Watchmen 35th Anniversary Read-Along: Week 4, Issue #4


Rorschach’s Journal. 2021. The 35th anniversary of writer Alan Moore’s sensational, highly-influential and stunning 12-issue magnum opus, Watchmen rolls on, ever-present in the face of an unfolding mystery.

To continue the 35th anniversary Read-Along for the Comic of Comics, the @JusticeLeagueBookClub (run by myself) and the @DCHistoryClub (run by @msgtv and @TurokSonOfStone1950) will provide a fun analysis of each issue on a weekly basis, with my contributions coming from the odd-numbered issues, while DC History looks at the even-numbered issues.

How this Read-Along works :

  • Watchmen is NOT available on DC Universe Infinite. To participate in the Read-Along, you’ll need to have your own copies of Watchmen (be they the single issues or a collected edition) at the ready to read along with as we move from issue to issue, week after week.
  • Discussions will be posted on a weekly basis, with each discussion focusing on one issue. If you should run late, fear not good reader, as you are welcome to chime in on a particular week’s discussion at any time. Afterall, this is a 24/7 anniversary party.
    :partying_face: :tada: :champagne:

Onto the good stuff, good reader:

:books: Read:

  • Watchmen #4

If you should need a copy on the fly, the issue is available at Comixology, while the collected edition of Watchmen is also available at Comixology, as well as on Hoopla.

:speaking_head: Discuss:

  • Watchmen #4 centers on the story of the big blue bald guy himself, Doctor Manhattan formerly known as Jon Osterman and his journey from real live boy to naked emo man on Mars.
    *Dr. Manhattan seemingly has one blue foot in the human world and another detached from day to day concerns. Is he just going through the motions, or does he actually care about people.
  • Dr. Manhattan dumps her first love for Laurie and is accused of just wanting a younger woman. Guilty or something less abhorant?
  • Blasting his way across Southeast Asia, Dr. Manhattan destroys the Viet Cong after seeming to question the war. In addition, he thinks the VC worship him like an angry god. What’s up with that? Does Dr. Manhattan represent one of “America’s Best and Brightest” who through arrogance embroiled America in Vietnam?
    *What else do you think?

That’s the journal entry for the 35th anniversary this week. If you’re still reading this journal with any expect other than your own demise, have you been paying attention?

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Let me just say, I love this non-linear storytelling. I would love a series where Jon watches different characters’ origin stories in this way. “It’s 1983. Krypton’s last hope blasts off in a hastily assembled rocket ship. It’s 2001. Jonathan Kent shows his son the vessel that brought him to Earth. It’s 1938. The Daily Planet runs the headline “CAPED WONDER STUNS CITY”. It’s 2016. It’s 1938. It’s 5,000,002,021 CE… The photograph lies in the sand at my feet.”

This is an extremely loaded question, and as a STEM type of guy, I see this as more a question of quantum physics than of psychology. Jon claimed to be “just a puppet who can see the strings”, and this raises the question of the causal nature of the Universe, and the Bootstrap Paradox. Is the Universe just a clock without a craftsman? Or does the arc of the moral Universe bend toward justice? Of course, quantum physics contains the exact same number of particles as psychology. Structurally, there’s no discernible difference. They are unquantafiable abstracts.

The latter: Just going through the motions. Jon isn’t responsible for any of his actions between 1959 and 1985.

None of my immediate family members are old enough to remember the war in Vietnam. I was only 60% sure that V.V.N. Day didn’t really happen in our reality. I’m no more qualified to comment on this than a five-year-old.

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Me, ask a loaded question?