A compelling fan theory proposes a more positive fate for Watchmen’s Hooded Justice than what was previously assumed. While both the 2012 Before Watchmen: Minutemen prequel comics by Darwyn Cooke and the 2019 Watchmen TV show each provide their own potential versions of what happened to Hooded Justice, the original graphic novel leaves his fate open to interpretation. Due to this ambiguity, fans have been theorizing about what exactly happened to him since the comic was originally released.

Watchmen, a comic written by Alan Moore with art by David Gibbons, is one of the most influential graphic novels of all time. The story follows a group of superheroes in an alternate version of the Cold War. While focusing primarily on the newer heroes like Rorschach, the comic also fleshes out the older generation of superheroes through flashbacks and supplementary documents like excerpts from books and newspapers. One of the oldest heroes to appear in this world is Hooded Justice, a brutal vigilante who was shrouded in mystery. When the superheroes were forced to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Commission in the 1950s, Hooded Justice refused and subsequently disappeared. The most common theory for what happened to him is that he was murdered by the psychotic Comedian for interrupting his assault of fellow hero Silk Spectre. However, one theory is a bit more optimistic.


In a 1999 paper titled Occulted Watchmen: The True Fate of “Hooded Justice” and “Captain Metropolis” by James Gifford, the author presents a theory that Hooded Justice is actually alive and well, living with his partner Captain Metropolis. This theory is based on a panel in the very first chapter of the book, featuring a man who looks a lot like Hooded Justice’s supposed civilian identity, and another man who greatly resembles Captain Metropolis. In addition to their physical appearances, the two wear bowties that look like domino masks, implying that they may be related to superheroes in some way and are foregrounded in the panel, elevating their significance to the reader. Gifford posits that based on this combination of details, the two are meant to be Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis, who faked their deaths to live a quiet life together, away from prying eyes. The theory is a much more pleasant one to consider than the alternative.

Unfortunately, the theory has been somewhat disproven. According to CBR, Dave Gibbons, the artist of Watchmen, has said regarding the theory, “That wasn’t our intention, but it’s such an interesting and plausible theory that I’m reluctant to deny it!” However, while this may show that the proposed fates of these characters weren’t originally part of Moore and Gibbons’ artistic vision, Gibbons is not outright denying the theory. And once a piece of art is released into the world it could be argued that artistic intention is a lot less important than how readers interpret it. This definitely seems like an argument Moore would support at least, given his own belief in imagination being able to shape reality.

Regardless of the veracity of the theory, or what the original authors might think of it, the theory is a very satisfying one. Given how bleak the world and ending of Watchmen is, it is nice to imagine at least two characters getting a happy ending. This contrast with the fate of the other characters in Watchmen is what makes this fan theory about Hooded Justice so great.

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Sources: Occulted Watchmen, CBR

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