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 4: "Watchmaker"

Certain notes are true for each issue.

This issue's title is from an Albert Einstein quote.

Cover: The old photo of Janey Slater and Jon Osterman lying on the sand of Mars.

ISSUE MOTIF: Picture lying in the dust on Mars symbol
COVER CLOCK: 8 min. to midnight

Page 1, panel 1: Dr. Manhattan's skin is still the color he changed it to in issue #3. He eventually lets it revert.

Panel 2: Dr. Manhattan has an unusual time sense: he seems to experience past, present, and future events simultaneously. He will refer to his knowledge of the future but will not attempt to act on this knowledge.

Panels 9: The picture in the dust again.

Page 3, panel 3: The Times headline reads, "Atomic Bomb Dropped On Hiroshima." (The Times probably became the Gazette at some point.) The bomb was dropped on August 6th, so it's not unreasonable that they'd find out on the morning of the 7th. (It's not clear if the Nagasaki bomb was ever dropped or not; it's never mentioned, but then again, how often is it mentioned in our world compared with Hiroshima?)

Page 4, panel 1: Wally Weaver is known later as "Dr. Manhattan's pal." This may be a reference on Moore's part to "Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen."

Page 5, panel 1: The Bestiary, when it was new. Interesting that Jon has this flash from the future. Notice the way the objects in panel 2 roughly mimic the layout of the people in panel 1.

Panel 4: The writing on the bulletin board, "At play amidst the Strangeness and Charm," alludes to two properties of quarks, strangeness and charm.

Panel 9: The picture in the dust.

Page 6, panel 3: The time the photo was taken.

Page 9, panel 3: Presley: Elvis Presley, real-world rock star.

Page 10, panel 1: Four years later, to the day, Dr. Manhattan fails to prevent Kennedy's assassination.

Panel 4: Completely reassembled now. It is unclear whether or not his blue skin is a matter of choice.

Page 12, panel 6: The symbol is a stylized version of a hydrogen atom, the simplest atom possible (one proton and one electron.)

Panels 7-8: The name refers to the Manhattan Project, which designed the first nuclear bomb.

Page 14, panel 1: The Red Cross charity event for Indian Famine relief, shortly before Nite Owl's retirement, mentioned last issue.

Panel 2: The name of this "crime-den" is "Dante's," a reference to the Italian author best known for The Divine Comedy, which included a trip to Hell. The name and red lighting seem to be intended to invoke a hellish atmosphere.

Panel 3: That may be Milton Glass in the back behind the two uniformed men. Since he was also visible on panel 5 of the last page, it appears that he stayed with Jon for a long time.

Page 15, panel 6: Just one of the technological by-products of Dr. Manhattan. Rorschach's mask is another, and probably Archie is too. (Does the industry depend on his continued presence, or has he set up the means to synthesize more?)

Panel 7: Dealey Plaza in Dallas is where Kennedy was assassinated.

Page 16, panel 8: These are the same earrings we've seen Sally wearing. Presumably there's some sort of magnetic means of keeping the nuclei floating in the middle (and it's probably another technological by- product).

Page 17, panel 1: The Crimebusters' first/only meeting. Jon wears less and less of the costume as time goes on. (We saw the meeting in issue #2.)

Panel 3: A flashback to issue #3, page 4, panel 1. (Note Laurie's earrings.)

Page 18, panel 2: Laurie could be anywhere from fifteen to seventeen, depending on what source one accepts for her age.

Panel 6: Notice the time on the clock.

Page 19, panel 1: Notice the clock.

Panel 3: It has been said, outside the series, that earlier Presidents were wise enough to realize how dangerous involving Dr. Manhattan in international affairs could be. After this, relations with the USSR and China fell apart.

Cuba: Refers to the failed U.S.-sponsored invasion of the Bay of Pigs. Jon may mean that Kennedy avoided sending him in, or that he avoided mentioning it anywhere. The former seems likelier, as our Kennedy was willing to accept responsibility for the invasion's failure.

Panel 4: The woman clinging to Blake is apparently the same as the one in issue #2.

Panel 6: Notice where the drool is splashing on the smiley-face button.

Page 21, panel 1: The main headline reads, "Third Term for Dick?" referring to the amendment repealing the 22nd amendment (which limits Presidents to 2 terms). The secondary headline reads, "Ozymandias Quits: Smartest Man in World Goes Public."

Panel 4: More Dr. Manhattan spinoffs. The airships have periodically been seen around New York earlier. The key word here may be "safe:" part of the reason for the decline of dirigibles was the destruction of the hydrogen-powered Hindenberg.

Panels 5-6: This provides a significant glimpse into Adrian's mind.

Page 22, panels 2-6: The riots before the Keene act (in Washington this time). The signs read: "Give Us Our Police Back!" "Badges Not Masks," and "Ban Vigilantes Now." The building in panels 3 and 6 is the White House.

Page 23, panel 3: The Iranian hostage situation occurred when student militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Teheran in 1979. Apparently the situation was solved much more quickly in their world.

Page 24, panel 3: The picture in the dust again.

Panel 4: A Gunga Diner is the background: note the Mmeltdowns and Nostalgia ads, the "Four More Years" sign, the issue of the New Frontiersman, the airships in the background, the ball-pipe, and the time on the clock. New York is taking on the familiar shape of the series. The hat the man on the right is wearing is a Veidt product. (The vents on the sides suggest that there's something interesting about that hat; maybe it has a built-in radio, or maybe it's air-conditioned.)

Panel 7: The watch is frozen at the same time Janey's was (assuming the hand on the right is the minute hand).

Page 25, panel 2: A flashback to issue #2. Note that Jon is not omniscient; he may be able to see things happening anywhere, but he's still limited in his interpretational abilities. The man in the coat is Moloch.

Panels 3-8: Flashbacks to issue #3.

Page 28, panel 3: The picture one last time.

Panel 6: Einstein's quote refers, not to the atomic bomb, but to quantum mechanics; quantum mechanics destroyed any view of our universe as deterministic, and Einstein didn't care for the resulting uncertainty. This is particularly ironic, since Dr. Manhattan's time sense suggests that his universe is indeed deterministic.

The title of this issue, "Watchmaker," refers also to the famous "argument from design," saying that the universe as a complex creation must have a creator. The metaphor was first proposed by William Paley in Natural Theology; his example was that of finding a watch somewhere, and that its complexity implied a matchmaker. This term has come to symbolize an intelligent creator, and thus is particularly appropriate to Dr. Manhattan, as is "The Judge of All the Earth."

Pages 29-32: Dr. Manhattan: Super-Powers and the Superpowers, by Milton Glass, who directed the Gila Flats institute. A summary of Dr. Manhattan's strategic importance.

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.