"A Strong and Loving World": Midnight, November 2, 1985.
Synopsis for "A Strong and Loving World"
Midnight, November 2, 1985.
Most of New York City has been devastated by the psychic trauma caused by the instant death of Ozymandias' "alien."
Dr. Manhattan and a heavily distraught Laurie arrive in the city too late as they tour the devastation. After they have seen enough, the two teleport away to the South Pole, to follow a trail of tachyon particles that Dr. Manhattan senses will lead to the source of the disturbance. Before they leave, Laurie picks up a gun from the deceased Detective Steven Fine.
At Karnak, Ozymandias continues to detail his plan to Rorschach and a disbelieving Nite-Owl. He explains he cloned the brain of the dead psychic Robert Deschaines and having it augmented and programmed with horrible visions and concepts of aliens, so that the mental transmissions given off at its death would affect anyone around it who managed to survive the initial psychic blast. Thus forcing humanity to cast aside their petty enmities and focus on a common alien enemy. But to ensure this plan to work, Veidt necessarily eliminated anyone involved in his plan. Although Veidt admits he has no idea what he will do with Rorschach and Nite-Owl.
Manhattan and Laurie soon arrives in Karnak, where Manhattan confronts Veidt. Veidt hinders Manhattan with a tachyon generator that interferes with Doctor Manhattan's ability to see the future, and then disintegrates him in an intrinsic field subtractor at the regrettable cost of Veidt's pet Bubastis. This act is witnessed by Laurie, who then shoots Veidt with Fine's gun. However, Veidt uses his newfound, and untried, ability to catch the bullet. After subduing Laurie, Veidt begins to lecture the costumed heroes that their "obvious heroism" is redundant and that their failure to prevent "Earth's salvation" will usher a new era for humanity. But his speech is cut short when to Veidt's surprise, Manhattan restores himself. Before Manhattan can pass judgement on Veidt, the world's smartest man makes one last trick by showing everyone news broadcasts of the aftermath of the disaster in New York, which has cost the lives of over two million people, which has prompted an end to hostilities between the U.S. and Soviet Union and calls for peaceful cooperation against Veidt's faked alien threat.
Veidt revels in his victory for bringing Earth into a "utopia" and convinces almost everyone present that exposing the truth would bring a permanent end to world peace. Manhattan, Laurie, and Dan reluctantly agree to concealing Veidt's truth. But Rorschach refuses to compromise with keeping the secret and proceeds to leave despite Dan's pleas. Veidt is seemingly unconcerned of Rorschach being a "reliable witness" before retiring to meditate in his ornery and offering Dan and Laurie a stay in his home. Laurie and Dan find a private room to reflect on their decision and they settle down to make love.
Outside, Rorschach tries to start up his hoverbike but is stopped by Manhattan. Rorschach takes off his mask, knowing that Veidt's new utopia is to be protected with the cost of his own life and prompts Manhattan to reluctantly disintegrate him. Manhattan walks back inside the retreat, where he finds Dan and Laurie asleep together and smiles at Laurie's newfound love and happiness and walks out of the room to meet Veidt. The two discuss about Veidt's well-intention reasons for ensuring world peace at the cost of millions of human lives. Veidt is surprised that Manhattan regained interest in human life, to which Manhattan suggests that he may "create some [human life]" in another galaxy that he will be travelling to. But before Manhattan could go, Veidt ask him if his plan worked out in the end. Manhattan smiles and enigmatically replies that "nothing ever ends." Veidt is left totally confused by Manhattan's words and appears to be in doubt as to whether or not his plan was successful.
Sometime during Christmas, Laurie and Dan, who have assumed new identities, visits Sally Jupiter. Laurie tells Sally that she knows Edward Blake is her real father. She explains to her mother that she understands the complex relationship between Sally and Blake and that she has comes to terms with that. Laurie and Dan soon leave while indicating that they would continue to adventure, although Laurie expressed the wish for a better superhero identity, a more protective leather outfit, a mask, and a firearm much like The Comedian.
In New York, which has been recovering from the disaster, the editor at New Frontiersman, Hector Godfrey, complains about having to pull a two-page column about Russia due to the new political climate. He asks his assistant Seymour to find some filler material from the "crank file", a collection of rejected submissions to the paper, to write. Sitting on top of the pile of discarded submissions is Rorschach's journal.
Appearing in "A Strong and Loving World"
- Aline (Deceased)
- Bernard (Deceased)
- Bernie (Deceased)
- Comedian (In a photograph only)
- Derf (Deceased)
- Hector Godfrey
- Joey (Deceased)
- Malcolm Long (Deceased)
- Gloria Long (Deceased)
- New York City Police Department
- Detective Joe Bourquin (Deceased)
- Detective Steven Fine (Deceased)
- President Richard Nixon
- Robert Redford (In a photograph only) (Single appearance)
- The title of this issue is from "Santies" by John Cale. A passage from "Santies" appear at the end of the issue: "It would be a stranger world, a stranger loving world, to die in."
- On one of the news broadcasts mentions of "A pregnant woman, convinced her unborn child was eating her..." This is a call back to issue #8 where Hira Manish talked to Max Shea about "Illustrating that sequence where the young chew their way out of their mother's womb was quite an experience."
- The silhouette of Daniel and Laurie embracing each other is strongly reminiscent of the Hiroshima lovers graffiti.
- At Sally's retirement home, there is a TV showing the Outer Limits episode, "The Architects of Fear." The episode was the basis for the ending of Watchmen, in which editor Len Wein stated that Alan Moore stole the ending from the episode. Len Wein disliked reusing the episode's ending and quit the Watchmen series when Moore refused to change it. Wein later wrote Before Watchmen: Ozymandias (Volume 1) and specifically referred "The Architects of Fear" as an in-universe source of Ozymandias' idea, as a jab at Moore.
- On page 1, near the top of the Pale Horse concert poster is a blood smear identical to that on The Comedian's smiley face badge.
- On page 6, the outlet of a spark hydrant on the ground has a splatter of blood which, combined with the two outlet holes for eyes and lower curve for the smiling mouth, bears a striking resemblance to the smiley face.
- On page 24, following Rorschach's disintegration by Dr. Manhattan, the vaporous blood rising from his remains intersects with an icicle hanging from a circular entrance to Karnak, a hoverbike in the foreground, and a slightly curved line inside the entrance, resembling the smiley face.
- On the very last page, Seymour spills ketchup from a hamburger on his smiley face T-shirt, which stains the smiley face in just the same way that the original badge was stained by the Comedian's blood.
- In the movie adaptation, the ending was changed from using a genetically-engineered squid monster to kill half of New York City, to exploding energy reactors with Dr. Manhattan's energy in it in various cities across the globe; in which Dr. Manhattan is then framed for the disaster.
- The letters on the Institute for Extraspatial Studies building that are not cover in the "alien's" blood (and including the "L" formed by the newspaper corner floating over the scene) spell out: "OR ALL DIE."
- Veidt's cry of triumph happens under the painting of Alexander the Great cutting the Gordian Knot (12:19:7). This panel shows Veidt and his uplifted arms form the hands of a clock positioned just before the hour of midnight, with the severed knot between them.
- Veidt is making a somewhat inaccurate paraphrase of the Merneptah Stele (12:20:1).
- The Gunga Diner has been replaced by a new restaurant call Burgers 'N' Borscht, reflecting the new friendliness between the United States and the Soviets.
- On the New Utopia's playbill, it reads "Tarkovsky Season This Week: The Sacrifice and Nostalgia." The Sacrifice is a 1986 Swedish film, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, about an upcoming holocaust and peoples' reactions to it.
- The spot where Bernard had his newsstand and the spark hydrant Bernie sit against it are replaced by a automated newspaper vending machine and newer, sleeker spark hydrant.
- The "One World One Accord" poster is seen replacing the old nuclear fallout shelter sign, which further symbolize the new world order.
- When Seymour walks back to the news office, there is a graffiti that reads "Watch the Skies." This is a reference to the phrase "Keep watching the skies" that was used in 1950's sci-fi movies.
- There is a newspaper showing a picture of President Nixon and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev shaking hands along with the headline "NY Survivors Reveal Nightmares Under Hypnosis" (12:31:5). Right next to it is a discarded Tales from the Morgue comic book. This is a joking reference to Tales from the Crypt horror comic published by EC Comics, and its appearance may reflect a shift in comics readers' tastes from pirate tales to horror.
- The "RR" Presidential candidate running against Richard Nixon is revealed to be film actor Robert Redford rather than Ronald Reagan. Hector Godfrey's remark: "Who wants a cowboy actor in the White House?" is obviously an ironic commentary on the fact that, at the time Watchmen was published, there was a cowboy actor, Ronald Reagan, in the White House. Seymour also states in page 32 that it's Redford who's running for president.
Links and References
- Ho, Richard (November 2004). "Who's Your Daddy??". Wizard (Wizard Entertainment) (140): 68–74.