Monday, January 20, 2020

The Watchmen Companion (2019)

The third Watchmen related product to come out in the same week is The Watchmen Companion.

Arguably the least controversial of the Watchmen spinoffs*. (Seriously, if read one more article about the Watchmen TV series or Doomsday Clock that calls it an unauthorised sequel... I get the murkiness but under the letter of the contract DC holds the rights).

The Companion is split into three parts: The Watchmen Roleplaying modules “Watching the Watchmen”, “Taking Out the Trash”, and “The Watchmen Sourcebook”; Various Watchmen promotional pieces and articles done by Moore and Gibbons; and The Question #17.

 The Question issue was okay. Vic Sage reads Watchmen and tries to act more like Rorschach, finishing with the Question declaring that “Rorschach sucks”. As we all know The Question was the inspiration for Rorschach – as I’ve pointed out that hasn’t stopped creators trying to watchmen-ify the Charlton heroes in stories like The LAW Living Assault Weapon and Pax Americana.

The promotional pieces are interesting and informative especially in hindsight. In an illustration for an article in Amazing Heroes shows The Minutemen’s character sketches and we see an alternate name for Hooded Justice, Brother Night. Fans of the TV series would be going “oh,” (I had a quick flick through Gibbon’s Watching The Watchmen and that detail doesn’t seem to be in there).

But the gold mine here is the RPG modules, which make up the majority of the book. Alan Moore worked with the writers to turn out these two prequel adventures and the source book. Reading the modules is challenging in the same way that reading a script is. It just takes some adjustment.

 “Watching the Watchmen” confirmed my theory that Captain Metropolis is a little bit dodgy. “Taking out the Trash” explains how Nixon ultimately became Vice President in the Watchmen world. The Sourcebook is an expanded version of the back matter of the graphic novel, it confirms that Rolf Muller is Hooded Justice and states that the Comedian killed him. 

*Saturday Morning Watchmen or Dave Gibbons “Watching the Watchmen” would also be in the running. 

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