Watchmen #2 - Absent Friends

Watchmen Watch: Issue #2, “Absent Friends”

podcasts Watchmen Watch

It’s time for Eddie Blake’s funeral, and everyone is having fond memories about the departed Comedian. Just kidding, he was a monster, as we discover through flashbacks and stories. But how much does the extremely non-comedic Comedian represent America? And comic book characters of the time? Find out, as we break down Watchmen #2, “Absent Friends.”

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The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon.

Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen:

Alex:                 Welcome to Watchmen Watch, a podcast about HBO’s Watchmen where we watch Watchmen, talk about Watchmen and watch you watching the Watchmen. I’m Alex.

Justin:              I’m Justin.

Pete:                I’m Pete.

Alex:                 And we are going to be talking about the second issue of the Watchmen comic book series as we ramp up to the HBO series here. Very exciting. It’s coming out October 20th. We know that now.

Justin:              We know that now.

Alex:                 It has been known. We’re very excited.

Pete:                10/20.

Alex:                 But to bone up, we’re reading through the book. So, issue two, this is not called Almost Friends as I wanted to call it.

Justin:              No. And it’s not called Friends, the pilot of the TV show Friends.

Alex:                 Right, because Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were on a break.

Justin:              That’s true. We should mention Alan Moore can’t be here today.

Alex:                 Right.

Justin:              Our fourth host for this podcast. He texted me. I accidentally told him we were meeting at a campsite outside of Stonehenge. We had a mix-up.

Alex:                 Oh, okay.

Pete:                How can you accidentally mix up this address with that address?

Justin:              Just a classic mix-up.

Alex:                 Auto-text, right?

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 I hate that.

Justin:              I meant to write the pit loft where we tape our show. Instead I wrote a campsite just outside of Stonehenge. So, he’s there. It’s my bad because he was definitely showing up this week, but I texted him back. He’s totally fine with the mix-up.

Alex:                 Oh, he’s going to be back next week?

Justin:              He’ll be back next week.

Pete:                It kind of works out because the title of this is Absent Friend, and he’s our absent friend.

Justin:              That’s true. He said the same thing.

Alex:                 Oh, that’s very true. Absent Friend, not Almost Friends because me and Alan Moore almost hooked up that one time.

Justin:              That’s true.

Pete:                Really? Yeah.

Justin:              And he’s not weird about it. That’s not the real reason he’s not showing up.

Pete:                Was that at that San Diego Comic Con when you were wasted, and you almost hooked up with him?

Justin:              Careful. Don’t start-

Alex:                 I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to kiss and tell.

Justin:              Don’t start talking about San Diego Comic Cons and being wasted, Pete.

Pete:                Yeah. What?

Justin:              You know what you did.

Pete:                I was the one who told Jim Lee he was the king of San Diego.

Justin:              No, that’s true. You tried to smoke a joint with …

Pete:                I didn’t try.

Alex:                 This is very far off field.

Pete:                Yeah, I didn’t try nothing.

Alex:                 Let’s talk about Watchmen, you guys. So, chapter two of the book, issue number two, Absent Friends. Definitely going to remember that by the end of the episode. So, to get you guys caught up, there has been a murder of Eddie Blake. Rorschach is investigating it, and that’s pretty much kind of where we pick up this issue. But I got to say as we’re going back through this, I know I said this the last time as well, good comic.

Pete:                Man, great comic.

Alex:                 This is a good comic.

Justin:              Great comic.

Pete:                Also, it was nice to see Blue Man Group put on a suit for the funeral. I thought that was very classy of him.

Alex:                 That is rude to Doctor Manhattan. I do want to seriously say, though, I know we mentioned this last episode. It continues to be surprising to me, and it shouldn’t be, how good Watchmen is.

Justin:              100% agree. It’s crazy how good this is, how much Alan Moore is mixing up here. It’s important to remember when you’re re-reading this or reading it for the first time, this shit had never been done before. The idea of mixing up a comic this dark where the characters have sort of nothing going for them or they’re all failing super hard. To see that and to see all the references to comic book history, topical politics when he was writing this, and just science, science fiction, everything, world events. It’s amazing.

Alex:                 And to give it even more context, the comic book industry was going through this massive change at this point when this is being published. Who knows, necessarily, when it was written, but 1985 you had Crisis of Infinite Earths that condensed the entire DC Universe, had huge events. Killed off The Flash, killed off Supergirl. So, those were traumatic in their own ways for superhero fans, and then on the other side of the fence in Marvel, you had Secret Wars, which is this big marketing grab that changed characters in a very different way and brought all of these superheroes together. This always gets lumped in with The Dark Knight. Was that ’84, I want to say?

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 Something like that. So, this was in ’86, so they get lumped together as they’re these other takes while DC was going darker and darker and Marvel was going light but more complicated in a very different way.

Justin:              Going big, I guess you could say.

Alex:                 Going big in a very different way. This was huge. This was promoted very heavily, but this almost eschews superheroics. That’s one the things I was really struck by with this issues, is we got the murder mystery thing going on, but whenever there’s a fight, they cut away from it.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 That’s not the point of what’s going on. The point is the characters.

Pete:                I got a little confused, but thank you for explaining it when you said shoes superheroics. I didn’t know what-

Alex:                 Eschew. Eschew.

Pete:                Oh.

Alex:                 Which is different than his shoe.

Justin:              Yeah.

Pete:                I thought you meant it shooes it like, “Shoo, get away heroics.”

Justin:              Oh, I see.

Alex:                 I’ll tell you what, you should listen to our spelling podcast, which is very different. We read through-

Pete:                You joke about me slurring words, but …

Justin:              E-S-C-H-E-W-S.

Alex:                 Yes. Eschews.

Justin:              Not cashews, which was another thing he says a lot.

Pete:                I’m just saying. Glass house, motherfucker.

Alex:                 The interesting thing about this though is The Comedian eschews shoes and cashews for this issue.

Pete:                Wow.

Justin:              That’s true. Wow.

Pete:                I would also like to point out not only … We got into this a little bit in talking about the last issue, but the panels are amazingly put together, but the transitions … Instead of just showing a flashback, it’s the light off a picture frame that reminds her of flash photography that brings her this flashback. Just really smart things.

Alex:                 The structure of this issue, to get to it a little bit, is Eddie Blake’s funeral. We get to see flashbacks from everybody, whether they’re there or not, to the past. We find out a lot more about the event that was hinted at the last issue, which was Eddie Blake’s assault of, not Laurie Jupiter, Sally Jupiter. The first Silk Spectre. So, we find out a lot more about that as well as other aspects of all of the character’s lives and their relationships to Eddie Blake. We find out more about him as The Comedian. But the interesting thing about this issue, I think structurally, to your point Justin, the first issue tracks very heavily in very specific juxtaposition where you get the text and the images are not fighting against each other, but complement each other in a different way. You get that here, but it’s much more about the actions where you see Dr. Manhattan at the funeral, but he’s also potentially in another time at the same time, flashing back to his relationship with Eddie. It’s much more about a temporal juxtaposition than a spatial juxtaposition like it is in the first issue.

Justin:              The first issue moves so quickly through a lot of sort of superhero tropes. It just takes them as accepted that they were a superteam, and the past was a lighter, more fun period just like the way comic history went. So, the juxtaposition now of actually seeing that backstory and the temporal shifts that all the characters go through, I think it really sets up what’s coming forward and gives context to what we read in the last issue.

Alex:                 The other thing that’s interesting with the whole superteam of it all is we get to meet two “superteams” in this issue. The first on is the Minutemen, which is like an analog of the Justice Society of America but without super powers. They’re all masked vigilantes. It seems a little bit more like a social club. That’s really only how we get to see them together. We never get to see them fight crime together. The second one is the Crimebusters, which as far as we can tell, meets once, and that’s it.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 Nothing else happens with them, so again, it’s Moore and Gibbons and company really eschewing the superhero-ness, the structure of it, where we would expect, okay, there’s a team get together and then some big event breaks them apart, but in this case, it’s just not the right time.

Justin:              Yeah. And they’re not the right people, and it doesn’t make sense. That’s what’s also so good about this is being a superhero never makes sense for any of these characters in this comic, and it’s great. They’re either way off, they’re not good people, or they’re just way beyond it like Doctor Manhattan.

Alex:                 We talked about this a little bit in the first two episodes of the podcast with Rorschach, and I think this very heavily comes up here in terms of how people misinterpret Watchmen that being a superhero is bad. It is clearly a bad thing to do, it’s not a good lifestyle choice. There’s nothing to hope for, and in fact, there’s a pretty good argument to be made, particularly after this issue, that the rise of superheroes leads to a worse world than we are currently in. They do not make it better the way that they do in the DC Comics Universe or the Marvel Comics Universe. Their addition cuts down on crime maybe, but it makes things ultimately worse.

Justin:              Yeah. Should we walk through the issue a little bit?

Alex:                 Yeah, sure. Well, actually before we do though, there was one thing, an overall thing that I wanted to talk about which is The Comedian. He’s the focus of this issue. His character is the focus of this issue. He’s not that funny, it seems.

Justin:              No, he’s a dick.

Alex:                 That’s surprising with his name the way it is.

Justin:              Yeah. What a weird accident.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Pete:                You want to stop and explore that some more?

Justin:              He should have been The Tragedian.

Alex:                 Well, I mean, this gets back to the juxtaposition as well, right? The Comedian, do you think … He certainly makes this argument, but do you think The Comedian is the one who actually sees the world the way it is? Is he actually seeing some joke there, or is it the juxtaposition of, well, he is The Comedian, but he’s not funny at all?

Justin:              I think, yeah, it’s the juxtaposition. In the original Minutemen, he’s the goofiest, yet he’s the one who assaults Sally Jupiter. In this issue, he’s wearing an old-timey, Italian clown uniform. Then later in Crimebusters, he’s just being a regular dick, and he’s sort of dressed like a ’90s superhero. He actually dresses like NFL SuperPro a little bit.

Alex:                 Yeah, he does a little bit.

Justin:              Which is a funny connection. I doubt that was purposeful. And then, you see him doing more horrible things. He shoots a woman who is carrying his baby in Vietnam, and we get to see that happen, and then The Comedian moving forward. I think he’s meant to be a reflection of the time, the different time periods. Back in the ’50s, ’60s, everything is bright and sunny, but all the horrifying things are happening behind closed doors. In Vietnam, it’s like Americans are being horrible overseas. It is that sort of satirical take and juxtaposing this thing called The Comedian. The bright veneer we paint over everything overlays horrifying actions.

Alex:                 He is definitely a representation of America. I think that’s very clear. It’s possible he might also be Alan Moore commentating on comedy in comic books because Alan Moore, maybe not so much at this time, but famously hates comic books. We know that when we hang out with him off of this podcast.

Justin:              Yeah, let me text him that question and see what he says.

Alex:                 Yeah, well, maybe he can bring it up on the next episode, but comic book superheroes aren’t actually usually very funny, and so it’s possible he might be amping that up because he is one of the only ones that actually acts like a comic book superhero. It might be that he’s hitting this very old-timey kind of humor, which is like, “Hey toots, why don’t you take off your dress?” And everybody is like, “Haha,” but it’s not actually funny in a particular way.

Justin:              It’s saying the horrifying thing or saying the thing that this person actually wants to happen.

Alex:                 Exactly. So, that all said, I was curious because I think that’s an overall character thing that we delve into pretty deeply in this issue. But, yeah, let’s walk through it.

Justin:              The first couple scenes we have here are Laurie talking to her mom. They don’t get along very well. Sally sort of wishes she was young again, basically, and is sort of bitter about the world, saying she would rather go back to the life she had back then even though it’s horrible. They set up the sexual assault from The Comedian.

Alex:                 This also ties into something that we find out later, which is … Not Laurie. Sally.

Justin:              Sally.

Alex:                 I keep mixing them up. Sally does not like herself very much. They pull out that Tijuana Bible or whatever it is that has her in a cartoon form. Somebody is having sex with her. Laurie hates it. Sally kind of likes it, and is flattered by it. It’s, again, not to keep using the word juxtaposition, but it’s a very interesting juxtaposition of as terrible as things were for her, she has this sadness and vanity about the olden times. Again, if you get into the comic book of it all because really, if nothing else, Watchmen is a comic book that is commenting on comic books, you can look at that as that nostalgia for the “golden age of comic books” that, “Bad things happened, but overall, wasn’t it so wonderful, and everything was so beautiful. Wasn’t that great?”

Justin:              Yeah. Someone who would dress up in a costume … None of these people have powers. They’re just regular people, and be like, “I’m going to go do this,” is goofy and vain.

Alex:                 Right.

Justin:              To take that for real, I thought, is interesting.

Alex:                 And we find out more about that, I believe, in the under the hood section at the end where Hollis Mason talks about she was the first one to be like, “Hey, I’ll have a PR agent. What do you think about that?” She did it for the PR more than anything, more than the crime fighting.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 So, that’s sad. It’s a sad character.

Justin:              Indeed. So, we flash from that, as Pete said, from the picture frame in the reflection to a flashbulb where we get to see Sally and the rest of the Minutemen. Their costumes are all sort of goofy, I mean, very much like the actual golden age comics where it’s ridiculous. Dave Gibbons does such a good job of showing them as goofy people, and then you see this horrifying sexual assault scene where they’re all in their costumes, but they’re talking like regular people doing horrifying things.

Alex:                 There’s an interesting thing that happened in the first issue as well. I mean, it’s a pretty typically camera angle thing which is, again, one of the things that I don’t think was unique necessarily to this comic book but that Dave Gibbons did so well is using [filmic 00:14:30] framing angles for things. There’s a shot, I believe, of The Comedian on the floor between Hooded Justice’s legs, which is very similar to a shot of The Comedian from the first issue where it’s showing that Hooded Justice is dominant over him. Even if The Comedian pushes himself as this uber mal, he’s really not. The other thing that happens, I believe … I don’t remember which panel it is, but one of the panels in there, there’s a splash of blood on The Comedian that he’s wiping off that is the same as the splash of blood that’s on the button from the first issue.

Justin:              Yeah.

Pete:                Wow.

Justin:              Showing that when he dies, he’s still marred by all these horrifying things he’s done. He’s not a hero at all, and he goes out as not a hero.

Alex:                 Yeah. Again, I know we keep going back to, “Hey, great comic.” Big surprise, but it’s also the layers of preparation that they clearly did to put this together. This is very different from a modern comic book where it doesn’t get the chance to plan it in advance, right?

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 You got to meet that monthly schedule, so at most, they have three to four issues ready before they go. Here, I don’t know this for a fact, but I have to assume they had everything planned out before they were ready to go.

Justin:              It’s so meticulous. Every frame, every panel means something. The last panel of this scene, you see Hooded Justice who stops the assault is still such a jerk to Sally. He doesn’t help her really. He says, “Get up, and for God’s sake, cover yourself.” He’s the hero of that scene, and he’s still a monster. She is surrounded by monsters. And then, it cuts right back to this Tijuana Bible thing, and it just shows that, yes, she’s unhappy, but she’s dealt with all these horrifying things all the time.

Alex:                 Right. Well, let’s talk about Hooded Justice for a second. He’s just a fascinating character who isn’t dealt with, as far as I remember, a ton in the comic book series. But he’s the first hero that comes out. He’s the one that sparks all of it, but he’s also the only one that really fully hides his face.

Justin:              Yeah, you never see it.

Alex:                 Right. Part of that, if I remember correctly, he’s gay, right?

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 I think that’s what-

Pete:                Because that’s the joke The Comedian makes when he’s being beaten up by him. He’s like, “You’re liking this, aren’t you?” That makes the Hooded Justice stop.

Alex:                 Right. That makes him stop, and that’s why he takes that pain and that shame of being homosexual and throws it right back on her. Again, this is painting the times that they live in, the fact that it isn’t necessarily accepted at all. He’s scared of it coming out and people finding him out, so he takes it out on Sally.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 But yeah, then we get this memory from Adrian Veidt. This was another interesting thing that I was reading some notes on this. I didn’t necessarily every pick up on this before, but Ozymandias’s costume is the same colors, I believe, as The Comedian’s original costume. So, if anything, there’s something there in terms of him picking up from where The Comedian left off.

Justin:              Purple and yellow, being the villain.

Alex:                 Right. It’s almost a reverse. Looking at this panel right now, we’re looking at the big panel of the first meeting of the Crimebusters, and Ozymandias has this purple swoop versus the part that left over … The part that is yellow on his neck is the part that was purple on The Comedian, so in a way, he’s almost the opposite of The Comedian.

Justin:              Right. That’s cool. They’re not facing each other. This, we get Captain Metropolis who is forming the Crimebusters. He’s still in the golden age dressed like a goof. Then, it’s this random mix of people. Ozymandias, we talked about his costume, but he’s also dressed like a god as opposed to everyone else that’s sort of in various stages of superhero dress. The fact that he ends up sort of coming out of here squeaky clean based on his confidence, basically, is interesting I think.

Alex:                 The other thing that’s fascinating about this scene, particularly when you’re going through the book a second time, which wouldn’t have been ultimately clear the first time through, is this is Adrian Veidt’s memory of this meeting of the Crimebusters where Captain Metropolis is proposing this plan. He says, “Look at all these things going on in the world.” It’s fascinating that he mentions, I think, it’s promiscuity and other things like that. The Comedian is like, “This sucks. This is a stupid plan. You’re never going to do this. You just got to burn it all down and figure out what to do next,” and Adrian Veidt is looking at the map. Through the lens of this just being the second issue and us thinking Ozymandias is a hero and the smartest man alive, you would think he’s lamenting it. He’s going, “Oh, no, we can save the world. We can figure out another way to do this. This is so sad.” But in actuality, The Comedian is giving Adrian his plan.

Justin:              Yeah. And you see it right in the second to last panel of the scene where Ozymandias is looking at the burn page with the words, “Somebody has to save the world.” It’s all right there.

Alex:                 Yes. That’s something that I think is very undervalued about this series in particular is what a good mystery it is. It’s very well-constructed as a mystery, not just as a superhero series. Not just in terms of the characters and the commentary on it, but the fact that it is a very good mystery that you really cannot figure out until the end, but all the clues are there the entire time.

Justin:              Yeah, and that’s why on a second and third read, you really get to see so much more as it’s going. We get this next scene with Doctor Manhattan’s memory of his time in Vietnam with The Comedian. It’s just horrifying. The Comedian is being reckless. He shoots this woman after she cuts his face, revealing that she’s pregnant, and Doc Manhattan doesn’t stop him, even though he definitely could.

Alex:                 Yeah. The other thing, one thing that I’ll mention that’s also great about these memories, these stories that we get throughout, is we are learning more about Eddie Blake as we go, plot-wise, but really we’re learning about the characters who are remembering the stories. The big thing with Doctor Manhattan here is he doesn’t stop Eddie Blake from shooting a pregnant woman. He’s also standing in the middle of a table at the time and doesn’t notice it. So, what we find out about Doctor Manhattan is, even at this early point in his career, he’s already retreated from humanity. He can’t relate to human beings.

Justin:              Yeah. He doesn’t feel. He’s almost sociopathic in his understanding of the situation. He’s just like a scientist viewing it from afar without any empathy for the situation.

Pete:                Yeah, and that kind of really shows in the way he’s standing in the table, and it’s the same stance as … In both places, he’s looking over a dead body.

Alex:                 Yeah.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 And then, we get the Owlship flashback, right?

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 Now this is where we get to see the new mask that The Comedian is wearing. It’s a full face mask. Looks like a gimp mask, which he likes to torture people, so I think that’s at least part of the inspiration that’s going on there. But to set it in time, I believe, this is when the Vietnam War either kicked off, or they dropped the bomb or something like that. It’s one of those moments. It’s not particularly clear in the book, but we get to see them going to the streets, trying to act like superheroes, and I believe this is what ultimately leads to the Keen Act, which is the act they pass where they shut down vigilantes except for government-sponsored ones, clearly leading into the Ironman-Captain America civil war that happens later in the series.

Justin:              100%, yeah. That’s, I think, issue nine.

Alex:                 It’s weird that they brought them in at that point, but it worked really well.

Justin:              This is where we fully get a look at the phrase, “Who watches the Watchmen,” being painted in the wall, which has been sort of alluded-

Alex:                 But still not completely.

Justin:              Not completed.

Alex:                 It’s still blocked.

Justin:              But it’s the first time it’s featured.

Alex:                 Right.

Justin:              So, really starting to get … I think that’s sort of the completion of the first act almost, or the table is set for the rest of the story. This is sort of just a dark … Everything sucks with these characters. Owl Man is just like, “Don’t do that.”

Alex:                 Nite Owl.

Justin:              Sorry, Nite Owl. I keep saying that wrong.

Alex:                 You keep calling him Owl Man.

Justin:              Yeah, I don’t know why.

Alex:                 There is a character called Owl Man.

Justin:              It’s true. Nite Owl, I just never have liked his name.

Alex:                 Really?

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 Why not?

Justin:              Because it’s a phrase as opposed to a name.

Alex:                 Yeah. Well, that’s where it comes from. Hollis Mason talks about that in Under the Hood. He says that he was looking for name. He wasn’t sure what to do, and he would never go out to a drink with this co-worker of his. Instead he wanted to go workout because he was trying to figure out how to be a superhero. He was like, “Oh, you’re always such a night owl,” and he was like, “Yeah, Nite Owl. That’s me.”

Justin:              Yeah. Again, stupid. Not a great origin story.

Alex:                 The existence of Nite Owl implies the existence of a day owl.

Justin:              That’s true. Find the day owl. We get a moment where the new Nite Owl has Comedian’s pin, a clean one, no blood on it, and throws it onto the grave. I feel like what is this? What is this supposed to mean? Why is he the one that throws the pin?

Alex:                 Dan?

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 I don’t know. These parallel, the way the button falls down is very similar to the way the button falls down in the first issue. So, it’s some sort of parallel on him dying again, right? Or putting the final nail in the coffin or something like that?

Justin:              Yeah. Maybe setting him up as more of the hero here or keying him as the main character. Not sure.

Alex:                 Yeah. I mean, there’s also some stuff in here with him approaching Doctor Manhattan when already Dan, whether Doctor Manhattan knows it or not, has become his romantic rival for Laurie’s affections.

Justin:              Yes. Nobody knows it really here.

Alex:                 Right. But it’s pretty clear when you’re reading it that it’s setting them up. There’s that shot of them having the handshake where it’s like, “Oh, here we go.”

Justin:              Yeah. Doc Manhattan is just looking around. “Who’s going to try to fuck my wife,” is what he’s thinking.

Alex:                 Which one of you fuckers …

Justin:              Rorschach leaves silently. And then, we get this great, awesomely drawn sequence of Rorschach going after Moloch, the former villain for Doc Manhattan.

Pete:                This is when the shading and lighting of the panels really takes off. From this point on, it’s really just unbelievably beautiful.

Alex:                 Yeah. The Moloch thing is interesting because it introduces supervillains who were teased, I was about to say weirdly enough, but appropriately enough during the rape/assault sequence. That’s the time where you get to see their trophy room. You get to see a lens that Moloch set up before which paints him as sort of this goofy, ’60s-style villain. Sort of very Adam West, Batman-y-style villain, which obviously he’s not here at the end. We also see, it’s called Killer Ape or Gorilla Man or something like that. There’s some sort of mask in the trophy room as well, which I think emphasizes the animalistic nature of what Eddie Blake is doing to Sally at that moment. But we never really see any supervillain action. To the point of the superheroics, we haven’t really had them established other than that glimpse. Here, we finally get to see Moloch, and he is a cancer-ridden husk of himself.

Justin:              Yeah. Sad. You wonder how this man could have ever threatened Doctor Manhattan who is all-powerful, basically. He tells this story of The Comedian coming to visit him and basically saying, “The world is fucked,” after he’s realized sort of the plot that we ourselves, the reader, find out later.

Alex:                 He talks about the island a little bit. He talks about some writers and other things, I believe, throughout the scene, which teases again. If you’re reading it through the second time, you know that Veidt is setting up this big story and teasing and building this thing, but it’s very unclear exactly what The Comedian is talking about at this point to anybody who hasn’t read Watchmen.

Justin:              Yeah. And he sets up Janie Slater who is Doctor Manhattan’s first wife, I believe, which we learn about later on in the series. It’s just such a haunting scene because you are seeing it through the eyes of this ruined villain, and it just sets up all this tension that we have no idea, this conspiracy that really put The Comedian to his death. It really feeds in to Rorschach’s panic and his actual believing. He’s a conspiracy theorist, and this is proving to be true.

Alex:                 Well, to the point, I may have the time period a little bit wrong, but if The Comedian is a reflection of America in a very similar way to Captain America is over in Marvel Comics, this is the point, the late ’70s, early ’80s or so when America started to realize, “Oh, wait. We’ve fucked everything up.”

Justin:              Yeah. American disillusionment.

Alex:                 Exactly. It certainly came earlier than that, but whether it’s hitting The Comedian late or not, that’s what’s going on there. He’s realizing there’s all of these things going on behind the scenes that he’s not the big man about. He’s not the guy in charge. He’s not the most important thing in the story. Everything else is happening around him. I think ultimately that’s why he dies, right?

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 Because he has reached the end of his usefulness. His time is literally over.

Justin:              Yeah. He’s done too many horrible things to continue on.

Alex:                 Yeah, he should have died earlier.

Justin:              He’s being replaced by this new world order that we come to find out later is Ozymandias’s sort of stake.

Alex:                 Yeah. Who among us has not been replaced by a squid?

Justin:              Yeah, indeed. I also think the death of The Comedian is sort of where the fiction starts. I think The Comedian is meant to represent what America actually did, and this is sort of the flight of fancy out of it where we realize the consequences or a take on what could happen to bring the world back together. We get the famous Pagliacci joke at the end which is great.

Alex:                 Great joke. Actually very funny.

Justin:              Super funny.

Alex:                 After The Comedian not being funny for an issue, funny joke at the end, huh?

Justin:              Hilarious. And the last image we see here is Rorschach grabbing a flower off of Eddie’s grave and taking it with him.

Pete:                Which is cool because we see earlier in this issue, everybody is putting things into the grave, right? They’re putting the body down, they’re throwing the pins in. Rorschach comes and takes something.

Justin:              That’s great, yeah. Because everyone is putting away their memories. They’re like, “This guy who did bad things, I don’t want to think about this anymore.” He’s like, “I’m going to take this clue with me on into the rest of the mystery.”

Alex:                 Yeah, and to what we were talking about with the first issue as well though, that’s Rorschach kind of going off in the wrong direction, right? He is holding on to this Comedian mystery that is part of it, but he doesn’t know what it is quite yet.

Pete:                And again, the shading and the paneling. From panel to panel, completely different time periods flow so nicely. But also, there was a panel where it was the same part of the newspaper, and then the next panel is just a bigger part. So cool.

Justin:              Very cool.

Alex:                 Now, one thing that I did want to point out actually because I was looking at both of your guys’ copies. You have a paperback print copy, Pete, and you’re looking at it on your computer. The coloring is different on both of them.

Justin:              Yeah.

Alex:                 So, in Pete’s I think it’s a little bit closer because the roses, I believe, are the same red as the blood on The Comedian in the first issue. So, when Rorschach is walking through the blood at the beginning, at the end of the second issue, he’s pulling it back out again. So, I don’t know. It’s interesting. I assume there’s an absolute edition out there somewhere with the correct colors, but it certainly affects the experience quite a bit. Guys, thank you so much for listening to Watchmen Watch. We will be back with the third issue pretty soon.

Justin:              Very soon.

Alex:                 Check out all the ways to subscribe at comicbookclublive.com. You can support this podcast and more. Patreon.com/comicbookclub. Also mention, you can follow us a bunch of places, @watchmenwatch1 on Twitter. Also on Facebook and Instagram, Watchmen Watch Podcast, you can check them out there. We got some shirts. We got shirts, guys.

Justin:              Get those shirts on.

Alex:                 Comicbookclub.threadless.com, check it out there. And remember, we taped this podcast 35 minutes ago.

Justin:              Alan just texted me, and he said he’ll definitely be here for the next episode.

Alex:                 Oh, that’s great.

Pete:                Great.

Justin:              Again, my bad. Stonehenge.

Alex:                 I hope he had fun camping.

Justin:              Yeah, he loves camping, and he loves mysterious stones.

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