Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reading the Watchmen: Chapter Five

This was my favorite issue yet of the series. Alternating between the various stories running parallel in the book, the plot is moving quickly towards the moment where everything goes to hell.

Rorschach continues his investigation into the murder of the Comedian and the shaming of Dr. Manhattan. Through this we can again get into his head and see the pure black and white world view that he subscribes to. He sees the evil in the world and he is on a crusade to end it, all of it.

Along with that, we return to the Greek chorus of the book, the nameless news vendor, offering his opinion to any and all about the state of the world, all while the boy reads through the comic-within-a-comic, "The Tales of the Black Freighter". That narration of that book, serving to also narrate our story.

All of this culminates with the framing and capture of Rorschach, revealing him as the bum who we've seen earlier silently carrying a sign reading, "The End is Near". This leads you to wonder, is he really any type of hero at all?

This was just a fantastic issue, and a horrific one. The horrible visuals of the Black Freighter story only serve to heighten the feeling of dread that comes through the entire story. The back-up in this issue, is an excerpt from a book about the pirate comics that ruled the newsstands in the world of Watchmen. The amount of detail that Moore puts into just those three pages is just amazing and I wish that they had managed to put together some of the stories they discuss in there for real, as they all sound pretty amazing.


lp said...

I just saw you Twittering about Dollhouse but I hate Twitter.

Why is it so bad? Why, god, why?!!

JH said...

Love your chapter reviews. Not sure how I found you, but I'm glad I stumbled across your blog.

Tom said...

Best thing about the chapter: The 'links,' as the Newsvender calls them, between the various scenes. A pirate eating shark meat segues into Dan Dreiberg tearing the meat off a drumstick, etc... Formally speaking, just an incredible chapter. And the moment when the detective hears "raw shark" instead of "Rorschach," hysterical and sharp. Still haven't quite figured out what the formal symmetry of the chapter signifies. Perhaps it's a statement about karmic retribution, but I love the form regardless of its purpose. And who knows, maybe it's all as meaningless as the blots on Rorschach's face.

Adam said...

The chapter title refers to the fact that the entire chapter is symmetric. The first page mirrors the last page and so on until the middle of the chapter. Check it out, It is amazing!