Movie Reviews

Watchmen: Silk Spectre's Entire Legacy Is Based On a Lie

One Watchmen character may have been a hero in the Golden Age, but her background is anything but heroic. Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 revealed that the original Silk Spectre wasn’t exactly honest about her first heroic escapades.

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ epic series Watchmen is a story of heroes that spans generations. Though the majority of the story is set in the mid ’80s, it’s history with superheroes dates back to the late ’30s. Long before heroes like Rorschach and Doctor Manhattan ever came into the world, the streets of New York were protected by the Minutemen, Watchmen’s original superhero team. Though they lacked powers or advanced weaponry, they did their job well enough with their fists alone. Even Silk Spectre, often seen as the more ‘glamorous’ member of the crew, knew how to fight just as well as her teammates.

Related: Watchmen: Ozymandias’ Ultimate Plan is Even Crueler Than Fans Know

However, while Sally Jupiter might have grown into a crime-fighter, her origins are misleading at best and an outright lie at worst. In Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1, Hollis Mason recounts the origins of the heroes that are destined to become the world’s first superhero team. After describing the effecient and brutal actions of the mysterious Hooded Justice, Mason lightens the mood by thinking back on Silk Spectre’s foray into the world of costumed adventuring. Back when Sally was first trying to make it big, her manager and future husband, Laurence Schexnayder, came up with the perfect idea to get her noticed. Schexnayder would scout out high-end establishments like jewelry stores in dire need of publicity and stage fake robberies that Silk Spectre would ‘bust’. Though Schexnayder had to pay off the cops to keep quiet, the attention brought on by the stunts helped Sally’s fame skyrocket in the press.

Now, there are fans who don’t take Watchmen’s sequels and other follow-up stories as canon, which is fair as none of them involved the original series’ writer Alan Moore. However, Moore did contribute to several RPG books that expanded Watchmen’s canon, such as Watchmen: Taking Out the Trash and Watchmen Sourcebook. This additional material confirmed what Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 presents and proves that Sally’s entry into the life of crime-fighting was all a set-up. With that in mind, the question must be asked: What does this information do to Silk Spectre’s legacy?

Admittedly, Sally is the first to admit that she saw heroism as a springboard for better things. Most of Watchmen’s heroes don’t exactly fit the standard notion of superheroes, and to her own credit, she did grow into the role of a costumed adventurer. But Silk Spectre’s staged heroism represents one of her biggest flaws. Sally is someone who’s all about image and showmanship, believing that’s all anyone needs to be a hero. She micromanaged Laurie for years and pushed her daughter into becoming the second Silk Spectre, more obsessed with how it looked rather than how Laurie actually felt. Silk Spectre might be a fine hero, but her fixation on image wound up defining her legacy in Watchmen.

Next: Watchmen’s Biggest Joke Villain Has an Incredibly Dark Origin

Back to top button