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Fridge: Watch Men

The Comic

Fridge Brilliance
  • Over time Dr. Manhattan "loses touch" with humanity, and one of the ways this is illustrated is his dialogue: soon after his transformation, he asks Janey "What's up?", but when the TV host asks him the same question later, he doesn't seem to appreciate the idiom.
  • I recently read through Watchmen, and was uncertain why exactly Alan Moore included the flashback scene where Jon is experimenting with a watch when his father comes in and throws it out, going on about how nuclear power was so much more important now. Initially I just thought it was an excuse for his turning to physics leading to the accident that made him Dr. Manhattan, but then I remembered something I covered in Religious Studies: William Paley's analogy of God as a watchmaker, whose existence is obvious by the complexity and purpose of his creation. Jon is admiring the complicated setup of a watch, and after becoming Dr. Manhattan he basically is God. Subtle, but brilliant. — Roukan
    • I also read through Watchmen recently, and thoroughly analyzed it word for word. Then, as I went about and pondered over what I'd read, I was reminded about how Janie Slater's clock got stepped on by a fat man, and finally drew the (somewhat obvious) parallels between the fat man stepping on her watch and nuclear power "stepping" on Jon's future as a watchmaker. But more so I realized that while Jon did pursue a future as a physicist per his father's request, his transformation into Doctor Manhattan and subsequent insight into time inevitably brought him back to becoming a watchmaker whose almost godlike powers (in line with the God-Watchmaker parallel above) actually allows him to "step" on nuclear power and become a one-man nuclear deterrent all by himself, bringing the whole symbolism back full circle to when his father urged him to become a physicist. Jon never was a physicist. He was a watchmaker all along.
      • It wasn't simply nuclear power that stepped on Jon's career, it was nuclear weapons: the Fat Man. (And yes, I only realised this while reading your comment.) — Toby Bartels
      • I read the comic, saw the movie, and then saw the movie again, and only then did I truly realize the point of Jon's flashback. The flashback happens for the most part in chronological order, but he still jumps around, and everything is in the present tense. John says a couple times that his perception of time is different, that he sees everything as happening at once. The way his flashback is told is shaky, as if he's struggling to tell it right. He's used to seeing time as everything-at-once, so he would naturally struggle to tell a chronological story. It also shows his internal struggle of whether he's Jon, the human, who sees time as a sequential thing, or Dr. Manhattan, the superman who sees time as being simultaneous. It's almost as if Jon is trying to rebel against Dr. Manhattan, trying to fight back against what he became, by trying to remember what he was, and the order it happened in. -Timber!
      • A watchman can refer to a guard. It can also refer to a person who repairs watches. — Kory K
      • Plus you know that Einstien Einstein quote that bookends Jon's backstory chapter is "The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker." — Jericho
      • I also only realized this after watching the movie. Jon learned the patience of a watchmaker who has to take apart and then put back together the watches piece by piece. He uses this knowledge to slowly rebuild himself after his accident!- Karmathestrange
      • And finally, the entire shaky grasp that Jon has on perceiving time is foreshadowing for the ending, the shock of which relies on having the reader percieve two separate events that occur at two different times, simultaneously.- Rothul
      • And on a lesser extent, it also explains why he built that big weird glass thing on Mars in the style of a watch- in some ways it's a glass prison, an extension of his detachment from reality, and how his fatalism has led him to believe everyone just runs like clockwork. Silk Spectre breaking it... well, I think you can figure that one out.- Sabre Justice
      • Reading Karmathestrange three notes above made me realize a thing - Jon didn't only need a watchmaker's experience to rebuild himself, he also needed a physicist's knowledge to know how to put matter together from elementary particles! It's a Super Hero Origin Chekhov's Gun that encompasses his whole life and characterization up to that point! This also means that sadly Bubastis isn't going to come back as an omnipotent supertiger. My apologies to Karmathestrange if it's what he meant in the first place. - Lapuspuer
      • People often wonder why Jon keeps the same personality, etc, etc, doesn't change sides from the US after he becomes Manhattan. It occurred to me: Manhattan is utterly a creature of physics. And Newton's First Law of physics is inertia: namely, that a body which is not acted on by an outside force will keep on doing what it was doing. — Saintheart
  • Another Watchmen one: just as Watchmen had themes that almost no other superhero comics had, so does Tales of the Black Freighter with pirate comics. Thus, "Tales" is the in-universe Watchmen! — Alcatrazz
    • The first time I read through Watchmen I thought the pirate comic was fun and interesting (if squicky story about the tale of a man trying to protect his loved ones and ultimately becoming the thing he tries to protect them from, but not terribly relevant to the story. It wasn't until a second read through that I realized that the "Tales" story is all about Adrian doing the very thing he is trying to prevent (i.e. killing millions of people in a single strike). — Rabid Rainbow
      • You have just entered the zone of Internet Backdraft.
      • This isn't my Brilliance, but one of Adrian's last lines is "By night, I dream of swimming toward a hideous... but that's not important.", paralleling the pirate comic even more explicitly (and creepily).
      • Ozymandias is a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Don't name yourself that if you don't want people to laugh when you say, "It all worked out in the end."
      • This leads to yet even more Fridge Brilliance. Why would Ozymandias, undoubtedly one of the smartest people on the planet, fail to realize the irony of naming himself after a man who, for all his accomplishments, was doomed to fail in the end, all he ever achieved disappearing with time? He knew all about the man's history, why didn't he pick up on that? Simple: Ozymandias, just like his namesake, suffers from extreme narcissism and drastic overconfidence. Just how the original Alexander overlooked the possibility of ultimate failure due to all his talent and intellect, Ozymandias fails to realize the parallel between Alexander's ultimate failure and the possibility of his own plans failing because he doesn't recognize the same flaws in himself that Alexander the Great suffered from. The same qualities that make Ozymandias admire his namesake so much are the same ones that prevent him from seeing that he inherited the same basic weaknesses as well.
      • Ozymandias isn't a reference to Alexander the Great, though. It's another name for Ramses II, who actually did pretty well for himself during his lifetime and lived into his 90s.
      • Ironically, I came to just the opposite degree of Brilliance when it came to Ozy's name. Adrian realizes he's the best, he's the brightest, he has all the best plans and everything is going his way with hardly any visible effort. He conquers (metaphorically) the known world. He comes up with a plan that, while horrific, will unify the entire world, and it works. Then he gets called out on it that it's at best a stop-gap, a band-aid on the sucking chest wound that is humanity's self-destructive nature. Rather than rage at such a notion, he admits the possibility. Adrian doesn't miss his own faults, he KNOWS them. So he either specifically took on the name knowing his faults, he specifically took it on to prove he could OVERCOME those faults unlike Alexander, or maybe it was one big in-universe Take That at folks who didn't look past the surface of things. After all, most folks have heard some rendition of the whole "Look upon my works" epitaph, but have no idea that it was an ironic-in-hindsight statement that was all that remained of the base of a ruined, forgotten structure.
      • More Brilliance comes after Manhattan gives the final clincher to Ozymandias in his last line to him, revealing Ozy's full circle in his namesake. When Manhattan says "Nothing ends", Ozy is confused and then becomes sullen. Now look back at the poem. Ozy is smart enough to realize what Manhattan basically just told him. He has become his namesake because regardless of what he has chosen to do, countless years from then it will no longer matter and he'll have no control in that respect. He truly has become "Ozymandias" by creating a magnificent human utopia and yet, knowing almost inevitably, that it won't last. - Rocky Samson
      • Even more brilliance when you realize that this ties in with the postmodern elements in Watchmen: for thousands of years, the tragic flaw of hubris has laid ruin to the best laid plans of men. Ozy is aware that he is—-or at least can be—- a tragic hero brought down by his hubris, so he names himself Ozymandias to show that he is so genre savvy that he is aware of this.
      • this also makes his "republic serial villian" line a lot more poignant: while at first this seems like a simple lampshade, in context it is clear that, as befits a postmodern character, he is deliberately avoiding the flaw of hubris that has ruined characters like him since before dirt. As much as he would like to gloat to Nite Owl and Rorshach about how brilliant he is, it is even more brilliant to avoid being destroyed by hubris.
    • The "Tandoori to go" line was originally made of Narm. Then I read an actual explanation — it's not that Moore couldn't think of a better line, it's that he didn't want to. It's showing that Laurie has difficulty coping with the scale of what's happened! — Count Dorku
  • I Zeta Kai never understood the importance of the non-costumed characters, all the people that were killed when the "alien" was teleported to New York. It always seemed to me like their plotlines were pointless compared to the "heroes." Later, during my umpteenth re-reading, I suddenly realized that this was the whole point. All of the scenes of their lives in the previous chapters make you invested in their stories, making it all the more harrowing when they are all violently killed by Ozy's scheme. Through their deaths, we are made to understand the enormity of what Ozy has done. Those dead characters are just a tiny fraction of the three million people that died in that horrible moment. Moore couldn't have made us feel every life (like Ozy claimed to do to himself), but though those characters that we came to know, we are able to better feel the true scale of the evil that Adrian has unleashed. Tandoori to go.
  • For Watchmen, again, I thought it was strange that Rorschach seemed almost like he asked Dr. Manhattan to kill him. Then I realised that Rorschach is a Death Seeker, which makes his entire story make so much more sense. — Negative Zero
    • He repeats the request in two very different tones, one pleading, one yelled, which I guess you could link in nicely to Rorschach's whole black/white morality system, so maybe theres more than one reason behind that. I figured he knew what his choice would lead to, even as he he said it.
      • I think what makes it so powerful is that fact that he has mentioned he only admires two men: one of them being his idealistic fantasy of how was his father and the other being Harry Truman, and even the documents from the orphanage shows a report he wrote justifying the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings So when Adrian finally fulfills his plan, he was no different than Roosevelt and Truman, in the sense of sacrificing life to save more life, thus creating him a moral dilemma which ultimely led to his death wish. - Maxmordon
      • One problem: what Truman did was during an active war against the country which had attacked the United States. What Veidt did he did to damn near every country in the world without provocation, including his own country. Regardless of your thoughts on the morality of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings (do they really need spoilers, I wonder?), it hardly is a fair comparison to what Veidt did. — Not Named John
      • I thought it was more powerful then Rorschach being a Death Seeker. I thought that Rorschach felt that keeping silent was the right thing to do. But mentally he couldn't do it. He was in pain because what he knew and felt warred. That the only thing left of the man behind the mask was his black and white world view. He couldn't compromise even if he wanted to. Because a man compromises, but the Mask. The Mask never does...
      • Thus, he takes off the Mask and show us the real face, the face he had wear as a mask for years, the face of a man that cannot cope with a world he, like his comrade the Comedian, pretended to know... A world where doing The Right Thing causes more suffering, while an outright act of villany can save billions. The only way to "compromise" for this man is death.- HelmeetElGato
      • I always thought that, because Alan Moore so vehemently disagrees with Rorshach, the point was that Rorschach the Mask was wrong, and Walter Kovacs the Man in the Mask knew this. So, Walter overcame Rorschach and showed his face, asking Dr. Manhattan to kill them both before Rorschach could take back over. — chilled0ut
      • Putting all the above together: Rorschach both thinks what Adrian is doing is totally moral (because of the parallel with Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and utterly wrong (because killing is wrong). The contradiction makes him finally realize that a black-and-white creature like Rorschach cannot exist. So, he takes off his mask and lets Manhattan kill him, both symbolizing the destruction of his philosophy.
  • It took me a while to realize the full connotations of Ozymandias' line near the end that he is "not a Republic Serial villain." On one level it is a pure declaration that the story is one in which The Bad Guy Wins to a large extent, and a masterful reveal it is. On a more meta-level, through the minor clunkiness of the somewhat obscure reference, the line calls attention to the fact that indeed Ozy (literally) isn't a Republic Serial villan: he is a comic book villain, which makes the apparent success of his plans even more subversive. Finally, it is a call-back to the universe of Watchmen: with pirate comics at the forefront, there are indeed no comic book villains for him to compare himself to. (Though the last bit is lost, the fact that they changed the line in the movie to "I am not a comic book villain" thus makes perfect sense, as indeed Ozy is now an action movie villain.) - Rothul
    • Hmm... I had assumed the "our world" equivalent line was "I'm not a Bond villain", and that there were no Bond movies in the Watchmen world for whatever reason, hence the reference to a rather more obscure type of movie villain. But I suppose your version makes more sense. - Old_Ropes
    • I Read That As " I'm not a Republic Serial villain." " I'm not a comic book villain" loses a lot of that. -JET73L
  • After thinking about how Alan Moore wasn't pleased with Rorschach having a fanbase, I realized that Rorschach is a Rorschach test; you look at him and determine what he is based on your own opinions and morals.
    • I wouldn't put a lot of weight on that. Alan Moore has bitched about just about everything that anyone has done with any of his characters. It's like the creator himself is ranting They Changed It, Now It Sucks!
    • Moore was saying this long before Before Watchmen. He was talking more about the whole Dark Age Of Comics and how so many creators only used the surface trappings of Rorschach. It's all right here.
  • I only noticed this after the umpteenth time I read it, but when Rorschach confronts Dr. Manhattan about the death of the Comedian, Manhattan responds "A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally, there's no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts. Why should I be concerned?" Yet this makes no sense, for the simple reason that Dr. Manhattan proves the existence of the immortal soul: his body was destroyed, yet his consciousness, intellect, and memory survived. So is Dr. Manhattan being oblivious to how his own existence contradicts what he is saying, or is Moore the oblivious one? — Kory K
    • On the other hand, Dr. Manhattan is the perfect example of what he's saying: he died thirty years ago. Didn't stop him. — biznizz
    • Manhattan leaves at the end of the comic to create people in a far-off galaxy. It seems like he finally appreciates life
    • Remember when the Comedian killed that pregnant woman? Remember what Manhattan said? Remember how the Comedian responded? Yes, it's all part of his character growth.
  • Dr. Manhattan's perception of time, which is that time is a multi-faceted jewel that humans experience once fact at a time, could be said through another metaphor: Time is a book that humans read one page at a time. When Alan Moore said he didn't like the idea of Watchmen being a movie even if done as best as possible simply because it's in a different medium than what he made it in: In the book you can read any page at any time and analyze it for as long as you need to, while in a movie you are being pulled along at a constant 24 frames per second.
    • Anyone daring to read the book page one of every issue followed by page two of every issue? I am strangly interested in the idea.
    • This also ties in nicely to Janey Slater's line about "Big, invisible things" all around her. They're the panel borders.
    • Though this does beg the question: is Alan Moore unfamiliar with home entertainment technology?
      • Back in 1986? Quite posible.
  • Dr. Manhattan is Superman (Physical God) and Adrian is Lex Luthor (the man who tries to defeat God using only his mind and a shitload of money). Only this time Lex wins! Yes, I am an idiot.
    • Apropos of that one, you know Adrian's Arctic base? Well, apart from some of the Egyptian imagery, it's recognizable as quite similar to Superman's Fortress of Solitude. So, in a way, given his personality as The Cape, Adrian is also somewhat Lex Luthor as Superman / Superman as Lex Luthor. — Jordan
      • Especially considering that Dr. Manhattan spends a great deal of his time working to solve humanity's problems, while Lex Luthor would rather use his brilliant mind to kill Superman. Pretty much a perfect reversal.
      • Surely you mean Adrian spends a great deal of his time trying to solve humanities problems
      • Holy crap, I just got one from this line. Adrian tries to destroy Manhattan because a) he might be the only one powerful enough to stop his plan and b) he thinks the very existence of Manhattan is what is threatening to humanity. He thinks that humans are too dependent on him to solve their problems, instead of coming together and doing it themselves. He is a hindrance, retarding humanity's development and making them lazy. And of course Adrian thinks this, since he is considered the pinnacle of human self-development. But all his accomplishments are dwarfed by Manhattan's seemingly easy power. Thing is, Lex Luthor has made the same arguments about himself and Superman.Vermillion
      • You just made me realize something. Adrian tries to destroy Dr. Manhattan in order to destroy Manhattan the borough. By removing Dr. Manhattan he attacks Manhattan which makes Dr. Manhattan leave in the end. And since Dr. Manhattan's name refers to the nuclear threat Adrian averts a new Manhattan plan. Seems like Ozzy really hated the name Manhattan.
    • I'd realized while reading the comic that Rorschach and Night Owl represented, in a way, different aspects of Batman. When I was watching the movie, however, I realized that every major character could be viewed this way. Rorschach is the part of him that never quits, never compromises, taken to terrifying extremes. Night Owl is more obvious and direct, having a Batman-like costume, an "Owlcave," and a variety of crime-fighting gadgets he built himself. His personality even seems to borrow from Adam West's portrayal of Bruce Wayne. The Comedian is what Batman could become if he abandoned his no-kill rule, and even references the Joker with his name. Ozymandias is rich, his parents died when he was a boy, he traveled the world to gain knowledge and physical training, and came back to fight crime. He also is a master planner. The Silk Spectre isn't Batman; she's Nightwing. And finally, Dr. Manhattan, who seems the least Batman-like, represents how Batman cuts himself off from humanity in an attempt to be something more, but still longs for a human connection (which plays into Silk Spectre being Nightwing). — General Nerd
      • Agreed on all points, except for Silk Spectre: she's the part of Batman that wants to quit, but ultimately can't. — otherworldviolet
      • Note that in the DC Universe, Batman has an Alternate Universe Evil Counterpart called Owlman, and his costume is quite similar to the Nite Owl suit.
  • Reading Watchmen for the nth time, I came to Veidt's toy line ideas again. And when I re-read the part about costumed terrorists it hit me: Veidt is already preparing for people who disagree with his plan and put on a mask to try to express this disagreement. That and actual terrorists, who will still need to be brought in line for his better world to work. — Canonier.
  • He's a self-created man who lives outside of society, because he is the self-declared hero and saviour. He views society as a failed experiment that needs him to clean up. He has no close relationships, and there are no limits to what he will do: he'll kill and manipulate anyone to get results, all for the greater good. In the end, it could all be for nothing. Who am I talking about: Ozymandias or Rorschach?
    • I think you got the last bit wrong. As morally twisted as he is, Rorshcach will not "kill and manipulate anyone to get results, all for the greater good": he only kills people who he thinks are irredeemable criminals (his actual kill count in the comic is only four). Ozymandias, on the other hand, has no problem killing millions of innocents. This is a fundamental difference, and it's what leads to Rorschach not agreeing to stay silent about Ozymandias's massacre. Unlike Ozymandias, he doesn't think the blood of the innocents can be justified with "greater good".
  • At first, I merely thought The Comedian was just an irredeemable sociopath who does not require pity, and an outright jackass. Similarly, Ozymandias as a pretentious, self-righteous madman who may have got away with mass-murder. Until I realized this: As everyone may know Ozymandias fits the ‹bermensch trope, however, The Comedian isn't a Nietzche Wannabe. More accurately, he is the Last Man in the Watchmen mythos. He saw that the history of humanity, particularly in the 20th Century was a tale of violence, unrest and escalating disorder, even on a global scale. He himself was one of, if not the only one aware that the world isn't some black-and-white, fight-the-baddies, fix everything fantasy. It was far more bizarre than that, with geopolitics making absurd demands on how to fix problems which looks like they could be solved with ease, but instead is dealt with violence and brutality. So what was the Comedian's response? He turned himself into a parody of 20th century: A twisted joke the inhumanity demonstrated by people, from civil unrest, to Cold War events, he purposely took the extreme approach to solving them. The things that men secretly wanted but never had the balls to act it out. However, the Comedian's mistake (if you could call it that compared to Ozymandias was that he never rose above it. Ozymandias, after the Crime Busters disbanded, went through a transformation. It was only after the Comedian burnt the map at the meeting that he realized he had to transcend himself to save the world. The reason why Ozymandias lost to Comedian the first time he met him is because he wasn't the Ubermensch yet. Upon reaching this status, he detached himself from humanity at large, seeing them as lost sheep needing a shepherd. His plan was horrific, but final. The fact that he had the incentive to do this plan horrified even the Comedian, which Ozymandias referred to as "professional jealousy", because he latter thought he knew humanity. Maybe so, but Ozymandias was different. He felt that the only way for the world to save itself, it has to put their differences aside, for a greater threat even one born of a noble lie, and at the cost of three million people, not playing their self-destructive game as the Comedian did. Or at least in, Ozymandias' mind, this was the only way. — Uglyguy
    • Ozymandias couldn't beat the Comedian before, because the Comedian understood humanity, of which Ozy was a part. Once Ozy became the Ubermensch, once he transcended/lost his humanity, he was able to defeat the Comedian easily.
    • Ozymandias is very much a Nietzsche Wannabe in the sense that he has no proof that his morals are better than the rest of the world. And in that his morals are wrong. Humanity didn't need superheroes to save it because it wouldn't have destroyed itself. Humanity didn't.
      • You don't need any proof that your morals be better to be the Ubermensch. You need to transcend mere inflicted morality. Still again, you try to throw on him your own rules and morality judgement, while he simply is beyond your judgement. He takes matter into his own hands. And humanity didn't killed itself in Real Life, because we didn't have a superhero to destroy it.
      • Granted, my fellow troper, the fact that Humanity survived a Cold War that took place without the firing of one nuclear weapon (Chernobyl doesn't count I guess) might have been a one time thing. But Humanity is stupid enough to get to the brink of destruction without help from a superhero. I simply took the Adrian Veidt/Tales of the Black Freighter parallel to its natural conclusion. And I would never dare imply that Alan Moore is an optimist at heart.
    • Moreover, the Comedian isn't Ozymandias' Last Man; the rest of the Watchmen are who didn't have the courage or will to "not go with the flow." The Comedian for all his nihilism still had faith in humanity enough to attempt to prevent it.
  • The first time I read Watchmen I thought the scene where Ozymandias tries to vaporise Doctor Manhattan was pointless, since he just come backs a second later with no story signifiance. But then I realized the symbolism of it. Ozymandias uses a high-tech piece of machinery to try to destroy something vast, but it doesn't last and comes back much stronger. Plus, he vaporizes Bubastis in the process. So Ozymandias sacrifices something very close to him to destroy something powerful, but in the end the sacrifice is wasted.
  • So I'm reading through Watchmen and I'm at Dr. Manhattan's speech about how Laurie is the representation of life because it's so unlikely that her mom and the Comedian would ever have produced her which makes her downright miraculous, and it hits me: this is why he left Janey for her and why he goes off to create more life at the end of the book. He experiences time nonlinearly. At the same time he first sees Laurie he could be having that conversation with her on Mars.
  • A minor point I only realized recently. I liked Dan and Laurie getting together as much as the next guy, mostly because it's a Crowning Momentof Heartwarming in an otherwise dark and depressing deconstruction, but one thing that always bothered me was how after several issues of Dan pining after Laurie, she suddenly decides to jump on him. Then I realized the context: they were watching news reports of the Cold War escalating and wondering if the world was going to end. She decided to go ahead and get together with him because she thought the world was going to end soon, so she didn't have time to wait for him to act! - Shadowplay
  • So there are no villain toys in Ozymandias' toy line, because he has no enemies. I got to thinking, what would a child with a bunch of superhero action figures, and no villains for them to fight? Why, pit them against each other, of course! And, without any villains, who do the heroes of Watchmen end up fighting? One of their own.
    • Actually, Moloch was in the picture of the toy line-up. He was The Comedian's enemy.
    • Wait, don't you have to pay people for the rights for their likeness? Several of the people in question have secret identities, but Moloch was arrested several times. What, did Veidt talk him into selling his rights for pennies?
    • Maybe there's some variation of the Son of Sam laws, and you can't have likeness rights to a criminal likeness, or you lose them if you're convicted of a crime. Quite possibly, this is something in the Keene act - there were Nite Owl toys too, but it doesn't seem that Adrian was paying Dan for those rights either.
    • The letters say that since being a masked man is illegal, those images can't really be copyrighted. Additionally, Moloch likely didn't have anyone to stand up for his rights.
    • That, or reappropriate an outside toy to serve as the enemy for all of them to fight. Much like creating an Alien Invasion for the whole world to fight together, no? - Stinkoman87
      • If you read Veidt's letters, you see that Veidt wanted a line of terrorists, which would reflect the coming war if he failed.
  • Just before Oz's weapon goes off, the last three panels of each page are combined into one, showing a New York street as cops stop to deal with a drunk guy, IIRC. It was all shot pointing at a 4-way intersection, with each page's version of the scene advancing to the next corner, ending in pure white. I thought it was just a weird artistic touch, and a week later I realized that the way it advanced at a steady rate resembled the ticking of the hand of a clock.
  • It just occured to me after I took some time to think about this, but when John tells Laurie he can't go to dinner with her he uses his work as an excuse. Later on we learn that John is capable of being in bed with Laurie while simultaneously continuing his work. So if he could do this, why couldn't he go to dinner with Laurie? Because Jon knows in his future she will leave him for Dan and he had to set that in motion rather than preventing it. - Rocky Samson
    • Jon only smiles twice in the entire book: once when Laurie's arranging to meet with Dan at the restaurant, and again when he sees them asleep together at Karnak after they declared their love for each other. I take this to mean that Jon, who loved Laurie but knew they would not last, knows that Laurie is with someone who will always love her and whom she will always love. This poster is not the sappy type, but this is really such a Crowning Momentof Heartwarming, as well as an example of I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
  • When Rorschach's mask gets torn off for the very first time, you quickly realize that he is both incredibly ugly and nothing like you'd expect him to look. The viewer has become accustomed to thinking of Rorschach's mask as his face, and is alienated when it is removed... just like Rorschach himself.
  • Dr. Manhattan sees time as happening all at once, with his perspective focused on certain moments, all the while jumping between times seamlessly. This could reflect the story's nature as a comic, having all the events exist as print at once while the reader only focuses on a single event at a time, with the power to jump around from page to page.
    • I thought the same thing. I've always thought that books are a kind of four-dimensional medium. Jon is a four-dimensional being, so it seems - perhaps even possibly more than that. Jon is effectively a fictional character experiencing the context of being a fictional character - every moment of your life frozen in a long snaking chain...and none of the other characters understand, because they don't have this understanding of the fourth wall that Jon has.
  • I've seen it listed as a goof that Nite Owl was able to crack Veidt's password so easily, but I just realized that he wanted to be found out. Ozy is a performer and you can't have a performance without an audience!
    • Or Veidt wasn't so cold that he didn't want to at least try to save his former colleagues, whom he knew were on the trail of his plot, by giving them a clue that'd lead them to Karnak and away from the city he was about to destroy. (Take those reasons in whatever order you like.)
  • The Comedian is the Joker—just with less self-awareness, humor or likeability. He's not upset by the killing in Veidt's plan, but by the thought of world peace.
  • At the end, Jon becomes so fascinated by life that he decides to travel away to Andromeda to create some of his own. Which begs the question, did the same thing happen to create us, and if so, will it all happen again in Andromeda?
  • The form that John Osterman takes as Dr. Manhattan is bright blue, with white eyes. his body appears glowing so the ends of his body is brighter than his skin is at his center of mass (compare his shoulders to his darker torso). also, his eyes are whiter in his make-shift pupils. While this portrayal of a blue-skinned god is common in eastern mythology like India and perhaps China, it might also originate from a different original notion of how this supernatural man would appear. Then if you look at a negative of a picture, you would see how you can turn skin-color into a bright-blue. Such is the form of Jon because he had de-materialized and re-assembled himself from his memory: like a camera that returns only the negative of what it had seen.But this may as well be an inversion of our Own perception. while he sees himself as he should be, we all look upon him as a negative image (figuratively). and while he looks at a picture of his past-self on mars, it is a negative looking at his positive-self.

Fridge Horror
  • There's a fantastic in-universe example of this in the scene where Rorschach confronts his landlady. He accuses her of being a whore, and she begs him not to say that because her kids don't know - and Rorschach looks down into the face of a crying, horrified child and sees himself all those years earlier...

The Movie

Fridge Brilliance
  • In the opening scene, an unidentified assailant fights and then kills the Comedian as the song "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole plays in the background. The identity of the assailant can be figured out from the song choice; in the comic and in the film, the song is used in a television commercial for the perfume Nostalgia, which is produced by Veidt Corporation! It might not be Fridge Brilliance so much as merely an observation and interesting connection, though.
    • Are you sure the music isn't diegetic? It could be simply that a commercial for Nostalgia was playing on the Comedian's TV during the fight. Granted, given the style of the movie (and the book), it'd still count as half a clue.
  • In the opening montage, Neil Armstrong is shown to say "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky." There's an urban legend in which Armstrong said that shortly after climbing down from the LEM; the story goes that he overheard an argument between his boyhood neighbors, the Gorskys, in which Mrs. Gorsky responded to her husband's request for fellatio with "Oral sex? Oral sex you want? You'll get oral sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!" Since Watchmen is set in an Alternate Time Line, it's plausible that what in our world is mere urban legend might in that world have actually occurred.

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