Who Re-Watches the Watchmen?

There have been rumors of prequels and/or sequels to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s classic Watchmen for years. Alan Moore has famously distanced himself from DC over “creative disagreements” and other things of a less than savory nature. Many balk at the idea of DC ever revisiting the series, believing that anything not added by Moore would be considered apocrypha and would risk tarnishing the reputation of the original. However, rumor mill site Bleeding Cool has reported in earnest that DC is in fact prepping additions to the Watchmen Universe. The site reports that DC is prepping four prequel mini-series, and has provided art to back up its claims. DC promptly responded with a cease and desist, lending even more credibility to the rumors. I won’t post the art here but it can be found easily with a simple Google search. The project, codenamed “Panic Room”, is rumored to involve Darwyn Cooke, J.G. Jones, Joe and Andy Kubert, Amanda Conner, and even original Watchmen creator Dave Gibbons himself. With the abundance of evidence presented the question doesn’t seem to be “will this happen,” but how? Personally, I find the idea of adding prequels to the Watchmen story not only a little distasteful, but kind of boring. I think a much more interesting opportunity would be the integration of the Watchmen characters into the main DC universe.

Could this be the new face of  Watchmen in 2012?
(Above: Batman #5 cover by Greg Capullo,
Below: Captain Atom #8 cover by Mike Choi)

If you’re reading this and didn’t storm off at the end of that last paragraph in disgust, then hear me out. If DC were to integrate the characters into the New 52, it would leave the original Watchmen universe untouched and undefiled. The “new” characters wouldn’t have to carry over any continuity from that series and could essentially act as recognizable clean slates. It seems to me that DC is already doing this to some extent. Scott Snyder’s ongoing “Court of Owls” story in Batman features characters that bear more than a striking resemblance to the Nite Owl character, and the changes being made to Captain Atom by writer J.T. Krul are bringing the character closer and closer in line with Dr. Manhattan. Also, since several of the Charlton characters the Watchmen were modeled after (i.e., the Question, the second Blue Beetle, and the Peacemaker) haven’t been referenced since the relaunch, there is a vacuum waiting to be filled. To me this is a much more acceptable and exciting use of the Watchmen property than rehashing the original series with unnecessary back story. It is also much more in line with DC’s New 52 initiative as a whole, looking forward to the future with new stories, not being bound by the past. While I’m afraid that the prequels are far more likely, they would be virtually guaranteed to sell like hot cakes, if the rumors were to come to fruition I would like to see DC do something a little more daring. They’ve proven with the New 52 that they aren’t afraid to take major risks, let’s see them up the ante.

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