NewThe Watchmen Chronology

Watchmen

Who watches the Watchmen?

This reading order adapts the multiple overlapping storylines of the assorted Before Watchmen titles and the licenced role playing supplements (that were written with Moore’s consent and collaboration) into an order that should preserve most of the reveals. It’s not always perfectly chronological (not least due to several chronological errors in the tie-in books themselves), but it should lead to a reasonably good reading experience.

Of course, for the best possible Watchmen reading experience, the order is ever simpler: just skip all the books that have the word ‘Before’ in the title, and everything listed under “After Watchmen” below.

Before Watchmen
Before Watchmen Minutemen #1 Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre
Before Watchmen Minutemen #2 Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre
Before Watchmen Minutemen #3 Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre
Before Watchmen Minutemen #4 Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre
Before Watchmen Dollar Bill #1 Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair
Before Watchmen Minutemen #5 Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre
Before Watchmen Minutemen #6 Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre
Before Watchmen Nite Owl #1 Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan
Before Watchmen Ozymandias #1 Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair
Before Watchmen Ozymandias #2 Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair
Before Watchmen Ozymandias #3 Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair
Before Watchmen Comedian #1 Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach
Before Watchmen Comedian #2 Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach
Before Watchmen Comedian #3 Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach
Before Watchmen Ozymandias #4 [1] Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair
Before Watchmen Silk Spectre #1 Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre
Before Watchmen Silk Spectre #2 Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre
Before Watchmen Silk Spectre #3 Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre
Before Watchmen Silk Spectre #4 [1] Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre
Before Watchmen Nite Owl #2 [1] Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan
Watchmen: Who Watches the Watchmen? [2] role playing game adventure
Before Watchmen Nite Owl #3 Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan
Before Watchmen Nite Owl #4 Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan
Before Watchmen Comedian #4 Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach
Before Watchmen Comedian #5 Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach
Before Watchmen Comedian #6 Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach
Watchmen: Taking Out The Trash [2] role playing game adventure
Before Watchmen Moloch #1 Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan
Before Watchmen Ozymandias #5 Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair
Watchmen: The End is Nigh [3] video game
Before Watchmen Rorschach #1 [4] Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach
Before Watchmen Rorschach #2 Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach
Before Watchmen Rorschach #3 [5] Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach
Before Watchmen Rorschach #4 Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach
Before Watchmen Ozymandias #6 Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair
Watchmen
Watchmen #1 Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition
Watchmen #2 [1] Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition
Watchmen #3 Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition
Watchmen #4 Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition
Before Watchmen Dr. Manhattan #1 Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan
Before Watchmen Dr. Manhattan #2 Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan
Before Watchmen Dr. Manhattan #3 Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan
Before Watchmen Dr. Manhattan #4 Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan
Watchmen #5 Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition
Before Watchmen Moloch #2 Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan
Watchmen #6 Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition
Watchmen #7 Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition
Watchmen #8 Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition
Watchmen #9 Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition
Watchmen #10 Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition
Watchmen #11 Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition
Watchmen #12 Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition
Watchmen Sourcebook [2] role playing game supplement
After Watchmen
DC Universe: Rebirth #1 [6] DC Universe: Rebirth Deluxe Edition
The Flash: Rebirth #1 The Flash, vol.1: Lightning Strikes Twice

Notes:

  1. Each of these issues shows the Crimebusters meeting in 1966, in part or in whole.
  2. A Roleplaying supplement for the DC Heroes Role Playing Game from Mayfair Games. All of these books were created with the cooperation and consent of Alan Moore. They are the next best thing to canonical after the series itself. They’re also out of print, so they will not be cheap to buy.
  3. A video game set just prior to the passing of the Keene Act in 1977.
  4. This is, even by the lax standards of Before Watchmen, an utterly pointless story. It is generic to the point of blandness and does not advance our knowledge of the character or the larger Watchmen story in any way. Read it only if you must.
  5. Rorschach’s taxi driver here is one of the inspirations for his creation. He is THE taxi driver: Travis Bickle, from Martin Scorcese’s classic Taxi Driver. See it if you haven’t, it’s so much better than this comic.
  6. And then, DC decided to raid the Watchmen property yet again, and cheapen it by turning Dr Manhattan into just one more supervillain.
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