Thursday, June 14, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter VI - page 13


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. 

Panel 9:  It’s interesting that Gibbons chose a down-shot here (or Moore, if this shot was in the script), as it feels more voyeuristic, since it is not from a “typical” angle, i.e. head-on.  Juxtaposed with the repeat of Rorschach’s comment, “You’re in here with me,” makes it feel as if we are looking down on Dr. Long in his own personal cell.  We also see that he is reaching for his painkillers again, and that the coffee pot is in the 5 to midnight position, again accentuating the sense of inevitability and doom that permeates this story.  And this image transitions directly into

1 comment:

  1. Reading it again I notice that Rorschach's famous line also applies to us, the reader.
    We are locked in his world and his mind and it's a distinctly unpleasant feeling.

    I am reminded of something Alan Moore said (I think in the 80s) about the depiction of cuddly psychopaths in comics, possibly about Wolverine. Moore noted that in the real world being in a room with a genuine psychopath would be an unsettling experience. That would clearly be the case with Rorschach for whom even the nearest thing he has to a friend, Dan Dreiberg, finds it difficult to be with him.