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Who watches the watchmen?

The Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, is a graphic novel that has claimed a place in contemporary American fiction. It is set in New York City, but takes trips to Mars and the Arctic.

Set at a time when superheroes (or "adventurers") are middle-aged, having been forced into retirement years earlier by a law prohibiting their activities, The Watchmen begins with the murder of one of these former adventurers, The Comedian. A former colleague, Rorschach, begins his own investigation. As more adventurers are attacked, the world around them crumbles, and their personal lives become intertwined with international problems that threaten nuclear war.

These are not comic book superheroes: some are vicious, morally aloof if not amoral, or neurotic. This graphic novel is dark, but appropriate to the Cold War backdrop.  It is an engaging read that deconstructs the superhero archetype and shows the dangers of relying on the powerful to improve our world.

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