Thursday, September 11, 2008

Watchmen Book Club: Chapter VIII

So sorry for the extended absence. But maybe the time off gave some book-clubbers the chance to catch up.

Chapter VIII: Old Ghosts

So the main action of this chapter is Dan and Laurie's liberation of Rorschach from Sing-Sing prison. But intertwined in that story are almost a half-dozen stray story threads that all seem to be converging on the main story. We get:

-- Hollis Mason, reliving his glory days vicariously through reports of Dan and Laurie's exploits. He even calls Sally Jupiter to have a grandparently conversation about how their successors have stepped back into the old costumes. Hollis meeting his end was always one of the saddest parts of the book for me.

-- The New Frontiersman, that aggressively right-wing paper that, no surprise, is in full support of the masked avengers. Just another sharp reminder of what side of the political spectrum this idea of superheroes really falls on.

-- The newsstand, which has been literally crowded out by violent drug addicts and stressed out city dwellers awaiting the end of the world.

-- The Black Freighter comic, wherein things have gotten desperate indeed.

-- And that small snippet of Max Shea on what appears to be an island. It's incredibly brief but no less ominous. What the hell is that woman drawing?

As for the main story, watching Rorschach under pressure, awaiting imminent attack by other prisoners, is fun in a kind of Die Hard way. This is the action-hero side of him, where you just know that anyone who messes with Rorschach is in for a world of hurt.

Jon's return at chapter's end isn't surprising given how often he's mentioned throughout. It's hard not to see it as Dan being royally cock-blocked, but I continue to love the logic of Dr. Manhattan's omniscience. "We're going to Mars because that's where we are one hour from now. Why are we arguing?" Love.

You guys pick it up from here. What have I forgotten to mention?


Shawn said...

This is my favorite part of the whole thing. Rorschach is awesome, and is at the peak of his "nothing phases me" persona in his battles in prison.

I really hope Fox and WB can settle this scuffle quickly so we can see this movie.

Glark said...

I'm starting a band called "Atomic Cockblock"

jessica said...

I would pay a cover to see that band.

This was another really enjoyable chapter for me. Rorschach is a total and unrepentant badass. He almost didn't need Dan and Laurie to "rescue" him, but seemed genuinely pleased to see them there.

The Max Shea thing threw me for a loop, as did the random junkies on a rampage. Shea's island was so incongruent to everything else, I wondered what the hell was going on. I also thought it was a strange choice, narratively, to build up this mystery over his whereabouts and then, as an aside, reveal to the readers (but not the characters) that he's alive and well and up to ... something. The junkies were upsetting -- I agree Hollis's death was incredibly sad -- and I didn't understand what Katies were at first or why Moore made up weird new drugs. I get wrapped up in details, I know.

Jon's motivations are always amusing to me in their consistency. He does things because they've already happened. It's such an intriguiging perspective.

Aaron said...

Rorshach stalking around the prison with his hands stuffed into the pockets of his pants is one of my favorite images from the whole book. Actually, that entire scene with the focus shifting back and forth from him to Dan and Laurie with the words subtly commenting on the action is one of my favorites.