Monday, January 23, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter I - page 23


Panels 1-2: In the background, we see Laurie picking up the sugar wrapping and discarding it – another example of the attention to detail Moore and Gibbons gave to Watchmen.

Panel 2: Laurie’s remarks, “I don’t like the way [Rorschach] smells or that horrible monotone voice . . .” give us more insight into the man Rorschach and how he is viewed by his colleagues.

And, her remark, “The sooner the police put him away . . .” also mirrors her “putting away” the sugar cube wrapper.

Panel 4: Laurie in the background and Dr. Manhattan taking apart an intricate piece of machinery in the foreground is symbolic of how readily Dr. Manhattan understands something as unfeeling as this machine while accentuating the gulf between not only he and Laurie, but between he and the rest of humanity.

Panel 9: As Laurie makes a dinner date for later that night with Dan Dreiberg, in the foreground we see a look of beatific happiness on Dr. Manhattan’s face. In one reading, this could be a reaction to the fact that he is close to “locating a gluino, which would completely validate supersymmetrical theory . . .” However, later we will discover that Dr. Manhattan experiences all points in time – past, present, and future – simultaneously, and, knowing that, we can also read this as his happiness at understanding this dinner date for Laurie and Dan will lead to their happiness as a couple at the end of the book.


  1. Chris! At the risk of taking your words too literally, I wanted to comment on the following:
    "we can also read this as his happiness at understanding this dinner date for Laurie and Dan will lead to their happiness as a couple at the end of the book."

    Without having the issues right at my fingertips to be specific, Doc makes a comment upon returning to the destroyed Manhattan in the final issues about tachyons messing up with his "vision". If that's the case, would he be able, in issue 1, to clearly see events beyond the explosion Veidt causes? No doubt what you wrote is spot on - that he is happy for Laurie because of "a" future with Dan - a connection with a human being that will understand her in a way Dr. Manhattan can't. I'm not sure, however, if Doc has the exact knowledge of what happens to Laurie and Dan after their meeting with Veidt (the change in appearance, wanting to return to crimefighting, etc).

    Again - I might be taking your words too literally. But I guess it brings up a question: how far does Doc's "vision" go into the story of Watchmen itself?

    1. Pete,

      Thanks for reading and for commenting. And, I have to say, you're exactly right. You did not take my words too literally. I was stating that Doc Manhattan could see the final outcome for Dan and Laurie. But, as you state, with the tachyon interference Ozymandias puts forth to hinder him, it would be difficult to say for certain that he can see this outcome. I'd argue it's possible, but not probable.

      I really like the way you term it above - he's happy because of "a" future that Dan and Laurie may have. Thanks for catching that.