Monday, February 11, 1985

Watchmen Chapter XI: "Look on My Works, Ye Mighty"

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

Cover: The cover image is of a butterfly surrounded by snow, a strange image in the shape, of course, of the blood drop from the cover of chapter I. It may be symbolic of the concept that Adrian is trying to create a layer of protection to preserve life against harsh reality that would easily destroy it. Of course, before the chapter is over, this too will be destroyed.

Page 1: Elements of Adrian's monologue narrate the shifting view of his fortress as the panels gradually zoom out.

Page 1, panel 2: Adrian mentions Burroughs' "cut-up technique", a method that was used to create the novel Nova Express, a name shared by the news magazine that Adrian owns through Pyramid Deliveries.

Page 4, panel 5: "...and no time like the present." Adrian says, surrounded by ancient things. He walks under the Gordian Knot mural, towards his own Gordian solution.

Page 5, panel 5: On first read, it's not clear what he is doing, but note the time: 11:25 PM, EST.

Page 5, panel 8: Note the object in the foreground of panel three is gone.

Page 6: Once again, "Marooned" and Watchmen narrate each other.

Page 8: Adrian begins to tell his life story. In all of Adrian's flashbacks, he is viewed only from the back.

Page 9, panel 1: Joey mimics Adrian's pose. One assumes that if Adrian and Alexander "meet in the Hall of Legends", the first line would be a bit more solemn.

Page 9, panel 7: Compare this panel to 13.4; most of the NY conversations in this chapter are overlapping one another in time. While the Antarctica scenes take about 45 minutes, the parallel NY scenes are about ten minutes, but it's not immediately obvious, of course

Page 11, panel 1: Adrian's greatest secrets have also been entrusted to his servants that he is going to bury in just a minute.

Page 11, panel 4: Adrian has not touched his own glass, and his servants are clearly dead.

Page 13, panel 1: Another panel mimicking the previous.

Page 14, panel 1: Another panel mimicking the previous. (Note Nite Owl in the place of the seagull.)

Page 14, panel 5: "We're out of our natural environment." Join the club...

Page 18: Adrian continues his life story, ironically narrating Rorschach's actions behind him.

Page 18, panel 7: Adrian suggests Eddie killed Hooded Justice...

Page 18, panel 8: ...and may have been involved in a plot against Kennedy.

Page 19, panel 4: Clock at 11:55.

Page 21: Adrian continues to narrate his thought process and Rorschach's actions.

Page 23, panel 9: "Another minute, we'd have been gone. Talk about lousy timing!" Another huge understatement.

Page 24: Adrian now narrates his own journey, the flashbacks to Eddie's death, and the scenes in NYC.

Page 24, panel 7: The bottom panel on these four pages shows a progression of actions at the pivotal corner in NYC, each one from a 90-degree angle from the previous. Virtually all of the supporting cast congregates at the epicenter of what is about to happen.

Page 27, panel 1: Adrian stands in front of the Gordian Knot mural, and tells them it's done.

Page 27, panel 2: A clock at one minute to midnight, and suddenly, the reader realizes the countdown-to-midnight motif was a red herring; doomsday came at 11:25.

Page 27, panel 3: The comic book kid is the first to notice something.

Page 28: Everyone freezes and stares across the street in horror at whatever is there.

Page 28, panel 1: Clock.

Page 28, panel 2: Rorschach blots and painkiller bottle.

Page 28, panel 4: "Bringing light to the world" "Gordian Knot"

Page 28, panel 5: More clocks.

Page 28, panel 12: Close with the same shape.

Page 29: In an article written immediately after Adrian retired from crime fighting, Doug Roth reveals his liberal leanings. Note that Adrian's servants are former Vietcong officers, once defeated by Dr. Manhattan, now working with their boss to destroy him. Adrian closes with, "I don't mind being the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one."

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