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Watchmen | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Fall 1939

    Masked vigilantes join to form the Minutemen, a cooperative crime-fighting group.

    Under the Hood (Chapters 3 and 4)
  • 1940

    The Comedian (Edward Blake) tries to rape Sally Jupiter (Silk Spectre).

    Chapter 1
  • 1949

    The Minutemen disband; Laurie Juspeczyk is born.

    Under the Hood (Chapters 3 and 4)
  • 1959

    A near-fatal blast of radiation turns Jon Osterman into Dr. Manhattan.

    Chapter 4
  • March 1964

    Kitty Genovese's murder inspires Walter Kovacs to become the vigilante Rorschach.

    Chapter 6
  • 1966

    The first meeting of the Crimebusters, organized by Captain Metropolis, is a failure.

    Chapter 1
  • 1971

    Dr. Manhattan ends the Vietnam War.

    Chapter 4
  • 1975

    Adrian Veidt reveals himself to be the man behind Ozymandias and retires.

    Chapter 4
  • 1977

    The Keene Act is passed, prohibiting citizen vigilantism.

    Chapter 1
  • October 12, 1985

    The Comedian is murdered. Rorschach alerts his former colleagues about a "mask killer."

    Chapter 1
  • October 19, 1985

    Laurie leaves Dr. Manhattan.

    Chapter 3
  • Later that night

    After a live TV interview gone awry, Dr. Manhattan escapes to Mars.

    Chapter 3
  • October 21, 1985

    An assassin kills Adrian Veidt's secretary but fails to kill Veidt himself.

    Chapter 5
  • October 21, 1985

    Rorscharch is framed for Moloch's murder and is subsequently arrested.

    Chapter 5
  • October 31, 1985

    Dan Dreiberg (Nite Owl) and Laurie Juspeczyk (Silk Spectre II) help Rorschach break out of jail.

    Chapter 8
  • Later that night

    Laurie goes to Mars with Dr. Manhattan; Dan and Rorschach go into hiding.

    Chapter 8
  • November 1, 1985

    Having connected Adrian Veidt to the murders, Dan and Rorscharch fly to his Antarctic lair.

    Chapter 10
  • Later that night

    A gigantic, alien-like octopus descends on New York City, killing more than three million people.

    Chapter 11
  • November 2, 1985

    Dr. Manhattan kills Rorschach after he threatens to tell the world what really happened.

    Chapter 12
  • December 25, 1985

    Seymour, an assistant at the New Frontiersman, finds Rorschach's journal in the crank pile.

    Chapter 12

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 Watchmen opens on October 12, 1985, in a dystopian New York City where Richard Nixon has claimed a fifth term as preside... Read More
Under the Hood (Chapters 1 and 2) Former Nite Owl Hollis Mason wrote an autobiography after his retirement from vigilantism in 1962. Under the Hood begi... Read More
Chapter 2 Laurie Juspeczyk is in California visiting her mother, Sally Jupiter, the original Silk Spectre, who lives in an assiste... Read More
Under the Hood (Chapters 3 and 4) After bulking up at the Police Gymnasium and crafting himself a costume, Nite Owl hit the streets for the first time i... Read More
Chapter 3 A white news vendor pontificates on the state of the world while a black teenage boy sits on the ground and reads a comi... Read More
Under the Hood (Chapter 5) The 1950s were difficult for the remaining Minutemen. Costumed criminals were a thing of the past, and according to Holl... Read More
Chapter 4 On Mars Dr. Manhattan thinks about his life thus far. Since he is not constrained by time or space, he doesn't have memo... Read More
Dr. Manhattan: Super-Powers and the Superpowers Dr. Milton Glass (who hired Jon Osterman to work at Gila Flats) doesn't think Dr. Manhattan is going to end wars; he thi... Read More
Chapter 5 Rorschach breaks into Moloch's apartment again, this time to learn more about the list of names Moloch mentioned during ... Read More
Excerpt from Treasure Island Treasury of Comics This book excerpt details the creation of Tales of the Black Freighter, a long-running comic book series. Originally con... Read More
Chapter 6 Rorschach, aka Walter Joseph Kovacs, is in jail. Dr. Malcolm Long, a psychoanalyst, is administering Rorschach inkblot t... Read More
Walter J. Kovacs Documents The end matter for Chapter 6 includes six documents: the report made at the time of Rorschach's arrest for his alleged m... Read More
Chapter 7 Laurie Juspeczyk accidentally activates the flamethrower on Archie, Dan Dreiberg's owl ship, while trying to light a cig... Read More
Blood from the Shoulder of Pallas Dan Dreiberg's article for the Journal of the American Ornithological Society discusses the tendency of bird enthusiasts... Read More
Chapter 8 Hollis Mason calls Sally Jupiter on the morning of Halloween to tell her about the tenement rescue. They reminisce about... Read More
Excerpts from the New Frontiersman The front-page story of the New Frontiersman, "Honor is Like the Hawk: Sometimes It Must Go Hooded," is editor Hector Go... Read More
Chapter 9 Dr. Manhattan and Laurie Juspeczyk arrive on Mars. After a few panic-inducing moments, he remembers she needs oxygen to ... Read More
Sally Jupiter Scrapbook Clippings Sally Jupiter's scrapbook clippings include two news articles—one is about her debut in the crime-fighting world, the ot... Read More
Chapter 10 Tensions are high as President Richard Nixon, Vice President Gerald Ford, and presidential advisors gather in a secure u... Read More
Veidt Enterprises Correspondence The final grouping of realia is business correspondence between Adrian Veidt and the presidents of various departments i... Read More
Chapter 11 Rorschach and Dan Dreiberg (dressed as Nite Owl) arrive in Antarctica. As they ride air scooters to Adrian Veidt's Antar... Read More
Interview with Adrian Veidt Doug Roth's 1975 interview with Adrian Veidt portrays the recently retired vigilante as an affable, down-to-earth busine... Read More
Chapter 12 It is midnight on November 2, 1985. New York City is a picture of carnage: dead bodies are heaped upon one another, and ... Read More
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