Nite Owl and Rorschach strike up their old partnership to try to crack the case of the mask killer, and in the process discover a much more insidious plot. Meanwhile, Ozymandias moves to Antarctica, which is a super normal thing to do, and we discuss Watchmen #10, “Two Riders Were Approaching.”
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 Watchmen, and you watch it, you watch it. You watch it. I’m Alex.
Justin: I’m Justin.
Pete: I’m Pete. What the- ?
Alex: And we are going to be talking about the tenth issue of Watchmen: Two Riders Were Approaching, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, as we get very close here to the premiere of Watchmen on HBO. But first, a little bit of news.
Alex: Justin, what’s happening?
Justin: Yeah, Alan Moore, our fourth host, who-
Justin: It’s hard to remember, but he’s been here for most of the episodes I think.
Alex: I think so, at least nine of them.
Justin: Nine, and this is the tenth one, so it’s just … He leaves a hole when he’s not here. But when you work with people, you want to be on time, and sometimes they’re not, but you still love them. You still love those people [crosstalk 00:00:45] who are not …
Pete: What the fuck? What the fuck?
Justin: So anyway, let me get back to this.
Alex: That was weird. A mirror just appeared in front of Justin for no reason.
Pete: Oh, my God.
Alex: Very strange.
Justin: If we’re not holding a mirror up to ourselves [crosstalk 00:00:56] then what are we doing? And that’s what Alan Moore is doing, is he … He’s a big autumn guy, so he went upstate for leave peeping, tasting some cider. He has an Affinity scarf and tweed jacket on. He’s-
Alex: That’s just …
Justin: He’s lost in a corn maze.
Alex: All right-
Justin: So cozy.
Alex: Oh, he’s lost … Boy, you buried the lead there.
Justin: Oh …
Alex: He’s lost?
Justin: I think when he was texting with me, which he does a lot-
Justin: … he was like, “Oh, I’m walking to a corn maze.” And he’s like, “This is a fun corn maze.” Then he’s like, “Dear God, help me. I’m trapped in this corn maze. Help, help, help.” And he’s-
Justin: … panicked.
Pete: Why doesn’t he just throw a bottle of perfume in the air? That way we’ll be able to see it.
Justin: See, I’m sure he’s doing that, but that’s not the clearest single of what’s happening with you, if you-
Alex: Yeah, we’re also … We’re in the middle of the city. If he’s upstate, it’s going to be a little rough to see a perfume a bottle he’s throwing over a corn maze.
Justin: But keep your eyes up in the air. If you see a perfume bottle, you are close to Mr. Alan Moore.
Alex: Yes, let’s talk about this comic book. What do you guys think about that? You want to do it?
Alex: We are getting down to it here. Lots of stuff going on. While Laurie and Doctor Manhattan are up on Mars debating the fate of the human race, debating the fate of Earth, down on Earth, Dan Dreiberg, aka Nite Owl and Rorschach have been left behind. And they are trying to figure what exactly has been going on. Is there a conspiracy, is somebody trying to kill of masks, or not?
Alex: Nite Owl is still a little suspicious, but pretty on board with Rorschach’s theory. And at the same time, the world is very quickly heading towards disaster thanks to Russia and the United States escalating tensions over Afghanistan.
Alex: Now, of course, the theme is right there in the title, and it’s hit multiple times very hard throughout the issue. Two Riders Are Approaching, I believe this is from a Bob Dylan song?
Justin: There’s a Bob Dylan quote at the end. I think the two riders thing has been in a bunch of things over the years I think.
Alex: Yeah, but I think the two riders … oh, my gosh, I’m blanking. Two Riders Were Approaching is from whatever that Bob Dylan Song is. We’re very knowledgeable about songs. We’ll get it for you in a second. But you have … Rorschach says it later in the issue, but War and Death are the two riders that we have right now. And those are the ones that are hit over and over starting from the very beginning, when we have the approach of the president and vice-president on their planes, Air Force One and Air Force Two, heading to a bunker to stay. We got a flash again of the Comedian’s button on the radar screen, with the splash being the radar ray, or whatever you call it.
Justin: Yeah, the little wand?
Alex: Yeah, the little wand.
Justin: We’re knowledgeable.
Alex: Yes, already, I’m glad you’re tuning into this podcast for our expert commentary on things in life. But yeah, we hit the two riders thing over and over and over again. What did you think about this theme, what did you take away from it, why is it important to have in this issue right now?
Justin: Right out of the gate, I mean, this is the issue where all of the darkness is gathering. This is like the sad part. I think there’s a lot of Bob Dylan stuff in here. “Two riders were approaching.” That’s from All Along the Watchtower. And then it’s … “I’ve been waiting in the dark too long.” Is a theme here, I think, and that’s also from You’re Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go, another Bob Dylan song. So I think there’s that sort of looking at the world and seeing it for what it is rather what it’s … like finally facing the darkness around you and within you.
Alex: It’s interesting to me, pacing-wise, that this doesn’t come right after issue eight. We talked about issue eight was the overture in a certain way, [inaudible 00:04:39] was checking in with everybody. We were setting the stage for the final act of the book, and then we went to this conversation with Laurie and Doctor Manhattan, which obviously is vitally important, but almost pacing-wise feels like a pause, because it’s so focused on them, and so focused on the past. Versus here, this does feel like it’s picking right up on everything that was set up to issue prior.
Justin: Yeah, I mean, this definitely … But this is like … This is the low point. This is like right into the act three, the final fight, the final set piece.
Alex: Yeah, yeah, it is.
Justin: So I feel … I hear you, but it does make sense here, and we need that issue with Doctor Manhattan and Laurie on Mars, because that’s sort of lays out some of the higher themes, while this gets into the plot.
Pete: Yeah, this is a lot of just moving people into the right position, so we can have our final showdown.
Alex: But it’s also … I mean, it’s not just table-setting, it’s not just moving around chess pieces, it’s also hitting that theme of doom, of apocalypse that plays throughout here.
Justin: Yeah, this whole first section with Nixon and DEFCON-2 and basically prepping for the end of the world is so scary. The parallels to today are intense.
Alex: But at the same time, it’s funny, like the way that they play off the president and vice-president. I believe Gerald Ford trips down the stairs like in an SNL sketch, which-
Justin: Yeah, noted clumsy man.
Alex: Yes, which is ludicrous. The nuclear football is actually shaped like a football as well, which to me, I almost took that as, A, it’s a joke, but it also feels like a very Nixon thing to do, that if he was president for so long, he’d be like, “Make it into a football.”
Justin: Yeah, good.
Pete: … look at you.
Justin: I do think … I mean, it has a Doctor Strangelove vibe that I feel like is intentional for these first three pages, but it still has that dark side to it, that the whole like … it’s scary.
Justin: All the reds we see in this. The art is so great.
Alex: Yeah, throughout. Again, John Higgins is using that red pretty liberally to push forward when there is actual danger on things. And then from there, do you want to keep walking us through this?
Justin: Yeah, so then we go into Nite Owl and Rorschach, who are the main characters we’re with for this issue. And, man, the art in this issue, it’s just so good. It has this great … No one draws like Dave Gibbons, I feel like, anymore, with these art deco style, really clean lines. It reminds me of Mr. X from back in the day in this comic called Terminal City, which I really liked from Image years ago, really great.
Pete: Yeah, but, I mean, what’s just crazy now is you got this picture of them docking their ship, and then you got the Twin Towers in the background, you’re like, “Oh, God, now it’s more painful.” But I just think that you’re seeing Rorschach here, who before was very much freaked out by the fact that he’s without his mask, without his skin, just talking. And they’re trying to piece together what’s going on, and how it’s going work. So it’s kind interesting to see him … Like they’re going to get it, they’re going to go get his face back on. But it’s very interesting, because most of the comic he’s masked, but here, we just have him walking and talking here.
Alex: Well, I think part of that is he is very slowly … not necessarily against his will, but I don’t think he knows this is happening. He is getting his humanity back over the course of this issue as he continues to work with Nite Owl. And as a consequence, particularly later on, when they end up in the bar, they’re interrogating criminals as they’re trying to figure out who the mastermind is behind this plan. Nite Owl finds out hat Hollis Mason was killed, and he does a very Rorschach move. While Rorschach is just interrogating a guy, Nite Owl nearly chokes the man to death.
Alex: So they’re feeding off of each other in this issue. They are these two horses of war and death themselves, they are bringing this apocalypse with them. And that happens right there in that scene that you talked about, Pete, where they’re walking off of the ship. The way that I take that is they have brought their own doom to themselves.
Alex: We’ve talked about this quite a bit on the podcast, but this world might have been okay if there were never masked vigilantes. It’s certainly worse off for them. So to have Rorschach and Nite Owl walk off, and as we find out later, they are very much playing their part in Adrian Veidt’s plan right now, whether they know it or not. He is laying out all of these breadcrumbs for them. They are hastening this doom that is coming to the world, instead of running to stop it.
Pete: Yeah, and they are powerless to do anything else though. They have to follow these clues because of what they are, they are these masked crime fighters. There’s a great scene here where Rorschach confronts the woman next door who called him a pervert, I believe, into the newspaper, and he seems himself in one of her kids. Like to your point about him getting his humanity back, it’s a nice moment where you can actually see him for who he is.
Alex: Do you think … ? This is very much jumping ahead, but do you think this issue and Rorschach regressing … I mean, maybe progressing towards humanity, is that why he eventually makes the decision that he does at the end of the book? And I’m dancing around it. I assume everybody has read the book, but just in case, when we get there. I do think part of that is brought about by the fact that he does feel human and he can feel things again.
Pete: Yeah, and I think it points to what we talked about a lot, with isolation and a lot of people that are on the fringes of society, like Rorschach loses his place when the superheroes aren’t allowed to function as themselves anymore. He goes rogue, he’s by himself all the time, and he starts to become hardened. And this, he’s back with his partner, and he’s back in his action again. He feels like he has a place, and so he’s a better human. And I think that’s a very big theme in our current world now, that really resonates.
Pete: People are becoming so isolated and getting more extreme in their views, when what we really need is reaching out and more humanity.
Alex: So I’ll throw something else out at you. This is just something that I’m working through as we’re talking about it. But part of, as we mentioned the mission of the book that they go on is Rorschach needs his face back, he needs his costume back, and he has a spare hidden. He goes to pick up the spare. That spare is most likely the costume that he last used the night he essentially became Rorschach.
Alex: If you look at the stain on it, it’s the same-
Pete: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Alex: … stain that he got that night, which is that we were talking about this, and I completely forget when we were talking about this, but that’s the same stain he gets in the prison when he’s escaping that’s on his body. And so, one could potentially argue that him putting that costume back on brings him back to that night, and then he has a choice to make. He can either become that Rorschach that left that night, that was fully 100% Rorschach, or he can be the Rorschach before that was kind of a fucked up, creepy guy, but not the same level he was after.
Justin: Yeah, and I think he definitely chooses the more human version to the point what we’re talking about. He can’t help it. He’s around other people, and that changes you, changes your choices.
Justin: Moving forward, we get into Adrian Veidt’s Antarctic home. And obviously, we’ve read this before, we know he’s a villain, but this is some straight up villain shit. It’s like a crazy villain lair from the jump. He’s an ice cold dude the whole time. He’s changing his clothes in front of his series of butlers.
Justin: I thought this was really cool. They’re like, “Oh, what do you want to do?” And he’s like, “Monitors, change channels every hundred seconds.” And that’s literally how we watch TV now, is like we watch multiple screens, we’re always … everything’s changing very quickly, attention spans are lower. And he then is like, he’s like, “Okay, I’ll start recording.” He’s making a podcast of his views.
Justin: So, this, it feels so prescient that he’s doing what we do now as people, and it also shows that watching this much, taking this much information smooths out your emotions. It doesn’t let you react to things, and that’s why we’re also cold like Veidt is about everything we’re taking in. We don’t have time to think about it.
Alex: So you’re saying, us, the three of us here on this podcast, we’re basically Ozymandias?
Justin: And our plan is cool too. It involves a squid.
Pete: Naturally, naturally.
Alex: We’re going to share a nice squid.
Justin: Yeah, exactly.
Pete: Yeah, but, I mean, but-
Justin: A plate of [inaudible 00:13:25].
Pete: But I tell you, what’s great is like the … This is like villain stuff before the villain stuff was really famous. I mean, you’ve got the-
Alex: [crosstalk 00:13:40] you’re saying.
Pete: The shot of him in front of his TVs, in his big throne, stroking his evil cat. That becomes a trope later, that becomes such a-
Alex: You’re thinking of Inspector Gadget, right?
Pete: Yes, but there’s tons of-
Justin: No, James Bond is where that came from.
Pete: Dr. Evil. It goes on and on, but this really set the precedent of this [crosstalk 00:14:02] evil overlord and a cat, and-
Justin: No, petting a cat has always been evil.
Alex: You think so?
Justin: You ever pet a cat?
Alex: Oh, no thanks. [crosstalk 00:14:10] Pet a dog, that’s good.
Justin: Yeah, exactly. That purring is like growling from their stomachs.
Alex: Yep, wow.
Pete: You don’t have a cat, do you?
Justin: No. I like cats though. I had cats, but I’m evil.
Alex: I’m allergic to cats. Are we just offering up stuff about our-
Justin: Hey, time for cat facts. Hey, everybody, shout out cat facts. Pete, your turn. Mine was I had one. Alex is he’s allergic. Two fun facts, two fun cat facts.
Pete: Yeah, I like cats. Cats are cool. I mean, I prefer dogs, but no big deal.
Justin: Okay, well, let’s try to stick with cat facts though. Give us the [inaudible 00:14:44]. You see their butt-holes too much. That’s another cat fact. Alex, your turn, cat fact.
Alex: They eat cat food.
Justin: Okay, very basic fact. Expected fact there. Pete, another cat fact.
Pete: Maintaining a litter box is too high maintenance.
Justin: Great. That’s more of an opinion, great. That’s enough for cat facts.
Alex: (singing) Meow. I did mention want to mention about the villain thing, the villain reveal in this issue, because though it’s not 100% confirmed, we do get by the end of the issue Nite Owl and Rorschach figure out, oh, shit, Veidt’s been behind this thing the entire time. And they go to confront him to actually get the villain monologue, which we’re going to get very shortly [inaudible 00:15:23] happens next issue.
Alex: And what I like about this is what I liked about the last issue, which is even if at the beginning of the last issue you started to suspect and think, “Oh, wait, I think Eddie Blake is Laurie’s dad.” It’s not dragged out.
Alex: By the end of the issue, you find out. And same thing with this issue-
Justin: I love that.
Alex: … when they lay out this clear villain scenario with Adrian Veidt for the first time, where he’s like, “Yes, I’m evil. Hello.” You think you’re ahead of the book, but you’re not, because five pages later, it’s like, “Yo, Adrian Veidt is the bad guy.”
Alex: So they don’t give you enough time to get that smug sense of self-satisfaction.
Justin: It’s such a better form of storytelling. I feel like … Again, not to harp on our modern world too much, but so much of our entertainment is like, “Now, end of episode. Clue. Now, think about who you think the villain is.” And then we think about it. We’re like, “Oh, we know.” And it’s like … And then it gets proven true, so you feel ahead of it.
Justin: This, you’re not allowed to feel ahead of it, because you don’t have time to think, because you’re taking in the rest of the issue.
Alex: Yeah, exactly.
Justin: So smartly done. There’s this great moment where he says … Rorschach and Nite Owl are talking, and they’ve been in the dark too long. I thought that was interesting from their two different points of view, because Dan’s been in the dark because he hasn’t been doing any super-heroics, so he’s been isolated on his own and is now bad at it, or he’s a little rusty.
Justin: Rorschach has been in the bleakness of his worldview, because he’s been isolated. And now, just being together they are coming toward the light.
Alex: But on the other hand, owls operate in the dark. Not to look into it too much, but-
Justin: [inaudible 00:16:59].
Alex: … that would be a good thing for Dan, right?
Justin: Being in the dark?
Alex: Being in the dark.
Pete: Yeah, but he is human.
Alex: It’s like [crosstalk 00:17:05]-
Pete: [inaudible 00:17:05].
Justin: Whoa, whoa, big reveal, dude.
Alex: Hold on, hold on.
Justin: You don’t know what he’s like underneath that costume.
Alex: This is a time for human facts.
Pete: Oh, my bad, man.
Alex: That’s later in the show.
Justin: I mean, he eats mice just like a cat.
Alex: He can turn his head 360 degrees.
Justin: He seems a lot like an owl.
Alex: Yeah. There was that one panel, where he hocked up a pellet.
Justin: And then a little pellet came out. It was just little bones.
Alex: Who’s bones?
Justin: Who’s bones? We don’t know.
Alex: Find out next issue.
Justin: Was it a mouse, or a very tiny man? We’ll never know. That’s just one of fun things about rereading this comic. You never know-
Alex: Yeah, Watchmen leaves so many things dangling. Alan Moore is like, “Fuck it, we’ll get to it in the next series.”
Justin: Yeah, “I’ll follow this up rather than take my name off it.” Sorry, Alan. Alan definitely listens to this podcast thought.
Alex: Yes, he does. Well, he’s got to get caught up for the next episode.
Alex: We’re actually broadcasting this directly into the middle of a corn maze.
Justin: Yeah. There’s a sweet moment between Nite Owl and Rorschach that is awkward. And also, so much of this issue is in dark shadow, and then in these couple panels, it’s super bright and Nite Owl looks goofy. You see his underwear, the underwear-y parts of his costume, and they’re stuck in a handshake by themselves. But it’s still sweet, instead of being like, “We’re happy when we’re together doing this.” I thought that was just-
Alex: Well, and it’s very different from Nite Owl’s relationship with Silk Spectre, which obviously is sexual.
Justin: Very different.
Alex: Very different. But also the way that they work together, you know?
Alex: Just Rorschach and Nite Owl, they have this partner … What?
Justin: [inaudible 00:18:45] that Rorschach and Nite Owl are also … fight crime, they’re like … and then they make out for a while. It’s just a funny side thing then.
Alex: That definitely seems like Rorschach in particular.
Justin: They’re like, “You know how Nite Owl fucks everybody he’s partners with?”
Alex: Oh, man.
Justin: Everybody;s like, “What?” I mean, I guess that’s true. He just-
Alex: Huh, I never thought about that.
Pete: Well, the key part with Nite Owl is you just don’t let the beat happen after the fight.
Justin: Yeah, exactly.
Pete: You just got to walk away right after that fight.
Justin: “Hey, anyway, great fighting with you Nite Owl [crosstalk 00:19:12]-
Alex: [inaudible 00:19:14]. Oh, man.
Justin: Oh, blue balls.
Alex: That’s why Archie is shaped that way.
Justin: Yeah, he’s big.
Alex: He’s like a big old scrotum.
Pete: Oh, my God. Why?
Justin: That’s true.
Alex: Speaking of which, we see this great panel of Archie bursting out of the water, with the water dragging under him.
Justin: So cool.
Alex: They are emerging from it, and then waiting for you to scroll down-
Alex: … so I could watch.
Justin: Then we get to Black Freighter stuff.
Alex: Let’s talk about the Black Freighter stuff. This another Two Riders Approaching scenario is set up here. We also get a big reveal of the suspicion I think we’ve harbored for a long time with this Black Freighter thing. The whole plot-line has been that this pirate was stranded by the evil Black Freighter. He is worried they’re going to attack his hometown. He’s desperately trying to get back there, he’s fought sharks, he’s eaten seagulls, he’s lashed dead bodies together to make a raft. And this issue, he finally makes his way back, and thinks, “Oh, God, I’m too late. The pirates are clearly already here. Everything has been destroyed. My wife has been enslaved, or worse. Same thing with my children.”
Alex: “Now, here are these two people out having a lovely time. Oh, they must be collaborators with the pirates.” And he kills them. He kills both of them, dresses up as one of them, takes the other body, attaches it to a horse and rides back into town. He sees what he thinks is a sentry. Later on, he’s like, “Well, I’ll just skip past this pirate sentry. But of course, it’s a scarecrow. All of this is so very blatantly metaphor-ing exactly what is going on in the quote-unquote real world of Watchmen, where we talked a couple of issues back in the big Rorschach issue, how Rorschach was closest to the pirate, or survivor, or whatever he is, in the Black Freighter story.
Alex: And here, it’s pretty clear this guy is creating a conspiracy theory. He’s following it through, he’s lashing out. All evidence that he sees backs up his theory the way that he wants to see it.
Justin: Yeah, again, on the theme of isolation, it’s like … You go mad if you’re isolated for too long, and that’s what happen to him, and it’s what happen to Rorschach, it’s what happens to Russia and America. They’re not talking to each other, so they’re fearful of each other. And Doctor Manhattan got cold when he … grew cold when he was up on Mars. Reaching out to people is what fixes things. And because the Black Freighter guy can’t do that, he starts murdering people.
Alex: Right. And just like how we talked about earlier, the same way that Nite Owl and Rorschach are breaking the doom even though they don’t realize it, same thing with this pirate guy, where he is the doom that is coming to this town. The pirates are not there. He is the thing that is bringing horror and disease and death, everything along with him.
Pete: Right, but in his … I mean, I can’t believe he survived that raft. That’s going to really shake you up, man.
Alex: You survive the raft-
Justin: The dead body raft-
Alex: … you can legally do anything you want.
Pete: Well, that’s the thing. I mean, you get away with a couple murders after you survive a raft ride like that.
Alex: Yeah, well, it’s the same thing, like a bone raft is basically your own personal Vegas.
Justin: Yeah, that’s true. What happens in bone raft stays in bone raft. I mean, the best flotation device is a dead body as we know. Most life-jackets are actually made out of pieces of corpse.
Alex: Yeah, I learned that in camp.
Justin: Yeah, you went to a fucked up camp.
Alex: I did. I went to Camp Crystal Lake? I want to say.
Justin: That’s right.
Justin: Nice, nice.
Alex: Is that a good reference?
Justin: Yes, that’s a great reference.
Alex: Is that a good reference, daddy?
Justin: Yes, son, that’s … You’re a good boy.
Alex: Oh, thank you.
Justin: You’re the best boy. You’re my best boy, because you make good references.
Pete: I went to Crystal Light Camp. It was not as-
Alex: It’s not as [crosstalk 00:23:04]-
Justin: No calories.
Pete: Yeah, no calories.
Justin: Is that another way of saying- ?
Pete: All the same great lake, just less calories.
Justin: Is that another way of saying fat camp?
Justin: Oh, great.
Alex: Well, let’s talk about this other scene that you just flipped to over here, because we got little hints of this before. And if you didn’t know it was going on, as we mentioned on the podcast, very confusing. But in the background, Veidt has been building this whole story and this whole scenario. We don’t get to see the breadth of it yet, but he has employed hundreds of people to create something that he is told is a super-secret movie. And here, they all get on a boat off of this island together, are having a big party. The author of pirate comics that we found out was missing several issues back in the back [inaudible 00:23:47] is down below deck-
Justin: Yeah, below deck.
Alex: … below deck, trying to make the moves on this woman that he’s wanted to make the moves on for a while, when they discover there’s in fact a bomb, and they all die. They all get blown up. Now, there’s one moment that I wanted to talk about. It’s a very human moment. I couldn’t read whether there was more to it, or not. But as they’re starting to make love, they’re down there, she notices the bombs. She’s like, “Something is biting into my back a little bit.” She says, “Don’t stop.” And he says … He holds her, and says, “Don’t worry about it, my love. Hold onto me.”
Alex: What’s going on there? Is there something more to that? Because it felt like it was at the tip of my brain that it was referencing, or bumping off of something else, but maybe it’s just a moment.
Justin: I think he’s just like … He knows they’re going to die, so he’s like, “Lets-
Alex: Trying to be comforting, yeah.
Justin: “Let’s go out on a hug.”
Alex: Yeah. Is it … ? I mean, it could be … Is it in the same position as the Hiroshima lovers? They’re certainly leaving the shadow in the background, right?
Justin: Yeah, it’s hard to see the shadows.
Alex: There’s that.
Justin: It’s covered by word balloons. But yeah, I think it’s … I just mentioned this a bunch, but isolation versus reaching out. Like, they’re about to die, so they cling to the person-
Pete: That’s why I wouldn’t go on cruise ships for a really long time.
Alex: Oh, yeah.
Justin: Well, remember, when we did that comic-con on the cruise, and that’s how we slept.
Pete: Well, yeah, but I [crosstalk 00:25:10]-
Alex: But then we got blown up, right?
Pete: But I always would … We would have to every night go down and look for bombs.
Justin: That’s true. That was a fun-
Pete: Otherwise, I couldn’t sleep.
Alex: [crosstalk 00:25:17] Yeah, at midnight, every night, they start blaring the alarms, and saying, “Hey, everybody, bomb check.
Justin: Yeah, I went to the casino, and Pete went looking for bombs on the deck.
Alex: Now, we can probably, not speed through, but clip through the rest of the book, because we get to see them investigating the mystery. As we mentioned, they interrogate people at various bars, and then ultimately they end up in Veidt’s office, because they’re trying to find out where he is, to get his help. At which point, Nite Owl puts it together.
Justin: Yeah, it’s just funny seeing … Like, Rorschach is just a real blabbermouth all of a sudden. He’s like, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Talking about all the Egyptian shit.
Pete: Well, he’s finally around somebody who he doesn’t think is evil, or something. So he’s really just finally opening up.
Alex: Well, this is what we talked about with Rorschach all along, that he is throwing the darts everywhere and hoping one of them stick, and Nite Owl is precise. He-
Justin: Yeah, he’s the detective.
Justin: They need each other in every way possible, and this just proves. Nite Owl puts it together based on all the vomit that Rorschach is just spewing out in this thing. He grabs the things that makes sense and puts it together. He cracks the password. I mean, Adrian Veidt seems so smart. Throw an exclamation point in your password, dude.
Justin: Come on.
Pete: Well, this was a while ago, before you needed that kind of stuff. [crosstalk 00:26:33]-
Alex: But also, he knows that they’re going to figure it out, right? He’s left it there, he’s left the clues there, he’s left a map, he’s left documentation. He’s basically walked them right up to it, so that they can come find him as we find out at the end of the issue when he’s like, “Everything is happening according to plan.” But-
Justin: So one other thing. So they figure it out, and they’re going to go to Antarctica, and Archie … They do one last thing. Rorschach drops his journal off in the mail, which is a fun little thing, because we see the dude pick it out. It goes to the New Frontiersman, and the kid in the smiley face shirt picks it out of the thing and sets it in their crank pile.
Justin: But I thought it was interesting, the smiley face. We were like, “What does it mean? Is it just … ? What reference is it?” And I think it’s meant to be setting up the final moment of the series, where it’s the final punchline of the joke the Comedian set into motion. And this kid is the final punchline in that his journal is found and all the truth will come out.
Justin: So that was my take from reading it here.
Alex: Yeah, so then they fly off to Antarctica. We get a bit of an action sequence that happens. Beautifully drawn. Very-
Justin: So cool.
Alex: … reminiscent of the Mars sequence as well, because you got the stark white, instead of the stark pinks of Mars. Also, this sequence really brought me back to the first time I read Watchmen, because when Nite Owl puts on his snow suit, which is the most adorable thing. And I remember that jumping out to me the first time too, just how cute … He looks like a cute little snowy owl-
Justin: It’s very cute.
Alex: … jetting along.
Justin: On their little air bikes.
Alex: Yeah. Yeah, and then we get confirmation, in case there was any wondering, that Veidt was the villain, because … What does he say there at the end? What’s the exact phrase?
Justin: “It’s all right, girl.”
Alex: “Everything’s all right.”
Justin: “Everything’s all right.”
Alex: Yeah, and then our back matter is all about Ozymandias, all about marketing. I think a large part of this is to show us the precision of Ozymandias, to underline, because we haven’t spent a lot of time with him, that he might not be the smartest man in the world, but he certainly has business acumen and is very precise with things.
Justin: And I think it sets that he … We know that he’s a villain when we read the back matter, and the back matter is him figuring out his action figure line, him changing the Nostalgia perfume to Millennium, and then a self-help book geared toward healing. And it’s him setting up his businesses to operate in the New World Order after his plan is carried.
Justin: It’s so interesting. He eliminates the Nite Owl, Rorschach action figures from his toy line, because he’s like, “They’re going to be dead, so we don’t want to manufacture those. We want to have all Veidt with random villains.”
Pete: And what’s funny is, action figures also sometimes spoil movies, because when action figures come out before the movies and stuff, there’s hints to what the action figures do and have on them that gives us little hints. So-
Justin: He didn’t want to spoil the plan, yeah.
Alex: Well, also, though-
Justin: [inaudible 00:29:33] Make the Rorschach murder-able. Okay, man. I don’t know what you mean by that.
Alex: But also, at the same time, something that they built up in this alternate reality is like Ozymandias mentions, superheroes aren’t that popular. People don’t buy superhero comics, because superheroes exist. So you’d have to imagine it’s the same thing with the action figure line. So if anything, having Ozymandias versus a bunch of pirates, or something like that, would probably work a lot better for action figures.
Justin: True, but I do think the point of it is-
Justin: … that he’s so ice cold sociopathic that he is profiting off of his choices. Like, changing the perfume from Nostalgia. No one wants to look backwards. There’s this huge tragedy. They’re going to be looking hopeful and forward to Millennium and the self-help book geared toward the unified world, which is what he’s doing with his plan is unifying everyone. That’s what the self-help book is geared toward. So smart, so subtle, so smart. It’s great.
Alex: To your point about the action figures, Silk Spectre and Doctor Manhattan don’t even enter into the picture.
Alex: They’re not there. He doesn’t know. That may be the one thing that he actually didn’t necessarily plan for is them coming back.
Alex: If you would like 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 loft in New York. Come on by. We’ll chat with you about Watchmen. You can check out the podcast at Watchmen Watch Podcast on Facebook and Instagram. Watchmen Watch One on Twitter, and Comic Book Club Live for this podcast and very many more. You can subscribe and comment on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Android, or the app of your choice.
Alex: And remember, we taped this podcast 35 minutes ago.
Justin: Oh, Alan just texted me, and he said, “I’ll definitely be there next week, hashtag pumpkin spice latte life.”