Monday, May 21, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter V - page 22


Panel 1:  which is laid out with Detective Bourquin  in the background on the left of the panel putting up a poster that has a triangle as its centerpiece, a telephone in the lower left corner middle-ground that is ringing as shown by the red light blinking to the right of its image, and in the foreground at the right of the panel Detective Fine, with a lit cigarette in his mouth pointing toward the left of the panel.

Panel 2:  Detective Fine is looking at a Grateful Dead poster from the murder scene earlier in this chapter (seen in the background on Page 7, Panel 6).  The poster recreates the cover image for the Grateful Dead record AOXOMOXOA, which, as stated before, is a palindrome that is also a mirror image of itself taken from the middle of the word (the middle of the “M”), accentuating the reflection/symmetry theme of the chapter.

Panel 3:  Highlighting the visual theme of this chapter, readers see Detective Fine’s face reflected in the window.  His dialogue:  “I’ve had this funny feeling . . . like something’s in the air” foreshadows the climax of this issue, but is also played against the imagery of the elephant balloon for the Gunga Diner floating by the station.

Panel 4:  Detective Fine’s remark about the day – that “it’s like there’s a pattern, leading somewhere” – is a commentary on the symmetrical pattern of this issue, which is leading to a major turning point in the overall story.

Panel 6:  The manner in which Detective Fine mishears the anonymous caller on the phone – “raw shark” – relates to the “Black Freighter” tale in which the protagonist eats raw shark and also relates to the story proper, as the person on the other end of the phone is saying Rorschach.

Also note that Edward Blake’s case number is 801108, another palindrome that is also a mirror image of itself, expanding from the center of the number.

Panel 9:  Detective Fine’s remark that they should “ignore some red lights” in an attempt to reach their destination as quickly as possible is played for irony, considering he’d been ignoring the red light on the telephone for the first half of this page, which would have meant them missing the tip on Rorschach.

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