Monday, August 13, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter VIII - page 12


Panel 1:  Again, Moore plays with the juxtaposition of images and words as the news commentator – a professor no doubt brought in as an “expert” – remarks on the impending possibility of nuclear war with “…what [do] these people have instead of brains…” while Hollis Mason digs out the “brains” of a pumpkin in order to make it into a proper jack-o-lantern.

Panel 2:  The newsman’s summation of the New Frontiersman article is obviously in reference to the one we saw Hector Godfrey pasting up two pages earlier.

Panel 3:  Mason’s remark that his jack-o-lantern is “like Rodin,” is a reference to the famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin – an ironic remark on Mason’s obviously simplistic carving of the pumpkin.

Panel 4:  The delivery company, referenced by Doug Roth here, that finances Nova Express is obviously Pyramid Deliveries, which is owned by Adrian Veidt.  The web of Ozymandias’s dealings and machinations are beginning to reveal itself, and will unravel, to a point, as more strands become apparent.

Roth’s comment that the New Frontiersman editorial should be called “Spirit of Nuremberg” is a reference to the Nuremberg Trials held after World War II by Allied Forces to prosecute prominent members of the Nazi party.  These military tribunals have been criticized for a number of deficiencies, including the low bar of judges assigned to try cases, the creation of law ex post facto to fit with the tenor of the times, and the fact that the defendants were not allowed to appeal or affect judge selection, among many other things.  Roth is basically stating that the attack on his paper, Nova Express, is unjust and wholly without merit, with this statement.

Panel 5:  Note the drop of pumpkin “guts” that has fallen across the right eye (left from our point of view) of the jack-o-lantern, which will be even more obvious once the candle is lit in the next panel.  This is obviously yet another instance of the “bloody smiley face button” motif found throughout the book.

Panel 6:  With the death of the inmate scalded with hot fat by Walter Kovacs (Rorschach), the prison spokesperson states that they are “looking into the jaws of hell.”  This remark hearkens back to the Chapter VI title, “The Abyss Gazes Also,” which is an apt symbolic representation of Rorschach.

There is also a bit of foreshadowing in this panel as Hollis Mason makes the comment that he “can hardly wait till it’s dark.”  If he knew what was coming, Mason would undoubtedly have a different feeling toward what is coming for him later that night.  And this line – “…can hardly wait till it’s dark…” transitions directly into

Panel 7:  where we see Dan and Laurie moving Archie through the underground tunnel system, having waited till it was dark in order to put their plan into motion.

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