The "Watchmen" was group of vigilantes, active mainly in the 70's-80's. It consisted of :
Rorschach (Current status: deceased; killed by Dr.Manhattan) - A borderline psychopathic vigilante, highly intelligent detective, skilled in gymnastics, boxing and street-brawling, tenacious and goal-driven. Real name: Walter Kovacs.
Nite Owl II (Current status: alive; married to Silk Spectre II) - Moral but irresolute, near-genius intellect, capable of creating technology beyond his time. Skilled in various fighting techniques, stealth, and aircraft piloting. Real name: Daniel Dreiberg.
Silk Spectre II (Current status: alive; married to Nite Owl II) - Unwilling to be a superhero at the start of her career, smart and skilled fighter, but no other special traits or attributes. Feminist and proud of her Polish lineage. Real name: Laurie Jupiter/Juspeczyk.
Dr. Manhattan (Current status: alive; in another galaxy) - Avoidant and passive, has been slowly losing care and empathy for the human race as time goes by. Abilities include subatomic telekinesis, teleportation, invulnerability, total control over matter, and the ability to perceive past, present and future at the same time. Real name: Jon Osterman.
Ozymandias (Current status: alive; leader of a business empire) - A world-class genius, known as "The World's Smartest Man", and also a world-class athlete as well, and an expert in many martial arts. Liberal and pacifistic, is a strong believer in world peace. Main antagonist of Watchmen. Real name: Adrian Veidt.
The Comedian (Current status: deceased; killed by Ozymandias) - A violent and brutal sociopath who was "hero" in name only, committing war crimes such as torture and rape with impunity. Intelligent and highly skilled in self-taught combat techniques, marksmanship (with near-perfect aim), battle strategy, and other military skills. Bitter, cynical and nihilistic - name chosen because of his view of the world as a big "joke". Real name: Edward "Eddie" Blake.
Major Story Arc
The story of the Watchmen begins on Friday October 12, 1985 in New York City. Retired American operative Edward Blake was murdered, thrown through the window of his high-rise apartment onto the pavement down below. The police marvel at Blake's imposing size, and the sort of intruder it would take to beat and murder such a man. This particular murder has also caught the eye of a trench coat-clad masked vigilante Rorschach. After the police leave, Rorschach begins his own investigation. He finds a blood-splattered smiley-face button where Blake had died, and breaks into Blake's apartment to investigate further. There he notices that one of Blake's closets is a bit shallower than it should be. Locating a button inside the closet, Rorschach finds the old costume and paraphernalia of Blake's super-hero alter ego The Comedian.
Rorschach then heads to the apartment of Dan Dreiberg. Now retired, Dreiberg was formerly the super-hero known as Nite Owl. Dreiberg arrives at home shortly after, having just come from visiting the home of the original Nite Owl, Hollis Mason. He discovers his former partner sitting at his kitchen table eating from a can of cold beans. Rorschach tosses Dreiberg the smiley-face badge he had picked up earlier that night. He explains to Dreiberg that Blake was the Comedian, and that he was recently murdered. Afraid of someone seeing them together, Dreiberg takes Rorschach into his dilapidated Nite Owl workshop to further discuss matters. There Rorschach warns Dreiberg that someone may be targeting and killing retired masked heroes right before leaving. Deciding to "exercise", Rorschach visits Happy Harry's bar and grill. He probes the terrified bartender for information about Blake's death, when someone behind him unknowingly makes an off-hand comment. Rorschach proceeds to break two of the man's fingers in order to intimidate the bar patrons into talking. It was obvious that no one knew anything, and Rorschach took off again.
Next Rorschach visits the office of wealthy capitalist, Adrian Veidt , to give him the same warning. As with Dreiberg earlier, Rorschach warns Veidt about the possibility of a mask killer. Labeled the "smartest man in the world" as the hero Ozymandias, Veidt had given up being a vigilante right before the Keene Act made outlaws of their kind. He had since made a fortune and built an empire selling action figures and other memorabilia, publicly capitalizing on his former identity. As with Dreiberg, Veidt wonders if Blake's death was a politically motivated kill rather than being motivated by his former life. Rorschach downplays this possibility, saying that America's enemies wouldn't dare strike out against them, with the power of Jon Osterman (also known asDr. Manhattan), a nearly omnipotent demigod, on their side. Having an obvious disdain for Veidt's "prostitution", Rorschach did not remain long and left to warn the next person on his list.
Reaching his next former associate would require sneaking past armed guards to break into the Rockefeller Military Research Center. There he found Dr. Manhattan, Laurie Juspeczyk, formerly the Silk Spectre and daughter of the original Silk Spectre, Sally Jupiter. Rorschach muses at telling the "indestructible man that someone plans to murder him". He finds Dr. Manhattan, several stories tall and working on some research equipment, and Laurie with him. He explains to the two that Blake was dead, a fact that Manhattan was already aware of due to his work with the government. Manhattan is not concerned, indifferent about the difference between life and death. Juspeczyk seemed glad to hear the news as Blake had once attempted to rape her mother when they were on the same team. Laurie was getting upset at Rorschach's uninvited presence, and Dr. Manhattan teleported Rorschach outside the facility grounds before he was able to finish explaining his cape-killer theory. Reminiscing about the past, Laurie wanted to visit Dan Dreiberg to catch up. Dr. Manhattan remained at the facility, determined to locate a gluino to validate a physics theory. As Rorschach stalks the rainy city he dwells on the Comedian's death, wondering if everyone else is correct in not caring, and reaffirming his resolve.
Laurie and Dan get together for dinner to reminisce about old times, before the Keene Act. Dreiberg seemed depressed having had his glory days dragged up earlier that day. They both felt like they were able to relax and laugh again as they hadn't done in a long time, yet even as Dreiberg escorted Laurie to her car, she asked why nothing seemed funny anymore - Dreiberg replied curtly, "Well, what do you expect? The Comedian is dead."
At some point in the next few days, Blake's funeral is held, with Veidt, Manhattan, Daniel and a mysterious stranger attending, amongst others, while Laurie talks with her mother (Sally Jupiter) at her home. Each character reminisces about the moments they shared with Blake; good or bad. Sally remembers how Blake once assaulted and nearly raped her after a photoshoot in 1940. Back at the funeral, Ozymandias remembers the first official meeting of the "Crimebusters", proposed by Nelson Gardner, Captain Metropolis. There, Metropolis had gathered Ozymandias, Manhattan, Nite Owl II, Rorschach, Silk Spectre II, and The Comedian, in an attempt to replicate the relative success of the earlier Minutemen team. However, Blake scoffs at this idea, insulting Metropolis, burning his map of operations, and storming out. As Metropolis cries out, "somebody has to save the world!", Veidt is bought back from his reverie as the priest continues the last rites. Next, it is Manhattan who starts thinking about his time in Vietnam with Blake. It is the end of the war, and Blake is celebrating in a bar. As he debates with Manhattan about the war, a Vietnamese woman interrupts, angry at Blake for jilting her, leaving her alone and pregnant. Failing to get Blake's attention, she hits him in the face with a glass bottle, angering him to the point where he draws his pistol and guns her down. Manhattan reprimands Blake, but Blake counters, saying that Manhattan could have used his powers to disarm Blake, or the woman, or both, but instead stood by and watched. Blake leaves, crying out for a medic, and telling Manhattan: "You're drifting out of touch, doc... God help us all".
Meanwhile, Dan is thinking of his time with Blake, when they were doing riot control in the 1970s. Over the masses of people, Daniel flies by in his ship, Blake holding on to the outside, attempting to calm down the crowd and return them to their homes. The crowd starts insulting the duo, and vigilantes in general, calling them "faggots" and "pigs". This irritates Blake, causing him to jump down and start assaulting the protestors. As Daniel joins him on the ground, in despair, he asks him what happened to their mission, and the American Dream. With a gleeful, uncaring smile, Blake shouts: "What happened? It came true. You're looking at it", as he walks off into the smoke. Coming back from the daydream, Daniel, holding Blake's "Smiley Face" badge, tosses it into the grave as the dirt is shovelled on. As the funeral ends, and the group disperses, the mysterious man wanders home, as the man with the sign (who was present outside the funeral) watches on.
Making his way home, the mysterious man enters his apartment, and starts opening the fridge, ready for dinner. However, as he opens it, Rorschach leaps out, pinning him on the floor, and reveals to the audience the man's identity - Edgar William Jacobi, aka Moloch. He then starts inquiring why he was at The Comedian's funeral. Edgar reveals that that a while before his death, Blake visit him, crying and breaking down, talking about his past war crimes, and about something horrifying that he witnessed. Relatively satisfied with the explanation, Rorschach leaves.
Later, at the home of Dr. Manhattan and Silk Spectre II, Laurie has an argument with Jon, and leaves to go to Daniel's house. After breaking down crying, and revealing to Dan that she was in an argument, they decide to go out. Meanwhile, Dr. Manhattan is readying himself for a live interview. Dan and Laurie walk down an alley, only to be confronted by a group of Knot-Tops, a local gang. As Daniel and Laurie beat their attackers, Manhattan continues with the interview. Both events reach their climaxes as Dan and Laurie finish their attackers off, while Dr. Manhattan, sent into a rage by questions regarding his old colleagues (who have apparently got cancer), first teleports the entire studio audience outside, and then himself to Arizona (to pick up an old picture of him with his ex-girlfriend), and then finally to Mars. There, he remembers his origin: as a nuclear physicist, he stepped into a (fictional) device named the "intrinsic field generator", which pulled him apart on a subatomic level, seemingly killing him. However, over the course of the next few days, he re-forms, somehow having survived the event, and now possessing godlike powers.
As Manhattan ponders human nature and time, back on Earth, the world is plunged into political turmoil, as the USSR now do not have anything to fear from America, and move into Afghanistan. Rorschach breaks into Jacobi's apartment again and stuffs him into a fridge, interrogating him about his knowledge of the attempts to discredit Dr. Manhattan. At Veidt's building, an assassin attacks and kills his secretary, and attempts to kill Veidt as well, but is stopped by the man himself. Veidt tries to get information out of him, but the assassin swallows a poison capsule, killing himself. Back in New York, Rorschach is supposedly contacted by Jacobi. After arriving at his apartment, Rorschach discovers Jacobi to be dead, and the police outside, waiting for him - he had been set up. Attempting to escape, Rorschach is taken down, and is revealed to be the man with the sign that was seen at the funeral - also known as Walter Kovacs.
As the prison psychiatrist attempts to gain a better understanding of Walter's psyche, Daniel and Jupiter go back to superhero work rescuing several people from a burning building with the help of Daniel's ship, Archie. At the prison, Rorschach recounts his own origin to the psychiatrist - how the murder of Kitty Genovese spurred him into action, and how the brutal killing of a young girl by a mentally ill man changed him forever, destroying the personality of Walter Kovacs, and leaving only Rorschach. Hearing news of Rorschach's incarceration, Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II decide to break him out amidst riots that were cause by Rorschach inadvertently killing an inmate with a tub of hot cooking oil. Regrouping at Daniel's apartment, Manhattan arrives and, after saying he has a "scheduled conversation" with Laurie, teleports her and himself to Mars, whilst Rorschach and Nite Owl II escape.
On Mars, Laurie tries to convince Manhattan to come back and save the human race from nuclear extinction. As they fly about Mars on a crystalline structure of Jon's design, debating humanity in general and discussing Laurie's childhood, it become clear that he is not planning to save anyone. Furthermore, he states that the conversation ends with Laurie in tears, and later, in the future, he is standing in streets of corpses, with the rest of his precognition nullified by tachyons - particles which always move faster than light, which could only be released by nuclear explosions. This causes Laurie to despair, and she angrily tells Manhattan to land the structure. After he does so, she, thanks to some comments they made earlier, realises that Edward Blake, The Comedian - the man who raped her mother - is also her father. This causes her to burst into tears, but Manhattan reassures her that he has changed his mind, and that the "thermodynamic miracle" of her existence has proven to him humanity's worth, and they depart for Earth.
Back on Earth, Rorschach and Dreiberg are undergoing an investigation of their own. After searching two bars for information, they arrive at the third, where they discover a man who knows some information. Discovering that the assassin, Roy Chess, was working for a company that is owned by Adrian Veidt, they go to his office only to discover a lead to a place called "Karnak". Rorschach, without telling Daniel, mails his journal of his investigation thus far (with the prevailing theory being the one that Veidt is the mastermind behind everything) to the New Frontiersman, a right-wing paper.
Traveling to Karnak, far in Antarctica, they arrive at Adrian's lair. Attempting to subdue him, they are both easily beaten back, their skills outmatched by Adrian's. He explains to them his plan was to unite the world through a catastrophe, after which the only choice would be unity to face a bigger threat: alien invasion. To this end, he, on a special island, manufactured an alien-looking beast which would be teleported into New York, annihilating half of the city, and forcing the US government to work with the USSR to avoid another such event. He killed The Comedian (personally) as he had discovered his plan and recounted some of it to Moloch. He gave Manhattan's friends cancer so that he would exile himself from Earth and not interfere, and put "roughly $2,000,000,000" into tachyon research to nullify Jon's precognition. Nite Owl II and Rorscach claim they shall stop him, but with a look of disdain, Veidt says: "Stop me? Dan, I am not a Republich Serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my master stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it 35 minutes ago."
In New York there is a flash of blinding light. Suddenly, millions die as a huge, grotesque, Lovecraftian creature appears in the middle of Times Square. Manhattan and Laurie arrive to see the carnage, the streets filled with corpses. Realizing who is the culprit, they teleport away to Karnak. There, as Laurie enters the main building and reunites with Dan and Rorschach, Manhattan follows Adrian deeper into the structure. However, he walks into a trap - an intrinsic field generator, same as the one that created him. Adrian activates it, seemingly killing him for a second time. As he walks out, Adrian is confronted by an enraged Laurie - with a cry of, "you asshole!" - Laurie shoots him in the chest. Or so she thinks, as Adrian opens his palm to reveal that he caught the bullet. With no time to react, Laurie ends up being on the receiving end of a kick. Adrian gets up, celebrating his victory - the news reports assuring him that his plan has succeeded. But as he celebrates, a massive hand crashes through a window, followed by the owner - Dr. Manhattan. "Reassembling myself was the first trick I learned. It didn't kill Jon Osterman - did you really think it would kill me?" However, before Jon has time to retaliate, Adrian shows him the television screen, and explains his mission to him and the rest of the group. Begrudgingly, Manhattan, Dan, and Laurie decide to keep quiet. Rorschach, however, leaves, saying that he will "never compromise". Dan and Laurie retreat to make love in a separate room, "for nostalgia", while Adrian ascends to contemplate the future. Rorschach, meanwhile, on his way back to the Owlship to warn civilisation, is confronted by Manhattan. Manhattan tries to convince Rorschach to relent, but to no avail. With no other choice, Manhattan vaporises Rorschach, even as he screams at him to do it. Manhattan goes back to Dan and Laurie, now asleep, and leaves them with a contented smile. Manhattan then finds Veidt, and they debate for a few minutes, before Manhattan reveals that he plans to leave for another galaxy in order to try his hand at creating life, and with the words, "nothing ever ends", he leaves Earth, presumably forever.
Some time later, it is the 25th of December. Sally Jupiter answers her doorbell to find a strange man and woman, "Mr and Mrs Hollis" at her doorstep. Ushering them in, it is revealed that they are Dan and Laurie, now legally married with their identities changed. After Laurie tells Sally that she knows who her real father was, they make peace, and "Sandra" and "Sam" depart, with Laurie mentioning how she hould incorporate leather and firearms into her new costume - just like her father.
At the New Frontiersman, the editor is angry about a lack of material to use. Apathetic, he tells his lackey to find some material in the crank file. The series ends as we see his hand hovering over Rorschach's journal, poised to take it.
The Minutemen were the first group of superheroes in the 1930's-40's. It consisted of :
Silhouette (deceased; killed by an old enemy)
Mothman (alive; in mental institute due to alcoholism)
Dollar Bill (deceased; cape tangled on revolving doors, then shot)
Nite Owl (deceased; killed by gang members)
Captain Metropolis (deceased; suicidal car crash/decapitation)
The Comedian (deceased; killed by Ozymandias)
Sally Jupiter (alive; lives in apartment/hotel)
Hooded Justice (unknown; presumed to be dead)
On March 6, 2009 the Watchmen film hit theaters. Unlike other super hero movies that had come out during this time, Watchmen followed the plot of the comic book almost completely and only a few small changes where made (e.g. the first Nite-Owl did not die at any time during the main cut of the movie, Ozymandias' plan had Dr. Manhattan directly blamed for the destruction, not any type of false alien, etc.).