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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #478

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Welcome to the four hundred and seventy-eighth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and seventy-seven. This week, in what shocking way would Terry Gilliam’s version of Watchmen have ended? Who did Chris Claremont want to be as the fifth member of X-Factor instead of Jean Grey? And did the Superman writers really quickly split from John Byrne’s plots after Byrne had Superman kill in his final issue?

Let’s begin!

NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).

COMIC LEGEND: The original ending of the first attempt at a Watchmen movie was going to be that they were turned into comic book characters!

STATUS: True

SPOILERS FOR WATCHMEN AHEAD! IF YOU HAVEN’T READ WATCHMEN YET, YOU REALLY SHOULD GO DO THAT! BUT JUST IN CASE, FEEL FREE TO GO TO THE NEXT PAGE TO AVOID SPOILERS FROM 1986!!

As acclaimed as Watchmen is (and it sure is acclaimed, as it is awesome), one critique that has existed for the comic ever since it came out (it was something that even its original editor, Len Wein, had a problem with) is the ending of the comic, specifically Ozymandias’ plan for world peace…

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Therefore, for years, when filmmakers tried to adapt the story into a film, there was always a debate over how exactly to deal with the ending.

When the movie was finally made by director Zack Snyder in 2009, the solution that screenwriters David Hayter and Alex Tse came up with is instead of having the world rally against alien invaders, they would rally against Dr. Manhattan by teleporting exploding energy reactors that would make it look like Manhattan attacked the world instead of teleported “alien” squids.

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However, years before Snyder finally got the Watchmen movie made, producer Joel Silver was trying to get one made with famed director Terry Gilliam. In an incredible interview with Coming Soon, Silver explains how their film would have gone:

CS: Speaking of ones that got away, as a die-hard Terry Gilliam fan I have to know if there’s anything juicy you can tell me about his conception of “Watchmen”?

Silver: It was a MUCH much better movie.

CS: Than the one Zack Snyder made…

Silver: Oh God. I mean, Zack came at it the right way but was too much of a slave to the material.

CS: Agreed.

Silver: I was trying to get it BACK from the studio at that point, because I ended up with both “V For Vendetta” and “Watchmen” and I kinda lost “Watchmen.” I was happy with the way “V” came out, but we took a lot of liberties. That’s one of the reasons Alan Moore was so unpleasant to deal with. The version of “Watchmen” that Zack made, they really felt the notion. They went to Comic-Con, they announced it, they showed things, the audience lost their minds but it wasn’t enough to get a movie that would have that success. What Terry had done, and it was a Sam Hamm script–who had written a script that everybody loved for the first “Batman”–and then he brought in a guy who’d worked for him to do work on it [Charles McKeown, co-writer of "Brazil"]. What he did was he told the story as-is, but instead of the whole notion of the intergalactic thing which was too hard and too silly, what he did was he maintained that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy, the world political structure. He felt that THAT character really altered the way reality had been. He had the Ozymandias character convince, essentially, the Doctor Manhattan character to go back and stop himself from being created, so there never would be a Doctor Manhattan character. He was the only character with real supernatural powers, he went back and prevented himself from being turned into Doctor Manhattan, and in the vortex that was created after that occurred these characters from “Watchmen” only became characters in a comic book.

CS: That’s fascinating. Very META.

Silver: Oh yeah. So the three characters, I think it was Rorschach and Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, they’re all of the sudden in Times Square and there’s a kid reading a comic book. They become like the people in Times Square dressing up like characters as opposed to really BEING those characters. There’s a kid reading the comic book and he’s like, “Hey, you’re just like in my comic book.” It was very smart, it was very articulate, and it really gave a very satisfying resolution to the story, but it just didn’t happen. Lost to time.

Good or bad, that would have been quite a remarkable ending.

Thanks to Joel Silver and Coming Soon for the information!

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Check out the latest Movie Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: Discover the tragic story of just how the United States film industry was forced to allow the American Human Association to determine that “No Animals Were Harmed in the Making of This Film.”
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On the next page, who did Chris Claremont want to be in X-Factor instead of Jean Grey? Hint: Her last name rhymes with Pray.

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113 Comments

Awful version. Zack was a slave to the material because with some comic book adaptations, that’s the only way to go. Watchmen turned out brilliant because it was so close. It doesnt work with everything, but it did with Watchmen.

And the changes they did make suited the tone of the comic still, and didnt tread all over it.

I think I still have a copy of the Sam Hamm script for Watchmen somewhere on a hard drive somewhere. I’ll try to see if I can dredge it up, but I think the comic book ending was a part of Hamm’s script well before McKeown came on board.

By the way, the Hamm script is dreadful. Really dreadful. Like what LXG did to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen bad.

“what he did was he maintained that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy,”

That’s a cool idea, but if you’re going to write your own story, write your own story. Don’t steal characters from Alan Moore to make your unique story marketable. Then what’s the point of calling it Watchmen anyway? The Dr. Manhattan instead of the aliens thing was weird, but at least it had the spirit of Ozy’s plans. Not just a completely different thing. That would be a mission bred of fear instead of a madman genius’ plan.

I’ve read that original script. Not only is it NOT a better ending, the script is not even remotely faithful to the source material. Many will say that Snyder was too faithful to the material but that’s ridiculous. The ending to the original script is very corny with the three main characters appearing in a “real world” New York where they solely existed in comic books. It’s B-A-D.

Oh, you’re kiddig. How could this be a good movie?

Also, simpler evidence for your third legend is found on the splash page of Adventures of Superman 450 (which immediately follows the page from Superman you reprint). They credit John Byrne for the storyline right there. (And reiterate it in the letter column at the back!)

Graeme, I can’t remember for sure, but I’m about 80% sure you’re right about the Hamm script’s ending. And, yes, it was pretty terrible.

My take on the ending of Watchmen has always been Moore saying “Here’s your dark, gritty comic about what it would REALLY be like if there were superheroes in the real world…except that’s a stupid concept because there’s no way there could ever be real superheroes and here’s a cliched, pulp novel ending to drive that point home.”

I have no idea if anything Moore has ever said lends any support to this.

Travis Stephens

July 4, 2014 at 10:00 am

While it’s hard to capture all the nuance and subtlety of the Watchmen comic book, the movie did tip it’s hat to the tentacle alien. They referenced the “squid” by naming the device used to create the exploding reactors SQUID- Sub-Quantum Universal Interfacing Device.

“(zack was) Too much of a slave to the material”

“(Our version) was a much much better movie”

Silver sounds like the kind of jackass that likes to change things. If a book is good enough to be a movie then make it a movie. He don’t need to change things just to satisfy his ego.

I wish they had just used Maddie Pryor for X-Factor. Then we would have been spared all that weepy “oh, I left my wife for you,” tedium.

I think the source material makes it very clear that manhatten is a huge game changer. Further more the source mateterial is so good why go out of your way to change it if ypu dont have to. If your going to make a movie adaptation then adapt but if you dont want take take the spurce searisouly why bother. Just leave it alone and dont waste the time of the fans while insulting the creater

‘ I was happy with the way “V” came out, but we took a lot of liberties.’ Sure did, that’s why it sucked.

Why license “The Watchmen” and then change it? Go make up your own characters if you don’t want to do that story. Those aren’t iconic characters that would put asses in the seats like Superman or Batman. And change it into what has to be the stupidest idea I ever heard to boot…

I wish more directors of comics adapations were “slaves to the material,” Mr. Silver.

I love the movie ending, the original ending in the book is a joke, its embarrassing.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: It’s just Watchmen, not THE Watchmen. Never has been. I see this all over the Internet, and it drives me nuts. Is there a joke behind it that I’m not privy to?

That idea for turning them into comic book characters at the end of the Watchmen movie is the WORST IDEA I HAVE EVER HEARD.

And it’s worth noting that Mark Waid has been probably THE biggest reason for the spread of the “all the other writers tried to distance themselves from John Byrne’s Superman”, having actually posted it as fact on his blog at least once.

I’ve always kind of dug the idea of Sara Grey having joined X-Factor. Imagine how different comics would be today! (As I understood Claremont’s intention, though, not only would she be able to trigger people’s latent mutant abilities, but she was also going to be able to track mutants, kind of like Cerebro, no>)

“In addition, she was a single mother, so she could be open to a relationship with the other single members of the team, opening up all sorts of romantic possibilities.”

Yes, because the only thing more awkward than marrying a clone of his dead girlfriend or getting into a relationship with one of her (and his) rivals would be Cyclops chasing after his dead girlfriend’s sister because that is totally what would have happened.

I’ve always kind of dug the idea of Sara Grey having joined X-Factor. Imagine how different comics would be today! (As I understood Claremont’s intention, though, not only would she be able to trigger people’s latent mutant abilities, but she was also going to be able to track mutants, kind of like Cerebro, no>)

Yeah, I think the idea would be that they would sort of go hand in hand. Her ability to “activate” latent mutants would also allow her to detect them. The odds are that he intended this to be as a sort of nod to Rachel Summers’ history as a “hound” (as he was working on Rachel in Uncanny at the time).

It may not be popular to say, but I liked Synder’s ending better than Moore’s. Having the threat come from Manhatten worked on so many levels it ruins the ending of the original for me.

Yes, because the only thing more awkward than marrying a clone of his dead girlfriend or getting into a relationship with one of her (and his) rivals would be Cyclops chasing after his dead girlfriend’s sister because that is totally what would have happened.

I dunno, I would guess that since she WASN’T Jean, it would be more likely that one of the other members of the team would be involved with her (probably two, for a love triangle).

Watchmen was god awful. Definitely too much of a slave to the material. The comic is successful because of how it is paced. That simply doesn’t translate into a movie very well. If you’re going to adapt a movie and not make changes to suit the medium, then why bother at all?

I wish Jason Aaron will get something from the Grey family and incorporate this to his Original Sin run. Just a wishful thinking.

Yes, because the only thing more awkward than marrying a clone of his dead girlfriend or getting into a relationship with one of her (and his) rivals would be Cyclops chasing after his dead girlfriend’s sister because that is totally what would have happened.

Except at the time Maddie was just an “uncanny lookalike,” with a lot of weird coincidences, and not yet revealed to be a clone.

That Whatchmen ending sounds like rubbish. He stops his own creation and that somehow turns them all into comic book characters?! How?!???! And how is a giant alien squid creature sillier than a time traveling naked blue guy?!

The problem with Moore’s ending of Watchmen is that it was based on the idea that the Soviet Union would never collapse and Americans weren’t scared enough of nuclear war- Moore has confirmed so in interviews. Like Michael Crichton’s Rising Sun, it’s based on fears that seemed real at the time but are now viewed as silly- the Soviet Union was collapsing in ’86-’87.

I kind of wish they went with Sara Gray as a member of X-Factor. It’s certainly a far better fate for her character then what she got in the comics.

Brian: It’s Bizarre Adventures 27 not 28!

The problem with any Watchmen movie is that if you haven’t read the graphic novel, you’ll be completely confused. When reading the graphic novel you have the luxury of rereading material as the narative jumps around in a very non linear way. So I thought Zacks version was faithful to the story and the ideas that Moore was trying communicate. His movie has flaws; what human endeavor doesn’t? I thought it was very good and most people familar with Moore’s orginal work seem to at least apperciate the epic attempt to be true to the spirit of the Watchmen. I glean this from the comments I have read and comc fans I’ve talked to; no serious polling done. Anyway, non readers I have found say: “Huh? What the hell was that.”

That alternate ending purposed here is the exact opposite of what Moore what was saying about the “real” possibilities and consequnces of superheroes. Changing the material to fit a medium is one thing, but this is a conradiction of the core message.

Zack Snynder has harsh critics and sometimes his stuff is over stylised, but I think his Watchmen is a faithful attempt and an excellent translation of Moore’s complex ideas.

JM

I always thought the original ending to Watchmen was supposed to be ridiculously silly. The kind of thing that no one would ever believe. And it worked.

Also, a bit nitpicky here, but when they changed the ending they also changed The Comedians arc. In the book, he is upset because he knows what Ozymandias is up to and knows the best thing is not to say anything. It tears him apart inside knowing that so many people are going to die.

In the movie he is upset because Ozy gave some people cancer. That’s it. There is no hint that he knew anything else about the plan.

A minor quibble, but Jean’s sister’s name is CLEARLY spelled with an ‘H’ throughout her first appearance, and yet the editors either missed it or were too lazy to spell Sarah’s name correctly in future stories.

There is a lot of this issue with Candy Southern’s name too (often misspelled without the ‘U’, as ‘Sothern’).

Captain Haddock

July 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm

The plot of Superman assuming another identity and and having a small nervous breakdown was used by Peter Milligan in a story he did on the Adventures of Superman comic, it wasn’t any great shakes but I was wondering why it seemed a little familiar to me.

Wow, what a terrible ending and a terrible idea. Thank god that didn’t get made. I’m angry at Zack Snyder because of the steaming pile of crap he made called “Man of Steel.” I expect “Batman v Superman” to be comparably terrible. But I think that he did a good job of “Watchmen”, precisely because he stayed with the material. The one substantive change he made -i.e., making the world rally against Dr. Manhattan -was actually an improvement on the original comic ending, which was just too far-fetched and came out of left field (almost).

If Joel Silver and Terry Gilliam had done what this article suggests, I expect there would have been riots of disappointed fans and cinemas burned to the ground!

Bringing back Jean Grey was one of the great mistakes of comics. It took what was a tragic and noble death and cheapened it into meaninglessness. Shooter should have left it alone and shown some taste and respect for what Claremont and Byrne accomplished. This is part of the reason that mainstream comics will always fall just a bit short of “art.”

Can anyone explain what the problem with Watchmen’s ending is? (The original comics version)

I really like it! In fact, it’s my favourite thing about the story.

I get that it would be difficult / expensive to film, and may have confused a cinema audience – but why is it a bad ending?!?

Snyder’s Watchmen was a chore to sit through. There are some things that work well on the page that do not work so well on the screen, and the director needed to make better choices. That said, I certainly wish he had been more faithful to Superman–Christ, he did a whole other character! What a shitstorm that movie was–it made Green Lantern look like a Palme d’Or candidate. As for V– Moore’s opinions aside, that was a terrific movie, a perfect example of changing things in a good way. The film still resonates today, and it has moved beyond the walls of the cinema.

I’m inclined to agree with Alan Moore on the Watchmen movie. Watchmen only really worked as a comic book. If you try to deviate from the source material like they were planning to do with the Gilliam adaptation then you basically ruin it, but if you slavishly follow the source material like Snyder’s film what you end up with becomes dry and boring. The power of Watchmen is in its form.

Also, that Byrne story has been in the back of my mind ever since I saw The Man of Steel. Byrne really knew how to handle Superman and the idea of Superman killing people. Byrne did it in a way that was powerful and necessary to the story, the idea of killing people was so antithetical to Superman’s ideals that it tore him up. Snyder’s version didn’t have any of that.

I liked Snyder’s ending better than the original ending if I’m gonna be honest (and I am). That meta-ending sounds bad. I’m glad we got what we got. It may not have made a billion dollars, but I think Snyder made a good movie.

Yngvar Følling

July 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Sure, the movie Comedian had figured out Ozymandias’ plot. I think it was explained that Nixon had tasked him to spy on him. Whatever you feel about that, I think the comic book explanation was a bit weak too. The Comedian just happened to glance out of the window and caught a glimpse of something nobody else had seen, and from that worked out the whole plot?

@ShaunN- it was Byrne’s idea to bring Jean back, not Shooter’s.

Sorry, Michael. But it was neither. Kurt Busiek had the idea.

I believe it was Kurt Busiek’s idea for bringing Jean back. He even got a credit in the issue it happened in.

There’s only one problem with Dr. Manhattan eliminating himself and remaking the world so severely that the heroes only exist in comics. There were already costumed superheroes long before Dr. Manhattan; he was just the only one with powers. Eliminating himself wouldn’t eliminate the original Nite Owl or any of the other Minutemen, for example.
Granted, there are several hundred costumed superheroes currently active in the United States for real, and most people have never heard of them. Maybe the heroes from the 30s and 40s would just be forgotten.

Rollo Tomassi

July 4, 2014 at 1:59 pm

I’m pretty sure it was Rob Liefeld’s idea. At least, according to Rob.

tom fitzpatrick

July 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm

After reading the Terry Gilliam’s Watchmen ending treatment, I’m reminded of his movie “12 Monkeys” which involved time travel (of sorts) with Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, and Madeline Stowe and ironically despite ALL they did in that movie – changed nothing.

As gifted as Gilliam is, I don’t think his ending would’ve worked well in the movie.

I was ok with the movie ending, just not how the Rorschach origin was handled.

I too am a fan of the movie ending for Watchmen. Better than the original? For me it’s just different and within the confines of movie storytelling, it works perfectly. The entire alien plot is fine for comics but adding another thread in the movie would have bloated it. It’s contained and in fact Dr M being the villain has poetry to it that the alien lacks.

I think the notion that Watchmen can be retold as a 3 hour sequense of live action images to be flawed from the get go. One of the strongest elements of watchmen and one that really sets it as the master peace it is, is that it works withing the context of both the comic book format (the perfume bottle scene is practically ONLY possible in comic book form) AND the super hero genre.

The funny thing is… the ending is the only part of the movie I felt was a spot on “improvement” of the story. Achieved the same end result in terms of Ozzs plot and removed the “wtf” out of the equation.

Watchmen the movie was a B+ (imo) while the Comic is beyond grading. Its hard to live up to that. I still Snyders aesthetic worked really well on it and most of the draw back comes from being measured against one of the most iconic and important works in a different medium,

Movie ending was terrible. You know what making Dr Manhattan the villain would do? NOT reunite the world…but instead reunite the world AGAINST THE USA whose “weapon” of choice WAS Dr Manhattan!!! It would not have brought peace-the other world powers would have nuked the USA out of existence fearing Dr Manhattan.
As to “faithfulness”…..yeah…the movie recreates famous images from the comic. Problem is: sometimes a moving image pales in comparison to a still photo. The still photo (to me) of JFK Jr saluting his father’s casket in ’63 is way more iconic and powerful an image than the tv coverage of it. And I think that’s where the movie fails at times. A simple drawing can be more powerful than a multi-million dollar movie.

Its hard to really say if that would have actually been bad.

I really enjoy the Snyder version. HELL id damn near say I love it but before that movie came out I loved the Motion Comic and thats pretty poorly done (although majestic as it IS the comic itself). I cant say im a fan of the change to the end Snyder made but I understand it. Silver’s proposed new ending is very different from the comic and that would have made purists (like myself) bleed out our rectums and curse the heavens and studios until we all lost our throats.

What I do like about this idea is that its a great concept. Id love to see them do reshoots of the film with this ending (yeah im not an idiot, THAT’S not gonna happen) as I feel the concept is interesting and would generally just give me more Watchmen content and for that, I couldnt ever be upset.

Am I happy with the original film? Sure, i love it as much as I do. Do I like the comics better? Of course! Would I have been mad if they changed the plot that much? Most definitely. Would I shell out a bunch of fanboy bucks to see alternate versions of one of my favorite comic stories ever? You betcha!

All in all, Snyder did a great job (Man of Steel. not my favorite but shit the guy obviously is trying) and Watchmen the film is still a great film. Perhaps im too empathetic with what everyone has to go through to make it but come on, 15 years ago we werent getting anywhere near as much content so everyone needs to shut the fuck up if they dont like it and try to critically analyze for the better.

I like Gilliam in general, but that alternate ending sounds like a load of old bollocks.

For that matter, I like Busiek in general, but bringing Jean Grey back was a terrible idea that robbed a great death of all its impact–and, for that matter, didn’t lead to any good stories with the “real” Jean.

I almost can’t believe I’m saying this, because I don’t tend to like Bendis’s work on team books, but All-New X-Men is the first interesting take on Jean Grey since the original Dark Phoenix Saga.

Silver: Oh God. I mean, Zack came at it the right way but was too much of a slave to the material.

CS: Agreed.

Yeah, meanwhile “Coming Soon” was probably licking Zack Snyder’s ass back in ’09 when the film came out. I hate when these entertainment columnists back peddle after all the publicity dies down.

As for Silver: I enjoyed V for Vendetta, despite all the changes. But there was no possible way that film version of Watchmen would have been accepted if it didn’t, at the bare minimum, remain a “slave to the source material.” I like the Gilliam ending, but it appears the Hamm script was pretty far removed from the comic at the outset, and would probably have been a disaster.

I totally agree with BBB about the movie’s ending. The idea in the comic was to find some other OUTSIDE threat that mankind had to unite against to survive.

Busiek may have had the idea to bring Jean back, but then so did everyone back then. He was credited for coming up with the idea of specifically *how* to bring Jean back – but it’s not like he had an authority to make this happen. I guess that was editorial.

Ordway and Stern’s Superman, and all that followed for a good number of years, were some of my favorite comics ever.

Whose art is that Gray sisters story?

Claremont’s Sara Grey idea reminds me a lot of Hope Summers.

buttler: I’ve always felt that the problem was never Bendis on team books, but rather Bendis on a book with respected heroes. I started reading New Avengers right before Civil War and loved it during and after, but his Mighty Avengers and everything that came after Siege fell flat for me. He does his best work with villains and underdogs. Hence Dark Avengers, Daredevil, Spider-Man, and X-Men being such great fits for him.

“Don’t steal characters from Alan Moore to make your unique story marketable.” I am a huge fan of Alan Moore’s work but you don’t see the irony of this statement given his revival of other peoples characters to write new stories?

Zach actually showed an on screen reason the comic book ending wouldn’t work, and that is The Outer Limits TV show episode “The Architects of Fear” which had the same plot of fake alien invasion uniting the world. The show’s opening is playing on the original Silk Spectre’s TV at the end. Very subtle.

I loved Zack’s Watchmen. Perfect. Flawless.

@BBB: But what happened was that Dr. Manhattan appeared to attack the whole world, including the U.S., making him look like he went completely rogue and now threatened the whole world.

It had to be done that way, it’s close enough to the comic’s ending without being something completely stupid as a giant squid monster from space.

I always read the end of Watchmen the comic as somewhat metatextual, with the superhero era being ushered out by weird science and horror just as the superhero genre in comics was ushered out by the same. Moore did the same idea much less subtly in Supreme when a trio of EC-style horror hosts force the Allied Superman of America into EC story scenarios, where the narrative bent towards social critique and political pessimism utterly demoralize them into retirement.

@Ben: It was John Buscema’s pencils with Klaus Jenson’s inks.

Jeff Nettleton

July 4, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Gilliam has said he walked away from Watchman because he didn’t feel that a two hour film could do the material justice. He felt it would work better as a 6 hour (or something along those lines) mini-series; but would need a much bigger budget than you could get on tv, at that time. I suspect the ending that Silver claims probably wouldn’t have been the way Gilliam would have actually used, had he gone on with the project. His films go through a lot of evolution. I think, visually, he would have blown Snyder off the screen, without the phony CGI look, since he would have had to use more practical effects. Also, I think he would have conveyed more of Moore’s writing, though we will never really know.

As far as the Snyder movie goes, I’m not a fan. I don’t think Snyder was a slave to the material. He was a slave to some of Gibbons’ imagery, but not so much Moore’s writing. He lost most of the subtext and a lot of the characters didn’t come across the same, to me. Night Owl and Ozymandias were the worst, in my opinion, though Silk Spectre was pretty badly botched. I felt that he totally missed the boat on Ozymandias, as did the actor. Night Owl being buff, physically, removed the character’s impotency, a key metaphor for the character. To me, Snyder presented Rorschach as being the most reasonable and admirable character, rather than the neurotic nutjob that Moore wrote. As far as the ending goes, I didn’t find it anymore a realistic solution than Moore’s. However, all of this is my reception and interpretation. I have had long debates with friends, who felt very differently about the film. I will say that I thought the Comedian and Rorschach were played well, and Dr. Manhattan was pretty close. I’m also in the camp that the film was never going to do justice to the comic, as the story was designed to exploit the unique storytelling mechanics of comics. Film is a different medium and it’s constant motion causes the story to lose the subliminal elements that permeate Gibbons’ art. With the comic, you absorb so much info because you can linger over the imagery, and your experience can be different, based on the way you perceive some of the dialogue. As I say, reading Rorschach’s dialogue, to me, it was clear he was completely off his rocker. As played by Jackie Earl Haley, he sounded far more sane. Meanwhile, Ozymandias never comes across as that brilliant, in the film, as the actor can’t seem to bring any personality to him. In the end, I find Snyder’s work (in all of his films) to be more flash than substance. I did think his historical montage was pretty good, though. I think that is more where his strength lies, rather than in long form motion pictures.

Despite all of the acclaim for Watchmen, I have always preferred Moore’s writing on Miracleman (it will always be Marvelman to me; but most people know it as this). To me, it’s a far more interesting interpretation of a superhero and his motivations and actions. I have always felt that if the journalists who raved about Watchmen had seen Miracleman, then they wouldn’t have been so quick to describe Watchmen as the apex of comic book stories.

Shifting gears, I was a fan of Byrne’s Superman, until the whole “pocket universe” thing. Looking back (and even then) it was clear that DC should have just started everything from square one, post-Crisis. That story line was, arguably, the first in many failed attempts at fixing the cracks in the post-Crisis DC. At the same time, the non-Byrne-written Superman books were more adept at developing the characters, while Byrne had the flashier stories; at least, for me. I picked up the Byrne Superman for the art, and Adventures of Superman for the writing (Action Comics was more of the red-headed stepchild, until they moved away from it being a team-up book). I do miss that period, though, as it was probably the most consistently enjoyable run of Superman comics, for my tastes.

Terry Gilliam couldn’t even direct a film about Don Quiote. How in the hell was he going to pull off one of the most complicated narratives in comics history? No way Sam Hamm’s script would have been better either. His Batman script had every character finding out that Bruce Wayne was Batman by the end of the film. My only beef with Snyder’s Watchmen is the soundtrack. Horribly cliche (Bob Dylan really?) and lacking in any excitement. Otherwise, it was incredibly well executed. Everyone who thinks Snyder was too beholden to the source material should consider what he did with Man of Steel. I think a little more devotion to the Superman source material would have resulted in a better movie.

“…too much of a slave to the material”. Yeah, right.

Whenever someone does an adaptation and fails, it’s because it deviates too much. “It doesn’t translate to the screen” is just an excuse for “I can’t translate it” or “Man, … is a neat work of art, but I can make it so much cooler with my own awesome ideas.” Don’t get me started there.

Terry Gilliam is ok, but I’m glad that he didn’t direct Watchmen or Harry Potter. His movies are always too much Terry Gilliam for my taste and that overshadows everything else. And it seems that the script in question is totally missing the point of Watchmen.

I had a problem with the ‘squid’ in Watchmen at first, but only because of the art and the coloring, not the concept. It’s borderline ridiculous and, at least to me, resembles a woman’s lower body parts. I expected something more frightening. It’s always strange and unexpected to see it though and maybe that is the intention and its’ greatness.

The great unifier in Watchmen has to be an outside force, outside the human race, an alien. Not a man turned superhero turned semi-god, who had a girlfriend 5 minutes ago and was working for the government.

PS: Byrne’s Superman was great ;)

akkadiannumen

July 4, 2014 at 10:12 pm

“Silver: It was a MUCH much better movie.”

“It was very smart, it was very articulate”

BWAHAHAHAH!! Funny stuff.

Really, Snyder’s Watchmen was the absolute best movie that could have been made from the material. Yes, it would have been better as a one season HBO show, but that’s not what Hollywood wanted to make. Considering the awful and laughable ending that you wrote about, I would say we dodged a bullet. Really, the only real quibble I have with Snyder on the movie is taking Jon’s line, “nothing ever ends,” from him, and giving it to Laurie, other than that, I recognize it as the best that we could hope for from a Watchmen movie.

Travis Pelkie

July 5, 2014 at 3:03 am

The Jean/Sara Grey thing would have been an interesting take for X-Factor. I’ve read some of the issues of the book from about 10-25 or so, and it’s interesting how it eventually torpedoes the odd premise of the book: “we’ll save mutants by…hunting them down as pseudo-mutant hunters who foster greater hatred for mutantkind. Yeah, that sounds good. OK, it doesn’t. It was all Bobby’s idea.”

I’m not really sure how the storylines post-Byrne are “getting away” from Superman killing — it’s quite obvious that it’s a direct continuation from the killing, and that it would not have gone in that direction if he hadn’t killed — he has to have killed to therefore break down, take on another identity, and then leave the planet for a while. And I’ve never actually read the “killing Kryptonians” story, but damn if they didn’t refer to it over and over and over after that. “I’ve got to stop this bad guy. What if I have to kill like when those Kryptonians went nuts and I had to stop them?!”

Travis Pelkie

July 5, 2014 at 3:31 am

Watchmen is so good and so layered and so nuanced. I haven’t seen the Snyder film, but having seen the end of the V for Vendetta movie on TV, I’d have to say that if the guy that helped produce that thought THAT was a good/better ending than VFV the comic, I highly doubt that anything he thinks is an improvement actually is an improvement. (Plus, aw, Alan Moore was unpleasant to deal with? Then don’t quote him as approving of your movie when he wasn’t.)

But look at the pages shown here — we see that Adrian is batshit crazy — the joy at killing the Comedian, which is entirely unnecessary according to what he is telling Dan and the others — he says the Comedian only told Moloch, who wouldn’t understand, and Blake had the wind out of his sails — so he either wasn’t a threat anymore, as Adrian tells the others, which makes killing him seem unnecessary, or he was, which Adrian could have told the group, since they weren’t fans of the Comedian for the most part and he would have justified killing Blake. And either the Comedian was distressed at “an end to war”, or somehow he actually got enough of a conscience that the premeditated murder of millions made even HIM disturbed. Which the latter is what I think really bugged Adrian, thinking about it. Given all the terrible shit that the Comedian did in the name of “the good fight”, for him to be agog at what Adrian was planning had to have gotten to Adrian. Adrian keeps trying to tell himself he’s doing the right thing, but if a guy like Blake is so disturbed at what you’re doing, you’re probably not doing good. So you must eliminate the person.

And Adrian quotes Hitler (or Goebbels, perhaps), admiringly, and we aren’t supposed to think he’s fucking nuts evil?

The quote for the last issue “A Stronger Loving World”, is, I believe, from a John Cale song. This title truncates the next bit of the song — it’s a stronger, loving world — to die in. I think that’s Moore tipping his hand to us that “real world superheroes” would probably be wackjob killers in the end.

So essentially what I’m babbling about is that the plan has to show that Adrian is insane, willing to kill millions on a gamble that what he’s doing will unite the world against a common enemy, and that unity will prevent the death spiral that the world was in, per Adrian’s predictions. If Snyder’s movie showed that Adrian is nuts in this way and planned out how to unite the world, and was also ruthlessly coldblooded in doing so, then yeah, it would thematically be comparable. And that would justify the change. But I haven’t seen it.

Also, Rorschach is unwilling to compromise his ideals so is killed for it, and the rest of the group is seemingly ok with that. Again, Moore probably tipping to us that while you might start out with these high ideals, eventually you’ll face something too big to fully comprehend so you will probably capitulate.

Watchmen actually presents an interesting set up for a sequel — Rorschach’s diaries get published, the world finds out some/all of the truth, and we see where things go from there.

And perhaps a Lovecraftian vagina monster is “too weird” for an ending, but I’m not sure why the idea of a megalomaniac plotting an attack on NYC, killing thousands, which unites the world in gearing up together to fight against a shadowy, many-tentacled enemy who may or may not attack again at any time is such a far fetched idea in the real world.

Does anyone know in which comic book Jean’s sister’s “off-panel” death was mentioned? Was it as late as the “Grey’s End” storyline in the 460s of Uncanny?

Add me to the Loved the Watchmen movie list. Yes Owlman’s physique bothered me and yes I also thought that the actor who portrayed Ozymandias just didn’t do him justice, but overall I thought it was extremely well done. I thought the change to the ending worked much better in the movie than the comic book ending would have. I was frankly very surprised that it wasn’t a more popular/successful movie.

The Gilliam ending for the movie is an awful idea — any time the ending of a story negates the entire story, it might as well just say “Sucker!” in big flashing lights at the people who’ve been following the story and actually invests themselves in a plot that doesn’t get resolved because the story teller can’t or won’t be bothered to.

If an ongoing story has fallen into a situation that’s ruined things beyond reparation, it’s okay to do something that resets, acknowledging that the storyteller has screwed up and that everyone hates it. The season of Dallas that ended with Bobby in the shower, for example. “Sorry gang, we messed it up — let’s all step back and take a Mulligan”. Otherwise, “it’s all a dream”, “we went back in time and changed history so it didn’t happen” or “it happened, but everybody forgot about it so it has no effect” are cheat endings.

Add me to the list of those that loved the Watchmen movie. Sure there were things I wasn’t happy with like Owlman’s physique and the portrayal of Ozymandias, but all in all I thought it was an excellent movie. I thought the changes to the end worked far better in the movie than the comic ending would have. I was frankly very surprised it didn’t do better than it did at the box office.

I’m still pissed off that Ozymandias never gets his true comeuppance.

Captain Librarian

July 5, 2014 at 9:14 am

Gilliam comes across pretty bad here.

I do find Watchmen, the book, to be flawed a bit. Especially in that, as someone pointed out above, it seems to be based on the assumption that the Soviet Union would launch into nuclear war rather than lose the Cold War and…well that didn’t happen. There’s a lot of debate over how and why communism fell but for me it’s more a glimpse into a lot of people’s fears about the 80s that didn’t quite turn out to be true. Still a masterfully done story and piece of art, though my other issue is that it has become something of the the definitive “heroes in the real world” piece and I just don’t think its bleak vision is fully accurate.

I’ll also say that, for the movie, people complaining that Dr Manhattan would be assumed to be an American assault seems a bit off to me, since American cities were destroyed as well. It’s perhaps a bit much to assume everyone would unite over such an incident instead of freaking out in fear and plunging into war, but…no more than a giant squid would do the same. Better than having them become comic characters.

For the record, I’m okay with Superman acting as executioner for criminals from his own planet and people who have killed billions, being the only member of his race left and the one person who can deal with them. Unique circumstances, this isn’t Superman becoming the Punisher. Maybe you could argue they really shouldn’t have even gone there but I don’t disagree with Kal-el’s choice. Which isn’t to say he wouldn’t be messed up by having to take the action, you can do something awful that may be justifiable but it is still going to affect you.

“And it’s worth noting that Mark Waid has been probably THE biggest reason for the spread of the “all the other writers tried to distance themselves from John Byrne’s Superman”, having actually posted it as fact on his blog at least once.”

Indeed! He’s the only one I’ve ever read make that claim. Everyone else I’ve ever discussed the issue with (and I’m talking about informed readers, not writers nor editors) has always said that the writers who followed Byrne were working off his plots.

since lines being drawn, not a fan of watchmen: the movie. for me it was the simple act of rorschach pulling himself up the side of blakes apt. being replaced w/ walter zippin up like a fuckin rocket. o and the substitution of the bernies for a bore me to death in slow motion drieberg jupiter owlship sex scene

RE: the Snyder ending and how it brings about world peace, am I incorrect in remembering that the explosions were followed up by a faked threat from Dr. Manhattan that he would continue the destruction if the nations of the world didn’t cease hostilities? So the Russians and the USA weren’t willingly uniting against Dr. Manhattan; they were coerced into doing so. It’s a much more cynical portrayal of humanity than the Moore ending, and one that is probably not inconsistent with the perspective of the more villainous version of Ozymandias from the movie.

Just a little nit-pick: how is Jean’s sister’s name spelled?
In the scan of the comic, the thought balloons spell it “Sarah” (with an “h”), but your commentary (and other people’s posts) spell it without the “h”.

@Oedivanth — IIRC, it goes all the way back to the Phalanx Covenant storyline. Sara went missing when her house was blown up around UXM #215, and a stray bit of dialogue in the Phalanx Covenant revealed she had been absorbed.

@Travis Pelkie
I think you touch on why, as silly as it is, the fake alien squid from space is kind of necessary.

Adrian is batshit crazy. The panels of him breaking in, brutally beating and then killing the Comedian don’t match the way he describes the act. That causes people to look closer at what Adrian is saying, and to see the potential issue in that logic, the question of why he’d need to kill the Comedian at all if the Comedian wouldn’t tell anyone who could do anything and “understood” by the end.

The movie’s plan with Doctor Manhattan might make more sense, but who says the plan should make sense? Adrian uses a giant alien squid because Adrian is batshit crazy. Regardless of whether or not his plan will actually work, regardless of whether or not it is even “right” or “wrong” in the long view of history, it is the plan of an insane/delusional man. Using a squid shows that insanity. Using Doctor Manhattan just makes Adrian generic evil or generic rationalized evil.

James Woodcock

July 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm

This is something that I have never seen anyone address or comment on. Alan Moore went to great lengths in the publicity material that Dr Manhattan would be the only person in WATCHMEN who had powers. Yet there is a casual line in the comic referring to the brains of psychics being used in the squid. Psychics? That would be a super power. And more than one brain was used.
Yet no one seems to have ever picked up on this.

I wasn’t a fan of the Watchmen movie, but I agree it’s a masterpiece compared to this Silver/Gilliam idea (yet another in the time-honored school of thought of “Well this mediocre comic book/novel will make a great movie once I replace the author’s ideas with mine”).
I didn’t have a problem with the squid per se, but Adrian’s plan is majorly flawed. We’re still going to be pouring millions into our new space fleets, space weapons, etc. so he’s merely redirected our aggression, not brought peace.
Michael, I don’t see any way Moore’s speculations about Communism, wrong though they were (although you can argue that in an alternate world with Dr. Manhattan they might be a lot more desperate) compares to Crichton’s racist Rising Sun. In that book the Japanese, even when they’re doing exactly the same things as the Brits and the French in business (as Crichton admits they are) are a terrifying menace because their creepy oriental minds don’t think like white people. Oh, and they’re plotting to buy up our land and take it away from us (this was a popular issue for racists in the pre-WW II age).
Yes, the mutant-hunting idea in X-Factor was appallingly stupid.

@Fraser- I meant that they both reflected popular fears at the time- oh, no, the Japanese will ruin our economy, oh, no, the Soviets will nuke us- that in retrospect look like neuroses, not that they are in any way morally comparable. Should have been more clear.

The meta-ending would be great in an episode of Community if Abed adapted it to film. Otherwise, I’m not buying it.

AverageJoeEveryman

July 6, 2014 at 6:31 am

My ending to Watchmen would have been that they were dead the whole time. WHATATWIST!!!!

Did DC ever try to retcon out Superman’s killing of Zod and co?

The act does just stick out like a sore thumb, completely out of character and a bit of a parting stunt by Byrne. Has he ever tried to explain it?

BBB had it right. I enjoyed the Snyder movie for the most part but for a superheroes set in the real world concept to ignore how world politics works completely took me out of it.

I’ve heard rumors of several Watchmen scripts out there, and one of them had everyone facing off on the top of the Statue of Liberty, and replaced Silk Spectre with a girl with energy powers named Slingshot (or something like that). That sounds one of the worst things that almost happened to comics adaptations since Kevin Smith almost made a Superman movie starring Nic Cage fighting a polar bear and a robot spider.

“Did DC ever try to retcon out Superman’s killing of Zod and co?

The act does just stick out like a sore thumb, completely out of character and a bit of a parting stunt by Byrne. Has he ever tried to explain it?”

Not until the early 21st Century, possibly not until after Birthright. Superman executing Zod for crimes against humanity (you know, the whole GENOCIDE thing) was still canon well into the Loeb run, which featured some references to it when the Russian Zod showed up.

As for the act being out of character, that depends on how one defines Superman’s character.

People keep judging the 80′s Superman like he was the Silver Age/Bronze Age version, rather than judge him as his own unique iteration.

Killing is NOT out of character for Superman. At all.

He killed Vera Webster in Superman 3 when he repelled her laser blast at her with his hand. Prior to that, he killed Dark Superman when he choked him to death during their fight in the junkyard. In Superman 4, he dropped Nuclear Man in a reactor rather than take him to prison (even though he knew FULL well that Nuclear Man could be rendered powerless if he were to be imprisoned in a room with no sunlight, something that was well within Superman’s abilities to do. Rather than do that, he chose to kill him).

The problem is that people have this notion of Superman being a saint, or more specifically Jesus, and therefore they judge him accordingly.

It’s not that “Superman doesn’t kill” or “Superman shouldn’t kill”, it becomes “Jesus doesn’t kill, therefore Superman shouldn’t kill either”.

I’ve presented you with at least three instances in which Superman has killed (three out of many, like when he killed Lex Luthor in the alternate Earth that became the world of the Justice Lords. With DC trying to push the notion of a multiverse down people’s throats, there’s no such thing as “it happened in an alternate world therefore it doesn’t count” argument. As long as DC keeps pushing the notion of a multiverse, all of them have to be judged as having equal value and merit. Consequence is no longer restrained to just whichever Earth DC deems as New or One/1). Someone will undoubtedly dismiss them as “not counting” for some reason or another.

Count me as one that liked the ending of the Watchmen comic book. I read it when I wad 12 and it was great.

Re: The Superman legend…
I recall a letter column preceding the Pocket Universe storyline which touched on a [then] recent Superman writers summit which predated Byrnes decision to depart and clearly stated that the character was going to be put through the wringer mentally. There was a quote in the text which said that doing this would make Superman stronger when he emerged from the other side of it, which confirms the breakdown plot if not the exile in space was a long term plan and not a knee jerk reaction to the killing taking place in that issue.

Ethan Shuster

July 7, 2014 at 10:03 am

I really do get kind of annoyed by people being upset about Superman killing Zod in the movie. I personally thought the movie was only so-so, but people act like “Superman does not kill” is some kind of law of physics as opposed to being a personal code he has. It’s as if people don’t want to SEE Superman kill someone and didn’t appreciate the movie getting to that point. But if you can at least look at the actual context in the scene, it was written so that it was absolutely the only option Superman had left. Those people were about to die, Zod had no intention of giving up EVER, and he gave Superman a run for his money, and was physically unable to defeat him. You may not like that the writers “forced” him to kill, but once you get to that scene… what should he have done? “I refuse to kill anyone, so sorry I let that innocent family die. But at least I stuck with my principals, right?”

I think a big problem with that in the movie was that they had not established Superman as a hero yet, and we never even heard him suggest “I would never kill.” Having that happen after we knew Superman, maybe even in a sequel would’ve had more of an impact. His scream of anguish after doing it actually does say it all, but the movie still needed to make a point of it so we’d know he would hate to kill. Again, it’s a personal rule for Superman. As someone pointed out, he is more and more being portrayed as a Christ-like figure, someone who actually would die before fighting back. But Superman simply has his rule that he does not want to kill.

It is kind of funny though, that in the Nolan Batman movies they point out that that’s his rule and don’t let him break it, even in a “modern, dark, retelling” movie. Though as an aside, I have to say his “I won’t kill you, but I don’t have to save you,” is kind of a bunch of crap. Letting someone die when you can easily save his life is kind of bending your unbreakable rule, Bats.

Whether he is using a giant fake alien squid or Dr. Manhannat, the whole point of Alan Moore’s story is that Adrian Veidt is, at best extremely short-sighted & delusional, at worst completely bonkers. The very first time I read Watchmen, my immediate thought is “How the hell does Veidt think this crazy plan is going to succeed?” And by “succeed” I mean permanently, or at least in the long term.

Yes, by faking an alien invasion Veidt is able to end the Cold War and unite the world… for the time being. But what happens in a decade or two or three, when no more aliens show up? Without the constant, continued threat of an alien invasion hanging overhead, eventually the hasty alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union is going to start to fray at the edges, before evenually falling apart. We even see from the comments made by the editor of the New Frontiersman that not everyone is happy with peace, that underneath the veneer of cooperation plenty of old animosities & distrusts remain, ready to eventually become inflamed.

So unless Veidt is planning to fake a new extradimensional incursion every couple of decades, all that he has done is bought the Earth a temporary respite for the threat of nuclear war. And it is also an extremely tenuous one. His paradise is based on a lie, one that could quite easily be exposed should anyone go digging through the New Frontiersman’s slush pile, read Rorschach’s journal, and start connecting the dots.

Dr. Manhattan comes right out and tells Ozymandias “Nothing ever ends.” Veid’s so-called solution, his master plan, is nothing more than a band-aid on a gaping wound, a stopgap measure that simply cannot last indefinitely.

Uh. No. The Watchmen we got was awesome. I could have done without one thing that I won’t mention. Aside from that, The movie was smashing. A rare 10 out of 10. I didn’t see it coming. It was Wow! I went and seen it a second time with my bro, who hadn’t read the graphic novel, as I had done. I gave him the outline of that world, without which he would have been rather lost, or so he thinks. He was blown away. The comic book ending? Oh my goodness. Stop already.

I wasn’t aware the Watchmen thing was a legend, because there was a pretty public interview battle with Snyder responding to it that he took heat for. I’m not a Snyder fan boy, but I think Watchmen was a near miss on as best an adaptation as we could have expected. There are always quibbles, but the only big problem I have with it is Ozy’s casting and acting. (I mean really, did anyone ever originally read him with a German accent? Couldn’t they just have him run around with a sign on it saying “bad guy?”) I would have liked to see the original ending, but while different, the new ending fit. Far better than the rubbish Silver would have done.And in some ways it works better. If aliens were attacking, everyone would be saying “Dr. Manhattan, save us!” as the guy who could fend off aliens. But his departure is handled in this version. And probably far more easy to recreate to keep an “ongoing threat.”

And interpretation is a lot with that work, because unlike Jeff Nettleton, I didn’t see Rorschach as completely off his rocker (no more or less than any of the other characters). He was extreme, unbending, and has some serious social issues, but he was basically the one who was right in the story. Who isn’t rooting for his journal to be found at the end? I think it stands out because Moore fell into a tv tradition of writers of a certain mindset creating characters that they think are “bad guys” but the public loves where they come from, even if that was not their intent. So I don’t think he was off in the movie. I think he was great.

Having said that, I think Man of Steel was a mess. Ethan, I think most people object to his indifference for the life of others (taught to him by Pa Kent!) throughout the battle. The Avengers are shown trying to contain the damage; he doesn’t seem to care. And after that anguished cry, he’s kissing and joking shortly thereafter. And putting him in the “no win situation” is just a bad story choice. No one made them. Superman should be able to not have to deal with the Kobayashi Maru. Because he’s Superman. And even if they go with it, it was a horrible executed ending. Show me someone who has neck muscles stronger than someone’s arms. And the way he breaks Zods neck makes his still heat ray shooting beams turn RIGHT TO WHERE THE PEOPLE WERE. But that’s a long, off topic argument that’s been done to death.

I guess the real point is here that Waid’s point that quoting where Superman kills in the comic was just an outgoing writer’s big FU to DC isn’t really true. (Though Superman doesn’t really kill anyone in Superman 3, contrary to what was said above. Webster was alive and taken to jail at the end, and “Dark Superman” was more a mental manifestation than a real person.)

So if Sara Grey’s power was to bring out latent mutant powers, she was going to be a villain right? Is it really her right to change a person against their will, even if it might happen someday anyway? What if they don’t want to be a mutant, or don’t want to be one yet? The power sounds awful, even if the idea of her joining is intriguing. Though in any case she didn’t deserve to go out like she and her kids did. Sigh.

So if Sara Grey’s power was to bring out latent mutant powers, she was going to be a villain right? Is it really her right to change a person against their will, even if it might happen someday anyway? What if they don’t want to be a mutant, or don’t want to be one yet? The power sounds awful, even if the idea of her joining is intriguing. Though in any case she didn’t deserve to go out like she and her kids did. Sigh.

Interesting points from M-Wolverine!

I think this is one of the major areas where, despite the good intentions of writers such as Chris Claremont, mutants do not make a very good metaphor for minoritiy groups. After all, in the Marvel universe, it seems like there are quite a few “latent mutants” who are just waiting to be “activated.” Likewise, mutants have often been shown to be de-powered by various plot devices, becoming so-called “normal” humans. But in real life you cannot just turn someone black or Jewish or homsexual and back again as if they are a light switch.

I guess the closest you can come to the real world would be outing someone who was gay. Now the exact equivalent would be to out someone that they’re a mutant, obviously. But the idea of doing it without asking their permission is the same, and while there is some debate on “pulling people out of the closet” I’m guessing most would see people who take that choice away from the individual as bad people, even if they shouldn’t have to feel the need to be closeted, or the need to fear being a mutant, for that matter. But then, that’s all well and good if your power is Colossus, but if you’re Nightcrawler, or Rogue, or Beak, or even Cyclops (with the head injury) you might want to take the chance that maybe the latency will never become dominant.

Also, who gets changed….I mean, maybe a family or even an individual doesn’t want their powers to manifest when they’re 16. Maybe they’re fine being a mutant, but don’t want to gain the powers till they’re mature enough to handle it. “I don’t mind have the power to level buildings…but maybe it’d be better to do it when I’m 25, rather than 15.” It’s like making the decision of when you think you’re old enough to have sex, and taking it out of your hands by making you have sex NOW.

I agree with M-Wolverine on Superman not killing. Yes, it’s unlikely he could pull that off in the real world, but no more than him being the good guy rather than power corrupting. He represents an ideal (which is not to say he’s not a person too).
And no, an anguished scream doesn’t say anything. Lots of soldiers are anguished about killing, then they adjust and do it again.

Sara Grey was not only mentioned having been absorbed into Phalanx, but also shown, in X-Men #36.

I don’t know if this query would go in COMIC BOOK LEGENDS REVEALED or TV LEGENDS REVEALED: but did you ever notice on the CBS TV show THE BIG BANG THEORY though they reference both Marvel and DC Characters (even had Stan Lee make an appearance in an episode) they never show Marvel Comic books, graphic novels or posters. Even in the comic book store all you see is some independents (like Hellboy) or DC comics. However they will show Marvel toys such as the “Hulk Hands” episode and so on.
I have wondered why they do not show any Marvel Comic books on the show.

>> There is a lot of this issue with Candy Southern’s name too (often misspelled without the ‘U’, as ‘Sothern’).>>

Other way around, actually.

She debuted, in X-MEN #32, as Candy Sothern. Later writers added a U so often, it became the most-familiar form of her name.

But she was almost certainly named after actress Ann Sothern.

kdb

What always bothered me about the “Watchmen” comic was the “alien invasion” scenario. While the model for that kind of mass hysteria to human organized front manipulation was showcased in the classic Outer Limits episode, “The Architects of Fear”, it just wasn’t convincing to me as presented. It was too intellectual and harder to understand than having an ugly alien landing at the UN and issuing an ultimatum. An alien psychic creature that kills itself teleporting into our dimension? Really? Interesting, but not that convincing and open to numerous interpretations, especially if their was a lack of followup attacks and the like. It was a bit of stretch in an otherwise brilliant comic.

The “Watchmen” movie completely blew me away with it’s shift to making Adrian’s plan one which makes Dr. Manhattan the ultimate enemy humanity has to rally against. It was a terrific move, perfectly understandable and extremely clear as to how it was accomplished. It was obvious that certain segments of the world were terrified by Dr, Manhattan. The idea of this being going rogue and being portrayed as subject to human emotions such as rage makes him that much more terrifying and an obvious threat to everyone, perhaps even existence itself. I saw this change as a master stroke.

In addition, I always found it distasteful how Adrian so easily dispatched Rorschach and The Owl when they finally confronted him in the graphic novel. I was happy to see these characters at least get a few — if ultimately futile — licks in. Adrian seemed to consider them a legitimate threat to be dealt with, by his posture, stance and reactions, rather than the mere annoyances they were to him in the comic. It gave them some well deserved respect and credibility, even though they had already failed before the fight even began. How tragic.

I think the movie suffered from some sub-optimal casting choices, but overall, I liked it very much. I wonder what Alan Moore thought about it?

As a side note, I sincerely hope I wasn’t the only person who watched this movie that cried when Rorschach died… My kids will never let me forget that!

@Kurt Busiek

She was named after the book “Candy” by Terry Southern.

>> She was named after the book “Candy” by Terry Southern.>>

If so, Roy chose to spell her last name the way Ann Sothern spelled it, not the way Terry Southern did.

kdb

Addendum: I found an introduction where Roy says he named Candy Sothern after Terry Sothern. And he spelled the writer’s name that way, even though it’s wrong.

So I’ll amend my suspicion to that he misspelled “Southern” consistently because of Ann Sothern.

But intentional or otherwise, Candy’s original last name was “Sothern.”

kdb

In my opinion I think the movie did a great job of adapting the first ten or eleven comic books, but unfortunately they completely screwed up the ending. Kudos to Snyder for a damn fine effort though, visually superb.

Personally I think they missed the point; It’s the man fakes an alien invasion to unite mankind against a common threat and secures peace on earth comic book. Take away the alien invasion and we get the man frames an American icon for mass destruction and millions of deaths movie. Not really the same thing at all, and highly unlikely to ensure world peace. Like Fincher said when he saw the later drafts of Se7en, before he went back to the original script. You can’t take the head in a box out of the head in a box movie.

I agree it really would have been great as a mini series, including all of the elements that were missing from the movie with the scientists and artists working on creating the fake aliens. Maybe at some point in the future someone will try.

If I saw that ending on screen, it would piss me off so much.

Man with No Face

July 30, 2014 at 1:16 pm

People keep saying, “How did Adrian ever think his plan would work? What if it didn’t, in the long run?”

Consider these facts:

1) Adrian is “the smartest man in the world.” We know he’s a genius at things like engineering. Presumably, he’s equally as knowledgeable about human anatomy and quantum physics.

2) His interview with the reporter establishes that he knows EXACTLY how Dr. Manhattan was created.

3) Given his origin, it’s clear he’s more determined and motivated than Jonathan Ostermann was.

4) He has his own Intrinsic Field Subtractor.

If Adrian’s “alien invasion” gambit fails, he has one more “game-changing” move at his disposal: step into his IF Subtractor and GIVE HIMSELF THE POWERS OF DR. MANHATTAN.

Does anyone really think if Veidt could give himself the powers of Dr. Manhattan he wouldn’t give himself the powers of Dr. Manhattan?

Ben and BBB, you guys just don’t get the full scope of the movie’s plot.

James Woodcock
July 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm

“This is something that I have never seen anyone address or comment on. Alan Moore went to great lengths in the publicity material that Dr Manhattan would be the only person in WATCHMEN who had powers. Yet there is a casual line in the comic referring to the brains of psychics being used in the squid. Psychics? That would be a super power. And more than one brain was used.
Yet no one seems to have ever picked up on this.”

This one always bothered me, too. Then along the years I read about Moore’s many quirknessess and realized that the man probably believes in real-world psychic powers. Even so, that paranormal brain came out of nowhere, even with his foreshadow in the New Frontiersman about how the guy’s head went missing.

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