Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter IX - page 12


Panel 3:  Byron Lewis was the friend Dan went to see in the “bughouse in Maine” that he wrote about in the back-matter for Chapter VII.  And his question – “What time is it?” – can be seen as a continuation of the doomsday clock motif permeating this book.

Panel 6:  Byron’s spilling glass transitions directly into

Panel 7:  and the spinning, spilling bottle of Nostalgia perfume that continues to tumble over the Martian landscape – accentuated by the continuation of Hollis’s dialogue – “…you’re spilling everything…” – which transitions back to

Panel 8:  where we return to Byron’s spilled drink, which has smashed on the floor, spilling its contents everywhere and signifying the end of this flashback. 

Dr. Manhattan interrupts Laurie’s memory by asking if she is listening to him, which can also be seen as a commentary on the flashback scene that ends with this panel.  Laurie, thirteen years old at the point of this flashback, has been working for much of her life toward becoming a costumed adventurer. But this experience, seeing Byron Lewis as the madman he became from his time with the Minutemen, should have been a wake-up call to Laurie not to continue with her training, as she would come to despise her time as Silk Spectre – mainly because it was not a choice she made, but one her mother made for her and pressed upon the younger Laurie.  If Laurie had been “listening” closely enough during this reunion in the flashback, she may have discovered she did not want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. 

Panel 9:  Dr. Manhattan’s remark of “…leaving people broken…” can be taken as a commentary on Laurie’s life, most directly, but can also be seen as a commentary on the lives of all the heroes in Watchmen, and is accentuated by the broken glasses we have seen thus far in this chapter – Byron’s glass of water and Laurie’s snowglobe.

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