The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Brazos County officials are distributing free backpacks, school supplies and gift cards for K-12 students on July 12 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bryan High Silver Campus Cafeteria.
Brazos County to distribute free school supplies
‘Back to School Bash’ invites K-12 families on July 12
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • July 11, 2024
Graduate G Tyrece Radford (23) drives to the basket during Texas A&Ms game against Nebraska in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee, on Friday, March 22, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
How Tyrece Radford can catch the attention of NBA scouts
Roman Arteaga, Sports Writer • July 10, 2024

After 5 years of college basketball at Virginia Tech and Texas A&M, Tyrece Radford is furthering his athletic career with the San Antonio...

Craig Reagans 1973 brown Mach 1 Mustang features custom stickers of Craig and his wife, and is completely rebuilt from the ground up. The interior was completely torn out and replaced with new dashboard and radio.
Compassion in the car community
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • July 9, 2024

This past Sunday, Cars and Coffee welcomed exactly one car: a sleek, brown Mustang that stood alone like a lone ranger in the Wild West. This...

Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
Analysis: Chancellor Sharp’s retirement comes with new dilemmas
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • July 2, 2024

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp announced Monday he will be retiring on June 30, 2025.  A figure notorious in state politics,...

Watchmen’ is a tour de force

On March 6, millions will flock to theaters to see one of the most anticipated releases of 2009. “Watchmen,” the latest comic book adaptation from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, has already received much critical attention. The graphic novel the film is based on is being hailed as “the most celebrated graphic novel of our time.”
Created by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, “Watchmen” is a 12-issue comic book spanning several decades in an alternate history of the U.S. As the graphic novel jumps between time periods and characters, it is difficult to briefly summarize the plot of “Watchmen.” The book opens, however, with the murder of Eddie Blake (a.k.a. “The Comedian”), a former masked vigilante. Having been outlawed by the government, most superheroes, including Eddie, have long since hung up their masks and capes. This is not the case for Rorschach, a vigilante with a thirst for raw justice and a mask that imitates the patterns of the Rorschach inkblot test. Fearing something far more insidious than a simple homicide, Rorschach begins an investigation to uncover what he fears is the ultimate conspiracy.
From the very beginning what is most intriguing about “Watchmen” is its narrative structure. The first chapter chronicles the beginning of Rorschach’s fateful exploration of Eddie’s death. Throughout the course of this investigation, the reader becomes briefly acquainted with the rest of the principle characters in the novel. But from there, the reader is not taken to the next linear step of the plot. Between chapters are excerpts from various sources within this fictional world.
One of these sources is “Under the Hood.” As an autobiography by Hollis Mason (a.k.a. the first “Nite Owl”), the book chronicles Mason’s journey into the world of masked vigilantism, and a brief history of how superheroes came to be in the fictional America of “Watchmen.” Other works like newspaper clippings, psychological profiles and letters between characters punctuate the space between the chapters, slowly but surely fleshing out this fascinating world. The graphic novel moves forward like an enormous tapestry: one stitch at a time.
Another inter-narrative device is a graphic-novel-within-the-graphic-novel called “Tales of the Black Freighter.” Readers of “Watchmen” are treated to excerpts from the dark tale as an anonymous comic book collector reads through its pages on a street corner. What makes this intercut so fascinating is how the plot of “Tales of the Black Freighter” mirrors the action happening on the streets of “Watchmen.”
The social commentary in “Watchmen” is not hard to find, but it certainly offers some thought provoking questions in a way other works have only dreamed of doing. At its heart, posing questions seems to be the novel’s principle aim, but the answers are left up to the reader.
The other obvious aim of “Watchmen” is the systematic deconstruction of the classic superhero genre for the purposes of exploiting its powers of metaphor and societal commentary. This goal is achieved with an effortless grace, born of both the deliberately structured narrative and the stunning artwork.
“Watchmen” is not what most would expect from a comic book about an America in which costumed superheroes and masked vigilantes played an integral role in the sociopolitical climate of the world at large. And for that, it is a piece in a class all its own. One can only hope that the film adaptation will remain faithful enough to the novel to achieve the same level of intellectual impact.

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