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CSBG Archive

Two Takes on the Twelve as the Watchmen

Good ol’ Don MacPherson passed along two takes on how JMS and Chris Weston’s The Twelve compares to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen.

Both his fairly negative review (here) and Valerie D’Orazio’s fairly positive review (here).

Interesting to read both back to back.

6 Comments

The latter wasn’t too in-depth a review.
I enjoyed the Twelve and I think you can make comparisons to it and Watchmen, but you can do that with almost any “group” comic that has a post-modern slant.
You can cite similarities in the premises of Astro City, the Golden Age and the Watchmen, but that doesn’t mean that those works are diminished by the comparison. They’re not derivatives, they just deal with similar subject matter. They all stand on their own as relevant stories, it’s just that the Watchmen is such a touchstone work that it’s hard not to find similarities with other works that follow it. Is the Watchmen a bad story with no new insights because it has similarities to Squadron Supreme, a story which preceded it? No, not in the slightest.

I don’t think it’s fair to slag the Twelve as derivative of the Watchmen until the entire unfolds. Sure the premises may be similar, but since when was a premise the whole standard for a comic book? I’d rather wait for the story to unfold before passing judgment on the Twelve.

It just seems to easy to dismiss it right off the bat as a Watchmen ripoff.

er too easy.

As is usual for my reviews of any of Straczynski’s comic books, my own review focused on his recurring limitations as a comics writer. I find his ideas interesting, and his execution lackluster. With the exception of Midnight Nation, this has held for every Straczynski comic series I’ve read.

So I’m approaching The Twelve with interest but with low expectations.

Since I mainly perceive Watchmen as having been an experiment in graphic storytelling (and largely a successful one), I don’t see a lot of similarity between it and The Twelve. What similarities there are seem very superficial, to me.

If I didn’t know (think) any better (different), I’d assume Watchmen was the only comic the reviewers had ever read. Really? Flashbacks make it comparable? Heroes turning against one another? Not really.

Now, the latter’s comparison to DC’s The Golden Age make a lot more sense.

Good point, Michael, about the plot hole. I thought the same, but figure JMS will address it.

Yeah, the “Watchmen effect” is really, really annoying, especially when you get pull-quotes like the one that claimed Millar’s Wanted was “the Watchmen for super-villains.” It was a lot of things, but it sure as hell wasn’t that.

Say, should “Watchmen effect” join the Comics Dictionary?

Wanted was barely the Infinity Gauntlet of supervillains, much less the Watchmen.

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