A decade ago, Watchmen was a singular entity and it was easy enough to identify the most violent moments. Today, the Watchmen Universe contains not only the original, seminal work, but also Before Watchmen and the Geoff Johns/Gary Frank DCU crossover Doomsday Clock.
In other words, there’s more than one series to search through for the most gory Watchmen moments now, and there are plenty to choose from. Doomsday Clock, especially, introduced new and brutal characters like the incredibly violent Marionette. It's easy to hate some of these nasty individuals considering some of them eliminate our beloved Minutemen, and the reader knows these heroes won't be resurrected.
When Watchmen released in 1986, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, it changed the medium of comic books forever, and its impact continues to be felt to this day. Over the years, Moore has officially cut all ties with DC Comics, and demanded he be referred to only as “The Original Writer” in all modern Watchmen spinoffs. Though he may reject the notion, his characters continue to be relatable and interesting more than three decades after they were created.
The Comedian Kills A Woman Carrying His Child In Vietnam
Watchmen is told in a non-linear fashion, meaning there are frequent flashbacks to a familiar, yet different, history. The Vietnam War, for example, turned out very differently in the world of Watchmen, thanks in large part to the existence of an all-powerful American superhuman. Even in this fictional world, however, the event was still full of horror and atrocity.
Perhaps the most jarring moment depicted in the comic came when the Comedian, an anti-hero with a serious vicious streak, coldly murdered the Vietnamese woman carrying his child. Sure, the woman took a swing at the Comedian with a glass bottle, but that was after he informed her he was bailing on her and the kid, so he's still the bad guy in this situation.
The fact Dr. Manhattan stood by and did nothing as this woman was murdered is an entirely different, yet still disturbing, issue.
Rorschach Gets Turned To Mist
One of the bloodiest and most emotionally traumatizing scenes in the original Watchmen series comes near the end. By that point, readers had seen the all-powerful Dr. Manhattan atomize his fair share of people, but that didn’t prepare them for the moment he completely annihilated Rorschach.
Manhattan’s reasons for doing so were understandable, as Rorschach had demonstrated a distinct inability to compromise. But that didn’t change the fact readers had to watch their favorite vigilante get turned into a pile of pink snow. As Rorschach defiantly screamed, “Do it,” most readers were screaming “Don’t!”
Ozymandias Kills Millions Of People To Save Billions
Watchmen is chock-full of sublime moments, but the most famous of them all is the final twist of the series - the moment Ozymandias reveals that, unlike a “Republic serial villain,” he’d enacted his final plan “35 minutes ago.” Adrian Veidt's scheme involved launching a fake alien assault on important cities around the world.
Ozymandias was attempting to end the Cold War and unite humanity against an extraterrestrial threat, but the results were not pretty. Millions were killed where they stood, including a number of background characters that Watchmen readers had just spent 12 issues empathizing and connecting with.
Rorschach Leaves A Man Tied Up In A Burning Building, With One Gruesome Way Out
One of the most intriguing aspects of the original Watchmen series is that, because of its non-linear nature, the reader can witness character development over multiple decades. When readers first encounter Rorschach, he is a tough-as-nails and veritably insane vigilante, but subsequent flashbacks reveal he wasn’t always so brutally efficient.
One character-defining flashback depicts an early case in which a non-lethal Rorschach attempts to track down a missing child, only to learn the kidnapper has since murdered the kid, fed her to his dogs, and burned the evidence.
Rorschach’s revenge - which involves killing the dogs, shackling the murderer, and leaving him to saw his own leg off to escape a burning building - is as suitable as it is horrifying. This event clearly sets him on the path to becoming the masked menace readers had already become familiar with.