Panels 5-8: Up to this point, readers have come to understand Rorschach as one who sees the world in very black and white terms. There is no room for compromise. And in the previous panels of this page, we see him preparing to take retribution on his landlady for the lies she said about him on the news – specifically the lies that he had made sexual advances on her.
In panel 5 Rorschach refutes the thought of doing nothing, stating that he “…can’t…” because it is a slur on his reputation. Rorschach finishes by calling his landlady a whore. This – and her entreaty of Rorschach not to call her that in front of her children, who don’t know the truth of their parentage – transitions to a scene of one of the young boys clutching at his mother’s waist, an image reminiscent of the young Kovacs (Rorschach), whose own mother was a whore. With panel 7 we see Rorschach looking down at this boy with sadness – born of compassion and recognition, it seems. Then Rorschach turns to leave, without taking the retribution he was so ready to enact only seconds earlier.
In this fleeting moment, we are afforded a glimpse at the humanity within Rorschach that has lain dormant for so long.
Panel 9: The image of Mrs. Shairp and her children huddled in the doorway of Rorschach’s apartment transitions directly to