Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter V - page 8


Panel 1:  Again, Moore plays with words in this panel as the words “despite my bitter protestations” in the caption box relate not only to the Black Freighter story but also to the remark, “Hey turkey!  Quit splashing!” from the boy at the newsstand reading that comic. 

Also note the purple pyramid on the truck, the symbol of Pyramid Deliveries and also a sign of Ozymadias (and Pyramid Deliveries is owned by Adrian Veidt, the human identity of Ozymandias).  The driver of this delivery truck will become significant later in the book.

Panel 3:  Moore juxtaposes the Black Freighter story against the story proper with the newsman’s dialogue:  “This war’s lookin’ serious.  Makes a guy start figuring escape routes, y’know?”  and the caption box from the Black Freighter, which echoes that sentiment:  “It was then I conceived of building a raft . . .” – the raft being his escape plan.

Panel 4:  The delivery man’s dialogue:  “In World War Three, where’s to split to?” again echoes the Black Freighter caption:  “. . . although inwardly I doubted it would float.”  Both pieces of dialogue express the characters’ doubt regarding their survival.

Also of note is the headline:  “Afghanistan Fighting Spreads.” 

Also in the background we see the Institute for Extraspatial Studies, which will be important later in the storyline.

Panel 5:  More echoing dialogue with the delivery man’s remark that he “has enough juice to make Connecticut,” while the doomed sailor from the Black Freighter wonders if the trees lashed to his raft are “buoyant enough to reach Davidstown.”

Panel 6:  Moore continues to have the two narratives echo one another as the Black Freighter caption states, in part, that the sailor “shuddered at the idea [he] found [him]self considering” as the news vendor repeats the delivery man’s comment “where’s to split to?” which seems to send a shiver up his spine as he ponders that reality.

Panel 7:  More echoes with the Black Freighter’s caption reading, “I attempted to banish this repulsive notion” as the news vendor does the same, stating in response to the thought of nuclear war, “Ahh, it’ll never happen.” 

Panel 8:  More echoes as the Black Freighter caption reads, in part, “I had no choice,” which can be taken as a commentary on the news vendor’s predicament with “next month’s comic books arriv[ing] early, today’s frontiersman arriv[ing] late,” which is something over which he has no control.

Panel 9:  And again, Moore has the two narratives play off one another as the Black Freighter caption reads, “Not when I considered the nature of my situation” as the news vendor considers his situation as he says, “[The war’s screwing up] absolutely everything.”

Also note that this final panel of the page mirrors the first panel of the page – with the delivery truck splashing the boy at the newsstand from the opposite side this time – in keeping with the overall theme of symmetry/reflection.

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