In 1986, two graphic novels changed the superhero stories forever. The first is Frank Miller’s book, The Dark Knight Returns, in which Batman is commemorated for modernity as a dark and cruel avenger, driven more by inner demons and possessions than by good feelings. Miller’s story takes place in a dark alternative future, and officially it is not part of the canonical continuity of DC Comics, but that doesn’t matter: He soon became (and remains) the fantasy that defines the Dark Knight and that not only influenced all the Batman stories that followed, but also all the superhero stories that came out of his screens. Suddenly the more innocent and fantastical tone that superhero comic strips have dominated over the past three decades seemed childish and passive and quickly gave way – usually with a diminished return to feverishly dark, grainy and mature interpretations.

The second groundbreaking book is of course that of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons Guardians, to be published later this year. This time Watchmen is a post-modern comic book hero who uses original symbols (usually based on the palette of symbols published by Charlton Comics at the time) to expand the possibilities of his environment while exploring the fundamental boundaries of his subject. Moore and the Gibbons, who used more sophisticated narrative techniques than any other comic superhero of their time, boasted of robbing superheroes (and superhero fans) of their dangerous illusions by exposing the genre’s fascist and psychosexual underpinnings. For Moore, he said at least the same thing in the interview – observers aren’t supposed to be a new take on superheroes: That should have been the last word on her.

It’s a bit ironic that these two books are largely responsible for creating the climate of a super-clear pop culture in which we all live today. Comic books have become commonplace: They have suddenly become a respectable activity for adults, a suitable subject of study, especially after the absurd speculative boom that hit the industry in the 1990s – the electricity industry and a sought-after commodity on the intellectual property market. (In 1986 apparently every magazine and newspaper in the world published a story with a few variations on the condescending title bang! Bang! Comic books are no longer just for kids 🙂

I wonder how we ended up in a world where 17 of the 50 greatest superhero movies of all time are superhero movies? I wonder how it is that directors like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola are lured to Twitter because they don’t like superhero movies? I wonder how we ended up in the world where The Joker is the most discussed and polarizing film of the year? It all started in 1986 with the return of the Dark Knight and the Guardians.

“It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”

It should be noted that these two books were not created in the same way, although they certainly seemed to be spiritual brothers and sisters at the time. Despite their resemblance to the surface, Miller’s Dark Knight was warmed up in the decades that followed, while the Guardians seemed wiser and sharper year after year. Rorschach’s vigilance seems to have a lot in common with that of Batman Miller. But Moore and Gibbons criticized the reactionary cruelty of their self-righteous avenger; Miller had only just begun, as his later work showed. The Guardians were a revelation of the innate fascism of the superheroes; in retrospect, the return of the Dark Knight was nothing but exploitation.

In fact, the teachings of the Guardians now land almost more forcefully, precisely because they were misunderstood by many fans of the book and deliberately ignored the culture as a whole. More than 30 years after the Guardians showed us how much our love for youthful fantasies about the power of superheroes can be disturbed, we still love them: In fact, we love them more than ever.

I am not going to discuss here whether the current dominance of a superhero in popular culture is a good thing or a bad thing. (As with many other things, I’d say it’s a little column A and a lot of column B). I just want to say that we undoubtedly live in a world of superhero stories, and the Guardians are one of the most important basic texts of this world.

Of course, this does not mean that it is a sacred text. I admit that one day I would even abandon the idea of a series based on the world of Moore and Gibbons. In the end, I read a previously unpublished (and disastrously stupid) script for a Sam Hammer film released in the 1990s, and it proved to me that any attempt to change the original story will eventually destroy anything special about it. Then I saw a mature, very slave-like version of the 2009 Zack Snyder film that had all the right tones, but for some reason I never understood what the song was about. As I thought, an adjustment by the Guardian would be unnecessary at best. Like all great works of art, guardians were a masterpiece of their means, achieving greatness by doing what only this particular art form can do. (Even the most accurate attempt to film this would be like trying to draw a large poem correctly). Although the film Ostatka by Damon Lindelof Ostatka is one of the biggest television programs of the 21st century, it is still very important. I was initially sceptical about the announcement of his new series of Watchmakers for HBO.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that treating guardians as untouchables is a way to keep a dog. If superhero stories are going to shape the culture of the 21st century… Twentieth-century stories dominate – and they do – and if Watchmen is the most important basic text of these stories, then it seems only natural to allow other creators to expand their world and explore its meaning. After all, no important work, no media is hermetically sealed: They are all reinterpreted, told, deconstructed and rhymed in the context of a great conversation that evolves ad infinitum. I realized that art has always worked this way. That’s how art should work.

But even then I didn’t dare to hope that HBO-ers would be really good. I imagined something that… and continued the discussion initiated by Moore and Gibbons, and with all these four-coloured characters, brought a much-needed critical look at our current love of pop culture. Well done, it can be an inviting, even particularly revolutionary film, entertaining, but fundamentally superficial, that increasingly extracts the most serious films from plywood.

However, based on the data from the pilot episode I strongly underestimated HBO and Lindelof. Eventually they looked under the top layer of Moore and Gibbons’ work and realized that although his main goal was to deconstruct the superhero genre, it was not his only goal. In their criticism of the superheroes, the original guards also challenged the Cold War mentality, poisonous power dynamics, repressive sexuality and the dangerous romanticism of fascism. In his own way he was not only a product of his time, but also a vicious critic of his political environment, as Moore’s contemporary work with artist David Lloyd, V for Vendetta, shows. The Watchmen had as much of Reagan’s America as Thatcher’s in the west of England. Rorschach was Batman, but he was also Bernard Goetz.

It’s exciting to see the Guardians, which inspired Lindellof and his team. You have more important things on your mind than questioning the youthful fantasy of superheroes. Superheroes may be the genre in which the series works, but there are other, more important American themes that want to challenge the new Guardians.

There will be no Mafia justice today. Trust in the law. – Bass tube

“It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”

The first (and greatest) guardian of the story is American history itself. And as with the whole story, the way it presents itself depends very much on who we look at it from.

Many Americans – and of course many white Americans – were surprised to discover that the Tulsa massacre of 1921, depicted at the opening of the clock race, was not part of the dark alternative history of the show, but was an embarrassingly missed chapter in our own history. The 31st. May and 1 May. In June 1921, thousands of white residents of Tulsa, in collaboration with the city council, burned and plundered the flourishing black area of Greenwood. Dozens of blocks were demolished, destroying almost 200 businesses and more than 1,200 houses. Hundreds of blacks were shot, beaten, lynched, dragged behind cars – and thousands more became homeless. White manned planes literally bombed Greenwood, dropped bottles of gasoline and burned turpentine from the air.

The subtle excuse for the massacre was the persecution of a black teenager named Dick Rowland, who was falsely accused of attacking a white elevator driver. (Later the case was dismissed.) But this was just an excuse to arouse white resentment against Greenwood. Greenwood, often referred to as Black Wall Street, was the richest black area in America, a model of black ingenuity and industry that succeeded amidst one of America’s most segregated cities. According to historian James L. Hirsch (quoted in an excellent book by Meagan), the black success was an unbearable insult to the social order of white domination.

“It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice” Greenwood, 1. June 1921. Source: Library of Congress] For a long time it was wrongly called an uprising, but in reality it was a coordinated and systematic massacre of the black community, one of the worst in American history. And yet all this has almost been erased from history. As Frank Rick wrote in a New York magazine earlier this year, the event was literally wiped off the books:

The dead were thrown into the Arkansas River and into nameless mass graves. The news was cut from the Tulsa Tribune before it was collected in bound reference quantities. The incident was first included in the Oklahoma public school curriculum in 2000 and only recently appeared in American history books.

A state legislator bill to teach the massacre in Oklahoma’s public schools was defeated in 2012.

Thus, the opening of the Guardians in this atrocious act of terror by the white community and the appearance of a traumatised black child (Danny Boyd, Jr.) will be our first character – this bold, courageous and powerful declaration of intent will show it. The Moore-Gibbons comic book was about a lot of things, but the race was never one of them. (The vanguard of the British invasion of the American cartoon industry in the 1980s, Alan Moore, an otherwise brilliant writer, was in fact often deaf to racial issues in America) But here Lindelof and his team made white supremacy the central task of their Guardians and announced their plan to aggressively challenge, complicate and broaden our understanding of the story. Whether they can do this and justify the use of such a launch, of course, remains potentially sensational for the Imajs. But the goal is both ambitious and rewarding.

And so far it’s a good thing, because this program is consistent throughout the summer and we’re running out of ice. In fact, it starts before we even know where and when we are in the story. The first images you’ll see on Watchmen – starting with the show’s title card – are flickering projections on the film screen, accompanied by a click on the projector’s whirl and an immersion of the ragtime notes on the piano. This is an intelligent and effective device: As with the discovery of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969, he focuses on his own artificiality, the design and execution of common legends. This reminds us that there is no history without a storyteller to shape it, and that we don’t necessarily have to rely on history, even – or especially – if we think we know it.

As we will see, this topic will be repeated throughout the episode. Watchmakers are already rich in context, just like the original equipment. The novel Les Horlogers is just the first, a rich and complex text that informs us about everything we see without necessarily giving us a definitive direction. But we also see the production of Oklahoma, we see part of the special on the Minutemans, we hear mention of a five-part tragedy written by an anonymous character from Jeremy Irons. We watch the news, listen to talk shows on the radio and see posters in classrooms and traffic signs that only partially fill our understanding of this strange new world. We begin to develop an alternative history of this world and compare it with our own imperfect knowledge of our own imperfect history. All these texts talk to each other, comment on each other, complement each other and complicate each other until we are where we need to be: curious, uncertain, open to possibilities and obliged to read carefully and ask questions.

“It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”

And it starts here, with these glistening images projected on the film screen. A man appears on a horse and fires a six-shot over his shoulder at the other man who is chasing his lasso. (Two horsemen approaching, those of us who have recently read the novel may hear a pale echo in our hearts) The main genre is present – the western, perhaps the most famous example of American entertainment – and the images are familiar. The second, the hunt for a figure with a hood that could cause that horseshoe, a violent racist work by the American cinema The Birth of a Nation. But the bonnet – and you learn that the driver is black and not white. He’s a persecuted white man sitting on a white horse. In Western visual vocabulary it was coded as Good Guy, white hat, but the story is here. The black character in black will be a hero, the white character in white will be a villain, both will be law-abiding.

Even the direction of the scene escapes our expectations, as such a chase usually goes from left to right of the image. But yes, everything’s upside down: In the imagery of cinema, which moves to the right and to the left, these figures don’t go anywhere and don’t come back from anywhere. They’re coming back, that is, from history.

The intertexts are increasing, as are the subjects. It is clear that these two characters – a black, a white, a good and a bad – will resonate throughout the episode. The look of The Dark Rider is reminiscent of an episode with the figure of Dark Police Officer Angela Abar / Sister Night (Regina King) in the hood. But, compared to comics, there is also an echo in the opposite direction: The rope figure in black is visually reminiscent of the superhero Hooded Justice, whose images we will see in a special edition of Minutemen and her advertisements. (In the book, this character was a white, intensely racist – a fan of Hitler’s Third Reich – and perhaps a secret sadomasochistic homosexual. He also wore a noose around his neck, echoing the lynchings that ran throughout the episode).

However, when the hood of this figure is removed, it is revealed to the real lawman Bass Reeves. Born into slavery, Reeves fled to live freely among Indian tribes, and the knowledge he gained there led to his eventual recruitment as the first Deputy Black Marshal of the American West. He had a brilliant 32-year career as a lawyer, arresting more than 3,000 criminals and of course ending his career in Oklahoma. Just like the massacre of Tulsa, it’s another forgotten black story that the guards want to clear up.

But I think the most important thing in his recording here is that some historians claim that Bass Reeves was the inspiration for the Lone Ranger, one of the first waves of proto-superheroes in cellulose culture, resonating with characters like Shadow and Ghost. (The character began playing on the radio in 1931 and was constantly fascinated by the popular television series of the 1940s and 1950s in the popular psyche). Especially for the Guardians he was of course a masked legislator.

And Lindelof reminds us that this hero, whom we all remember as a white man with a racist caricature of the Indians, was based on a black man. Like the cleansing of the Tula massacre itself, this is also an example of the erasure of black in American white culture, and as we know, we can now read the silent film shown in the opening scene in a slightly different way. The first lawman, the bad guy, riding a white horse, looks in our imagination like the Lone Ranger. Reeves, a black man, goes from right to left to grab history, to bring history from right to left to the atrocities of history that we think we know.

It’s like I said: It’s an ambitious program for a soap opera.

It was a Rorschach mask. – Officer Charlie Sutton

“It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”

The prologue of the Guardians ends with a little boy looking back from a distance on the destruction of the massacre. The film he loved and was proud of, the black hero, the beloved and respected white townsfolk he served, has been forgotten. The region where he grew up, a piece of the hard-earned American dream carved out in a racist city by the children of former slaves, is on fire. His family is almost certainly dead, and he and a small child are the only survivors of their escape attempt. Both were orphans, displaced, alone in the world, far away from each other, and ironically he wrapped them in the American flag to keep them warm.

And then, almost a century later, outside Tulsa, we move smoothly towards the same view. And from there, as a prologue to the chaos, another masked black lawyer follows another white villain.

We leave our own historical past, this is our first scene in the alternative guardian complex, and it is a confusing combination of reversed expectations and distorted stories. For anyone who understands life in America, the concept of stopping the routine, at least for a moment, has become a racially motivated exercise in a state of tension. And this real tension runs through every second of this scene, in which Officer Charlie Sutton (Charles Bryce) stops Carmichael (Michael Graciadei) in an exciting, funny, reflective way. Carmichael, the driver of a stationary car, is visibly nervous, afraid for his life, afraid to make even the slightest mistake. (He consciously puts his hands on the steering wheel, and if he has to move to get the documents out of the glove compartment, he explains his intentions and carefully telegraphs his movements). And at the same time, the policeman seems recklessly aggressive, threatening and alert. For example, we don’t know, and he’s not suggesting a reason to stop. He’s angry at the driver’s attempt at humour. When he calls the station, he announces that he immediately fears for his life, although we have seen that the driver has done nothing to justify this.

All this is a clear reminder of the potentially deadly dynamic that occurs every time a black driver stops a white policeman. But here the race has changed places: The driver is white and the officer is black. Other elements also go against our expectations and warn us of the changing reality of this fictional world. A disguised policeman is first and foremost his identity, a carefully guarded secret. It announces that the interaction will be recorded, apparently in accordance with the protocol tasks, and obtains permission for the recording. Surprisingly, he may not be armed: A firearms permit must be applied for, substantiated and issued by another person at the station. All this is our first indication of what will come out of this episode: Police violence and responsibility will be a central theme for the guards. This issue is inextricably linked to the issue of racism, which has already been announced by the parties, but the reversal of roles here reminds us – and this is not the last time – that this is not exactly the same problem. As we have seen in real life, the way systemic racism manifests itself in law enforcement means that police officers of colour are not immune to its influence.

But then – after our expectations of this meeting were questioned – the innate tension of the scene exploded exactly as we had learned to expect from life in our America: with the nasty shooting of a black man. One hundred years after Tulsa’s massacre – one hundred years after the boy saw the heroic Bass Reeves encourage his white neighbors – the black policeman falls.

All is well, Oklahoma. Oklahoma, good! – from Oklahoma.

“It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”

It’s summer and we’re running out of ice, and its subtle but crucial importance for the main plot, which, yes, even the Oklahoma musical!

For even then, in the fabulously meagre ten minutes, the watchmakers made it clear that extinction, immortalized in the cause of American white supremacy, was one of their central themes. And the musical Rogers and Hammerstein Oklahoma! – It is a classic of this treacherous art, which Americans have loved since its first production in 1943. By Lynn Riggs, Oklahoma! appears before the state among the white settlers who lived in what was then called Indian territory. (Oklahoma was ultimately the site of the forced genocide of the indigenous tribes, now known as the Tears’ Path). Riggs’ original play recognized this, but Rogers and Hammerstein – while remaining faithful to Riggs’ story – carefully removed any mention of Indians from their musical. There are no Indian symbols, and in fact the word Indian does not appear in their font. As Soraya Nadia McDonald writes, although not always recognized, but Oklahoma! Rogers and Hammerstein have always been a musical about being white.

The staging of an entirely black production is therefore an interesting addition to the traditional art of storytelling. This is complicated by the echoes that can be heard later in the episode. Oklahoma! is the story of a love triangle in which the good guy, Cowboy Curley, fights the bad guy, Farmer Jud, to win the love of beautiful Lori. All three characters are depicted as white (and traditionally abandoned), but many viewers have not understood the very subtle scents of racial ostracism in Jad’s character. (When the Fifth Avenue Theatre in Seattle in 2012 organized an action of the Black Judge, the play turned up and was immediately confronted with widespread accusations of racism). This is what scientist Ryan Raul Banyagale wrote:

In the musical, Fry is the embodiment of all that is dangerous and dark, an animal that consumes an enormous amount of alcohol and lives in a wretched hut wrapped in pornography. At the time, it was customary in the American entertainment industry to follow this path when writers wanted to distinguish themselves from the right-wing white society. The symbol is not meant for African-Americans and Indians. The character of Judah also embodies the imminent danger of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany.

The death of the judge is a manifesto of destiny and the new world order, which is a two-stage journey through the twentieth century.

I won’t go into details, but it’s already clear that almost everything in the Watchmen is well thought out and needs to be unpacked. And of course it is no coincidence that we meet Judd Crawford (Don Johnson), the Chief of Police of Tulsa, Oklahoma, here for the first time, who looks at the history of white people played by people of color.

“It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”

Judd’s a good old boy, Judd’s friendly, Judd’s on the good side. He’s wearing the white hat. But we have already been warned that the white hat here does not mean what it traditionally means, even – or especially – for a law enforcement officer. Later in the episode, we learn that Judd has a special relationship with Oklahoma… (The heart wasn’t in him, he said about black actors.) For Judd, he played the lead role of Curley’s high school hero. We even heard him sing one of Curley’s songs.

But that’s just it: He may have played Curly, but his name connects him to the villain in the play, Judah. And we’re curious: Does he always play the good guy?

Judd won’t survive. It’s summer, and of course, we’re running out of ice: The episode ends with Judd (in another inverted racist image) literally lynched, perhaps by an old black man (Louis Gossett Jr.) who is almost certainly one of the two survivors of the Tula massacre. The last time we see Judd, he waves out of a tree, his badge is the symbol of his desk lying at his feet, stained with a drop of blood, where the minute hand approaches midnight. Readers of the graphic novel discover the classic cult images: It is reminiscent of the blood on the pimple of a smiling face of superheroes known as the Comedian, whose death is a mystery that set the original story in motion. And comedian, you learn through history, you weren’t a good guy. But we don’t even need this intertextual knowledge to doubt what we think we know about Judd: The song that loses the last scene takes us back to Oklahoma! and reinforces the suspicion that this Judd could have been the bad guy all along.

My nose is white upstairs, and it smells like bleach – Sister Night

“It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”

However, we already suspect that questions about good and evil are not easy to answer for the Guardians. Yes, white domination is clearly (and rightly) a great evil of the Seventh Rider Series presented here, a terrorist group that has appropriated the mask of the avenger Rorschach as a symbol. There are many reasons why this is appropriate – I’ve already mentioned the fascist tendencies of this character, and I’m sure we’ll discuss this in more detail in the course of the series – but one is that the face of Rorschach is a hard symbol of black and white: It is the expression of the character’s absolute and unshakeable confidence in questions of good and evil and in the correctness of his own actions. (This applies especially to the handmade versions of the mask worn by the riders: the Rorschach mask is in any case off-set, a symbol that takes on new forms when worn. The masks of the Seventh Cavalry are fixed, invariable, and represent a simplified dualism that is even more dangerous). Compare it to the similar mask of the new character originally designed for this Mirror series (Tim Blake Nelson). His mask is not an exaggerated form of black and white, but a mirror. This is, as we suspect, what the Guardians will be: not a simplistic account of good and evil, but a mirror reflecting the complex reality of governance and power in America – albeit somewhat distorted. (Note that Looking Glass uses his mask to tease the truth of the human soul by asking questions about bias. Note that one of the first things we see Judd do is look at his own reflection in the mirror).

And perhaps nowhere is the complexity clearer than with the woman who we think is the main character, Angela Abar, also known as Sister Night. Regina King is as good an actress as we are in this country, and her participation in this series should have been the first sign that the Guardians have a serious agenda. King has built a career as a volunteer by playing complex characters in series that beautifully resemble the races of America, from The Boondocks to American Crime to Seven Seconds. She continues this series by playing a character who may be our hero, but will certainly not be easy.

We meet her at a cooking demonstration at her son’s school. (In a world where the identity of law enforcers is secret, Angela’s cover is like that of a baker) The Guardians are rich in Easter eggs suggesting images from a comic strip – I will resist mentioning them all – but we will find one here, very appropriately, in the eggs: She separates the yolk and shapes it into a smiling, comical face. What is perhaps even more interesting – although no further comments are needed – is that the white is separated in this demonstration. She explains that it’s the protein that forms the walls, and that if we don’t have walls, everything collapses. If even a little paint gets into the white, she says, the walls won’t be solid. I don’t think a metaphor is a clever recognition of the vulnerability of the white man, the vulnerable story of a society based on ignorance of its racist history.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that Angela intends to use that metaphor, and that’s what this is about. She herself is an agent of this lie, an accomplice in the story of white domination. The Guardians, as we suspect, will in part be a story about how she woke up with this truth and how she sees the reality of her friend and mentor Judd Crawford – that the episode ends with a promise – as the beginning of it.

Because we can already see it. I have already said that coloured policemen are not immune to the systemic racism and cruelty that affect the entire judicial and police system in this country, and Angela is no exception. We see her commit terrible acts of police violence: She breaks into the suspect’s home and kidnaps him without any legal procedure, then literally beats him to death to get information. The fact that their anarchy, cruelty and torture are directed against the white racist should not make us forget the fundamental immorality of the actions themselves.

I want to stop here because I think it’s important: If we miss that, we run the risk of missing what the Guardians say, just as many readers missed it in Moore and Gibbons’ original novel. I’ve already said that Rorschach (and other alleged heroes) in this book was intended as a criticism of the essentially fascist character of a superhero, but it’s just as important to note that they weren’t touched in this way everywhere. Alan Moore spoke of his shock in his interviews when he discovered that Rorschach, whom he wanted to take as a bad example, was in fact the most popular character in the book. Comic book fans reacted to his harshness and unscrupulous complacency – as they did with Batman in The Dark Knight Returns – by completely ignoring the fact that Rorschach was a dangerous, reactionary psychopath who was supposed to show everything that was wrong with superheroes.

And Lindelof’s watchmakers – deliberately and brilliantly quoted – attract the same misunderstanding. For Sister Night, there’s no mistake, villain: She looks great, drives a black car and kicks a phenomenal ass. And it seems that from every point of view, superficially, one has a kick under the ass on the right side. We like her and we want to be like her. But that’s just it: This freshness is seductive and, as we have seen in American history, American entertainment is made of violence and cruelty. It is the central element of any superhero story and therefore a good tool to study this topic, but it is not limited to this genre, as it is true in Western stories, detective stories, science fiction and fantasy. We romanticize foreigners and pacifists; we romanticize violence; we romanticize heroes who can break the law.

And this love affair of watchful love for people, where we use violence to determine how we feel about justice, goes hand in hand with almost every problem we have and have ever had in America. Partly for that reason we cannot have a proper weapons control law; partly for that reason we have surveillance and hidden weapons laws; partly for that reason we have a law on mafia violence and lynching, and the police quickly shoot unarmed blacks. It is a central element of systemic racism and a fundamental principle of American military interventionism. For white criminals, Tulsa’s massacre was vengeful justice. The clan, in their stupid costumes, no doubt thought and considered themselves superheroes. Police officers who shoot black youths consider themselves good boys, white hats, heroes, honest in all respects, and are easily relieved of their responsibilities.

I’m sure the guards will think so from the testimony of this exceptional pilot. These are treacherous stories that the series interrogates through the car of a superhero with a Trojan horse. It remains to be seen how successful he will be in the end, but the intentions and efforts are spectacular. For me, this is more than justified Lindeloff’s decision to return to the rich world of moors and gibbons that originated more than 30 years ago. As we read this world, we will read ours, and I look forward to seeing them perform together in the coming weeks.

Additional reflections and preferred elements

  • Welcome to my current HBO Watchmen reporting. For those of you who are new to my site, here is more or less what I write from week to week. I expect that in the future the real story of the exhibition will be dealt with in much more detail than I have done here – I had a lot of general thoughts to read, but I don’t really engage in criticism. I like to unpack the subjects and try to understand, often without mistakes, what it all means. И… Those who have been here before can testify that I write very long articles and that I don’t do it very fast. I will always try to ensure that new videos appear within a few days of the broadcast of the episode, but it is inevitable that some news (as in this case) will be severely delayed. Be patient.
  • I said I wouldn’t scream all the jokes and Easter eggs throughout the episode, and that’s not true, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like them: So far, the Guardians have done an honourable job and, without touching, have created a kind of visual and verbal echo that permeates the original works of Moore and Gibbons. There are probably too many watch designs (and accompanying pictures of smiling faces), some of which are very far away from me. But I enjoyed watching the episode, noticing the incredible attention to detail in almost every photo, and getting memories of the book I missed the first time. I especially found the man near the police station with the Zukunft Hell sign, which has a variation on the End of the Night sign that Rorschach carries in his secret identity as a street maniac. More important for the wider discussion was the old poster that hung in the Seventh Cavalry shelter and on which the original Minuteman dollar bill was shown in a surprisingly racist bank advertisement. (In the book, Dollar Bill ended his career as a bank clerk and died in a shooting when his cape hit the revolving door. As Edna Maude wisely advises: No capes!)
  • There are so many puzzles to explain in this episode, including the octopus rain, which apparently occurs so often that street sweepers wear few octopus symbols. The book of course ends with a gigantic interdimensional squid that appears in downtown New York and kills millions of people, putting all the states of the world on the road to world peace. But it was fake: Adrian Weidt/Ogimandias has literally succeeded in speeding up the peace talks. So, when Look Glass interrogates a suspect in the Seventh Cavalry, do you think the transspace attacks are hoaxes staged by the U.S. government? The answer could be yes.
  • Speaking of Adrian Weidt, it is clear that we have to believe that it is Jeremy Irons who is playing, even though we saw briefly the title that announced the death of Weidt. However, I’m presenting my first crazy theory here and I’m assuming that this character is actually John Osterman/Dr. Manhattan and that all these stories are set on Mars. There are a number of things that support this theory. Follow the transition to the first scene with this character: The camera rises from the cattle farm to the stars, and the stars disappear along the coastline in front of the mansion where the iron rolls.  The play proposed by this character is called The Watchmaker’s Son, which is a clear allusion to John Osterman. And, more importantly, there are two servants who don’t seem entirely human. But I thought you were interested in human life again, Wade said in a book to Dr. Manhattan when he decided to live on Mars. Yeah, Dr. Manhattan said. I think I might be able to create something. Historically, my predictions about the show’s scenarios have not been very successful, but I have every confidence in them. Don’t forget you heard it here first.
  • I’ve had enough this week. Now I can see the second episode, which has already fallen off. I hope I come back soon to talk about it. I hope to see you here and hear some of you in the comments.

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