Friday, March 23, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter III - page 22


Panel 1:  It is appropriate that we look upon the intersection from a vantage point that focuses upon the Promethean Cap Co. – its slogan, “bringing light to the world,” a play on the Prometheus myth wherein the Titan Prometheus stole fire from Zeus, king of the Gods, and gave it to mortals – as the sun is rising.

The rising sun also relates to the Black Freighter caption that says, “The morning sun found me no more wise, no less troubled,” which also relates to Bernie the news vendor’s exasperation at the recent turn of events and not knowing what might happen next, if Dr. Manhattan can be taken out of the picture as easily as he was (of which Bernie discusses in the following panel).

Bernie mentions it, but we can also see the New Frontiersman’s headline:  “Our Country’s Protector Smeared by the Kremlin.”  Already the spin is happening, blaming the Russians with no other enemies worth attacking in the papers.

Panel 2:  The caption from the Black Freighter, “. . . I buried all hope for my family’s survival” foreshadows the drastic change coming in the political situation now that Dr. Manhattan has gone – an escalation in rhetoric that will spread the fear of a nuclear winter wider among the populace.

Note that Kovacs is asking for a Gazette along with his standing order of a copy of Nova Express. 

Panel 4:  The caption from the Black Freighter talking about digging a hole to bury the dead plays on Kovacs’s response questioning the news vendor’s assurance that the world did not end as Kovacs had predicted.  But this could certainly be seen as the beginning of the end with Dr. Manhattan out of the picture as the world of the Watchmen is about to begin spiraling toward a nuclear finale.

Panel 6:  The caption, “Dear God, who would protect them?” is a remark about the fact that Dr. Manhattan has left Earth, and now who will protect America?

Panel 7:  By the end of the book, it will be apparent that the story of the Black Freighter is a metaphor for Adrian Veidt’s story arc through Watchmen.  The caption from the Black Freighter in this panel asks, “Who would care for them, now I was gone?”  This is obviously another remark about Dr. Manhattan leaving for Mars, but the answer to the question is the person that orchestrated his exit from the planet – Adrian Veidt, Ozymandias, the man about whom the Black Freighter tale is told, on a metaphorical level.

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