Moore wastes no time investigating the series’ mystery and resolving most of its questions. He took two issues to set up the conspiracy and less than one to resolve it. There’s a lot with Nixon and “The Black Freighter” here, so Rorschach and Dan’s investigation isn’t even the issue’s focus.
The character stuff sells this issue, particularly between Dan and Rorschach. It’s an awkward but tender comedy. But there’s other little character moments, some with the newsstand, for example. The best small one is actually between a couple surpurflous characters. Moore uses them to move along a scene about the mysterious island and its dark purposes and ends up with an incredibly touching moment.
Gibbons’s art excels this issue; there are a lot of first person panels and he executes the timing and emotion well.
In the home stretch, Watchmen‘s shedding its excess baggage. It’s sad to see Moore reduce.