Watchmen is one of the greatest comics of all time (though it's not for comic newbies). It's the creation of preeminent comic writer Alan Moore, telling the tale of a gritty alternate universe in which Nixon remained president into the '80s. As this beloved graphic novel has been around for so long, and has branched out into pop culture in a big way after the film adaptation in 2009, there are Watchmen fan theories galore. Some theories are as imminently plausible as Doctor Manhattan being aware of the reader, and some are perhaps less plausible but still entertaining, like Doctor Manhattan being the creator of the Smurfs and their universe.
It's up to you to decide whether these fan theories about Watchmen are accurate. There are major spoilers ahead for both the graphic novel and the film, and kind of even for V for Vendetta (seriously).
Redditor /u/TheMightyMec offers a pretty mind-blowing theory that Batman may exist in the Watchmen universe, but only as a comic book character, thanks to Nite Owl saving Bruce Wayne's parents from being murdered. Check out the above image in which /u/TheMightyMec points to four key elements: The wealthy couple, the wife's pearls, what appears to be their butler, and the sign above the message board which reads "Gotham Opera House." The Redditor continues:
Now I thought this theory didn't really make sense at first since there are posters of the cover of the first Batman comic. But then I thought about the time the Minutemen existed (1940s), and the date the first Batman comic was issued (1940s), so perhaps Batman was a comic book within the Watchmen universe?
And then points to further evidence:
- Flash comic at the newsstand
- Hollis Mason mentions Superman in his book 'Under the Hood' because he liked to read comics.
- Superhero comics were unpopular in the Watchmen universe, and were being surpassed by pirate comics, seemingly.
Redditor /u/ZacPensol observes that Doctor Manhattan is the only character in the entire book whose thoughts are presented for the reader to consume. Up until we meet Doctor Manhattan, every word in the book is presented either through dialogue or in some written form, like Rorschach's journal. The moment Doctor Manhattan appears on the page, that changes.
ZacPensol doesn't think this is an accident. He points out that Manhattan's powers are so vast we don't really know the limits of them, meaning it's possible he can see through dimensions. He asks about Manhattan's first scene:
So then, if he's simply thinking to himself, why are his thoughts in English? In any language? Why is he bothering to explain at all how he is what he is? Why is it important? Does he really need to invest time into recounting all this? Can it not all just come to him immediately at once?
Those are valid questions that are difficult to answer. ZacPensol's explanation: Manhattan is talking directly to the reader.
Alan Moore created both Rorschach and V, enough of a link for Redditor /u/sumojoe to go on a hunt for clues connecting the two:
Dr. Manhattan didn't kill Rorschach, he merely made it look like he had so that no one would realize what he had actually done: sent Rorschach to another dimension. The Watchmen universe was no longer a home for him, he couldn't be there, because his sense of justice would force him to undo the peace that Ozymandias had created. So Manhatttan [sic] sent him to another world, one where he would be able to do good. Unfortunately his actions land him in a concentration camp as a political prisoner. He is given experimental injections which kill everyone else but not him, because being transferred across dimensions by Manhattan changed his body. It makes him stronger, his mind sharper, but it destroys his memory. He no longer knows who he is, or where he came from, but he does remember how to fight, how to make his own weapons, and his strong sense of justice, well that of course stays with him. Think along the lines of Jason Bourne: he knows how to do all these things, he just doesn't know how he knows these things. Eventually he creates a makeshift bomb and some mustard gas, escapes, and becomes V.
Both V and Rorschach are described as being ugly, they are both extremely skilled fighters with a strong sense of "justice", and they both fight to protect the innocent. Neither one of them have any interest in the opposite sex (or the same sex, for that matter), and they have no problem killing those that have done wrong. Also they're both Alan Moore characters.
Unfortunately, the Redditor who provided this theory to blow your meta-mind has deleted their account, but the thought-provoking argument that Rorschach is a personified Rorschach test himself still remains:
In the Watchmen graphic novel series, Rorschach is not a traditional hero. He is uncompromising. He embodies many traits of absolutism and objectivism. Good and evil are clearly defined in his mind. Everything about him is starkly black and white. Now, how is this relevant to my theory? Rorschach is, thematically, a defined shape. What emotions, thoughts and feelings that can be evoked about him vary among readers of Watchmen. Some view his right-wing philosophies and lack of mercy as a weakness, other see him as a badass and an awesome character to be loved and beholded [sic] due to his uncompromising nature. Rorschach is an inkblot test: whatever you think and feel about him reveals truths about yourself.