Panel 1: where the layout is mirrored with the submerged body, and barely visible face, of the moneylender as the protagonist of the Black Freighter runs away in the background.
The Black Freighter caption – “…the righteous anger fueling my ingenious, awful scheme was but delusion...” – is a commentary on Bernie’s remark in the contemporary narrative – “Morally, we oughtta strike first.” Bernie’s righteousness is as wrong-headed as that of the protagonist from the “Tales of the Black Freighter” story.
Panel 2: The phrase “…step by step…” in the Black Freighter caption not only alludes to Dr. Long’s wife approaching Bernie, step by step, but it is also symbolic of Adrian Veidt’s plan, and of the final act fast approaching the people at this intersection – as well as the greater populace of New York City and, figuratively speaking, the citizens of the world.
The approach of Dr. Long’s wife here transitions directly to
Panel 3: where the approaching Black Freighter mirrors her approach in the previous panel.
The Black Freighter caption – “…I raised my head and saw her…” – is a description of what we cannot see in the contemporary narrative – i.e. Bernie looking up (or raising his head) at the query, “Excuse me?” and encountering Mrs. Long (or her).
Panel 4: In the background we can see Aline handing Joey the book, Knots, as seen four pages earlier.
Again, the Black Freighter caption is a commentary on the contemporary narrative, as it describes Dr. Long’s wife – “She seemed to be waiting…”
Panel 5: Bernie’s innocence (wrapped in his unintended ignorance) – “…I didn’t mean no harm…” – when confronted by Mrs. Long’s reaction to his offending remark, is mirrored in the Black Freighter text where the protagonist finally comes to realize what his “innocent intent” had gotten him.
Panel 6: The “unspeakable truth” remarked upon in the Black Freighter caption symbolizes the truth that goes unsaid between Bernie and Mrs. Long in this panel.
Panel 7: The Black Freighter dialogue about the pirates of the ship “…who’d reaped the wealth of the Sargasso…” is mirrored by Bernie’s remark that “…everybody[‘s] gotta fight…” since that is how these vicious pirates managed to reap their wealth.
Panel 8: Again, Moore juxtaposes the dialogue from the Black Freighter comic with the main narrative, as Bernie complains of how “…you try to help, you wind up in trouble…” which is mirrored by the Freighter dialogue, where the protagonist laments that his “…well-meaning plans…” led to his soul being damned for eternity.
Panel 9: Bernie’s remark – “…where’s the percentage…” – meaning what reward is there for one’s deeds, is mirrored in the Black Freighter caption, where it becomes evident that the only prize the occupants of the Black Freighter wanted was the protagonist’s soul.
And the layout of this image transitions directly to