Inspired by the "Top 50 DC Characters" countdown at ComicBookResources.Com
The last scene with Rorschach is one of the best character scenes I’ve seen in super-hero comics. He tears off his mask (his “face”) as he’s goading Dr. Manhattan to kill him. He’s struggling with the fact that he can’t accept Veidt’s solution, but he can’t really assail it, either. Moore has said in interviews that he’s not sure why he had Rorschach remove the mask there, but that it just felt right. I’ve always thought that, since he finally faced a moral dilemma that he couldn’t resolve, he felt that he couldn’t be Rorschach any more, so he removed the mask. And, since Kovacs couldn’t be Rorschach, he got Manhattan to kill him. That was the end result of his black-and-white view of the world. It’s a heartbreaking scene - this merciless character can’t even extend mercy to himself.
I would go one step further.
It's one thing to dismiss the murder of so many millions of faceless, anonymous lives. It's quite another to kill someone face to face. Rorschach, of all people, would know this. I wonder if Rorschach -- as his final act on Earth -- wanted Doc Manhattan to experience what it's like to kill a living, thinking, emoting human being. As if to say "Take this murder, multiply it by a few million and then think about how you feel regarding what Veidt did."
What's your opinion on Rorschach's last stand?
And on a completely different note, what are some quirks and recurring motifs you've noticed about the mask patterns? Can we really assign a particular pattern to a particular mood?