Okay, I know I didn’t get these finished before the movie came out. But once that deadline passed, there didn’t seem to be a great need to rush. But here it is – Watchmen #11. The end is near. Can Rorschach and Nite Owl save the world and stop the mastermind’s nefarious plot? How far would you go to save the world?
Watchmen does a great job of balancing to over arching plot with character development. Usually it’s one chapter of plot, then a focus on the backstory of one of the characters. This issue does both. Adrian explores his origin story while also explaining how he has been behind everything that has been going on. We come at the story with the traditional story telling tropes in mind. The villain explains his plot. The heroes save the day at the last minute. But what happens when the villain presses the button 35 minutes before the heroes show up? And what happens when the villain is not the villain but a hero? We expect Nite Owl and Rorschach to save the day. Not only do they fail, but as we see in the next issue, if they had achieved their goal, if they had stopped Adrian, then they would have doomed the world, not saved it. Everything is turned on it’s head.
I remember reading this for the first time 10 years ago. I remember reading Adrian saying “I did it 35 minutes ago.” I remember my jaw dropping and being stunned. The detailed and nuanced story telling hadn’t got to me yet. What really got me, what made me want to read the story over and over again, is that one moment. The twist that we had been conditioned by decades of super hero story telling not to expect. I was hooked.
In this issue we see the world as Adrain sees it – one big Gordian knot. He can see that fighting crime on the streets of New York won’t save the world. All he can see is the esculation to a nuclear war that no one will survive. He doesn’t want to be the smartest man on the cinder. So he takes a step back and tackles the problem laterally. It will mean the death of millions. But it will save billions. What would you do to save mankind?
Ultimately, the death of millions won’t save the human race. But the death of one man has saved the world. Jesus Christ, the only one who never sinned, who never did anything wrong, who always obeyed God. He died to save us. He surrended himself to his accusers. Though guilty of no crime, he allowed himself to be executed in the most cruel way possible – on a Roman cross. He hanged there until he breathed his last. He had the full wrath of God for all mankind poured out onto him. All so that he might die in our place. One man died so that you, a sinner, might be saved. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. (1 Peter 3:18) That’s what it takes to save the world.