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Episode 05 - Watchmen #5

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Laurie acclimates to her new life, as Rorschach digs deeper into his conspiracy. [ 1:21:41 || 39.7 MB ]

 

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You asked for pirate comic pushback, and here it is. The comic-within-a-comic is not merely there to provide ironic counterpoints to other dialogue and events, but can be read as foreshadowing of the larger story and the person responsible for almost everything in it.

First, the protagonist of the story isn't a pirate. He's the lone survivor of a pirate attack that wrecked his ship and left him marooned on a small island, and is referred to in the back matter as the mariner.

Second, his single-minded determination to escape the island and warn his coastal village of what he perceives to be the impending attack of the pirate vessel is meant to mirror one of the WATCHMEN character's single-minded drive to save humanity from what he perceives to be its impending doom.

Third, both the mariner and the WATCHMEN character go too far in their respective pursuits, resulting in multiple unnecessary murders.

Finally, at the climax of the pirate story, the mariner discovers that his fears of the Black Freighter's slaughter of his family and friends were unfounded and that he's the cause of the very calamity he hoped to prevent. He sees the Black Freighter sitting in the harbor and swims toward it. The WATCHMEN character has dreams of swimming toward something hideous and almost reveals them before catching himself, but does he really feel any guilt for the millions of deaths his actions have caused, or is it just for show? (Ironically, this is for the benefit of a character that has already lost all touch with his own humanity, rendering the effort to present guilt meaningless from the start.) Does he truly feel as damned as the mariner did in the story?

My opinion is that he doesn't, but Your Mileage May Vary. Furthermore, I would argue that by setting certain specific events in motion, he would have been responsible for causing a nuclear war that would not have happened but for his murderous machinations. Again, YMMV.

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1 hour ago, The Mariner said:

Finally, at the climax of the pirate story, the mariner discovers that his fears of the Black Freighter's slaughter of his family and friends were unfounded and that he's the cause of the very calamity he hoped to prevent. He sees the Black Freighter sitting in the harbor and swims toward it. The WATCHMEN character has dreams of swimming toward something hideous and almost reveals them before catching himself, but does he really feel any guilt for the millions of deaths his actions have caused, or is it just for show? (Ironically, this is for the benefit of a character that has already lost all touch with his own humanity, rendering the effort to present guilt meaningless from the start.) Does he truly feel as damned as the mariner did in the story?

 

This part I definitely glomped onto in my own reading, as well as the related themes of impending doom, but I never connected that A) dude wasn't a pirate, and 2) how he connects to Rorschach. Very nice!

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2 minutes ago, Donomark said:

This part I definitely glomped onto in my own reading, as well as the related themes of impending doom, but I never connected that A) dude wasn't a pirate, and 2) how he connects to Rorschach. Very nice!

I don't see any parallels to Rorschach in the pirate comic at all (except for the "raw shark" mishearing by Detective Fine). If you're familiar with the final chapters (or the movie), then you know which character is the one who's driven to plan the salvation of humankind. That's the narrative analog for the mariner.

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On the issue of Laurie seemingly casually undressing as she starts to be in to Dan's apartment (page 19), my reading is that Dan's projected feelings are coming across in panel #4. Laurie in this issue is always shown to be in a red top beneath her coat. At the top of the page, she is out of her coat and simply wearing her top. In panel #4, whilst she is still wearing the red top as she was the previous 3 panels, Dan is seeing her mirror reflection as their previous meeting, when they got close - coat with no top underneath.

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Great point about Dan seeing the reflection of her unbuttoned blouse. Laurie isn't aware of what he's seeing, because, in her mind, her back is to him. And good call on it being a reflection of their last meeting.

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While since Post Crisis it would be used as a warped way a villain, usually Lex Luthor, would see it, but pre-Crisis Superman was pretty much Kal-El/Superman was the true nature of the character, and "Clark Kent" was the mask.

Obviously from Byrne on, the point of "Kent" was always how Kal got his humanity, and not just a "hiding in plain sight" gimmick, but Superman was at the time a big example of the hero being the true identity over the "secret civilian identity" of a heroic character.

Now that I think of it, other alien (Martian Manhunter/J'onn J'onzz) or God like characters on earth (Thor/Donald Blake, Wonder Woman/Diana Prince) characters fit that description as well.

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