I read the graphic novel over a decade ago. And it still appalls me.
More below the cut, for those of you who don't want spoilers of a 20 year old comic book.
Massive plot summation: Superheros "deconstructed." It's the 1980s, There are costumed adventurers, but only one real "superbeing," Dr. Manhattan, whose exposure to a nuclear reactor has given him nigh-godlike powers and put America squarely ahead in the arms race. Suddenly one of the retired superheros is murdered, and the only active hero, Rorscharch, begins to uncover a sinister world wide plot-- that is being conducted by none less than Ozymandias, another "retired" superhero and the smartest man on earth, who is trying to "save the world" from nuclear holocaust. His plan consists of faking an alien attack, destroying New York city and killing millions, in order to unite America and the USSR against a common, albeit fictional, enemy.
1) First honk-me-off point: the assumption by the authors that American nuclear superiority (in the form of Dr. Manhattan), would make the Cold War WORSE, edging us CLOSER to nuclear war. To even propose this as a plot point requires a catastrophic level of stupid. No war in the history of the human race was triggered by the defending nation being MORE powerful than the aggressor. If America had developed an unshakeable military superiority over the Soviet Union, the USSR wouldn't have lasted to the end of the eighties. It would have imploded under its own weight.
2)Second dose of vinegar to the teeth: the idiotic notion that a sudden, violent attack on New York City by a supposed alien invader would "convince the Russians and the Americans to set aside their differences" and unite to face the common threat.
Horsepucky. If two nations are at the brink, a sudden, violent, devastating attack on one of the primary economic, military and political hubs of one would be a provocation to invade by the other. Look at the devastation caused by the 9-11 assaults! Can you imagine if it hadn't been just two or three buildings, but the ENTIRE CITY? And the range alone would have posed a threat to D.C....The white house, the pentagon, God knows how much of the US government and military command would have been killed in that strike... and only an unrepentant new york socialist bauhaus bozo--- like the author and artist for this piece of drek--- would think that the Communists wouldn't have taken that as the perfect opportunity to bomb the bejeezus out of the rest of America while it reeled about, suddenly headless.
3)And now we bite down and start chewing the tinfoil: The whole "Heroes as Fascists" crap. If I have to explain to you why that grinds my butt--- in a day in age when patchouli-stinking wastes of skin are out in the street screaming that Bush=Hitler and Jews=Nazis and Soldiers=Gestapo jackboots, spitting on the very people saving their worthless, whiny, diaper-wetting spoiled-brat lives--- then there's little point in me expanding on it.
4)Let us also remember the typical heaping scorn poured by the authors upon the only character who isn't a moral subjectivist or situational ethicist, Rorscharch. Rather than being the moral backbone that holds the sanity and the vision of the struggling heroes together, he is portrayed as a freak and a loser, a maladjusted runt with Oedipal issues and, of course, no nuance in his understanding of the "complex morality" of Ozymandias' mass-murdering scheme.
5) Ozymandias murders THREE MILLION people and drives millions of others insane... and the other "heroes" let him walk. Not only that but Dr. Manhattan actually kills Rorscharch in order to maintain the coverup.
There you have it; a pinnacle of the comic arts where heroes are freaks, perverts, losers and scum, where only a complete quasimodo has any consistent moral code, the threat of nuclear annihilation is the fault of AMERICA, and the smartest man on earth "saves the day" by committing mass murder on a scale not seen since the death camps of Germany. The whole book is a product of minds that have nothing but a craven, visceral loathing for the concept of heroism, and they basically took twelve issues of comics to pee on the leg of every cultural standard they could reach... moral absolutes, heroic ideals, American strength, human autonomy and liberty (this was the first example of the Regulated Hero concept, in the form of the plot device "the Keene act")
The usual suspects, of course, promptly dropped to all fours and began slathering the buttocks of these hacks with kisses of adulation. They have been showered with awards for this grotesque monument to deconstructionism, and are directly responsible for the ever more black and bleak scrawlings of modern comic book companies, and the everlasting slogan of "tear it all down and let it burn" that infuses the ink of every bile-soaked poison pen.
Rot them both.