I just finished “Watchmen” and it may well be the most powerful graphic novel ever written. I had Alan’s “From Hell” and that was amazing. There’s no doubt that Alan is a genius – he must not only immerse himself on concept of the future but also the past. I didn’t care for the art in “From Hell”, but that may have been intentional – the art is disturbing in a similar fashion to the topic.
“Watchmen” is a bit different tho – the dialog and art could easily be the average item behind the drugstore counter – but the story is something far beyond. It’s a tale of superheros – none how appear to have any power beyond intelligence or dexterity – and the end of the world. At least half of the heros are broken in different ways: betrayal, horror, disgust, and the a lot of the cast is retired and forgotten.
This world is ugly, none of the current Marvel world grossly inflated breasts here. The population is suffering from atomic bomb depression and the Alan’s anarchy is showing in the population. The victims are the heros, the heros are conflicted, and there’s no such thing as a happy ending. Our one major protagonist is pretty much insane, locked up by the police, and will probably never live a happy existence. So it goes.
See also the in-depth documentation with which fans have followed this series.
“Significantly, Watchmen was the first (and thus far, only) comic book to win the prestigious Hugo Award for excellence in science fiction.”