Thursday, July 26, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter VII - page 28


Panel 1:  Dan’s remarks:  “I thought you’d quit, Laurie…” is a direct comment on Laurie smoking in this “super-panel,” as well as a remark on the two of them having previously quit costumed adventuring. 

Panel 2:  Laurie’s response:  “There’s no such thing as quitting.  Just … a longer pause between relapses …” is an obvious response to both of the meanings of Dan’s prior remark.  These two could no more easily quit being heroes as they could quit living – it just took something as serious as recent events to illuminate them to this fact.

Panel 4:  And, as we began this chapter, Dan’s goggles watch him and Laurie, but it does not feel as damning now after all that’s happened with these two, after Dan has finally “come out of the closet.”

Panels 7-9:  These three final panels of this chapter are another example of how comics is able to play with time.  Dan remarks in Panel 7 that he feels they should bust Rorschach from prison.  Panel 8 has no dialogue, indicating a pause in the conversation, a pause where we can imagine Laurie’s expression going from serene to incredulous.  And then we get the punchline in Panel 9, a single word from Laurie, “what,” in which we can almost hear her astonishment at Dan’s suggestion, thanks to the manner in which it was written and drawn by Moore & Gibbons.

The Quote:  “I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.  My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat.”  JOB ch. 30, verses 29-30. 

This quote relates directly to a number of aspects within this chapter.  First, we can draw a direct line from the bit about dragons to Dan’s owlship, Archie, which shoots forth flames from its flamethrower at the beginning and end of this chapter.   To hit the metaphor over the head a bit too hard – this owl is a dragon.

It also relates to the dream that Dan has.  Filled with the metaphorical dragon of a nuclear bomb, which consumes Dan and Laurie in its flames, his dream is rife with the foreboding one might have imagined ancient soldiers feeling when going off into a wilderness said to hold dragons. 

In Biblical times, owls were said to be birds of ill omen (pointed out by Adam Murdough in the CGS episode examining this issue of Watchmen).  This symbolism, when related to Dan, could be said to mean that Dan is a lost soul, which would fit in nicely with Dan’s character arc thus far in the book.

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