The ultimate effect of Alan Moore's storytelling style on subsequent comics resonates particularly well in the final !mpact series entitled Crucible. To sum up: the modern day Crusaders found themselves alienated from humanity much like the Watchmen had before them. The different being that while the Watchmen were sequestered into retirement as costumed heroes thanks to the Keene Act which was passed in the United States, the Crusaders were literally exiled from Earth. The result?
Four Crusaders: the Fly, Jaguar, Shield and Fireball left behind a world without any principle protectors. Only the Black Hood, himself the latest inheritor of the black hood mask and the legacy associated with it, remained to protect the innocents. Much like Rorshack aka Walter Kovacs, seventeen year old Nate Cray wasn't the most mentally balanced of champions to don the Hood. Thankfully, the fantastic foursome would return to aid our gun-weilding warriors in their battle against evil... the aforementioned Crusaders and the Watchmen consisting of Nite-Owl, Silk Spectre, Doctor Manhattan and Ozymandias. Would the latter team discover the truth that the Comedian took to his grave? And would the former team reclaim their world?
The clocks would be ticking, with seconds left. When both quartets reassembled with their bewildered buddies left on terra firma, they would discover a malevolent threat within their very ranks about to usher in an alien threat of unprecedented proportions! Would their resolve win out? Will the ugly truth destroy these mystery men as heroes from within? Time would tell.
In our next installment, we dissect the relationship between the featured characters of these two ground breaking mini-series, and how they were the sign of the times that storytelling in comic books had dramatically changed to imbrace concepts effecting popular culture itself.
The Watchmen was a limited series published from September 1986 through October 1987, and was based on characters purchased by DC Comics from the then defunct Charlton Comics. The Impact comics line was modeled after characters originally published by MLJ and Mighty Comics, and the Crucible series was issued from February 1993 through July 1993.