Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII



Non-Comic Information

World of the Watchmen



Chapter 10: "Two Riders Were Approaching..."

Certain notes are true for each issue.

This issue's title is from Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower."

Cover: A control tower radar screen. The position of the two incoming blips and the seep, plus the white curve on the bottom, give us another spattered smiley-face.

ISSUE MOTIF: Computer/TV screens, as well as a "two riders" theme.
COVER CLOCK: 2 min. to midnight

Page 1, panel 1: Notice the time and date: 10/31/85 (a jump backwards in time), 11:59:30. "DEFCON 2" refers to the state of military readiness (from DEFense CONdition); DEFCON 5 is complete peace, and DEFCON 1 is outright war.

Panel 4: Note that two riders are approaching in the truck.

Page 2, panel 1: President Nixon, carrying the control to launch the U.S.'s nuclear arsenal. He and Vice-President Ford constitute two riders.

Panel 6: VP Ford, losing his balance. In our world, Ford stumbled down some airplane steps while President, thus acquiring a reputation as a klutz.

Panel 7: Both the cars have two riders (counting the driver as a rider). If not, there are still two riders, just in different vehicles.

Page 4, panel 3: The change in Rorschach's manner is beginning. While the bit about Laurie may be politeness, this is warmer than he's been in years.

Page 5, panel 4: Lots of ongoing themes on the fence in the background. From left to right, a Pale Horse "Krystalnacht" poster ("Sold Out"), a "The End is Nigh" sign, a Nostalgia ad, a Gunga Diner box, a "Four More Years" sign, a sign reading "Badges Not Masks: Support the Keene Bill," an Ozymandias Famine Relief poster, another "Four More Years," another "The End is Nigh," "Krystalnacht," "Badges Not Masks," "Nixon the One," "Badges Not Masks," "The End is Nigh," "The End is Nigh," "Nixon the One" and, finally, a Pink Triangle poster. (The downward-spiralling arrow has been around for a while, too; maybe it's symbolic of the way the world situation is going. The way they go from the Pale Horse poster and "the one" sign to the trash can may be foreshadowing.) Across the bottom is another "One in eight go mad" graffito.

Page 6, panel 2: A really old coat; that's the bloodstain from the dog he killed. Next to it is his journal.

Panel 7: Another sign of his humanization.

Page 7, panel 1: This is Karnak, Adrian's Antarctic retreat. Named after the site of an ancient palace/temple complex in Egypt. At least part of it was built by Rameses II, the original Ozymandias.

Panel 4: Lots and lots of triangles, with TV screens in the lower left.

Page 7: TV screens.

Page 8, panel 1: Slight artistic slip here: the "Mmeltdowns" ad in the lower left is missing an "M." Above it and to the right is a political ad (?) for "R.R.", who we're probably meant to think is Ronald Reagan, but most likely isn't, though it does look like him (see issue #12). There's a Nostalgia ad hidden under Adrian's first balloon.

Panel 5: The shape of the recording reels is reminiscent of the radiation symbols.

Page 9, panel 1: Computer screens.

Page 11, panel 4: The Chrysler Building is visible on the far left.

Page 12, panel 3: The two people in the background were just recently riders.

Page 13, panel 1: The headline reads, "Eastern Europe: Tanks Mass as Conflict Escalates." The back of the comic reads, "The Veidt Method: I Will Give You Bodies Beyond Your Wildest Imagination." Those are Jehovah's Witnesses in the background (two of them, riding).

Panel 7: The Watchtower is a real-world magazine, but it refers back ironically to the source of this issue's title.

Page 14, panel 2: Daniel is discreetly changing the sign to "Closed," a nice artistic touch that's easy to miss.

Page 17: Notice the symbol on the side of the boat. All the people referred to as missing in the New Frontiersman except James Trafford March show up or are referred to on this page, and he may be among the unindentified people in panels 2-4. The brain is that of Robert Deschaines.

Also, doesn't this beach bring to mind the one from Tales of the Black Freighter?

Page 18, panels 1 and 7: That's the picture Mira was drawing in issue #8, page 11. This is foreshadowing.

Page 19, panel 7: Notice the pyramid on Adrian's desk...

Page 20: Another computer screen. The computer is a Veidt product, but that's hardly surprising.

Panel 4: A reference to the '75 Roche kidnapping, presumably.

Panel 8: The rider here gives another "II rider." The weakness of the security is intriguing, and suggests that Veidt is either a) extremely careless, b) extremely overconfident, or c) wanted to be found. A) seems unlikely in view of what we know.

Page 22, panel 1: The Chrysler Building again, with a geodesic dome in the bottom.

Panel 3: They're flying over Madison Square Garden, where Pale Horse is playing tonight. Notice the time on the clock. (This page can be used to trace the geography of the region. Assuming they went straight, Veidt's building is east of the newsstand corner of 40th and 7th. The Chrysler Building, the most useful landmark, is shown as due east of the newsstand in issue #3, 22:1.)

Panels 6-7: This is the mailbox next to Rorschach's trashcan maildrop: next to the Promethean offices, across from the Gunga Diner and the newsstand. In panel 7, Rorschach's sigil is miscolored and looks like a sign on the wall.

Page 23, panel 1: The mailman's getting Rorschach's journal out of the mailbox.

Panel 2: Two riders again.

Panel 9: The journal is the "Urgent" package. The watch salesman is in the background.

Page 24, panel 4: The graffiti read "Sieg Heil," a swastika, and "Scum." Apparently not everybody approves of the Frontiersman. We see through the window that Pioneer Publishing is opposite Woolworth's, which has a Mmeltdowns ad.

Panel 5: Feinberg drew the cartoon in issue #8 (it was signed just "F."). This may well be the same Walt Feinberg who drew Tales of the Black Freighter.

Panel 6: Odd that the journal is from 1984-1985, but the 10/12/85 entry is on the first page. (In issue #1, it read "Dog carcass," not "Dead dog." Either Seymour is paraphrasing or the captions were from his notes, not the final version.)

Page 28, panels 4-6: More TV screens, and the final set of two riders.

Pages 29-32: Various papers from Adrian's desk. Page 29, paragraph 1: He vetoed them in issue #5, page 13.

Page 30: Notice "Call Laurie" and the beginning of a phone number on the left. This blotter's layout is interesting; internal evidence suggests that it begins on Saturday (the opposite of Dan's). Clumping the weekends together on one line is a useful idea, actually.

One wonders if the Rorschach figure's mask would shift patterns; it's theoretically possible, but might be expensive for a cheap plastic action figure.

Page 31, paragraph 5: In issue #12 we see some of the Millennium advertising.

Page 32: The new "Veidt Method" ad (looking like it was printed on a Macintosh).

By the way, Adrian's signature is identical on all three pages. (Obviously Gibbons had a stat made of the first signature on the art, but it looks a little odd in the context of the series.)

Watchmen is a trademark of DC Comics Inc., © 1999. These annotations © 1995 by Doug Atkinson. They may be freely copied and distributed, provided the text is not altered.
The annotations are maintained at this location by R.J. White.