Dan Dreiberg

June 5

Watchmen depicts an alternate history where superheroes emerged in the 1940s and 1960s and their presence changed history so that the United States won the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal was never exposed. In 1985, the country is edging toward World War III with the Soviet Union, freelance costumed vigilantes have been outlawed and most former superheroes are in retirement or working for the government. The story focuses on the personal development and moral struggles of the protagonists as an investigation into the murder of a government-sponsored superhero pulls them out of retirement. In 1985, DC Comics acquired a line of characters from Charlton Comics. During that period, writer Alan Moore contemplated writing a story that featured an unused line of superheroes that he could revamp, as he had done in his Miracleman series in the early 1980s. Moore reasoned that MLJ Comics’ Mighty Crusaders might be available for such a project, so he devised a murder mystery plot which would begin with the discovery of the body of the Shield in a harbour. The writer felt it did not matter which set of characters he ultimately used, as long as readers recognized them “so it would have the shock and surprise value when you saw what the reality of these characters was”. The story begins with New York City police investigating the murder of Edward Blake in Watchmen #1 (June 5, 1986). With the police having no leads, costumed vigilante Rorschach decides to probe further. Discovering Blake to be the face behind The Comedian, a costumed hero employed by the United States government, Rorschach believes he has discovered a plot to terminate costumed adventurers and sets about warning four of his retired comrades: Dan Dreiberg (formerly the second Nite Owl), the superpowered and emotionally detached Doctor Manhattan and his lover Laurie Juspeczyk (the second Silk Spectre), and Adrian Veidt (once the hero Ozymandias, and now a successful businessman).