Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter IV - page 24


Panel 2:  Dr. Manhattan’s description of the sand of Mars running through his hands – “. . . falling haphazard, random, a disorganized stream . . . that seems pregnant with the possibility of every conceivable shape . . .” – is also an apt description of humanity – a description that will be returned to later and have great consequence to Dr. Manhattan’s story within Watchmen.

Panel 3:  Dr. Manhattan’s remark that “things have their shape in time . . . some marble blocks have statues embedded in their future” foreshadows what he creates at the end of this issue.

Panel 4:  This flashback is to a scene we have not encountered in the book, yet it contains a number of noteworthy pieces of symbolism and imagery.  We can see the signs of impending doom: the clock approaching 12:00, the mmmeltdowns advertisement, the Nostalgia ad, a copy of the New Frontiersman, and a tattered poster calling for “Four More Years” of Nixon.  Also noteworthy are the products of these superheroes, the hydrogen dirigibles in the sky and the Veidt helmet and ball pipe owned by the man in the foreground.

Panel 5:  This image is a reversal from when we saw Jon and Janey walking the boardwalk on page 6.  The boy in the foreground, as well as the balloon off-panel, was visible in the background of that previous image.

Dr. Manhattan’s remark, “. . . the fat man is already lumbering toward . . . unwitting destiny” is not only a remark on what happened when the fat man stepped on, and broke, Janey’s watch, but – with the symbolism of the broken watch – is also symbolic of the atomic bomb, code named “Fat Man,” that was dropped on Nagasaki.

Panel 7:  The time on this pocketwatch – stopped at the instant the atomic bomb detonated in Hiroshima – is at the same time as Janey’s watch when it was broken by the “fat man” as seen on page 6.  And these “frozen” hands of the watch face transition directly into

Panel 8:  and the “frozen” hands on that first beer Janey bought Jon at the bestiary in Gila Flats.

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