Sunday, February 03, 1985

Watchmen Chapter III: "The Judge of All the Earth"

Spoiler warning: If you have not read Watchmen, do not read these notes. See intro/disclaimer.

Cover: The image of the radiation symbol is immediately compared to the black sails of a pirate ship. This symbol represents a horror bearing down upon the city of New York, as the pirate ship in the comic is bearing down on Davidstown.

Page 1: The introduction of Tales of the Black Freighter, the most significant comic-within-the-comic. Although the captions come from the story "Marooned", they of course, as in other places with other narratives, describe the images from Watchmen, and eventually form a metaphor for the story as a whole. Also, of course, the idle chit-chat of the newsvendor echoes the ideas on another level.

Page 1, panel 3: Note that the "Missing Writer" on the cover of the New Frontiersman is Max Shea, author of "Marooned".

Page 1, panel 4: The Promethean Cab Company is across the street. In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and gave it to mankind, which tends to be viewed as morally ambiguous. The Promethean Cab Company's motto is "Bringing Light to the World".

Page 2, panel 1: Another slow zoom over several panels.

Page 2, panel 9: "Is it here yet?" Refers to the New Frontiersman, of course, but obliquely refers to "THE END"...or in the background, Utopia?

Page 3, panel 2: A bit of ironic humor...

Page 3, panel 6: ...and slapstick?

Page 6, panel 2: Once again, Janey Slater's interview narrates Laurie's story as well as her own.

Page 6, panel 6: Our first view of Joey, a recurring member of the supporting cast.

Page 8, panel 1: Gordian Knot Lock Company: Adrian later talks about the Gordian Knot, which is symbolic of many aspects of the story. Note that while Rorschach was able to pick the lock at the cemetery, he chooses a different method for getting through Dan's door.

Page 8, panel 5: Dan has no sugar because Rorschach took it.

Page 8, panel 8: "'s not the end of the world, right?" That seems to be the question of this chapter.

Page 9, panel 2: And again, Laurie's words narrate Jon's actions.

Page 9, panel 9: Note the owl in the background "looking" at them. In VII.10.9, Dan says these days he feels like he's being watched.

Page 11, panel 2: Now the focus flips, and the words of Jon's interview narrate what's going on with Dan and Laurie. "This Island Earth" was a film from 1955 about scientists kidnapped in order to save a world being torn apart by war.

Page 15, panel 1: Note Tina's hairdo. The dialogue on this page suggests that even for Dan and Laurie, there's something sexual about "adventuring".

Page 16, panel 3: The dialogue shifts back one more time.

Page 17, panel 2: Graffiti on the New Frontiersman billboard gives you a hint as to its political leanings.

Page 18, panel 2: Note Dan and Laurie in the background, and compare to 11.2: like many parts of the story, this isn’t being told in a strictly linear fashion. This dialogue takes place while Dan and Laurie are having their "skirmish".

Page 18, panel 7: "All alone..." like Jon?

Page 19, panel 1: "Walking on the Moon" by The Police; apparently pop music is somewhat in line with our world.

Page 20, panel 1: First view of Gila Flats, very prominent in Jon's backstory. "Per dolorum ad astra" means "Through pain, to the stars". It seems to be implied by the following page that the red spot in the sky is Mars.

Page 20, panel 5: "Strange" and "Charmed" are two types of quarks, a subatomic particle that no doubt they were studying at Gila Flats.

Page 22, panel 4: "Are you sure?" Once again, the core question.

Page 24, panel 6: Rorschach uses Dan's aftershave...

Page 24, panel 8: ...and takes it. We'll see it later.

Page 25, panel 3: "Ripoff story ain't got no endin'!" Like Watchmen? (See XII.27.5)

Page 25, panel 6: Sudden reversal of attitude by the newsvendor...

Page 25, panel 8: ...because it looks like the doomsday prophet may have been right.

Page 26, panel 1: Nixon, Kissinger and the others narrate Jon's walk on Mars.

Page 29: Under the Hood by Hollis Mason. Hollis provides us with more speculation as to the fate of Hooded Justice, and the future of masked adventuring.


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


migca said...

I concur; your exhaustive and insightful annotations have made reading this graphic novel a much richer experience. Thanks.

In Ch. I, Page 23, panel 7: Jon blathers on (to Laurie's obvious disinterest) about a quantum particle that may prove a current theory if it can be added to the THE BESTIARY.

In Ch. III, Page 20, panel 9: Just before leaving for Mars, Jon briefly visits what appears to have been a tavern near Gila Flats and retrieves a photo (Janey Slater?). In this panel he's leaving the wrecked watering hole, and the sign painted above the door indicates it was named THE BESTIARY.

Any comment? This is my first reading, so maybe I should just shut-up and read?

Brucker said...

I didn't realize that I'd failed to mention the bestiary. A "bestiary" is a book of descriptions of various animals, and apparently Jon had a bestiary of sub-atomic particles. As to why the bar at Gila Flats was so named, I'm not sure.