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Watchmen Reading Order: How to read Alan Moore books and more?

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Soon, there will be a Watchmen TV show on HBO that will have some connexions with the original comics. It’s not new, DC writers don’t seem capable of stopping expending the world created by Alan Moore. Here is a guide.

What is Watchmen about?

Published by DC Comics in 1986 and 1987, Watchmen is a science fiction comic book limited series by the British writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons and colorist John Higgins.

The original Watchmen series is considered as one of the most important books ever published in the comic book world. It certainly is one of the best.


The story takes place in an alternate reality, in the 1980s. The primary difference is the presence of superheroes. The all-powerful Doctor Manhattan has given the U.S. a strategic advantage over the rest of the world. But, by 1977, superheroes became unpopular and they were outlawed by the passage of the Keene Act made.

In October 1985, costumed vigilante Rorschach discovered that Edward Blake, also known as The Comedian, a costumed hero employed by the U.S. government, has been murdered. Rorschach uncovered a plot to eliminate costumed heroes and warned some of his old friends. Something bigger is cooking, but the retired heroes have to first discovered what it is.

Watchmen Reading Order:

If you are a purist, you only need to read the original Watchmen series. It’s the only one written by Alan Moore and he didn’t approve of the rest. That said, other writers expanded his creation, as it is often the case in the comics world.

I. Collected editions Reading Order

  1. Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre – Collects Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1-6 And Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #1-4.
  2. Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair – Collects Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1-6 and “Curse Of The Crimson Corsair.”
  3. Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach – Collects Before Watchmen: Comedian #1-6 and Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1-4.
  4. Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan – Collects Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #1-4 and Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #1-4.

note : you can also find all the Before Watchmen stories in one omnibus.

  1. Watchmen – Collects Watchmen #1-12.

  1. DC Universe: Rebirth
  2. Batman/The Flash: The Button – Collects Batman #21-22 And The Flash #21-22.
  3. Doomsday Clock

II. Reading order, issue by issue

  1. Before Watchmen Minutemen #1-4
  2. Before Watchmen Dollar Bill #1
  3. Before Watchmen Minutemen #5-6
  4. Before Watchmen Nite Owl #1
  5. Before Watchmen Ozymandias #1-3
  6. Before Watchmen Comedian #1-3
  7. Before Watchmen Ozymandias #4
  8. Before Watchmen Silk Spectre #1-4
  9. Before Watchmen Nite Owl #2-4
  10. Before Watchmen Comedian #4-6
  11. Before Watchmen Moloch #1
  12. Before Watchmen Ozymandias #5
  13. Before Watchmen Rorschach #1-4
  14. Before Watchmen Ozymandias #6
  15. Watchmen #1-4
  16. Before Watchmen Dr. Manhattan #1-4
  17. Watchmen #5
  18. Before Watchmen Moloch #2
  19. Watchmen #6-12
  20. DC Universe: Rebirth #1
  21. The Flash: Rebirth #1 (optional, collected in The Flash, vol.1: Lightning Strikes Twice)
  22. Batman #21
  23. The Flash #21
  24. Batman #22
  25. The Flash #22
  26. Doomsday Clock #1-12


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  1. Jude

    How necessary is it to read DC Rebirth #1 before Doomsday Clock?

    • Fabien

      It’s not really necessary, Geoff Johns just put some tiny references leading to The Button. For Doomsday Clock, you can skip it.

  2. Tate Newman

    Why is Before Watchmen: Dr Manhattan #1-4 between Watchmen #1-4 and Watchmen #5. Same question with Before Watchmen: Moloch #2.

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