Panel 1: Veidt’s halted admission that he “…dream[s] about swimming towards a hideous [something]…” is a direct reference to the Black Freighter story within Watchmen. Veidt, like the protagonist in the Black Freighter, swims toward that hideous black ship in his dream because, like that comic’s protagonist, he has performed horrific acts with the intent to bring about the salvation of his world, as the colonist in the Black Freighter comic wished to save his family and friends in Davidstown from the impending doom that approached in the form of the Black Freighter (even as an impending nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union threatened Veidt’s home, Earth).
This is the most direct link between Veidt and the Black Freighter story, which acts as a metaphor for Veidt’s journey in Watchmen.
Panel 2: Veidt’s dialogue, once again, links him with the Black Freighter, as Veidt tells Jon (Dr. Manhattan) that he realizes he has “…struggled across the backs of murdered innocents…” in the same manner that the protagonist in the Black Freighter lashed together a raft on top of the bloated bodies of his dead comrades in order to make his way across the ocean and back to Davidstown.
Panel 7: The image of Veidt with his back to us transitions directly to