Moore develops six characters upon whom the immediate line of the story rests:

Edward Blake/The Comedian is the only character of the six who fought as a member of both groups of Watchmen. Blake is a cynical character who believes that human nature is ultimately savage. He does not believe that the world can be saved, yet he continues to play a role in crime busting, claiming that he will have the last joke on humanity when it destroys itself in spite of significant intervention.

Walter Kovacs/Rorschach is one of the more complex characters in the novel. He is deemed a sociopath by many, and indeed his past was riddled with abuse and violence that altered his character. Kovacs's mother was a prostitute, and when he was younger, he became the victim of taunting by neighborhood boys on account of his mother’s reputation. Furthermore, his mother often physically abused him and regarded him as a burden. Rorschach took up crime fighting to rid the world of such evil influences. He claims that he ceased to be Walter Kovacs during a mission to find a kidnapped girl: he found that her kidnapper had killed her and fed her to his dogs to cover up his crime. Rorschach killed him on the spot, and with that murder lost any trace of innocence that he may have had left.

Laurie Juspeczyk/Silk Spectre II has taken over the place of her mother, Sally, in the crime-fighting role of Silk Spectre. Laurie has always been an object through which Sally has tried to live vicariously, yet she has also been the daughter whom Sally has tried to protect from the truth. Laurie is young and naïve when she begins her role as Silk Spectre II, and she is drawn to Dr. Manhattan. The two, however, have a troubled relationship because Jon is unable to connect to her human desires.

Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan suffered a freak nuclear accident while working as a physicist. After his body is dismantled by...

(The entire section is 635 words.)