Synopsis for "At Midnight, All the Agents..."
This story is reprinted from Watchmen #1.
NYPD Detectives Steve Fine and Joe Bourquin investigate the murder of Edward Blake, who was thrown out of his apartment window and fell many stories to his death. The detectives conclude that Blake's assailant(s) were rather strong, citing Blake's large and stronger physique as well as the strength of the glass window that Blake was thrown out of. The detectives decide to cover up the investigation in order to avoid interference from the vigilante Rorschach.
That night, however, Rorschach enters and searches Blake's apartment, finding a compartment containing weapons, a leather costume, and a picture of the Minutemen. Rorschach realizes that Edward Blake was the American government-sponsored costumed adventurer known as the Comedian.
Meanwhile, Dan Dreiberg is visiting Hollis Mason at the latter's home where they discuss their time as Nite Owl. After their discussion is over, Dan returns to his apartment to find his door broken in and Rorschach awaiting him while helping himself to a can of cold beans. Rorschach informs Dan of the Comedian's death, who proposes moving their discussion to the workshop in the basement where Dan stores his Nite Owl equipment. Rorschach tells Dan that he has been investigating Blake's death. Dan suggests that given Blake's services and history, his murder could have been a political killing in response to his actions in toppling Marxist Republics in South America. Rorschach proposes another theory that someone is attempting to eliminate costumed heroes. Dan is skeptical of this idea, but Rorschach points out that the Comedian had made a lot of enemies over the past forty years. Rorschach soon leaves but not before giving The Comedian's blood-stained smiley face badge that he found to Dan.
Rorschach later takes his investigation to a seedy bar called Happy Harry's, where the owner and patrons very fearfully know him well. He talks to Harry, asking who killed Edward Blake. A man named Steve mocks Rorschach, who then starts breaking the man's pinky and index fingers while continuing to ask the entire bar who killed Edward Blake. A man speaks up and claims that none of them know, so Rorschach releases Steve and leaves.
Rorschach visits Adrian Veidt, a retired hero formerly known as Ozymandias and a current billionaire, at his office. Veidt shares the same suggestion that Blake's murder was a political killing, perhaps committed by the Soviets. Rorschach considers otherwise, as the Soviets never dared to antagonize America because of the latter's possession of the superhuman operative Dr. Manhattan since 1965, and sticks to his costume killer theory. Veidt further explains that the Comedian had many political enemies other than the Soviets, claiming that Blake's reputation made him "practically a Nazi." Rorschach defends Blake from Veidt's remark, stating that Blake stood up for his country, never allowed anyone to retire him, and never sold his image - unlike Veidt. The billionaire remains unaffected by Rorschach's words, as he explains that he chose to retire prior to the passing of the Police Strike and the Keene Act that outlawed unsanctioned vigilantes.
Rorschach then goes to warn Doctor Manhattan and Laurie Juspeczyk at Rockefeller Military Research Center. The couple were already informed of Blake's murder by their government superiors in which Manhattan recalls that the C.I.A. suspects the Libyans were responsible. Manhattan remains unconcerned when Rorschach proposes his costume killer theory, explaining that he sees life and death as "unquantifiable abstracts." Laurie is very unsympathetic toward Blake, calling him a monster due to the fact that he had tried to rape her mother when they were both in the Minutemen. Her statements on Blake ends up in an argument with Rorschach. Due to upsetting Laurie, Manhattan teleports Rorschach outside of the facility.
Laurie decides to invite Dan Dreiberg out for dinner at Rafael's. Manhattan politely declines to join as he is occupied on finishing his research that would validate supersymmetrical theory. Laurie explains to Dan how she regrets her old life as the second Silk Spectre and her relationship with Jon. She mentions that the government kept her at Rockefeller Military Research Center to keep Jon relaxed and happy. Laurie and Dan then enjoy recalling the story of an old villain that only pretended to be a super-villain to get beaten up, laughing at their times as costumed heroes.
Appearing in "At Midnight, All the Agents..."
- Rorschach (First appearance)
- Adrian Veidt (First appearance)
- Doctor Manhattan (First appearance)
- Daniel Dreiberg (First appearance)
- Edward Blake (First appearance; dies)
- Hollis Mason (First appearance)
- Laurel Juspeczyk (First appearance)
- Unidentified killer
- A Doomsayer
- Gerald Ford (In a photograph only)
- Minutemen (In a photograph only)
- New York City Police Department
- Detective Steve Fine
- Detective Joe Bourquin
- Sally Jupiter (Mentioned only)
- New York City
- Happy Harry's
- Mason's Garage
- Rockefeller Military Research Center
- Veidt Enterprises
- Owlship (Cameo)