Synopsis for "Old Ghosts"
October 31st, Halloween.
Hollis Mason calls his old partner Sally Jupiter in regards to the news reports of the tenement rescue made by his successor and Laurie Juspeczyk. The two former Minutemen express surprise and joy of their proteges taking up their costume heroics again.
In Dan's basement, Laurie tries to talk Dan out of springing Rorschach from jail. But Dan remains firm on saving his friend. He also theorizes the possibility that there is a bigger conspiracy going on in which someone orchestrated Dr. Manhattan's exile in order to cause World War Three to happen. The obvious case to support Dan's idea is that the cancer scare allegedly caused by Manhattan is bogus because Laurie lived with Jon for a long time and didn't contract cancer, unlike the other people who were closely acquainted with Manhattan. Even more suspicious is that these cancer victims all previously worked for a research company called Dimensional Developments. Dan realizes more than ever that breaking Rorschach out is imperative as he might have more information to help uncover what is going on. Dan also considers recruiting Adrian Veidt for help, but only after freeing Rorschach because Adrian would be more likely to stop their attempt.
At Sing-Sing, a dwarfish gangster named Big Figure is granted a five minute meeting with Kovacs. It is then revealed that Big Figure was once a reputable criminal until he was apprehended by Rorschach and Nite Owl twenty years ago. Now Big Figure wants revenge and he tells Kovacs that the prisoner he scalded will likely die and therefore cause a prison riot which Big Figure will take advantage of the chaos to kill Rorschach.
Later that evening, Detective Steven Fine stops by Dan's home to ask him about his ties to Edward Blake. But Fine drops hints that he knows Dan is the Nite Owl and has been in contact with Rorschach and Laurie. After Fine leaves, Dan quickly understands that he and Laurie must act quickly in Rorschach's prison break.
Somewhere on an island, missing comic book writer Max Shea and painter Hira Manish discuss about an odd squid-like creature Manish is sketching that appears under a tarp, being prepped to be transported, on the beach in the distance. According to Max Shea's words, they have been kept on the island by "paranoid movie companies."
Dan and Laurie, in their costumes, take off on the Owlship for Sing-Sing, where a riot has broken out. In the midst of this, Big Figure tells off the other inmates from going after Kovacs. Leaving only him and his cronies Larry and Mike to confront Kovacs. Unfortunately for them, Kovacs proves to be craftier; he binds the hands of Larry to the cell's door when the man lunges for him. Larry's huge physique effectively blocks the door's lock housing and his compatriots are unable to cut him free. Big Figure coldly orders Mike to kill Larry. Mike uses a welding torch to open the door and then uses it to threaten Kovacs. But Kovacs breaks the toilet and lets the water flow out, making contact with the frayed power cable of the welder, fatally electrocuting Mike. Big Figure stares in absolute horror of the loss of his men before fleeing with Kovacs following after him.
Laurie and Dan manage to enter the prison after using the Owlship's screechers that incapacitate the prisoners. The pair soon find Kovacs near a bathroom, where Big Figure had just hid inside. Kovacs tells Dan and Laurie that he need to use the men's room before they leave. He kills Big Figure while Dan and Laurie remain ignorant of what he just did.
The three return to Dan's apartment where they are planning to pack up and leave. Suddenly, Dr. Manhattan appears before Laurie and asks her to come with him to Mars for an important conversation; in which Laurie is predestined to convince Manhattan to save the world. Laurie and Manhattan teleport away, as Dan and Kovacs flee the apartment on the Owlship just as the police with Detective Fine are too late to arrest them.
The news of Rorschach's escape angers and frightens a gang of drugged-up knot-tops who decide to go take their frustrations out on Hollis Mason, thinking that he is the Nite-Owl the news reported that helped break Rorschach out. The gang forces their way into Mason's apartment and beats him to death.
Tales of the Black Freighter
Meanwhile, the kid continues to read the next issue of "Tales of the Black Freighter". After a uncertain time in the sea, the mariner is plagued by thoughts of his dead family. He can not bear living anymore and leaps from his raft into the sea. But he only finds that he has finally reached land and arrives at his destination. Now the man seeks revenge.
Appearing in "Old Ghosts"
- Hector Godfrey
- Seymour David
- Hollis Mason (Dies)
- Malcolm Long
- New York City Police Department
- Detective Steven Fine
- Detective Joe Bourquin
- Sally Jupiter
- Max Shea
- Hira Manish
- Big Figure (Only appearance; dies)
- Larry (Dies)
- Mike (Dies)
- Dolores Shairp
- Minutemen (In a photograph only)
- New Frontiersman
- Tales of the Black Freighter
Synopsis for "New Frontiersman"
Appearing in "New Frontiersman"
- New Frontiersman
- Comedian's Button
- The title of this issue is taken from Hallowe'en by Eleanor Farjeon. A passage from Hallowe'en appears at the end of the issue: "On Hallowe'en the gold ghosts come about us, and they speak to some; to others they are dumb."
- Dan is seen once again getting a new lock from the Gordian Knot Lock Company, for his apartment, to replace the one that Rorschach broke at the end of issue #3.
- On page 12, panel 6, Hollis makes a jack-o'-lantern in which the pumpkin juice over the eyes makes a spattered smiley-face image. On page 28, panel 7, when Mason is killed, the blood smeared across his face in his Minutemen photo is similar to the stain on The Comedian's button.
- Sally Jupiter's comments on "Nixonomics" refers to U.S. President Richard Nixon's economic performance. This is also a reference to Reaganomics, which was the term given to the economic policy of President Ronald Reagan, who was the U.S. President during the initial publication of Watchmen.
- On the Utopia's playbill is a poster for The Day the Earth Stood Still.
- The Nova Express cover has pictures of Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach, and Ozymandias, and the headline reads, "Superheroes in the News: Spirit of '77." The Gazette headlines read, "Tanks Mass In Eastern Europe: "Purely Defensive" Say Reds," and "California: Governor Reagan Urges Hard Line." In real-life, Ronald Reagan was President of the U.S. in 1985, though he was governor of California in the 1970's.