“I did it 35 min­utes ago”

Comic Heroes - - Feature -

Watch­men #11, Au­gust 1987

What hap­pened? We’d never en­joyed an ex­tended su­per­hero Who­dun­nit? like Watch­men be­fore, and it all built up to this: the fi­nal con­fronta­tion be­tween dogged ev­ery­man hero Nite Owl and his psy­cho side­kick Rorschach, and an ex-team­mate who’d now re­vealed him­self to be the Big Bad, the su­per-rich Adrian Veidt. Our two sorry he­roes think they’ve stopped his scheme to pre­vent seem­ingly in­evitable nu­clear war by pro­vid­ing the whole planet with an ex­ter­nal men­ace to fight: a cooked-up alien in­va­sion. Trou­ble is, the plan in­volves mur­der­ing half New York. “When were you plan­ning to do it?” our he­roes ask. “Do you se­ri­ously think I’d ex­plain my mas­ter­stroke if there re­mained the slight­est chance of you af­fect­ing its out­come?” comes the an­swer. “I did it 35 min­utes ago.”

Why was it shock­ing? Su­per­heroes have never been shown to be quite so im­po­tent be­fore. Here they bum­bled along, un­cov­ered some things, but were never re­motely close to win­ning – in the end, the only thing they’ve done is fail to pre­vent the vil­lain from sav­ing the world.

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