Friday, April 13, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter IV - Page 12


Panel 1:  The comment, “everything is frozen” represents the photograph about to be taken (a frozen moment in time) as well as the Cold War, which, as a result of the introduction of Dr. Manhattan, takes a decidedly different turn from events in our own time.  Also note that Dr. Manhattan’s image in the camera lens, as would be expected, is upside down, a symbol that he has turned the world and the reality people believed on its head.

Panel 2:  Note that at first, Dr. Manhattan wore a full suit, and the marketing department also gave him a headpiece with a brand emblem on it.  He is still, on some level, believed to be human, and he probably believes that as well at this early stage in his “quantum” being.

Panel 5:  By taking off the helmet and branding himself with the symbol of a hydrogen atom – a symbol he respects – Dr. Manhattan takes his first step away from humanity toward his new reality and says as much when he tells the photographer, “[The marketing department doesn’t] know what I need.  You don’t know what I need.”

Panel 7:  Jon discovers that he has been named Dr. Manhattan, obviously without being consulted. 

Panel 8:  The “ominous associations” with the name Dr. Manhattan to which Jon refers would be the name’s association with the “Manhattan Project,” which was the name of the project that was formed to develop the first nuclear weapon during World War II.

This fact is accentuated by the image in this panel, which we previously saw on page 3, panel 3, of Jon’s father discussing the front page story the day after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Panel 9:  More juxtaposition of words and images as Jon says, “It’s all getting out of my hands” in reference to how the United States government branded him after he was introduced, played over the image of Jon allowing the picture of him and Janey to fall out of his hand, which, in turn, symbolizes what will happen to their relationship.

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