Panel 1: and the boiling coffee that is making a similar splatter as the hot fat did when Kovacs thrust it in the face of the inmate.
Panel 2: One thing that is distinct about Kovacs/Rorschach is his perspective on things. Not only does he have a black and white view of the world, but he also seems to see all scenarios/experiences in a manner slightly askew to everyone else. The line in this panel: “None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with you. You’re locked up in here with me,” exemplifies this very distinct perspective perfectly.
Also of note in this panel – Dr. Long now has two different kinds of pain killers he is using, as evidenced by the bottles of GOPAIN and PAIN AWAY in the foreground of the image.
And possibly the most important bit in this panel can be found in the first caption box where we see Dr. Long’s notes discussing “Rorschach” rather than Kovacs. It’s the first major sign that his will is starting to break down and the metamorphosis he undergoes has begun in earnest.
Panel 3: Dr. Long makes note of the error in calling his patient Rorschach instead of Kovacs – also pointing it out to the readers who may have missed it – but he does not see this slip for what it is, the first step down into the abyss.
Panel 4: Note that the dripping coffee in the coffee maker has formed a tiny butterfly, emphasizing his metamorphosis (evidenced by the juxtaposition with the captions: “Kovacs. Not Rorschach.”).
Panel 5: Note the clock on Dr. Long’s desk is at the familiar 5 to midnight that permeates this story, signifying the lack of time we all have left – and, more specifically, symbolizing the lack of time Dr. Long has to save his marriage, which shows the first signs of cracking in the following panels.
Panel 6: This crack in the Longs’ marriage begins here with Malcolm basically telling his wife he isn’t in the mood for sex – mirroring Rorschach’s aversion to women and sex – which comes as a result of Dr. Long’s obsession with his patient – mirroring Rorschach’s obsession with crime and criminals.