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Narcisi, Lara. "The Apocalypse Is Here, Again: Moral ambiguities and human failings in watchmen." A Critical Approach to the Apocalypse. Eds. Alexandra Simon-López and Heidi Yeandle. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Pr. 2013. 141–50. 
Added by: joachim (9/12/14, 12:29 PM)   Last edited by: joachim (3/19/22, 12:39 PM)
Resource type: Book Chapter
Language: en: English
DOI: 10.1163/9781848882706_012
BibTeX citation key: Narcisi2013
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Categories: General
Keywords: "Watchmen", Apocalypse, Ethics, Gibbons. Dave, Moore. Alan, United Kingdom
Creators: Narcisi, Simon-López, Yeandle
Publisher: Inter-Disciplinary Pr. (Oxford)
Collection: A Critical Approach to the Apocalypse
Views: 38/1019
A manmade alien explodes, killing millions and causing speculative panic about a full-scale pending alien invasion of earth. In most texts, this would be the worst possible scenario: the apocalypse is now. But in Alan Moore’s always-relevant 1987 graphic novel Watchmen, this is in fact only the prelude to a far more sinister revelation: that such apocalypses are not the exception, but the norm. Watchmen can at first appear to be firmly entrenched in its 1980’s setting, replete with cold war anxieties. However, the book’s conclusion begs for a more complex rereading–one that sees this particular moment reaching its crisis as only one of many. Moore focuses less on the means of destruction—nuclear weapons, relatively new to human history—and more on human psychology, which he demonstrates to be the true genesis of annihilation. Nuclear capability enables more widespread destruction, but the intractable problem is our own desire to rewrite history. Ozymandias, modeling himself after both Ramses II and Alexander the Great, sees himself as capable of single-handedly creating a new peaceful world order, and his scheme works: but only temporarily. The ending radically destabilizes any hopes for Ozymandias’ success; Dr. Manhattan, who can see the future, fails to condone the plan post-hoc, noting, “In the end? … Nothing ever ends.” This sentiment is echoed shortly thereafter in a decontextualized message from a minor character: “It never ends.” In this paper I will explore how Moore weaves the problem of human psychology and attempts at heroism throughout his text. Superheroes in this alternate reality are never really super; they merely think they are, and this megalomania inevitably leads to mass destruction. Moore suggests that the devil is truly within, and that, therefore, the next apocalypse is always on the horizon.
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