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The Comic

Fridge Brilliance
  • The incredible symmetry that slowly unveils itself over the course of the book.
    • "Watchmen" originally ran for 12 issues, and there are 12 numbers on a clock.
    • How does Adrian succeed in his plan? Doing something ahead of time.
    • The term "Watchmen" refers to both costumed heroes and Jon's original desire to be a watchmaker.
    • Thanks to the nine panel grid, the story moves with the beats and precision of a clock.
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    • Dr. Manhattan experiences time in a non-linear fashion. How is the story told? Primarily through flashback, i.e. non-linearly. In fact, since Dr. Manhattan can perceive all of time at once, it could be argued we're seeing the story from HIS perspective.
    • A watchman can refer to a guard. It can also refer to a person who repairs watches
  • 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.
    • Something even more noticeable: As you read through Chapter IV, notice how Jon/Dr. Manhattan's clothes slowly start disappearing. Initially he wears jeans and a vest-top, and shoes. Then he switches to a rather hilarious-looking Spandex costume. In 1964 he informs the Pentagon that he is no longer wearing the whole of his costume - and switches to a leotard, and now barefoot. In Vietnam, he switches to just a pair of briefs. In 1977 these appear to reduce even further to something more like a thong. And come 1985, Dr. Manhattan - the being once known as Jon Osterman - walks around in the nude, so disconnected with humanity at this point he sees no objective reason to wear clothing.
  • One may be 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 one might think it was an excuse for his turning to physics leading to the accident that made him Dr. Manhattan. This might be a reference to 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.
    • The flashback happens for the most part in chronological order, but he still jumps around, and everything is in the present tense. Jon 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.
      • 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."
      • Jon also 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!
      • 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.
      • 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 perceive two separate events that occur at two different times, simultaneously.
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    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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!
    • 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).
      • Adrian's last lines are "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? 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.
      • 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 villain" 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 Rorschach 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.
  • It's a small thing, but Dan's Nite-Owl costume incorporates goggles rather than a smaller and simpler domino mask. That's because Dan wears glasses, and judging by his unmasked scenes he actually needs them.
  • One might find the story's non-costumed characters boring. It always seemed 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 there's 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 his father was 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 a moral dilemma which ultimately led to Rorschach's death wish.
      • 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 villain: 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.)
  • 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 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?
    • On the other hand, Dr. Manhattan is the perfect example of what he's saying: he died thirty years ago. Didn't stop him.
  • Dr. Manhattan's perception of time, which is that time is a multi-faceted jewel that humans experience one face 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.
    • This also ties in nicely to Janey Slater's line about "Big, invisible things" all around her. They're the panel borders.
  • 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!
    • 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.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • 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.
    • Who's the historical figure Ozymandias was obsessed with matching? Alexander the Great.
      • On that note, Ozymandias's crown headdress seems virtually pointless, until you realise it's meant to represent a laurel wreath, like the Ancient Greeks wore as a sign of triumph. Considering his love of Alexander the Great (a Greek military leader and hero), it makes sense he'd want to visually resemble him in some fashion
  • 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.
  • At first, I merely thought The Comedian was just an irredeemable sociopath who does not require pity, and an outright jackass. Similarly, Ozymandias was a pretentious, self-righteous madman who may have got away with mass-murder. Until I realized this: As everyone may know, Ozymandias fits the Übermensch trope, however, The Comedian isn't a Straw Nihilist. 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 look like they could be solved with ease, but instead are met with violence and brutality. So what was the Comedian's response? He turned himself into a parody of the 20th century: a twisted joke about 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 thought he knew humanity. Maybe so, but Ozymandias was different. He felt that the only way for the world to save itself was 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 scene where Ozymandias tries to vaporise Doctor Manhattan appears pointless, since he just comes back a second later with no story significance. 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.
  • 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, 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.
    • This is not necessarily the case. Remember that at this point in time, there is also a large amount of tachyon particles being produced, which keeps him from seeing the future clearly. He stated near the beginning of the series that he couldn't see that point in time, possibly due to fallout from nuclear war. So, one assumes he has this blank spot in his perception pretty much from his birth as Dr. Manhattan.
  • 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 Heartwarming Moment 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!
  • 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.
    • Adrian says he "has no enemies" because he called the hit on himself!
    • 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?
      • If you read Veidt's letters, you see that Veidt wanted a line of terrorists, which would reflect the coming war if he failed.
    • Depending on how you view Ozy's character, it could be a comment on his morality. He sees what he's doing as ultimately good, even if it required an act of evil. As such, he thinks he's really the hero, and in a sense, nobody could really blame him for what he did if they knew the truth. Even the people that try to stop him are actually his friends and colleagues. Or, in other words, he has no enemies.
  • 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 occurred to me after I took some time to think about this, but when Jon tells Laurie he can't go to dinner with her, he uses his work as an excuse. Later on we learn that Jon 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 that in his future she will leave him for Dan, and he had to set that in motion rather than preventing it.
    • 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 Heartwarming Moment, 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'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.)
      • He could have left them a false clue directing them anywhere but Karnak, and by the time they recognized it as a red herring they would have been out of danger. But luring them to Karnak enabled him to talk them out of continuing to pursue him - to beat them by talking, as well as by combat.
  • The form that Jon Osterman takes as Dr. Manhattan is bright blue, with white eyes. His body appears glowing, so the ends of his body are 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 also 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.
    • Alternatively, what happens when you start a nuclear reaction? It gives off Cherenkov radiation, which is the same shade of blue as Dr. Manhattan. As a reflection of his nuclear reassembly, he's giving off the same radiation as a nuclear reaction. Ozymandias even capitalizes on this to turn the public against him.
  • In the chapter "Fearful Symmetry", Rorschach says off-hand to Edgar Jacobi (aka Moloch the Mystic), "Sorry about mess. Can't make omelette without breaking few eggs." This might not seem too relevant. Now think about the ending.
  • The whole "not a Republic serial villain" thing. Usually, when someone says that "This Is Reality", those motives are attributed to a Saturday morning cartoon villain. Why not here? Why this arcane reference instead? Because, in the Watchmen world, comic book superheroes do not exist anymore since one or two generations ago. And, as a result, the concept itself of a "supervillain" and the associated tropes codified by the superhero genre are slightly different than in our world.
  • Seeing the one-time "Moloch the Mystic" as an old man in a cheap apartment who's dying of cancer really seems to take the wind out of Rorschach's monochrome "evil must be punished" sails... after he went to the trouble of ambushing him from inside his refrigerator. Rorschach probably wanted a super-villain to fight, not, as he is finally faced with, downbeat old Edgar Jacobi.
  • The very end of the book—where it's revealed that Robert Redford is running for President of the United States—takes on a new dimension when you remember that the story takes place in a world where Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were assassinated before they could expose the truth about the Watergate break-in. If the Watergate scandal never happened, Robert Redford never would have played Woodward in the film All the President's Men, which likely would have had a major effect on his film career and celebrity status. This might explain why he gave up acting and decided to go into politics.
  • Adrian Veidt has multiple noticeable parallels with Charles Foster Kane of Citizen Kane. He's a larger-than-life New York billionaire who controls a vast business empire, he's a world-renowned celebrity who drives away everyone who ever loved or cared about him, and he figuratively compares himself to a famous conqueror from the Ancient World (Ramesses II instead of Kublai Khan). He also owns a lavish private residence named after a famous fortress from the Ancient World (Karnak instead of Xanadu), his private residence includes a "pleasure dome" filled with exotic flora and fauna, and his public persona is based on a famous English poem from the 19th century (Shelley's "Ozymandias" instead of Coleridge's "Kubla Khan"). And in one pivotal scene, he allows his glass "pleasure dome" to be swallowed up by the snows of Antarctica, causing it to briefly resemble a snowglobe. Charles Foster Kane was (of course) created and played by Orson Welles, whose other claim to fame is constructing an elaborate hoax that fooled the American public into believing that Earth had been invaded by aliens—which is exactly what Veidt does in the climax.
  • Chekov's Gun not within the comic proper, but the supplemental pieces inbetween - Rorschach's arrest record makes a point to mention that the Rorschach's journal, the thing that the final twist revolves around, contains handwriting eccentric to the point of illegibility...
  • Adrian Veidt's plan at the climax hinges on fooling the people of the world into believing that Earth has been visited by aliens, forcing them to reckon with the fact that they aren't alone in the universe. Even though it's all an elaborate hoax, the ending also implies that humanity really isn't alone in the universe—since it's implied that Doctor Manhattan goes on to create his own sentient race on another world after leaving Earth, which happens as a result of Veidt's plan. In other words: Veidt tells a lie that ultimately becomes true after enough people believe it. Funnily enough, this one goes beyond Watchmen, as it's a recurring motif in many of Alan Moore's other works. To name a few examples:
    • From Hell features the Phony Psychic Robert Lees, whose fake prophecies all end up mysteriously coming true.
    • V for Vendetta, with its strong anarchist subtext, explores the idea that the authority of laws and governments is inherently based on a lie, but has power over people as long as they choose to believe in it.
    • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen takes place in a world where all fiction is true, and explores the idea that society is shaped by the stories that people tell.

Fridge Logic

  • Chapter 11 actually manages to lampshade this, qualifying as an in-universe use of the trope. When Veidt reveals that he hired his own assassin in order to cast suspicion away from him, Dan expresses disbelief, and asks what would happen if the assassin shot at him instead. Veidt replies that he would have just had to catch the bullet. Dan's reaction is priceless, and the look on Veidt's face is just awesome. The fact that he actually does catch a bullet in the next chapter, in spite of his own doubt, makes it even better. Also, it's worth noting that he managed to block the bullet with a heavy lamp when the assassin did shoot at him.

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 Veidt Method ad campaign: I will give you bodies beyond your wildest imaginings.
  • How was Jon Osterman capable of reassembling himself into Doctor Manhattan after his intrinsic field was removed? I think most of us agree it was his background as both a watchmaker and a nuclear physicist which allowed him to do that, but I'm talking about a more basic concept here: somehow, his consciousness must have remained alive, without a body, for him to be able to apply all his knowledge into his own reconstruction, right? Now, it's horrible enough to imagine what Osterman's life must have been during those months he spent trying to reassemble himself, but think about poor Bubastis, drifting in nothingness for who knows how many months (or years, or forever), unable to rebuild herself or even understand what's happening...

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.
    • It is diegetic. In the graphic novel it shows the lyrics to "Unforgettable" coming from the advertisement on the television. When the television is destroyed in the fight, it transitions from diegetic to non-diegetic.
    • It could be non-diegetic, given Alan and Dave's use of sight gags: Rorschach (unmasked) with his "The End is Nigh" sign, for instance. The music is likely intended as a clue for anyone who's attentive enough to notice.
  • 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.
  • Some viewers may complain about the altered ending, but thematically it ties very well into Dr. Manhattan. He is a god-like force that humanity is losing control of, similar to how nuclear power fills man with both fear and awe.
  • Probably unintentional, but 99 Luftballons is a cheerful song about a nuclear holocaust sung in German. What's Veidt's ethnic background again?
  • The use of music from Koyaanisqatsi for Dr. Manhattan's origin story makes perfect sense when you realize that "Koyaanisqatsi" means "unbalanced life" or, as the film's subtitle prefers, "a life out of balance". Jon Osterman's life was thrown permanently and forever out of balance in the accident that turned him into Dr. Manhattan.
  • A little bit of meta fun: comic-readers will know that the sequence of Ozymandias almost being assassinated was depicted in chapter 5, 'Fearful Symmetry', which is famed for its clever use of literal symmetry with the issue's events and even how the panels are laid out to be read, with Veidt flooring his would-be assassin in the dead-centre of the issue. Obviously the film was every chapter merged into one, and it would've been nearly impossible to lay the scenes out in the same way without just literally slapping the comic pages on the screen ala Ang Lee's 'Hulk'. Yet they still managed to make the assassination scene have a theme of symmetry... through the set. Two reception counters on either side, with identical looking receptionists, and a simple geometric fountain structure in the dead centre of the room, with a slew of elevators in the back, while Veidt stands in the middle of a group. The entire room is a mirror image down the middle.