Watchmen Watch: Issue #12, “A Strong And Loving World”
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Our walk through Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen ends with issue #12, “A Strong And Loving World.” Or does it? Because nothing ever ends? No, this ends, as Dr. Manhattan and Laurie Blake return to Earth to confront Adrian Veidt; and our assembled heroes are faced with an impossible decision.
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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, so you can read along as you listen:
Alex: Welcome to Watchmen Watch, who watches it? We get ready to watch it as we’re coming up on Watchmen Watch on HBO, but first, we’re going to be watching a comic book which just kind of sits there. I’m Alex.
Justin: I’m Justin.
Pete: I am Pete.
Alex: We are going to be talking about the final issue of the Watchmen comic, the 12th issue, A Stronger Loving World, as we wrap up our recap of the comic, and transition totally seamlessly into recapping the TV show, no breaks there, don’t even worry about it. Before we get into it though, I’m a little concerned here, I see you Justin, I see you Pete, our fourth co-host including-
Pete: Come on man-
Alex: … some of the biggest four people, isn’t here, what’s going on?
Justin: Well, It’s a great day here. I actually have some very exciting news. Alan is here, Alan go ahead and introduce yourself. Hello… I’m just kidding, he’s not here. It’s-
Justin: … he bailed again.
Pete: That was…
Alex: That was fine.
Justin: We’re doing this really insulting them.
Alex: Yes. We do this over video Skype chat. Even though I can see you when you start doing that voice, I was like, I’m convinced he’s here. That’s how good your voice was.
Justin: Yes, I am here.
Alex: He’s here again. Pete is here.
Justin: No, that’s just me. That’s how seamless when you’re a classically trained actor as I am, you can slip in and out of a character. Sorry, Alan Moore isn’t going to make it for the 12th and final time.
Alex: Man, that is too bad. Well, hopefully I know how psyched he is about the show, he’s been out on the promotional tour, chatting it up, talking about what’s going on in HBO.
Justin: He’s at a Buffalo Wild Wings premiere party for Watchmen.
Pete: I’m going to be there for that. [crosstalk 00:01:48] Are you kidding me? Come on.
Justin: He has a sauce that’s branded the Alan Moore nuclear explosion wings.
Alex: I heard they’re also putting that on the Rorschach shows.
Justin: Those are not shows.
Justin: It’s tricky. Alan Moore has lost a step as a writer, especially when it comes to naming a product tie in appetizers.
Alex: He used to be so good at that too.
Alex: It’s surprising.
Justin: That’s right. He was the one that came up with unlimited breadsticks. They used to be unlimited potential Doctor Manhattan breadsticks.
Alex: That’s all-
Pete: Were they blue?
Alex: … why I always feel like it’s five minutes to midnight whenever I go to the olive garden.
Justin: 100%. Guys-
Alex: It’s the-
Justin: … Their original slogan was, when you’re here, you have a blue dick, they changed it to family.
Alex: I remember I went there one time and I was like, “Hey, we’ve been waiting for a while for our food, can we get our food?” And they were like, “You ate it 35 minutes ago.”
Justin: That’s how they made a fortune in their early days.
Alex: They get you, every time they get you, do you know who also gets you? Adrian Veidt gets you, Ozymandias gets you and he gets the entire world. He got them. He did the ultimate punked episode. He punked the entire world in this issue. Really glad I went for that reference.
Justin: No, this is the context we should speak about this final issue. It is the ultimate punkting.
Alex: When we left the characters of this book… I was about to say the what.
Justin: When we left the characters, we said a hardy goodbye last day issue. And here we are, knock, knock, knocking on the character’s doors again. Let’s go inside, issue 12.
Alex: Hello, Watchmen, you there?
Justin: Hello Alex.
Alex: It’s me-
Justin: Alan Moore.
Alex: Well anyway, New York got destroyed by a giant psychic squid that Ozymandias dropped there in order to create a fake alien invasion, which is something that we affirm in, we talk about more in this issue, in order to promote and cause world peace. Right now, Nite Owl and Rorschach are both at Adrian Veidt’s headquarters, they’ve just been told about his plan.
Alex: They are pretty shocked at the end of this issue when it actually turned out to actually have happened. Meanwhile, Silk Spectre and Doctor Manhattan are all the way up on Mars, though they’re heading that way as well and everything comes crashing together in this oversized final issue. Before we get into it, this feels like a very dumb question to ask with Watchmen, having revisited the series, what’d you think about it?
Alex: But really, I mean like, we’ve been talking about this all along, but I’m curious now that we’ve reached the end, now… and we’re going to go through the whole issue, and we’re going to walk through the issue, but what was your general take on it with this re-reading now in 2019?
Justin: I think too, we change as readers over the years, obviously, and I haven’t fully sat down and read this in probably six or seven years. I do think, just as a fan of comics, the older you get and the more time passes, the more time that you live, a fan of comics are in the world where the political atmosphere chain is changing all the time.
Justin: I think this comic deepens so much. I do think that happened. I think the topicality of reading it right now, in our political atmosphere, the current sort of a state of the world and with the series about to come out and sort of reframe this whole series, it’s an exciting time to read this comic.
Alex: How about you Pete? How are you feeling about it now?
Pete: Well, it’s a lot to talk about, but for sure, I mean the problem is, when you’re looking at a comic like this that was written so long ago, there’s a lot of bullshit that you have to kind of try to ignore like the female characters, the oversexualization, there’s a lot of bullshit, but-
Justin: I will say that was there in the original read. They didn’t take any more women out. It didn’t use to pass the Bechdel test and then now suddenly has failed it.
Alex: Well, I will say, this is coming right off of right before we taped, there was a thread in our patriot slack, about this very issue, which frankly I think is what Pete’s very rightly responding to and that’s something that we’ve talked about all along in the podcast, that this, it’s an incredible comic book, it’s an undeniable artistic achievement, but it’s also very much a product of its time at the same moment.
Alex: I think something I struck by which you’ve talked about a lot, and you just mentioned Justin, is the very timeless aspects of the book in terms of criticizing society, talking about panic, talking about conspiracy theories that feel so relevant right now but to Pete’s point, same sort of thing that, yes, the female characters are absolutely underserved and I think from a 2019 perspective when we’ve seen… I’m not going to say infinite more but a lot more female creators and male creators also being more cognizant about these sorts of things in terms of creating books, we’ve certainly seen a revolution in comic books.
Alex: I mean if you look at sales, the predominant force in comic books today isn’t Marvel comic books, it isn’t DC comic books. It’s Raina Telgemeier who is mostly writing graphic novels for, young females almost more than anything and that’s, if you look at the New York Times best sellers right now, that’s what people are reading. That’s what they’re being influenced by.
Alex: In a certain sense this, just from the comic book perspective is responding to comic books that were coming out in the mid 80’s and before that and pushing those forward. A lot of, we’ve talked about over the course of the podcast, comics since then have been responding and riffing off of Watchmen, often taking the wrong lessons in terms of [uber macho 00:07:58] and dark, and grimness and all of these things, but to its credit, despite the fact that it does have some serious issues in terms of the female characters, which I think we’ll also get to later in this issue when we get to certain material with Sally Jupiter in particular, I think one of the most controversial things that happens in all 12 issues happens towards the end here.
Alex: But there are also things that are still very relevant and from a modern read, again, like we’ve been talking about all along, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons are never telling you these are good people, this is the right way of doing things.
Justin: I feel like the thing of taking the wrong lessons, this is not a misogynistic comic in that it’s like, hey, these characters are right, this is what’s happening. This kind of got to be like criticizes so much of the comic book industry and the character development that most comics were having in their pages back then when it came out. I agree the female characters are underserved and you don’t see them a lot but they have depth of character, they’re not just there as objects.
Justin: And then the male characters are mostly horrible people and they’re shown to be that way, the greatest heroes are the most flawed. Rorschach in this issue, who is the only one that really has integrity at the end of the day, is just mercilessly struck down. I’m just saying, I think this comic is subverting a lot of the stereotypes, as well as it upholds them.
Pete: Yeah, that’s true. But I mean, you’re right with a lot of things. The female characters, they don’t have conversations on their own. It’s always talking about… At the end, not to kind of jump ahead, but like you’re saying, she loves her rapist. I mean that’s like… it’s not well done.
Justin: No. Well that’s [crosstalk 00:10:04].
Pete: I understand what you’re saying, but like there’s a lot of really fucked up shit.
Alex: I get it. I’m on board with what you’re saying, Pete, for the most part, except for the, it’s not well done, because to Justin’s point, that this is very much jumping to the end and talking about the Sally Jupiter of it all but, it’s complicated emotions that she’s feeling. And I think you don’t have to agree with what she’s feeling, but it is a very, or it’s a very realistic thing for people to not feel the right thing all the time, to in fact have the wrong feelings about the wrong people. That’s how gas lighting works. That’s how abuse works, is that you feel something, or think you feel something towards your abuser, even if it’s not actually a good thing to feel, if that makes sense.
Justin: It’s one thing to glorify what happens at the end, and I agree it is controversial. When she kisses that picture, it leaves you with a bad feeling, but maybe there… it’s hard to tell what the intention of that move is, but it’s definitely confusing and it’s… but it does feel like it’s coming from a place of the character, but the character’s wrong, in feeling that way, or the character is, I mean it’s hard to say that I guess, but the character feels, it makes you feel bad, about everyone’s lives in this comic.
Alex: Yeah, I could be wrong, I’m trying to flip through the comic quickly to take a look at it. I guess she doesn’t have… for some reason I thought it was there, but I, don’t they mentioned til they give her nostalgia or something like that? The perfume, at some point in that scene, or am I imagining that?
Justin: I think you’re imagining that. Dan’s wearing it when he’s with Laurie.
Alex: There you go, that’s what I’m thinking of. I think what I take away from that scene, and we’re very much jumping to the end of the issue here, just to give you guys a little context listening at home, Dan and Lori are in disguise after everything else that we’re going to talk about at the issue, they go to visit Sally Jupiter, and chat with her a little bit. Laurie reveals that she knows her father is Eddie Blake. Sally starts sobbing, talks about the complicated emotion of it, and as Justin mentioned, ends up kissing the picture.
Alex: What I took away from that is that feeling of nostalgia, right? It’s almost the same thing that Ozymandias is working for. The same way he’s talking about this very vague, wonderful, hopeful future, where everybody’s going to work together, when in practice, it may not turn out that way. Nostalgia is the same way, right? We have fuzzy memories, we think warm things about things-
Justin: Well, and there’s another-
Alex: Go ahead Justin.
Justin: There another way to read it. I mean, I agree with you. There’s another way to read it too, she’s just seen her daughter who she thought was dead, surprised her by walking in, is in a relationship that ostensibly seems happy, they’re talking about having kids.
Justin: And I think there’s something, it could just be she’s happy that she had her child, despite the horrible circumstances that, and relationship she had with The Comedian.
Justin: Like a lot of great writing, it’s open for interpretation, and one of the interpretations is super fucked up, but there are others that you can take from that.
Alex: Well, and the other thing we talked about back in the issue where it was revealed that Eddie Blake was Laurie’s father, when she realized that, I think there was issue nine maybe, maybe issue 10, and I think we disagree with this, but I still stick by the interpretation that, Eddie Blake does feel something towards Laurie and he feels kind of something, towards Sally, that doesn’t in any way forgive his actions or what he’s done or make him less of a monster, but that doesn’t mean he can’t also be passionate towards these people in the same way, though ultimately he is a bad guy. Pete, I interrupted you though. What were you going to say?
Pete: Well, I was just going to say that, some of these things that happen are sort of awful. We’re trying to show these people as not good people, sure. But also all Laurie does is she’s just sleeping with dudes every time you see her, or she’s on her knees in a sexualized position, it’s like, if there was some kind of good quality that they would try to portray, I think it would just go a little bit easier with kind of being like, okay.
Alex: Well I’ll tell you what, I will disagree with you at certain points on this issue in particular, that I do feel has a re-owning of the Laurie Blake character, and does push her forward into giving her much more agency, which we’ll get to in a moment. Let’s put a pit into this discussion, I’m sure we’ll re-visit it throughout the issue, and why don’t we jump into a page by page of what’s going on, real easy by the way, to get through these first couple of pages, I’m just going to say. It’s just real easy, just flipping right through them, just a bunch of destruction, squid legs, et cetera, et cetera. It’s great-
Pete: It’s been fun-
Alex: … just like-
Pete: pale horse, we would love to see pale horse sold out.
Alex: … Exactly. Has this series used full page splashes at any point previously?
Justin: No, definitely not back to back. I think, that’s what is so amazing about this, is the way to sort of hold that back, and then to let Dave Gibbons just go to town here and the colors in these pages as well are just so amazing-
Alex: John Higgins.
Justin: We see little references to everything we’ve seen before. We see characters that we’ve met, who are now laying dead in the streets. It’s just such epic storytelling and Plate used it, just the right moment in the series.
Pete: I mean, I’m def-, I’m sorry.
Justin: Go ahead Pete.
Pete: I’d definitely looked through it to see if there was anything like this, and the closest you get, is when they’re on Mars, but it’s not giant scenes like this. They thought about the paneling, and the coloring, and how it was going to hit you so well, I mean, the layers, that’s very impressive.
Alex: Two things in particular I want to call out, about the sequence, which is, let’s see, one, two, three, four, five, six pages long, the first page is blood pouring over the clock, which of course calls to mind, The Comedian’s button because it’s the same colors there with the blood in the clock, even though it’s a different design, but also-
Justin: And the sequence actually ends on page six with, some are very small, Comedians button, underneath the news-
Justin: … thing.
Alex: Yeah, that’s right. That’s been the back matter of the entire time. Every time you get to the end page, you see the blood dripping down to the clock. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure if that’s in just the collected edition or that was in the original issues, but that’s, I think super fascinating. The other thing that I think is incredible about this, is the way they slowly work out the squid because you look at that first page, it’s not there, you just see the destruction.
Alex: Seconds page, if you’re not looking closely, at least my eye initially went towards Madison Square Garden, you see the pale horse and Kristallnacht poster, you see the destruction there and it isn’t until you look at the next page and you go, wait a second, what’s that weird thing coming across the left side of the page that you look up and you see it connects to this tentacle.
Alex: It’s clearer and clearer as you go on, as you see more destruction, until you can get to that sixth page, and you see the squid face reveal the same as that drawing we saw back on the island, so many issues ago at this point, and as you mentioned Justin, paper’s falling everywhere with war. We see the news, we see The Comedian button. It’s really everything coming together at this point.
Justin: Yeah, it’s so good. And just the way that that final squid panel, you really get to look it right in the eye and just see what a monstrous creation this whole thing was.
Alex: Yeah, it’s the final squid down as they say, now-
Pete: Come on.
Alex: What? Then we get into a series of pages where Laurie and Doctor Manhattan have come back to earth. Doctor Manhattan being predictably an asshole about all of this. He really is, I don’t know why, the rest of the series, I was like, yeah, I get it, you’re all out of type or whatever. But this, he’s standing in the middle of this and he’s like, this is interesting and I’m like, fuck you do bad. Come on.
Justin: Yeah. Well I do think-
Alex: He’s kind of smiling as he’s looking around.
Justin: Well I think he’s intoxicated by this feeling, he doesn’t know what’s happening. This is the first time this has happened really, since his accident where he is unaware of what it’s… the first mystery he’s really faced, where he wasn’t in control in a long time and he’s clearly intoxicated by it. He doesn’t care about any of the other characters really in this. He’s just enjoying his little fix here and he really sees himself as a god no matter what he actually is.
Alex: Now, not to open this particular can of worms again, but one thing, that I understand the complications here, but one thing that I do think is in Laurie’s credit that I really like in the scene, is she is the one character in the book, up until later on when Rorschach starts crying, and we’ll certainly talk about that, that feels any sort of motion, she has any sort of feeling about what’s going on. Nite Owl and Rorschach are literally and figuratively very removed from everything that’s going on.
Alex: Ozymandias is obviously very into his plan. Doctor Manhattan is being an asshole, but Laurie is sobbing and noticing the little things, and I think that does point to her power as a character. The reason I say it’s a complication is because it’s the one female character who is allowed to feel things, but to your point, Justin, I do wonder if that is them pointing out how comics work, that the men need to be [Uba 00:20:26] man and the women are allowed to be women maybe, or am I giving them too much credit there?
Justin: I mean that yeah, it could be. It just tracks with her character, she’s someone who is very empathetic. I feel like throughout, she’s always going through it, whether that’s attributed to her, or just like women are like that, says I Alan Moore, but I do think also, another good thing about the way she acts in this scene is, she’s fully moved on from her feelings toward John and is just like, alright, take me out of here now. I’m sick of being around you and this horrifying scene.
Alex: Yeah. Then we do cut to Adrian Veidt who’s still talking tonight, Alan Rorschach and I love Doritos reaction here where he was like, well that’s ridiculous. What are you even talking about? That can’t possibly be true. Why do you think it’s important that he has that reaction?
Justin: I don’t know. I’ve never… Nite Owl in this whole issue, he just… a character they were supposed to really feel for and be like, he is the, maybe the hero of this story. He’s the one who really helps put it together and is trying to have this romantic relationship that we’re all behind. He’s like, doesn’t believe Adrian Veidt. He doesn’t really do anything in this issue. He just sort of floats there. And it’s weird because over the arc of his, of Nite Owl through this series has been like, he really got his mojo back, and in this issue he’s just like, hey, what? I don’t know, what’s happening. I don’t believe any of you. Then he’s like, I’ll have sex with you, Laurie.
Alex: Yeah. What’s your take on it, Pete? Do you have-
Pete: Well I think-
Alex: Go ahead.
Pete: … I think that he’s just kind of in total shock. He’s not really comprehending what’s happening. He’s not really aware and you just kind of… And that’s what sucks, is he got to this point and he’s not, at least Rorschach was trying to fight, but he’s just in complete shell shock mode, and kind of shutdown, which, I definitely have heard people say that, when something tragic or they can’t believe happens, they just kind of go into ghost mode and they’re just kind of removed from all of that’s happening.
Alex: Sorry. I believe that’s called enacting ghost protocol?
Justin: Yeah, that’s what it is. That’s why in ghost protocol Tom cruise is like, what? Wait, what? What’s happening in this movie?
Alex: All right-
Justin: That’s what he says-
Alex: … I don’t want to deal with this, no thanks. But they’re like, their mission if you choose to accept it, and he’s like, no thanks, I’m good.
Justin: Please blow up tape.
Pete: I agree with you while you’re singing about Laurie, she’s the only one who gets her shit together here, and puts up a fight but then the fact that like, let’s just have sex again. It’s like, god, can she just…
Alex: I mean, what did she… well, I don’t know. I think it’s [crosstalk 00:23:32]. After that, I’m a man, I want to have sex all the time, but after like, okay, first off-
Justin: Big reveal, big reveal Pete, for the end of this part.
Alex: Even right now on our podcast.
Pete: No, but like-
Alex: This turns you on?
Pete: … no.
Justin: This is the only time you don’t want to have sex, is when you’re talking to us?
Pete: Oh my god, yes-
Justin: That seems weird.
Pete: … my point is after all that happened, it seems like that’s like, hey by the way-
Alex: I’m sorry to interrupt you one more time, but what if I put on my sexiest voice bit?
Justin: I’m so hot right now.
Alex: Anyways. I’m starting to feel like I didn’t have my mojo, like Nite Owl.
Pete: I don’t think you-
Justin: It’s true.
Pete: … do have it.
Alex: Are you sure Pete?
Pete: Please for the love of God, stop.
Justin: Also, Alex objectively, that’s not a sexy voice.
Alex: Are you sure? But that’s too much to have happen-
Justin: You sound like you have a cold-
Pete: To then want to do that-
Alex: I do-
Pete: … my point.
Alex: … it’s like a very bad cold. Do you like that?
Justin: [crosstalk 00:24:36], Sorry Pete, Alex, be quiet. Pete, it’s your turn to talk, no more sex talk.
Pete: I’m just saying it’s too much to have happen and then be like, hey, let’s have sex.
Justin: Well, but I will say, it, I mean, we’ll get to that in a second, but it’s Laurie’s idea. It’s not like Dan’s like, all right, let’s get lucky.
Pete: I’m just saying her only purpose is a sexual object. She should have more.
Alex: I understand what you’re saying and I understand you’re hitting the same job but, in that scene, and we’re definitely jumping ahead, Laurie is the one who says it, and this might be a shock to you, but some women, like to have sex as well, I don’t know. I think that’s her actually taking control, if anything, when there’s all these men who have been wanting to have sex with her, and she finally says, no, you know what? It’s the end of the world. This is what I want. This is what I need right now.
Justin: Cool. And in her time of crisis in the past, when her marriage is falling apart and she didn’t know what was, what she was going to do, she did find comfort in Dan’s arms, and maybe it’s that, but on Pete side, it is weird that they, did she, that’s the scene we see with them. They don’t have much of a romantic moment. They just fuck by a pool. It’s definitely a surprising thing. When I was a kid reading this, I was like, what?
Alex: It gives Doctor Manhattan, he’s happy for some reason about that, which is weird.
Justin: Because I think he at that moment, I’ve always read that as they belong together and he’s like, I should go. I don’t belong here.
Alex: I got to go to space, I guess.
Justin: When I walk in on my partners having sex with another man, I smile and I’m like onto the next town.
Alex: Man. All right, Nite Owl and Rorschach are there, there’s a great series of panels that happen, where Nite Owl is calling out Adrian Veidt. He’s like, you got assassinated. What if he had shot you instead of the secretary? And Adrian says, I suppose I would’ve had to catch the bullet, wouldn’t I. And Nite Owl says, “You? nah, come on that’s completely, you couldn’t really do that.” There’s just a silent battle of Adrian Veidt smiling and looking him. I love that expression so much.
Justin: I know, talk about being an asshole. What a dick-
Justin: … in this series of panels. Now I always thought this was set up long before, the whole catching the bullet thing, but it really is just like, he says it here and then he does it, a couple of pages later, which I thought was so funny, that’s become such a thing associated with him, but it really is just like a last minute, like I could do that, see, and he does it.
Pete: What’s f-
Alex: I think, go ahead Pete.
Pete: … that’s fucked up though, that the evil villain smile is your favorite panel dude.
Alex: No, I just think it’s a well drawn expression on the part of Dave Gibbons and the way that it’s timed out there is excellent. The thing I would say Justin about that, that points to, which we’ve talked about before, is that Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons made sure that these issues were a package. There are certainly things that are long running throughout. There were things plot wise, the pay throughout, but every issue, it does introduce things and then pay them off several pages later. There’s still this sense of yes, this is the last issue, but if you’re going to be plunking down your money to buy just this issue, you’re still going to get kind of a complete story at the same time, which I think is pretty neat.
Justin: Yeah, definitely. I just think it’s funny how I met has grown to be such a bigger thing about his character over the years. Another thing about about Nite Owl, I do think, Adrian Veidt is sort of up on a pedestal for Nite Owl, in the same way that Nite Owl one was for him, that might explain some of his sort of inactive, inactivity throughout this whole issue is, he’s his hero in a way it seems. And his hero just became the biggest villain in all of history.
Alex: Now we get to the next part when Doctor Manhattan shows up. And this to me is fascinating. This gets back to something that we talked about with the last issue with Ozymandias, which is that frankly, he’s actually been improvising a lot. He hasn’t really had these well laid plans. And this point where Doctor Manhattan shows up, there’s a point where you’re just like, maybe he’s going to turn back, we’ll see what happens.
Alex: And as soon as he does not, Adrian Veidt goes into, oh shit mode, where he just have to throw everything at him because he’s not sure anything will work. That’s one thing going on, the other thing that’s really-
Justin: Wait, but on that-
Alex: Yeah please.
Justin: … on that though, it’s funny that he has this very, years long plan that he came, he put together, and then his plan to beat Doctor Manhattan was like, I hope he follows my cat down this hallway. And then turns on the thing. He’s definitely not as great, much like Doctor Manhattan, Adrian Veidt is also not all he’s cracked up to be. It’s just what he thinks about himself, and where we go along with it. And I think that’s why so many people take the wrong lessons from this. They’re like that character is confident. He must be right and he’s just a human like anybody else, both these guys.
Pete: He just really believes in himself and his evil plan.
Alex: A little detail that I really like a lot, that again talking about Laurie’s humanity and her connection to humanity, is she is carrying a bag the entire time, which I believe she took from the wreckage of Manhattan and what she’s taking, is she’s taking a literal baggage with her as she travels down to the superhero confrontation, where everybody else is playing their games and blowing each other up in the hallways, and fighting, but she’s the only one that really knows and understands what’s happened in the world, and she’s bringing all of that with her.
Alex: She is essentially, the way I took it is, taking justice for the world along with her and obviously it doesn’t work out in the long run, but that’s the indication I took from that bag.
Justin: She has sort of a Pandora role in this where she’s sort of maintaining the hope and all these people and sort of keeping everything going. Maybe that’s why she has a little Pandora’s bag.
Alex: The other thing that’s neat that happens is, we get a double sequence almost that is laid out almost exactly the same way, where Doctor Manhattan is walking up to the fortress, and he says, “I’m sorry, these tacky ons there’s bundling things up. I’d better follow him inside.” But, he’s actually saying that later when he is following Adrian Veidt on the next page.
Alex: It’s parallel panels, they’re in the same exact position on both pages, but he’s actually saying that to Nite Owl, the exact same phrase. And that happens a couple of times. This is just so great, just in terms of layout, just in terms of pacing and everything, it’s very neat.
Justin: And the way that he’s in the same, and maybe you just said this, same position and you can swap Nite Owl and Laurie, they’re in the exact same spots if you flip quickly back and forth, very cool.
Alex: And the other thing that happens here is very briefly, you can see he’s put Laurie in a protective bubble, which makes sense because she’s in Antarctica, and she’s not wearing pants, but as soon as he disappears, he completely forgets about her. She is left alone to walk through Antarctica without the protective bubble, and as to walk in, again, total asshole.
Justin: Yeah, not cool dude. Keep your force field-
Justin: … up.
Alex: Speaking of not cool, you mentioned the hallway earlier, that Ozymandias lures them into, Ozymandias kills Bubastis, blows him up, very sad. Do you think like Doctor Manhattan, and like John Ostrom before him, is Bubastis going to be able to come back as some sort of blue cat? Thanks for tribe again guys.
Justin: 100% yes, Alex. I think that cat is who we’re going to really focus a lot on in the Watchmen TV show.
Pete: Oh man. I hope so.
Justin: Lot of time traveling cat.
Pete: I really felt like the cat was underused in the comic and I hope we do get more of it in the next series.
Alex: Do you think there’s a possibility, we’ve only seen a trailer for it so far, but in the Cats movie at the end, they’re going to turn and say, by the way, this was Watchmen?
Justin: Yeah. That’s cool. Then Bubastis goes to the cats universe, cinematic universe.
Alex: Bubastis would fit right in with old Deuteronomy and Trash, Trash face well I don’t know.
Justin: I think a lot of the cats are named Trash. It’s a common name.
Alex: Let’s jump over to the bullet catching sequence. Laurie is sobbing, she comes on Ozymandias after he’s blow up Doctor Manhattan and Bubastis and she says, “Veidt, you’re an asshole,” and she shoots him and he bleeds. Now how do you read the sequence? Because the way that I took it, is he does catch the bullet, but true to form, he also gets very hurt at the same time. That’s what I-
Justin: Yes, I think so. I think he caught it in his hand, and his hand got bloody from the bullet.
Alex: Yeah. Which points to that he’s very athletic, he is very smart, but he’s not actually superhuman, same as we’ve been talking about all along.
Justin: That’s what I’m saying. Unless that’s bean juice.
Alex: What do you think Pete is it bean juice?
Pete: I don’t know, it could be capsules that he has, for the show but… I mean, that’s, this to me it was such a 80’s kind of moment where you have the karate move that saves the day when he catches the bullet. But it just makes me mad that it’s like Laurie, shoot ,it bothers me when people… if you want to do something, do it, don’t talk beforehand to give up, somebody a chance to turn around and get in their karate stance. Shoot [crosstalk 00:35:07]somebody if you want to, you have a chance to use a cool line, use that cool line.
Justin: I agree completely. I’m just going to drop the line if I have a second.
Alex: What’s your line going to be Justin?
Justin: It’d be like, am I pointing this in the right direction or what? And then I’m going to[crosstalk 00:35:28] shoot myself in the head.
Alex: Time to get loaded-
Pete: Oh, man.
Alex: … because forgot to load my gun with bullets and then the guy shoots me.
Justin: Yeah, that’s good. I’m going to say guns make me uncomfortable, and then pull the trigger. Or maybe not.
Alex: That’s a cool line. These are all very cool lines. Pete, do you have a cool line you’re going to say?
Pete: Yeah, I would shoot a bunch. And then as they were dying I would just be like, fuck you guys.
Justin: Oh wow. You’d say afterwards, fuck you guys?
Justin: But they wouldn’t hear you Pete?
Pete: They might get a little bit of it as they’re dying.
Justin: I guess what I would say is like, man, I’m turned on right now, no matter what I’m doing.
Alex: There were getting amazing secrets, Doctor Manhattan was not actually blowed up. He’s totally fine and he’s enormous and bashes into the art tactic retreat. I appreciate the fact that we do not see his enormous blue dick at any point of the sequence, but he does come down to normal size, at which point Adrian Veidt turns on his wall of TVs.
Alex: We get to see exactly what’s happening in the world. And very quickly because of the psychic rays that have spread throughout the world. I want to get back to this in a second, because of threw me a little bit, the squid not only blew up because of the psychic rays, but also sent thoughts out to psychics all over the world, and seeded the story that he had created with all of these writers. And ultimately, again, in a very short period of time, Russia and the United States cease hostilities.
Alex: They decided to work together against this extra directional threat, and we end with a panel of Ozymandias standing in front of the Alexander painting in essentially a spotlight saying, “I did it,” like he’s five years old. The psychics thing threw me a little bit because we’ve talked about how Doctor Manhattan is really the only superhero in this world, but this seems to establish that there are people with other extra normal powers in the world of Watchmen, how did you take it?
Justin: Yeah, I mean, he does. I mean, he says he, the way he got the psychic wave to come out of the squid was by getting a psychics brain, and there’re people out there who are sensitive to it. I also think maybe Alan Moore just believes that?
Pete: Yeah, when he does comic cons, I’m always hearing him talking about how psychics, he believes psychics are real, and he was like, this is, just proves my point.
Alex: Yeah. And you mean when he does Comic Cons and also when we all hang out, and get some PSLs or whatever?
Alex: Because he’s one of the co-hosts of the show.
Justin: Yes, we do that.
Alex: He’s back, hey Alan-
Justin: Once again, that was me.
Alex: Oh man.
Justin: I don’t think it’s go by the, you said PSL, meaning Pumpkin Spice Latte and no one’s going to be like, Alex, don’t bring that shit into our house.
Pete: I thought you meant to say like PSP or something.
Alex: No, no, no. I meant to say PSLs they’re back man. They’re back. It’s October.
Justin: I thought you meant PCP, which is what we usually take, when we’re all hanging out.
Pete: Yeah. We take-
Alex: I usually have a PSPCP, which is Pumpkin Spice PCP.
Pete: Oh man, they don’t make that.
Justin: No they do. It’s very boutique.
Alex: Let’s talk about this panel though. This Ozymandias panel where he does the, Steve Holtz raises up his hands and says, I did it again. What do you take away from that? I know I’ve been saying that phrase a lot this episode, but it’s such a different reaction than we expect from Ozymandias.
Justin: I think it points to how he wouldn’t arrested development like boy man he is, despite the fact that he’s winning… this is what I was talking about before where I think Alan Moore is subtly criticizing comic books, this man, he accomplishes his goal, which was horrifying to the world. He did save the world, maybe, maybe not. And his response is a child’s response to a soar scoring, a soccer goal. For all of his smarts, he’s still just a big old stack of testosterone.
Pete: But what’s weird is that him doing that stops Doctor Manhattan in his tracks. He was the giant monster, was going to grab him, squeeze his head and kill him, and then all of a sudden he yells, I did it like a five year old, and then all of a sudden everybody just gives up, walks away.
Alex: Well, I want to talk about this next page as well, it’s very tied to that and what you’re saying Pete, because this really threw me this page. This is the page where everybody, Adrian Veidt lays it out. He says, hey, I did it. I saved the world. Everybody’s working together.
Alex: What do you think? Is it worse to let everybody know this is what it is and hostilities, resume in the world probably gets destroyed or I already did it, I already killed millions of people and now the world is at peace. Why don’t we just go with that? And we get a series of panels where first Doctor Manhattan, then Laurie, then Nite Owl have two speech bubbles each. Two to three speech bubbles each, where the first one is always, this is terrible. Why did he do this? This is so bad.
Alex: And the second one in the same panel is, you know what? It’s okay, I think we’re going to go with this, that ends in Rorschach in one bubble saying joking, of course, at which point he walks out, but this is, I think the first speech bubbles structure thing that I’ve noticed in this book. What did you take away from the sequence? What were your thoughts on it? Because again, I was surprised that they rattled through these decisions so quickly.
Pete: I was very surprised by that. But also just like, he’s, everybody wants to kill him, then he turns on a couple of TVs and everybody… and he goes, I did it. And then everybody’s cool with it. We’re going to talk? Five seconds ago, your hand was crashing through a building to kill this guy. And now we’re just listening to him and pondering him and being like, you know what guys? Has got some points. He just tried to kill you a couple of seconds ago and ow we’re just talking shit out and it’s very upsetting.
Justin: Do you think Adrian Veidt was right for what he did? If it was true that the world was about to be blown up in nuclear warfare, did he do the right thing?
Pete: You don’t know if that’s true or not though.
Justin: Right, but I’m telling you, given those factors, did he do the right thing by sacrificing, a million people in New York City, or it’s four million people in New York city, and The Comedian sacrificing them to save the rest of the world?
Alex: No, but like, which four million people in New York City?
Pete: That’s fucked up.
Justin: It was the four million worst New Yorkers. I mean, they were in Times Square.
Pete: Come on man.
Alex: So mostly tourists and Elmos.
Justin: A lot of dead Elmos out there.
Alex: Oh man.
Justin: Sorry. I know that’s horrible to all of the Elmo fans out there, but honestly like, do you think he did the right thing?
Alex: I will say… Yeah. I mean, that’s the main question of this issue, right?
Alex: Is, I think there’s a difference though between, was he right to do what he did, versus now that he did what he did, do you expose him or go along with his plan? And what-
Justin: Well but I think the fundamental question, I mean, if I think they go along with it because they believe in the pragmatists argument that like, he did do the right thing, or did that what he did is tolerable because of what he’s, how he saved the world.
Alex: Right. I think it’s the latter there. I think he already did it. They can’t undo it. They can’t bring those millions of people back to life or anything like that. Yes. What Pete?
Pete: Doctor Manhattan was talking about time travel and he has time traveled, why couldn’t he go back and stop this guy?
Justin: Because I think he thinks it was right and in this panel, he’s like this, no he did it and the world is a better place for it.
Alex: Yeah. I do want to mention, I said something wrong actually, on the speech bubble thing, Doctor Manhattan in his panel, has two leaked speech bubbles that basically say, no, you argued on Mars, Laurie, that we should save life. Ultimately, the equation balances out to more life the way that Adrian Veidt did it.
Alex: And it’s only Laurie and Dan who have the two separated speech bubbles, where Laurie says, “Never tell anyone” would we really have to buy this. And then she says, “Jesus, he was right. All we did was failed to stop him saving earth. Jesus” Nite Owl basically does the same thing. And then Rorschach has his one panel joking of course, that’s it.
Alex: To answer your question though, he’s absolutely wrong. Adrian Veidt, I, from my perspective, no. There is no sacrifice of life as right, but there is a part of me that understands the thought of he already did it. If you expose him, it’s only going to make things worse again.
Justin: Interesting. You like the passive argument of just being like, well, I may as well not say something and go along with it. You’re saying he’s wrong because he wasn’t sure that it would actually be the end of the world.
Alex: I think that’s part of it. I think also there’s no scenario where killing millions of people is the right decision to go?
Justin: Well, I mean this is a direct sort of extension of the end of World War II, dropping the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I think. Those questions are the most difficult ones for all of history. But it’s tough.
Alex: Well, I think I-
Pete: I don’t think he should be able to play God, I wouldn’t go along with it. That’s why I like Rorschach, Rorschach’s the only one who’s like, fuck this shit, I’m out.
Justin: But then he ends up being killed.
Pete: Well, fine. Sometimes you got to die for what you believe in, but it’s bullshit that he gets to do this and he gets a profit off it, and he gets to live like a King, off the fact that he was just, I’m just going to kill a bunch of people and blame it on a squid.
Justin: But I think…
Alex: First of all, never blame anything on a squid. I just want to-
Justin: Except for how good the Calamari is, you can blame the squid for that.
Alex: Blame the script for that. Man, you’re too delicious, buddy. I can’t stop eating you.
Justin: Just had to eat you, and dip you in some sweet chili sauce.
Pete: Oh, man. No man,
Alex: What about you, Justin? You mentioned Hiroshima and I think that’s very app, given that we’ve see the Hiroshima lovers sprinkled throughout the entirety of this comic book, for whatever reason, that didn’t occur to me, but I think you’re 100% of the buddy there, in terms of that being the metaphor they’re talking about, because yeah, I think what I potentially would say they’re leaving with is here, is that there’s always going to be that collateral damage.
Alex: There’s always going to be those innocents who suffer even though you think you’re making the right decision for the world. And then the question becomes, do you do what’s right for the world? Or do you do what’s right for the individual? And that’s what I think Rorschach choice comes down to, you in a weird way, And Pete, I know you’re going to yell at me of this, but I think Rorschach’s decision is selfish.
Pete: Oh fuck you man.
Alex: No, I’m not saying I disagree with him. I’m just saying he is making the selfish decision to say, “I’m going to do what is morally right for me, not necessarily what more is morally right for the world.”
Pete: You don’t know if that’s why he’s doing it. I think he thinks truth is what he needs to, put the truth out there, justice must be served, that kind of thing.
Alex: But who is he doing that for?
Pete: For all the people who died because he was wanted to go launch the squid at New York City.
Alex: I guess I could see that potentially.
Justin: But if that results in the world than going back and being blown up, is that the right choice?
Pete: I don’t know, man. If you ask somebody whose mom got blown up in New York City, they’re like, well, we did it for the right, for everybody as a whole because maybe a war would have broke out and maybe the retaliation would have been… there’s a lot of maybes man, that guy’s [crosstalk 00:48:44]
Justin: And how about this? There are plenty of times in our lives where we don’t speak harsh truths, because we’re trying to make the life easier for us and everyone around us. You don’t see someone with one eye on the street and say, “Most people have two eyes because you’re like…” it’s a truth that doesn’t need to be pointed out to that person. And that to extend that all the way out to this, at this point, to Alex’s point, they accept what’s happened. They believe that-
Pete: That’s why you can travel in time. You shouldn’t accept what happened-
Alex: He can travel in time.
Justin: He can travel in time.
Alex: He just exists in every time simultaneously.
Justin: He’s aware of what’s happening all the time.
Pete: Maybe his blue smart ass and figure some out man.
Alex: Damn, he’s coming for you man. Doctor Manhattan is coming for you.
Pete: Fuck Doctor Manhattan.
Alex: Also on the plus side, I would say, that guy whose mom died in the Manhattan squid accident, he’s still got some nice [galmad 00:49:42]. You know what I’m talking about?
Justin: That’s right. They’re going to eat for weeks.
Alex: Then Adrian Veidt leaves because he’s like, hey, I’m feeling pretty good about everything. Got some final details. Rorschach walks. Doctor Manhattan disappears and Laurie and Nite Owl left, and we go back to that thing that we talked about earlier where they make love by the pool.
Alex: Really if anything, I think this is just to give us that thing that you were hinting at earlier, Justin, which is we end with them by the pool. It’s a reflection of them and the pool. Just their shadows laid out exactly like the Hiroshima lovers. They are the thing that are left behind. That’s it. I think it’s just a set up for that.
Justin: Yeah. And they’re doing the very human thing of connecting and then having sex.
Pete: Sure, sure.
Pete: Right after-
Alex: We’re going to do at the end of this podcast, right? What? Sorry Pete?
Pete: Yeah, definitely, definitely.
Pete: No, I just think that it’s like, it’s not realistic. You just had too much shit happen to you.
Justin: I mean maybe, but I do think some people like to fill a gap of, or a trauma up with some sex.
Pete: All right, all right.
Alex: Also there’s another interesting thing about the sequence, which is that Laurie pulls off Dan’s mask and earlier the whole thing has been… just to be blunt about it, he’s only been able to get it up because of the costumes and the heroics and that’s it. He’s been impotent. Otherwise, here they are stripped bare. They have become themselves. They finally can be just Dan and Laurie. They don’t have to be Silk Spectre and Nite Owl anymore.
Pete: You’re saying for this guy to get a boner, four million people have to die? Is that what you’re saying?
Alex: Yeah, I mean who, let he who is without sin throw the first stone, that’s all I’m saying.
Justin: I don’t know if that applies there Alex, but I like it. That he who’s without sin, get the first boner after the disaster.
Pete: Like Jesus preached.
Justin: Between that panel of the, Dan and Laurie’s shadows on the wall and the next panel there’s something that resembles that but in a different place. It’s two separate pictures or ideas put next to each other. And is there a term that you would’ve used there, the position of both of those things are interesting?
Pete: Yeah, I would call it something beside myselfism or parallels parallels-
Alex: The ducks, ducks to, the Dexter-
Justin: I think it’s the-
Alex: … Dexter’s laboratory. Dexter’s laboratory.
Justin: … Dexter’s laboratory. That’s what it. The Justin position of these two images is very cool.
Alex: You did point that out. That’s a good name for it.
Justin: That’s what I’m talking about, the brand. Get the brand out there.
Alex: Yes. Yes of course it does cut to Rorschach’s mask, it’s, there’s no way of not seeing the Hiroshima lovers in his mask, even though I guess you can see whatever you want, it is Rorschach plot. And then we get one of the most famous sequences in the book as Rorschach walks outside, Doctor Manhattan approaches him and says, “Where are you going? He says, “Back to allyship, back to America, evil must be punished.”
Alex: People must be told, Doctor Manhattan says, “Rorschach, you know I can’t let you do that.” And he says, “Of course must protect Veidt’s new utopia. One more body amongst foundations makes little difference. Well what are you waiting for? Do it.” This is Rorschach and he takes off his mask and screams do it. Doctor Manhattan just blast them apart. Leaving his blood, smoking in the snow. And that’s it.
Pete: It’s a hell of a way to go out.
Alex: Man. We were talking about the last couple of issues how Rorschach and I think we all agree on this, has been regaining his humanity. This to me truly is the pinnacle of that. Him finally taking off the mask, being human, being himself, sobbing, looking directly into the camera and saying do it.
Justin: Yeah. I agree with that. The thing that is bothering me about this right now is why is Doctor Manhattan doing this dirty work? A couple pages later, he’s like, I’m leaving earth behind. I don’t care what happens. I’m going to go make my own planet. What does he care whether whatever happens here?
Pete: Exactly. Why is he killing dudes on the way out?
Justin: Why isn’t it Adrian Veidt who comes out here and it’s like, come on man.
Alex: I don’t know. There’s a lot of wrap up from Doctor Manhattan over the next couple of pages, he takes care of Rorschach, he… as we mentioned, looks over Laurie and Dan who are aligning their post-coital, bathes them in blue light, almost like they’re his children. He walks over water and then he walks through walls until he encounters Adrian.
Alex: They have a brief conversation. He drops some info on him… just to throw something out here, this is kind of off the top of my head, but certainly there’s a lot of God imagery happening here, right?
Alex: Given that this is Ozymandias post-tachyons, post squid explosion, post the point when he knew what was going to happen, it’s a new world and he is the God of the new world. He is really doing some Old Testament shit here. He’s smiting people. He’s looking at Adam and Eve laying in the garden. He’s walking over the water. He is talking to his acolyte, his Adam and leaving him with some wisdom, potentially, that’s what we’re going for here.
Justin: I think that’s right. I also think he gets too, way too close to their naked bodies on that allocate, not necessarily.
Pete: I’d also like to say Zalben, don’t go off script like this. All right. When you go, start making stuff up that are going to [crosstalk 00:56:03]
Justin: Sorry about that. Do you just thought of that Alex? It just came to you right then?
Alex: Yeah. Sorry about that. I know for those of you who are listening to the podcast, this might not be immediately clear, but, Pete spends usually 60 hours a week scripting out our podcasts for us. These are not improvised in any way, including what I’m saying right now. It’s kind of amazing that pea, it actually scripted this part about us being unscripted when I just went off script-
Pete: I’m a good writer.
Alex: Yeah, you’re an amazing writer. I apologize for doing that. You’re really, I would say Pete, the Doctor Manhattan of this podcast.
Pete: Hey, fuck you, man.
Alex: No, no, no, no. I’m just saying because you’re a d-
Pete: Come on of all the characters, you’re going to…
Alex: … you’re just a dick, let’s just tag it out. That’s why-
Pete: … man you’re an asshole.
Justin: Sorry, line? Pete could you give me my line? No. Pete, if anything, you’re the Ozymandias of this podcast.
Alex: What do you want to be? What do you want to be in this podcast Pete?
Pete: I wan to be-
Alex: The Rorschach?
Pete: … Rorschach. Yup.
Alex: All right, we’ll blast you. Apart at the end of this.
Justin: Exactly. When this podcast ends-
Pete: It’s the only way to die, man.
Justin: … you dead Pete. To be exploded-
Alex: Here’s the thing though. The thin though is, nothing ends, nothing ever ends.
Justin: Oh boy.
Alex: You know what I’m saying?
Pete: I hope this podcast ends at some point.
Justin: Oh shit.
Alex: No, it’s not.
Justin: It’s happens [crosstalk 00:57:18].
Alex: It’s going to go on for hours at this point. I do want to ask about this sequence though. As Doctor Manhattan walks up to Adrian Veidt he walks into the middle of, I think it’s a bottle of an atom, which would probably make sense for Doctor Manhattan and then [crosstalk 00:57:33]
Alex: The solar system, and he says, “John, wait, before you leave, I did the right thing, didn’t I? It all worked out in the end.” And Doctor Manhattan says, “In the end? Nothing ends Adrian, nothing ever ends.” He says, “John, wait, what do you mean by… and Doctor Manhattan disappears. What did he mean by that? What did he mean by nothing ever ends?
Justin: I mean, this whole sequence is interesting because the panel right after that, to add it to what we’re talking about, Adrian Veidt is looking, he’s positioned away from the camera. His shadow is looming in front of him, and he looks ashamed or scared about what has just happened.
Pete: I’m really surprised. You don’t know what he means by that. This is a plug for the Never Ending Story, which is a movie that came out very soon after this.
Alex: Oh, right. It’s a tease.
Justin: Another product tie in from Allen wild wings Moore.
Alex: Yeah, it makes sense then. That explains why Falcor shows up on the next page.
Justin: Yeah. I-
Alex: I, go ahead Justin.
Justin: … I think what he’s saying is, first off he’s brushing him back and saying like, did I do the right thing? He’s like, come on man, grow up. I thought we were beyond these human concerns because I do think these two characters in this issue are like, we’re bros, we make big decisions. Cool what you did, you got best of me, and this is Doctor Manhattan and then one last moment being like, I’m still a god. I know that nothing ever ends, because I see beyond you. You’re, at the end of the day, you’re just a human. Hey, great job on this plan. Great game out there, but I’m a god.
Alex: Yeah, I think that may make sense. It also points to, again, like a five page beyond tease, but it teases what happens at the end of the issue, which is even though we’re getting to the end of the comic book, comics continue stories continue. They can continue beyond something that I do want to touch on in a couple of pages here. But I think that’s also what he’s setting up than it is Alan Moore being metatextual here as well.
Justin: Yeah, and also this story doesn’t end. Maybe Doctor Manhattan has seen that vortex journal will eventually come out and like this is far from over for you, Ozymandias.
Alex: Then we get into the next sequence, which we’ve already talked about quite a bit. Where Laurie and Dan show up at Sally Jupiter’s place. They’re sporting new hairdoes new looks. Dan has a very terrible mustache on, nothing wrong with mustaches in general, but he has a very bad mustache, I would say. And we get that kiss on the photograph that we talked about earlier, that complicated kiss. Anything further to say about the sequence though?
Justin: I mean, just looking at it, she, it’s not like she’s sweetly kissing that photo. She’s upset and we see in the foreground in the last look at it, like the lipstick on the picture and she’s like sobbing. I do think at the very least, this is a very complicated moment, and not a like expression of like, you know what? I guess I do love the man who assaulted me.
Alex: Yeah. The other thing that I will mention that I forgot about that happens right before this is as Dan and Laurie are walking off, they talk about, hey, you know what? Maybe we should be mass vigilantes again, and Nite Owl sorry, Dan says, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre sounds neat. And she says, Silk Spectre’s too girly, plus I want a much better costume that protects me.
Alex: Maybe something with leather with a mask over my face. Also maybe I ought to carry a gun, which cuts to then [shoot 01:01:15] her kissing the picture of Comedian. It’s very clear. She’s talking about The comedian’s costume. That’s what he wore, leather, a face mask, carried a gun. To the point that you were bringing up earlier, Pete, I think Laurie’s journey, you could say over the course of this comic book, is going from being inspired by almost the worst aspects of her mother, to being inspired by the best aspects of her father. I don’t know.
Pete: Oh man, that’s weird. That’s a weird thing. I don’t know how I feel about that, man. I mean, when I write it and then rewrite it, I didn’t know that. She was like, yeah, I want to carry, I think she wants to carry a gun because it’s a fucked up world. I don’t know if she was trying to be The Comedian, but that’s one way to look at it.
Alex: Yeah. I mean there’s the thing from the riots, right after the bombs are dropped in the Vietnam war [crosstalk 01:02:16].
Pete: No, no. Community in [inaudible 01:02:18] I’m familiar with it.
Alex: All right, well then we get the last couple of pages. We see a headline that says RR to run in ’88, which is Robert Redford running for president, one world, one accord, we see the millennium perfume.
Justin: In the panel above. We see burgers in borscht. Russian stuff is cool in New York City, obviously. I thought it’s interesting, in the next panel we have watch the skies rather than who watches the Watchmen on graffiti down the wall.
Alex: Everything has changed and we see two people who did survive the massacre in New York are the nebbishy assistant and the head of the conspiracy newspaper, he’s pretty pissed off. They’ve got to fill some stuff, but nobody wants to piss off the Russians anymore because there’s the tentative peace. And you talked extensively about this, a couple of episodes back, Justin, but this dude is wearing The Comedian’s button on his shirt.
Alex: He’s told to get something from the crazy pile and he goes and immediately potentially reaches for Rorschach’s journal and says, “I leave it entirely in your hands.” And there’s so many things going on at that one panel. It’s such a lovely last panel.
Justin: It’s great. It’s so smart nice little twist to the knife at the end.
Pete: But it’s just-
Justin: Or maybe he just reached over the journal and grabbed a letter that said Elvis is my dad. And that’s what changes the world.
Pete: It is just a smiley face t-shirt that he spills ketchup on, it’s not like he went out and bought a Watchmen t-shirt. But I think that-
Alex: It’s again, Alan Moore all about that product placement. You know what I’m talking about?
Justin: Yeah. That Alan Moore special gloppy ketchup that he sells on the side?
Pete: Dude, that ketchup is good though.
Alex: It is very good.
Pete: [crosstalk 01:04:17] a gloppy.
Alex: The couple of things that I take away fore going the panel one, it’s The Comedian’s final joke, right? Is that ultimately the journal is there. Two, is he reaching for the journal? Is he reaching for a letter? That’s up to your interpretation and that last thing, I leave it entirely in your hands, that’s Alan Moore saying it to the reader, that I leave it up to you, what do you think happens next? And it’s funny to me to see that ending, given the preciousness that’s been over Watchmen over the past several decades, and we’ve certainly talked about this quite a bit, but with things like the Watchmen movie with things like before Watchman, which is a project that DC comics did, where they told stories about these characters before the events of Watchmen, and particularly with the Watchman HBO series, where people have said, “No, Watchmen is this untouchable masterpiece,” and what I almost take away, and even to the point where Alan Moore’s like, “You know what? Take my name off of this thing. I don’t want to be involved in this.”
Alex: But this last panel, it’s very clear to me that he’s saying, “Comics continue.” That’s the point is that nothing ever ends like Doctor Manhattan says earlier. I leave it up to you. If you’re going to continue it, you’re going to tell more of a story, fine. If you’re not going to tell more of the story, that’s fine too. Ultimately we’ve said what we need to say in this 12 issues and we’re done.
Justin: I agree. He means, I leave it entirely in your hands except for movies, television, other comic books or really anything at all associated with this thing you just finished reading.
Alex: As long as it’s mayo chip then it’s fine. Watchmen brand mayo chip. Cool. And then we don’t get any back matter here. I have the deluxe version, so there’s some very deep back matter where there’s development art that Dave Gibbons did, that he contributed-
Alex: … here. I’m pretty cool [crosstalk 01:06:21].
Pete: What’s up big time?
Alex: But honestly I definitely recommend picking it up if you can, just because there’s also some French portfolio covers that he did that have all the individual characters on the cover. There’s nothing too shocking in here but it’s just great to see the additional information and everything. Before we wrap this up, we’ve certainly talked quite a long time about this 12th issue here. Any final thoughts on Watchmen, the comic book? Pete?
Justin: Go ahead.
Pete: I mean it’s an insane story that takes people places and really rips and tears at your questioning of life. And what we’re supposed to be doing, it’s a powerful piece and it’s really well done.
Alex: Justin, what about you?
Justin: I mean it’s very similar, Pete, this is like, there’s a reason this comic is held up as the best comic or the ultimate holy grail of the comic book industry. And I think we could talk about this forever. There’s so much depth to it, so much complexity. A lot of people read this being like, this is a great superhero team and this is so far from what they actually are, they’re just a bunch of complicated, messed up characters who, heroes and villains and the line between hero and villain is blurred throughout this whole series.
Justin: It’s great. I always recommend reading this only after you’ve read many years of other kinds of things.
Alex: Yeah, that was the thing I was going to say to you, just to bring it back to what we mentioned in our preview episode, in the first episode, just to, really wrap this up, but don’t read it first. But I’m so happy we’ve read it again, because it’s a good book just beyond the density, beyond the weight of it, that it’s had in comic book culture. It’s a fun book to read. It’s a good story. It’s well drawn, it’s well colored. And it’s an entertaining mystery throughout. That to me has been the big thing that I’ve taken away from it. Is I feel I have a better appreciation of it, not just on a textual level, but just also on an entertainment level, that it’s the sort of thing you can recommend to people as, hey, this is something you can take a lot away from, or a little away from but, at the same time you’re going to get something from it.
Alex: Now a little order of business before we move on, starting next episode, we’re going to move to once a week for our episodes. We’re going to be recapping episodes of the HBO show, those air Sundays on HBO, so our episodes recapping and breaking down those episodes, will go up a little later in the week. Stay tuned for that, versus the twice a week schedule we’ve been doing it for the comic book.
Alex: But that said for any information on that and when that’s coming up, you can check us out at Watchmen Watch Podcast on either Instagram or Facebook. You can also do Watchmen Watch1 on Twitter, patreon.com/comicbookclub to support this show and many more. And please do, if you can chip in a couple of bucks to do things like transcripts, et cetera, cost a little bit of money. We really appreciate the support.
Alex: Plus we’ve been having, as we mentioned at the beginning of this episode, some great discussions about Watchmen in our Watchmen watch room on our patriot and on the slack, we would love to have you join there. That would be awesome. We also do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at the People’s Improv Theater Loft in New York. Come on down, we’ll chat with you about Watchmen and other things. And remember, we taped this episode 35 minutes ago.
Justin: And I’m Alan Moore singing off.
Alex: He came back.