Watchmen. Courtesy DC Comics

Mysterious Masked Figure Featured in First Look of HBO’s Watchmen

Who watches the watchmen? This is one of the most deathless lines from one of the most iconic graphic novels of all time, “Watchmen,” created in the late 80s by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The phrase is likely based on the Latin “quis custodiet ipsos custodes,” found in the work of a Roman poet named Juvenal, which is literally translated as “Who will guard the guards themselves.” This phrase, seen throughout “Watchmen” in the form of graffiti, is always obscured, either by a person or some object in the foreground. In “Watchmen,” there is a terrifying lack of police protection thanks to a massive labor strike, and it’s up to costumed crimefighters to take on that role. Yet those crimefighters fail, and what’s more, they never actually call themselves the Watchmen in the series, giving the phrase an even more ambiguous bent. Naturally “who watches the Watchmen” is the caption of the very first image from the official Watchmen Instagram page for upcoming HBO series, showing a mysterious figure in a police uniform and yellow face-mask.

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Who Watches The Watchmen? #WatchmenHBO

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Looked at another way, “who watches the watchmen” is an ominous question, considering the story opens with an investigation into the mysterious murders of a bunch of superheroes. The detective is a superhero (of sorts) himself; the enigmatic Rorschach, who wears a mask of changing inkblots (hence his name), and is on the case trying to figure out who’s murdering the costumed superheroes and why. While “Watchmen” is chockablock with iconic characters, including Dr. Manhattan, Nite Owl, The Comedian, and Ozymandias, show creator Damon Lindelof promised fans in an open letter that the HBO series will feature new faces: “Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them.” Might our yellow-masked friend above be one of those new faces?

The fact that this figure is wearing a yellow mask is also important; yellow is the defining color of “Watchmen,” with the yellow smiley-face button smeared by blood as its most iconic image.

Watchmen will begin its patrol on HBO in 2019. The cast includes Jeremy Irons (Justice League), Regina King (The Leftovers), Don Johnson (Miami Vice), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman) and Tim Blake Nelson (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs).

Featured image: The iconic Watchmen symbol. Courtesy DC Comics

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Abrams

Bryan Abrams is the Editor-in-chief of The Credits. He's run the site since its launch in 2012. He lives in New York.