Who likes pirates? Everybody, as issue #3 of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, “The Judge of All the Earth,” introduces the incredible juxtaposition of “Tales of the Black Freighter.” Meanwhile, Dr. Manhattan deals with several surprising setbacks, Dan and Laurie draw closer, and the Doomsday Clock ticks ever closer to midnight.
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, who watches the Watchmen? We watch the Watchmen, also watch you watching the Watchmen. I’m Alex.
Justin: I’m Justin.
Pete: I am Pete. That’s a lot of watching.
Alex: It is a lot of watching. Unfortunately, there’s one person who isn’t going to be watching this week. Justin, what’s going on here?
Justin: Obviously, our fourth host, Alan Moore, he is usually here for this. I think he’s been at all of them up until this one, but he just texted me. He can’t make it, he’s trapped in the mid ’80s.
Justin: And so his Skype settings aren’t working quite correctly.
Alex: This is the problem with having a guy who has the power of time travel on our podcast. It’s very disappointing, but you know what? He’s been a good friend. The other day I was feeling a little down and he just appeared. He apparated, if you will, and said, “Hey, how you doing buddy? You want to hang out? You want to get some PSLs?” And I was like, “Yeah, I want to get some PSLs.” And he bought us the PSLs, venti eve, venti PSLs. That’s the kind of guy, Alan Moore is.
Justin: Wow, that’s good. He’s a good friend, a great enemy and a magnificent bastard.
Alex: Well, I’m very disappointed that he won’t be here this week, but we will be talking about the third issue of the Watchmen comic book, The Judge of All the Earth, as we continue to ramp up to debut of the HBO series on October 20th. Before we get into the issue though, I want to confess something to you guys-
Pete: Oh shit.
Alex: … now that we’re a couple of episodes into this podcast.
Justin: All right, about time.
Alex: This podcast makes me very nervous.
Alex: The reason it makes me very nervous is because Watchmen is so revered throughout our entire history as comic book reviewers, throughout the history of comic books that were released the past couple of decades of comic book history. I feel, and I was curious to get your guys’ vent on it, your guys’ take on it, but I feel a responsibility to get everything right. And I’m terrified that people are going to point out things that we got hideously wrong. And normally I don’t feel that on our podcast, but this one I definitely do. How are you guys feeling about it? Are you pretty chill about it, or you’re feeling like I am,
Justin: Well now I’m stressed. No, I feel like this is sort of getting into … it’s like were archeologists digging up like a pretty sick dinosaur.
Alex: Yeah. Like what’s the sweetest dinosaur? I’m going to say stegosaurus.
Justin: Yeah. And obviously we have our forth hosts, the king of the dinosaurs here normally with us. So that’s cool to dig up a dinosaur with the king of the dinosaurs.
Alex: Oh, that’s rude to the man who bought me a venti PSL with a nutmeg spritz on it, which was very nice. Pete, what about you? How are you feeling about this? How are you feel about talking about Watchmen so far, now that we’re-
Pete: Well, I feel like Watchmen has been talked about so much. There’s such a huge … some people call it the grail of comic books, of graphic novels, that I feel like we’re just giving a, how we feel about it, our take on it, and that doesn’t stress me out. But there is a weight to this though that is something to be revered.
Alex: Yeah. It also, I mean it helps, but it doesn’t help that as we’ve been kind of joking about the past couple of episodes, it’s a really good book. Like, we’ve talked about this at a couple of episodes, but you sort of abstract how good Watchmen is over the years when you’re talking about it. But getting back into it and this issue again, I was struck because we’ve been talking about juxtaposition quite a bit on the podcast, but this issue hits it real hard, like crazy hard. And the amount of effort and time and thought that goes into that, not that modern comic book writers and generally comic writers aren’t putting the thought, but the extra … several extra levels that are going on there make it super impressive. And it, I feel an onus to deliver on that in our podcast.
Justin: Yeah, I think … well that’s … if we want to talk about the things that really stand out on rereading this, the pacing of this comic is so … it’s just so stunning how … the way it just moves through the story in really complex ideas, and a series of different complex ideas.
Alex: Yeah. Well let’s talk about this issue, because I thought this was a fascinating one. The first few ones … the first two issues of the book very squarely focused on the mystery of who killed Edward Blake as we continue to flesh out the characters, as we continue to flesh out the themes of this book. To my mind, at least on first read, on a very surface read, it feels like it almost takes a step back from that. You know, we get a lot of character movement in this one. This is the one that introduces the Tales of the Black Freighter. We get a lot of thematic resonance in terms of what’s going on in the world. There’s this literal doomsday clock counting down to the potential destruction of the world, the way that the people in the world think it’s going to happen with the war between Russia and the United States, but they don’t know they going to get squinted. What did you guys think about this issue in general? What was your feeling on it?
Pete: Also this one, this to me is … we saw New York a lot in the first two issues, but this is to me is like classic New York, especially the way it starts, like the guy in the street thinking he kind of knows everything because he lives in New York City, and because of the things that he’s seen.
Pete: But I also love the detail. Like, if you look at the stand and all the little things in the stand, it … that says so much about this comic that there is no just background fill-in stuff, everything is thought about it. You can look at the titles of the magazines. You know, they take a shot at Richard Nixon in this. Plus, you have the thermos and the lunchbox, which just kind of brought me back, and I was like, “Oh man, I miss my thermos.” I used to just like eat Ramen out of my thermos, and it was a good time.
Justin: Ramen you say? Ramen?
Justin: You eat a noodle soup out of a thermos?
Pete: Yeah, man.
Alex: Did you, sorry to a hook into this too much, but Pete, did you just slurp a bunch of doodles out there, or what was going on?
Pete: Yeah, man. Take off the cap, slurp some noodles.
Pete: You don’t need no utensils, man.
Alex: All right. I mean that’s one of the-
Justin: What year was this?
Pete: Last year.
Justin: Was this in a post apocalyptic world?
Pete: Dude, I hate to break it to you, Ramen has been around for a minute, bro, especially instant Ramen.
Alex: Do you know that bowls exist? Are you aware of that?
Pete: Yes. Yes I am.
Alex: Oh, all right, interesting.
Justin: That’d be a crazy reveal. Pete’s never even seen a bowl.
Alex: A what?
Justin: Let me describe it. It’s like a plate with walls, just if you don’t know it, that’s what a bowl is.
Alex: Yeah. Well one of the major themes of the issue is that thermoses exist, and what do you think about that? And they really do a good job of the juxtaposition there. Well let’s talk through the major themes of the issue before we walk through any of the-
Pete: All right, but I-
Alex: Yes, Pete, what?
Pete: Just real quick though, I just wanted to say, because it’s like, it starts … we talked about, and especially in the last issue, how they think about the panel is kind of like a camera, a little bit. And you’re fully zoomed in on this fallout shelter sign, and it zooms out as the newsstand guy is talking. And it’s just about perspective, and that’s a lot about what this comic is about, is perspective. And it’s very interesting.
Alex: Well specifically the fallout shelter sign, and this plays out throughout this issue in particular, because we’re dealing with radioactivity in a bunch of different ways. First of all there’s the fallout shelter, as you mentioned, which I believe it doesn’t show up on the first page, but it’s revealed later on that the newsstand is across from the Institute of, I think it’s Extra Spatial Studies-
Alex: … which is, as we find out later on, where a certain squid appears towards the end of the series. So that’s the actual danger. That’s the actual fallout that’s going to happen by the end of the series. You have the second radioactive fallout, and the second instance of the radioactive fallout sign, when it’s put on Doctor Manhattan’s door late in the issue, when he is accused of irradiating people, giving them cancer. Whether that’s true or not is certainly up for debate, I think. I would argue it’s pretty clear that he’s not, but that’s certainly another bit that we’re dealing that with the radioactivity of potential danger, a thing that might be bubbling under the surface.
Alex: And the last one is the war between Russia and the United States, we mentioned earlier, as they invade Afghanistan. And there’s this very satirical scene I think, where Richard Nixon is in the war room and they’re showing, yeah, this is what the nuclear fallout would be like if the Russians try to blow up the United States. Nixon, I don’t remember exactly what he says, but he’s kind of like, Yeah, you know? Oh, that seems pretty bad.”
Justin: Yeah. Well, he’s, “Hmm,” and, “Would our losses be acceptable, or what’s the deal?” He’s pretty chill about it.
Alex: Yeah, and this gets back to something we’ve mentioned on an earlier episode, which Watchmen doesn’t get enough credit for. It’s pretty funny at times, and I think in a very dark humor way, but that scene is amusing.
Justin: Whoa, weird.
Pete: Whoa, that was creepy dude.
Justin: And it’s fun. Covering these topics, America, Russia, Afghanistan, at least we’re past that stuff, you know? We don’t ever have to go back and deal with these issues, these scary issues. We can look at this as a time capsule, and something will never return to.
Alex: Yes, that’s very nice and I agree. Now, the last issue was very focused on The Comedian, Eddie Blake. Given the grim humor it occurs to me, do you think Alan Moore in any way identifies with The Comedian, that he looks at this as like, this is a bleak wasteland, and all you can do is kind of laugh at the truth?
Justin: I think so, yeah. He’s definitely meant to be … he’s the catalyst of this story, but he’s also sort of the one who has almost the right take. He knows more than anyone else at the beginning of the story from what we learned last issue when he talks to Moloch, and that’s why he’s eliminated first, I think you could say. And it does feel like he’s the one who’s laughing at the world, because the world doesn’t make sense, which is I’m … we’re meant to think Doctor Manhattan is the hero, but he actually is the most vulnerable by the end of the story. And The Comedian sort of is the most powerful, despite the fact that he died, because he knew everything.
Alex: Yeah. Now there’s a couple of different trains that are running in this particular issue. We get a lot more focus on Doctor Manhattan and we don’t get his origin yet, I believe that’s coming up next issue, but we find out more about him. Laurie ends up breaking up with him, because he tries to please her with the threesome. But he is both parts of the threesome, and he’s also working at the same time, again, showing his misunderstanding of humanity. Eventually, as we say, he gets confronted with the irradiation. Then it ultimately ends up with even leaving Mars.
Alex: But the second part of the issue, the seemingly smaller part of the issue is what’s going on at the newsstand. Now, we’ve been talking quite a bit about how we reacted to Watchmen back in the day versus reading it now. I remember very clearly reading this issue and subsequent issues when they brought up the Tales of the Black Freighter thing, and at the time when I first read it, I was like, “Oh, this is so boring. Oh my God, shut up about these pirates. Who cares?”
Justin: They have nothing to do with anything!
Alex: Yeah, but reading again, and reading it closely, I feel very dumb about my past me, because it’s so clear that exactly what is going out in the Tales of the Black Freighter narration is the interior monologue, or the interior feelings of the newsstand worker. Even if that’s not when he realizes.
Justin: Yeah, and just a world in general that it’s already … we’re all already dead and we’re just sort of realizing that, is what our lives are. That sort of is the grim take.
Alex: Yeah. It turns out, it’s a pretty good, a pretty good idea that that dude had, those dudes.
Justin: Yeah, great dudes.
Pete: And speaking of being dumber when you first read it, I mean, as a kid when I read this, women were kind of a little bit more alien to me, and I didn’t understand why Laurie was so upset at him, because it just seemed like, well he’s just trying to please her in a way that I didn’t quite understand. Like a threesome is a big deal, and so is multitasking. I didn’t get it, you know? But now reading this , it’s like-
Justin: You were like, “This is what sex is.”
Pete: Yeah, yeah.
Justin: It’s twins having sex with a person, while their triplet works in the other room.
Pete: Exactly, yup.
Alex: Yeah. By the way, how did that go, Pete? Didn’t you do that last week? You had sex with those two blue dudes?
Pete: Oh, it went great. Thanks for asking, yeah.
Alex: The Blue Man Group, right?
Pete: Yeah, yeah.
Alex: One of them was doing the show in the other room, and you had sex with two of them. Was that nice? Did you have a nice time?
Pete: Yeah, we’re still doing this bit. Okay, yeah, it was great.
Alex: Yeah, this is going to go the whole episode, Pete. We’re not actually talking about the issue. We’re just going to talk about you having sex with The Blue Man Group.
Justin: That’s what the show is now, mostly. They did away with all the tubes and stuff. It’s mostly live sex.
Pete: I tell you, the stomp was so much better.
Pete: Unrelated, unrelated.
Alex: Yeah, you’ve got to have sex with Cirque du Soleil, now that fucked up shit.
Pete: Oh yeah, that’s where the real sex is.
Justin: I’m more of a, have sex with a regular circus guy.
Pete: Oh, wow, old school.
Justin: Yeah, I’m sort of a classic.
Alex: I feel like I can’t comment on that, because of real life reasons. We won’t get into that though. Anyway, so back to the issue, so it does kick off with the fallout shelter. It kicks off with the newsstand. What did you think of total … I know we just touched on this a little bit, but what did you think total of the Black Freighter section, the newsstand section, the I guess, kid? I don’t know if it’s a kid, or a young adult who’s reading The Black Freighter-
Pete: I mean, he’s smoking, so you would think he’s a young adult.
Alex: Yeah. I don’t know. He’s seemingly having a doob. Is that how you pronounce it, Pete?
Pete: No, that’s not a doob, that’s a cigarette.
Alex: A doob? A blunt? He smoking a blunt?
Pete: No, he’s not.
Alex: Some ganja?
Justin: I think he’s just smoking a cigarette.
Alex: Some of that sweet green?
Justin: I feel like these are the first characters that we can just like.
Pete: Sweet green.
Justin: We can just like these people, and watch them without having to figure out how they fit into the larger story. They feel very much like audience surrogates just sort of hanging around in this world and we … some bad things are going to happen to them.
Alex: On the superhero comic vent of it then, I do wonder if this is an effort to really spend some time with literal people on the street, which is something that barely ever happened up until this point in superhero comics. Most of the time you would have somebody getting their purse snatched, Batman comes in and saves them, and they’re like, “Thanks Batman,” and that’s the last you ever see the person. But here you really get to know these people, what they’re thinking about the world, how they’re feeling about it.
Alex: One of them to the point that you were making earlier, Justin, the dude who’s reading The Black Freighter, he seems very interested in entertainment to the point of not really actually caring about what’s going on in the world. The newsstand owner, on the other hand, is pretending to be very jaded about the world, but ultimately it’s actually very scared about it. So we do get to see what it’s like in a superhero world from the ground level, which is something that later on, in a lot of different ways will be followed up, but the first one that comes to mind is Alex Ross’s Marvels, that dealt with that in the Marvel universe. So yeah, I don’t know.
Pete: I also … just the fact … I know we talked a lot about the shading, but when the guy with the sign kind of rolls up on those two at the newsstand, it’s such an interesting perspective on the whole next page, that it’s very unique. It’s from the point of view of the kid on the ground, you know?
Pete: It’s kind of from the knees up, which is just such an interesting choice.
Alex: By dude who rolls up with the sign? You’re talking about Rorschach, right?
Pete: Yeah. The End Is Nigh.
Justin: Yeah, The End Is Nigh guy.
Pete: The End Is Nigh guy.
Alex: We still don’t know in the comic book if you’re reading it in order that that is Rorschach. Right now, we don’t even know that his name is Walter Kovacs, or anything like that, but that is him. I love the bit, it’s just a couple of pages in, where the newsstand owner is like, “Hey I have your a new frontiersman for you.” And he’s like, “You know the world is going to end tomorrow?” And he’s like “Yup. See you tomorrow?” And he’s like, “Sure will.” And then he comes back a couple of panels later, and I taps him on the shoulder. He’s like, “You won’t forget,” and the newspaper owner spits out his coffee. I just think that’s just a fun page in the middle of all this bleakness.
Justin: A little slapstick. I also think it’s fun, and you sort of touched on it where the newsstand guy is being … he has such bravado about like, “Let’s nuke Russia,” and then that’s literally what happens at the end, bringing all of his fears to reality, which is also what’s happening in The Black Freighter comic. So it sets this tension with what the kid is reading, and then that becomes their actual reality, like 15 pages later.
Pete: Yeah. And also the newsstand guy is like, “Yeah, most people just want to entertain, and want to zone out,” which is exactly what the kid is doing.
Alex: Mm-hmm (affirmative), now let’s talk about Doctor Manhattan and Laurie a little bit. One thing that I think you touched on earlier, Justin, that I think is really fascinating about this issue, because we get to see Doctor Manhattan is trying to do the threesome to her with … really to her actually. He is working at the same time. Later on, Janey Slater, who was maybe not as first girlfriend, but his pre-Doctor Manhattan girlfriend, as we find out later in the series, is dying of cancer and accuses him of it, and that causes him to leave Mars.
Alex: What I think is fantastic about the way that A, Alan Moore writes it, but also more so how Dave Gibbons draws it is, Doctor Manhattan is always very flat in his face the entire time, and his delivery is very flat. So you would think, like everybody accuses him of, oh, he’s disconnected from humanity. But as you brought up earlier, Justin, both Laurie rejecting him forces him to go on the interview show, and then Janey rejecting him forces him to go to Mars. So really beneath that veneer of, “I am above it all, I’m not human anymore,” is a beating heart and a real sadness going on with him, I think.
Justin: Oh yeah, and also just someone who is … his big vulnerability is guilt. Like, he feels guilt about what he’s being accused of, assumes it to be true without doing any sort of research, which you’d think he would as a scientist, because he had … the guilt just overtakes him. And I think there’s this great moment here in this panel, in the background, Laurie is sort of walking out on Doctor Manhattan. In the foreground, she’s thrown us a cylinder of liquid at him, and he reforms it to perfection as she’s walking out. And just a nice thing that he can’t fix humans, but he can always fix the cold hard scientific things around him.
Pete: Yeah, exactly. And it kind of just talks about how he’s so smart and so amazing in all of these different ways. But also, it’s such a loss when it comes to relationships and interacting with humans.
Alex: Now the next thing that happens plot-wise here is that Laurie is kind of wandering along. She’s not quite sure to go, but she immediately goes to Dan Dreiberg, Nite Owl II, to talk to him because they had a nice time the other night and he … they commiserate together. Their relationship builds pretty quickly over the course of the issue. They end up walking together and getting attacked by a mob, a gang that I believe shows up later and throughout the comic book, and throughout the series. But they clearly get a little hepped up by it and have a moment together. Before that though, one of the most on the nose juxtaposition things happens pretty early on in their conversation where there’s a panel of Laurie saying, “Just shadows of the fog,” as the teapot spews steam and covers her face, she’s blocked because Doctor Manhattan can’t see her anymore. I just thought that was a fun little moment graphically.
Alex: That’s it. That’s all I wanted to say.
Pete: That’s pretty cool.
Alex: But what do you think about the Dan and Laurie relationship at this point? How are you feeling about it?
Pete: I mean, it’s hard because she bounces back pretty quick, but it seems like he needs it pretty bad, he needs a a win, so it kind of gets him back in his groove.
Alex: Yeah, that’s definitely what’s going on with Dan. What do you think is going on with Laurie though? Is she legitimately into Dan at this point, or does she just want somebody who is not Doctor Manhattan?
Justin: I think it’s more of a subconscious thing, where like we saw in the last couple issues, she’s … he has been her escape to a more human human, like the most regular guy guy she knows.
Pete: More human than human.
Justin: More human than human. He’s giving her exactly what she’s missing, so she seeks that out, and I don’t think it’s a conscious, like I’m going here to try to cheat on my husband … my space husband, I’m just going to … I’m seeking out, like a moth to a flame, what I’m desperate for in my relationship.
Alex: There’s another thing that gets into … very heavily into Doctor Manhattan’s character, when he goes to the interview where they say, “Oh, it’s going to be tough to pick up your color blue on camera, we’ll have to figure that out.” And he immediately makes himself darker. I think that is very much parallel with him trying to start the threesome with Laurie, where he’s trying to please everybody all the time. He’s trying to be this thing. And ultimately what he discovers is, he can’t be anything to anybody, and so he leaves, is what I take away from it.
Justin: Yeah, I think that’s true, and he can give … he can solve these basic small problems, but the larger complexities of human emotions are the one thing that he just can’t take in. He just can’t see it. He can’t fix it. He doesn’t have it himself anymore.
Pete: Now and it’s-
Alex: Oh, go ahead, Pete.
Pete: And it’s also kind of interesting to see somebody so powerful, so vulnerable, and try so hard to do the right thing, and have it completely blow up in his face.
Alex: Yeah, there’s this fantastic sequence. We’ve talked around it a little bit, but as Doctor Manhattan is accused of giving multiple people cancer, Dan and Laurie are fighting this gang in the alleyway, and all of the narration is so on the nose with what’s going on. You get to see panels of a crowd getting closer, and closer, and closer around Doctor Manhattan, squeezing him in as they change up the panel structure. As Dan and Laurie are just breathing hard, they’re just going, “Uh huh, Uh huh, Uh huh,” and that’s it. That’s their whole dialogue, as if they just had sex. As if even though in fact they’re potentially about to. But people are … there’s the guard who is saying, “Come on, let’s get out of this mob. The mob is getting aroused,” and then it cuts to Dan and Laurie. And then the same man says, “Let him through. He’s not here to answer questions on intimate moments,” as Dan and Laurie look at each other, realizing there’s something between them. And then he says, “Gentleman, I think it’s safest not to pursue this line of thinking,” as they move away from each other … as Dan and Laurie move way from each other, and Laurie lights a cigarette. Such a great sequence, so good on both halves. There’s so many things going on in that. I thought it was fantastic.
Justin: Yeah, it’s great. And I mean, there’s a way to read this where maybe he’s aware of that happening at the same time. He says, alone in that panel, right before they … right after they’ve sort of had their not sex, but sex moment. He’s like … away and alone are emphasized, like maybe he’s aware of this all happening.
Alex: Yeah, that’s a good question.
Pete: Yeah, and that could be a reason he’s freaking out, too.
Alex: Yeah, but then he gets back from the interview after he makes everybody disappear from it, and the whole world sees him essentially freak out, where he gets back and as we mentioned, we see the, danger quarantine, is on his room, and he’s like, “Hey, you know what? We out, I’m out of here. I’m going to just real quick stop by Gila Flats, check out my picture of my old girlfriend, and then I’m heading to Mars,” and he goes to Mars. This, after so much dialogue in the issue that we get two solid pages of Doctor Manhattan silently looking through Gila flats, and exploring the place that … where he was born before he leaves extensively forever, is fascinating just in terms of pacing.
Justin: Yeah, it’s so nice. It’s such a great way to hyper focus. We’ve just been given a ton of information about this character, and to be able to let it wash over us at the same time we’re watching him go through these same things, and you do see that he does have these emotions. He has the nostalgia, the full billboard we see, as Laurie’s running through the city. He goes back to the place where he was born as this new God hero, and he plucks the picture off the wall. So he’s not completely dehumanized.
Alex: Yeah, and then the last couple of things that happen, other than The Black Freighter stuff is we get to see Laurie come back to her room. Everything is being quarantined there, even her bra, which I think is again very pointed to the Dan/Laurie of it all, that that’s being put in a canister for the time being, it’s being put away. And meanwhile, Dan gets approached by Rorschach who reveals to him that Doctor Manhattan leaves earth. And I know this is something that I keep focusing on, but it feels very much to me like Rorschach is focusing on the wrong things, because he brings up that there are two of us gone all within a week, talking about The Comedian murdered and Doctor Manhattan exiled. And there’s sort of a connection there, but there’s not exactly a connection there, right?
Justin: Well, but he’s right. In the end we learn that it was correct that this was connected, and this was all the plan of Ozymandias.
Pete: And yeah, it’s also like partly a Nite Owl II’s fault that you know Doctor Manhattan left, as well. So I think Rorschach yeah, maybe not aware of how spot on he is about that stuff.
Justin: I think that just speaks to his paranoia. He doesn’t … he’s not a logical thinker. He thinks the paranoid thought, and then moves backward from there to try to figure out the clues, like many conspiracy theorists. So I think, I think that’s what … it just happens that this time he’s right, which I think we were talking about a little bit in the … maybe the first or second episode of this, how the sort of modern analog of Rorschach connects to some like QAnon theorists, and like all right stuff.
Alex: Yeah, it’s going to be interesting to see how they play that out in the show, and I know we’ve talked about this on the podcast as well, because they did come out and say that it is a very All Is Right Conspiracy Theory thing. In the book, it’s not that Rorschach is the hero. He certainly goes too far, and he does the wrong thing and ultimately he’s not the right hero for the time, as we find out at the end, but it does seem like they’re going to go even farther with that on the TV show. So that should be kind of fascinating.
Pete: Yeah, it should be very interesting.
Alex: Last couple of things that happened, we get to see the newspaper man, as we mentioned, kind of realize how horrible things have gotten. He gives his hat and the comic to the guy who’s been reading at the entire time. He essentially gives everything up that is his in a final analysis. And then there’s another fantastic … I just love these secrets across the board, so much. But this Doctor Manhattan’s sequence, as he’s walking across Mars, we get to see Richard Nixon talking to his advisors, and they’re realizing, “Oh, well Doctor Manhattan is off earth, so we’re going to kind of have to deal with this. How bad or the losses going to be?”
Alex: But we get to see … my favorite panel is they’re talking about the nuclear cloud, and we see Doctor Manhattan walking across Mars leaving a cloud of dust behind him, and it says, “I’m talking total devastation.” And there’s so many things going on in that one panel where it’s Richard Nixon and company talking about the total devastation of America. It’s talking about the fact that Doctor Manhattan isn’t there, so really America seemingly has lost everything. But it’s also the total devastation of Doctor Manhattan’s heart at the same time. And that’s again, so neat that there’s so many things going on in those few simple words.
Pete: Also, his name is tricky Dick, and you’re seeing a blue dick there, as well, so there’s that.
Alex: [crosstalk 00:30:54].
Justin: Yeah, that’s great a connection, because blue is a tricky dick. It’s a trickier dick than a regular one.
Alex: And also you used to say that you could totally devastate a thermos of Ramen, right?
Alex: So that’s going on as well.
Justin: To one other panel, like art thing, the panel layouts here. During this sequence and back with Janey Slater and Laurie, it’s … rather than the nine panel grid, it goes from one larger panel, one smaller panel, so that it really feels like voiceover is running across these images. And it switches back and forth between the two different sort of sides at the same time. And it really makes that filmic quality just hammer home here. It’s so well done. You really hear it over the action, just like you would in a movie.
Pete: Also with the switching, when you have all the people wearing their suits going through all of her stuff for radioactive things, the fact that they kind of give you that whole thing, so you see everybody in the apartment, like how crazy it really is. Because if you tried to break that up, I don’t think it would be as powerful.
Alex: Again, very good comic, people really should check it out. I hope they pick it up. Last couple of things, so we do end with this classic panel of Doctor Manhattan sitting on Mars all alone, which we get to see a couple of other times throughout the series. And then we also get another chapter or two. Is it two chapters? I think it’s just one chapter of under the hood, talking about the end of superheroes. I love again, how well these parallel this, what’s going on in the story. But this is the most also on the nose one. I don’t know why it is this third issue that the juxtaposition hit me so hard that it felt like it was slammed even harder than the previous two issues. But here, we’re seeing the end of superheroes, the birth of Doctor Manhattan, as we’re seeing again the end of superheros and not the death of Doctor Manhattan, but the end of Doctor Manhattan, at least for now, where he’s leaving the planet. And I thought this was so nice to see the two things back to back, particularly because the under the hood sections are written so fun, they’re fun to read.
Justin: Yeah, because it’s a narrator that your … that character doesn’t really match with the rest of the story, so reading and hearing his voice just, he’s a goofy narrator.
Pete: I would also just like to quickly kind of point out, we went through a lot in this chapter, and just to kind of have him sitting there looking sad at us, as we are kind of sitting here reading the comic, it’s … I kind of felt like it was a little bit of a mirror, because it was like I was sad by like, “Oh man, you left everybody, and you’re just sitting on Mars by yourself.”
Justin: With the picture?
Pete: Yeah. When he’s holding the picture, blocking his junk, and then kind of looking sadly at the [crosstalk 00:34:02].
Justin: Do you think that’s what he’s doing? He’s looking, and he sees you seeing him, and he’s just like, “Oh, don’t look at my junk?”
Pete: Well, he was politely blocking it, so the reader wouldn’t be. But I don’t know if it’s like a fourth wall break, or if it’s just kind of like this, I’m feeling sad, he’s feeling sad thing, you know?
Alex: It’s funny that you say that. I interpreted it a little bit differently, because he definitely is looking at the camera. He’s looking at the viewer then, but I saw it as, he’s looking out through the comic book panel and saying, “Hey, are you going to drink those noodles?” You know?
Justin: It’s really up for interpretation.
Justin: I think he’s looking me in the eyes and is like, “Hey, what if two of me showed up at your apartment later?”
Pete: I think he’s looking at Zalben being like, “Hey, are you going to smoke the rest of that doob?”
Justin: That sweet green?
Alex: Oh man.
Pete: Sweet green?
Alex: Oh, I can’t wait. We really got to wrap up this podcast, because I love getting high, and I can’t wait to get high on marijuana after this. Guys, if you want to support this podcast, patreon.com/comicbookclub. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 pm at the People’s Improv Theater in New York. Come on by, we’ll chat with you about Watchmen. Pete, what do you want to plug?
Pete: Friend us on Facebook, so you get to know about the amazing guests we have on our live show.
Justin: Follow us on Twitter @comicbooklive.
Alex: And also @watchmenwatchone. You can also follow us @watchmenwatchpodcast on Instagram, or on Facebook. You can subscribe. Find out where to subscribe at comicbookclublive.Com, and remember we taped this podcast 35 minutes ago.
Justin: Oh, I didn’t notice, but Alan just texted me.
Alex: Oh, man.
Justin: It was more of a letter from 1985. He said he’ll definitely be there next week.