Friday, August 24, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter VIII - page 23


Panel 2:  The pink background utilized here by John Higgins subtly emphasizes Jon’s statement in this panel:  “I am on Mars,” which has been colored this shade by Higgins.

Panel 3:  With Laurie’s dialogue in this panel – “…it’s all so deus ex machina…” – Moore is commenting on his own story and the choice he has made here.  Deus ex machina comes from the tendency in Greek and Roman tragedy of introducing a god by means of a crane to decide the final outcomes and, in contemporary terms, is a moment in a drama when a person or thing suddenly and unexpectedly appears to provide a contrived solution to an insoluble difficulty.  Moore is acknowledging the contrivance Jon’s return at this particular moment in time is – a result of the god-like powers Dr. Manhattan wields.

Also, as Dr. Manhattan notes the direct translation of the Latin phrase – “the God out of the machine” – he is literally that: a god-like being who has come out of the machine-like sanctuary he created on Mars.

Panel 9: Rorschach’s remark, “…door won’t hold long…” is humorous and appropriate, as he has an intimate understanding of just how long one of those Gordian Knot locks on Dan’s door holds.


  1. I think Jon's response to the "Deus Ex Machina" comment is not referring to his Martian palace as a machine, but rather to the fact that he was trasnformed into the god he is now by the intrinsic field machine.

    1. Aerothorn,

      Thanks so much for commenting. I apologize for not being timely in my response, but I just wanted to say that I agree with your thought here. I have a tendency to be very literal-minded, which can cause one to lose sight of the forest for the trees to mangle an old cliche.

      Jon is the god from the machine that created him, the intrinsic field subtractor, not the faux-machine he created on Mars. Thank you for keeping me honest. It's much appreciated.