totally earns its rep as possibly the greatest graphic novel of all time. There's just so much depth, so many layers, so many things you catch in re-readings. Mixes prose chapters with panels perfectly. And Gibbons does subtle but terrific things with panel organization.