Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter VIII - page 27


Panel 1:  Note that the clock in the background reads five minutes to midnight.  An artistic liberty utilized for the apocalyptic symbolism that permeates the book, which could be explained away with the assumption that the clock is either broken or has not been wound up (old, like Mason).

Panels 5-9:  These five panels shift back and forth from the contemporary reality of Hollis Mason being pummeled and overrun by the younger, stronger, more vicious gang members with the nostalgic look back at how Hollis might have handled a similar group of thugs during his prime as a costumed adventurer.  This technique, which is brilliantly colored by Higgins (who, again, utilizes red hues to symbolize the ruin, figurative and otherwise, occurring here in the present), really adds an emotional tenor to this sequence that might have been lost in a direct representation of the Hollis’s beating by these Knot-Tops.  The illusory flashback scenes deftly exhibit the gap between what Hollis’s reaction is – to fight back in the manner he trained himself for decades – with what Hollis’s aged body is able to do – which is far less than that seen in the flashbacks. 

Panel 8:  As Derf picks up the statue given to Mason to commemorate his retirement from adventuring, the inscription “In Gratitude” now can be read, in this context, as “ingratitude.”

Panel 9:  The contemporary dialogue, “…try an’ put a brave face on this…” is juxtaposed against the image of Hollis Mason’s younger, stronger, and braver visage, which leads directly to

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