Panel 1: This first panel – taking up the same space as six panels in the 9-grid format – is another example of how Moore & Gibbons are able to utilize the comic page to great advantage. Having worked within the confines of a 9-panel layout, the use of this large panel adds impact to the scene while putting the nature of Dr. Manhattan’s size into better context. They also planned the chapter out so that this image would fall on a verso page, hiding the revelation from readers and enhancing the image’s impact even more.
It is also worth noting that Dr. Manhattan is now down to what amounts to just a pair of underwear for his costume, symbolically divesting himself of more of his humanity.
Panel 2: The remarks of how the Vietnamese wish to surrender directly to Dr. Manhattan with “an almost religious awe” and the comparison made to how the Japanese viewed the atomic bomb are two apt metaphors for Dr. Manhattan. He is a god, and he is an atomic bomb in human form.
Panels 3-4: Dr. Manhattan’s comment in panel 4 that he “no longer wish[es] to look at dead things” is not only a remark about him turning away from the stars (many of which are dead, the images in the sky being light from those stars that has traveled millions of years to reach us), but also relates to the previous panel, which is another view of V.V.N. night when Dr. Manhattan watched Edward Blake gun down (make dead) the woman carrying his child.