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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:34 pm 
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One thing that has always struck me as curious in the Watchmen world is the success of the various costumed heroes. Aside from Dr. Manhattan no one has super powers, yet they all, for the most part, seem to be quite adept at busting up crime and remaining healthy and intact. This seems pretty unrealistic to me. Aside from Hollis Mason, Veidt and Laurie, there really is no mention of the training one would have to endure prior to going out in an outlandish costume and bring pain the criminal fraternity. To be able to do such a thing would require endless hours of training at a minimum just to stay alive even one night, much less several years. It seems in the Watchmen universe, just putting on a costume is good enough. In particular, Rorschach intrigues me in this regard.

Kovacs was short in stature and slight in build. Dr.Long describes him as 140 lbs. How can an untrained, and relatively speaking, average person be able to survive doing what Ror did? How can he even survive long enough to become the scourge of the Underworld? In a realistic world, would he not get his head handed to him pretty quickly? Without any back story describing intensive training or instruction in Martial Arts or something, it is difficult to buy the idea of Ror as an effective combatant, much the less the feared vigilante that he is described as in the GN. The only thing I can think of is Will. To put it in RPG terms (which I haven't touched in years, so bear with me here), I would imagine that Kovac's physical stats would be, for the most part, unimpressive. I can only attribute his success to his overwhelming Will. His ability to bear down on someone with his Will. He is convinced of his moral superiority and somehow this translates into his ability to intimidate and eventually wear down his foe. This works for him when questioning a thug in Happy Harry's for example, where Ror is willing to take things to the extreme and break fingers, etc. But what I don't get is how he managed to actually stay alive as long as he did when facing, surely many, many times, multiple foes--most of them wielding knives, or even guns. Sure he had the mindset for it, but he did not have any training or even brute force on his side.

Now maybe that is just something we're not supposed to question in the GN. Moore does include the death of Dollar Bill as an example of amatuerish heroics that lead to tragic consequences, but most of the other heroes were untrained, normal people as well. Or at least their training is not mentioned and perhaps we are to assume or fill in that background ourselves. Ok fine...but with Ror, I can't imagine him training on his own, or even having the resources to do so. So how does he manage to get to the point where he can walk into a bar, break someone's fingers, and walk out in one piece with dozens of hardened criminals cowering in his wake?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:38 pm 
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Just because it's not said doesn't mean it isn't true. All of them would train, just like Hollis and Laurie did. I'd imagine Dan would train in his basement. Rorschach learnt for himself on the street (though JEH says that "his background is in boxing"). We've seen Veidt display his athleticism on the TV...those moves could be part of his technique.
Dollar Bill was different though. He was just a mascot.

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it was tying it into the rape-revenge stories and making light of a verys erious sub-genre that kind of offended me.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:39 pm 
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Ror is a tactical genius. It's not hard for someone with that talent to take down thugs and small crime gangs while acting within the law even with only a gymnast's training, especially with friends like Dan.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:49 pm 
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Rorschach studied boxing and gymnastics when he was at the children's home, and Dan had a gym that he eventually stopped using, so physical training is acknowledged in the book. Though I do wonder why no one at Happy Harry's (or any other bar he frequented) just shot him, especially since it was general knowledge that he went unarmed.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:51 pm 
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it was tying it into the rape-revenge stories and making light of a verys erious sub-genre that kind of offended me.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:55 pm 
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Speaking gruffly in a shifting ink mask can do that. And he DOES go armed, remember.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:57 pm 
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I've thought about this, too. I think there's an impossible element that's never specifically named that enables the actions of these low-power heroes. It's whatever makes moments cinematic, and keeps self-consciousness from spoiling things. Dan never flies his airship past a blimp-side ad for a new sports car and realizes that his means of getting his kicks is whacked. Rorschach never walks along a street in a bad neighborhood, and has kids laugh at his mask, causing him to go home and refuse to patrol again. Stand up comedians don't lambaste Veidt, making him consider toning his costume down, the way Johnny Carson tormented Wayne Newton. I get the same feeling of dishonesty watching Dark Knight, when no one comes along during Batman's fire escape interrogation of Maroni, and says, "Hey, Bats, aim for the hydrant!" They try to address these outside, chaotic influences that would destroy the effects that the heroes want to create with devices like the copycat Batman, or more accurately, with their elimination. I still felt bad recommending that movie to people on the basis that it was a great drama, and a great action movie, and it was about a guy dressed up as a bat. Moore goes to a lot of trouble in Watchmen to create realistic heroes to underscore how unreal it all is, seemingly for no good reason. A lot of other writers have to make much less of an effort, and produce heroes without as much depth or credibility, and their work is no more ridiculous than the idea of everyone in a city knowing and fearing Rorschach, and offering no resistance whenever he appears to maim them. You can bring in the fear of nuclear war and other themes to cover that flaw, but it's still silly.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:50 pm 
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Excellent responses all, and I thank you for them.

I do think that it comes down to suspension of disbelief in Moore's world, and I have no problem doing that. If you suspend your disbelief long enough to accept super heroes, then well you can accept Ror doing doing just about anything I suppose. I guess I was just kind of curious as to how most of the, not all, costumed heroes had an origin that either described or hinted at training, and yet one one of the longest active heroes, Ror, had seemingly no training at all, yet managed to stay alive, is curious.

It is now a few hours, and a quite a few single malts later since I posted, so feel free to kill it..


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:21 pm 
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MoreMoorePLZ wrote:
Excellent responses all, and I thank you for them.

I do think that it comes down to suspension of disbelief in Moore's world, and I have no problem doing that. If you suspend your disbelief long enough to accept super heroes, then well you can accept Ror doing doing just about anything I suppose. I guess I was just kind of curious as to how most of the, not all, costumed heroes had an origin that either described or hinted at training, and yet one one of the longest active heroes, Ror, had seemingly no training at all, yet managed to stay alive, is curious.

It is now a few hours, and a quite a few single malts later since I posted, so feel free to kill it..


..........I want a goddamn malt now. You asshole.

Yes, even the most realistic and sophisticated of the hero comics has it's many fall points. I mean there's the point where you gotta say "What made people become superheroes there in the first place? We have those same messed up kinds of people here, but they didn't wear spandex and take down crime organizations."


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm 
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Quote:
there really is no mention of the training one would have to endure prior to going out in an outlandish costume and bring pain the criminal fraternity


Just taking a look at the physical transformation of The Comedian shows how much iron he'd have to pump.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:02 am 
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The Prince II wrote:
Quote:
there really is no mention of the training one would have to endure prior to going out in an outlandish costume and bring pain the criminal fraternity


Just taking a look at the physical transformation of The Comedian shows how much iron he'd have to pump.


And all the scars he's earned, in more ways than one. He's the bastard we all love to hate.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:28 am 
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Lady_Rorschach wrote:
The Prince II wrote:
Quote:
there really is no mention of the training one would have to endure prior to going out in an outlandish costume and bring pain the criminal fraternity


Just taking a look at the physical transformation of The Comedian shows how much iron he'd have to pump.


And all the scars he's earned, in more ways than one. He's the bastard we all love to hate.


Really? I hate to love him.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:37 am 
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SmilingSymmetry wrote:
Lady_Rorschach wrote:
The Prince II wrote:
Quote:
there really is no mention of the training one would have to endure prior to going out in an outlandish costume and bring pain the criminal fraternity


Just taking a look at the physical transformation of The Comedian shows how much iron he'd have to pump.


And all the scars he's earned, in more ways than one. He's the bastard we all love to hate.


Really? I hate to love him.


Ditto, but given Blake's character, the reader is supposed to hate him for his cruelty to anything alive. But he's got quite the legion of fans (and a harem or fangirls to boot ;) ) Same goes for Rorschach. He's a human rubic's cube, we aren't sure if he is someone we are to root for or despise. He, too, has a legion of fans, and perhaps a small smattering of fangirls (we know who we are... :P ).

Personally, I don't like Blake's post-Nam gimp mask. Makes him look like a gay hooker...

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:11 am 
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MoreMoorePLZ wrote:
One thing that has always struck me as curious in the Watchmen world is the success of the various costumed heroes. Aside from Dr. Manhattan no one has super powers, yet they all, for the most part, seem to be quite adept at busting up crime and remaining healthy and intact. This seems pretty unrealistic to me. Aside from Hollis Mason, Veidt and Laurie, there really is no mention of the training one would have to endure prior to going out in an outlandish costume and bring pain the criminal fraternity. To be able to do such a thing would require endless hours of training at a minimum just to stay alive even one night, much less several years. It seems in the Watchmen universe, just putting on a costume is good enough.


I always looked at it this way in my twisted mind: in the Watchmen universe, there was an unwritten code of conduct between the costumed vigilantes / costumed criminals. While dangerous, they were still basically engaged in a glorified game of "cops and robbers." That's why we never see anything mentioned about old-time costumed villains being killed... it was almost an "innocent" fantasy game that was being played out between adults. The only glaring exception of a costumed hero being killed while on duty is Dollar Bill, and I wonder if Moore was making a specific cultural commentary by selecting that specific corporate sponsored hero to be killed.

Now for the common thugs, I think we'll just have to suspend our disbelief and ignore the fact that at least some would be packing heat, and that Rorschach and Nite Owl would probably have been riddled with bullets while trying to take down Underboss and the like.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:11 pm 
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waylayer wrote:
... Now for the common thugs, I think we'll just have to suspend our disbelief and ignore the fact that at least some would be packing heat, and that Rorschach and Nite Owl would probably have been riddled with bullets while trying to take down Underboss and the like.


Isn't that weird when you think about it? That all the costumed heroes (besides Manhattan) always chose enemies that didn't have firearms?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:21 pm 
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SmilingSymmetry wrote:
And he DOES go armed, remember.


I’m not quite sure what you mean by that. If you are referring to the grappling gun that Dan constructed for him, its purpose was not as a weapon and its only use as such was probably the shooting of the S.W.A.T. officer. It is actually stated in the comic that Rorschach is not armed and it is seen throughout the story that if he does use something other than his fists, it is improvised, such as his use of the grappling gun or the makeshift garrote used for the rapist/mugger/both.

This could actually answer the op’s question in a way. Those who did not have professional training when they first started out, such as the Comedian (as far as I can remember) survived because of their brutality and ingenuity. I’m sure that there were many more masked vigilantes than the ones mentioned in the book who were killed or hurt early in their career because they lacked training. The few who managed to adapt and survive were the ones we see in WATCHMEN.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:23 pm 
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TheLeader wrote:
SmilingSymmetry wrote:
And he DOES go armed, remember.


I’m not quite sure what you mean by that. If you are referring to the grappling gun that Dan constructed for him, its purpose was not as a weapon and its only use as such was probably the shooting of the S.W.A.T. officer. It is actually stated in the comic that Rorschach is not armed and it is seen throughout the story that if he does use something other than his fists, it is improvised, such as his use of the grappling gun or the makeshift garrote used for the rapist/mugger/both.

This could actually answer the op’s question in a way. Those who did not have professional training when they first started out, such as the Comedian (as far as I can remember) survived because of their brutality and ingenuity. I’m sure that there were many more masked vigilantes than the ones mentioned in the book who were killed or hurt early in their career because they lacked training. The few who managed to adapt and survive were the ones we see in WATCHMEN.


Grappling gun = weapon, no matter what it's purpose was.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:29 pm 
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I’d have to disagree based on the fact that anything can be used as a weapon. It’s a fact that a person can be killed with an ink pen if done correctly but people with pocket protectors are not considered armed. I believe that the use of the word “armed” refers to someone who has a device that was designed and intended for use as a weapon. I can understand your point of view though.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:30 pm 
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TheLeader wrote:
I’d have to disagree based on the fact that anything can be used as a weapon. It’s a fact that a person can be killed with an ink pen if done correctly but people with pocket protectors are not considered armed. I believe that the use of the word “armed” refers to someone who has a device that was designed and intended for use as a weapon. I can understand your point of view though.


That's why I was using the word jokingly. And it's a lot easier to kill someone with a projectile gun than with a pen.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:48 pm 
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TheLeader wrote:
I’d have to disagree based on the fact that anything can be used as a weapon. It’s a fact that a person can be killed with an ink pen if done correctly but people with pocket protectors are not considered armed. I believe that the use of the word “armed” refers to someone who has a device that was designed and intended for use as a weapon. I can understand your point of view though.


Bear in mind though that Rorschach is a tactical savant who has proven time and time again that he can take any at-hand object or other resource and turn it against his opponents in deadly fashion. Regardless of what he's actually carrying on his person, Rorschach's reputation for leveraging his surroundings would qualify him as "armed" in the eyes of most criminals and ordinary citizens, ergo most people wouldn't take the chance of screwing with him.

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