Why did Silk Spectre II put her costume back on in Watchmen #7? What did putting on a costume and being a superheroine do for her? I know Laurie hated being a superheroine but I never got why she also liked it a little bit too.


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TL;dr - Laurie is a highly trained athlete without an outlet for her physicality and a woman in her sexual prime who has been ignored/neglected by her lover. Although she had ambivalent feelings toward being a 'mask' in her youth, she now finds the idea of returning to superhero work thrilling, both physically and sexually.

As our tale opens, we meet Laurie, AKA Silk Spectre II. Laurie is bored senseless having been shacked up with Dr. Manhattan as his live-in lover and really not much more. This frustration culminates in her manufacturing a tiff with John and then reconnecting with Dreiberg. In Moore's own words, as we join the action in Watchmen #1 she is questioning both her sexuality and her usefulness as a person.

As our story opens, the new Silk Spectre is 38 years old. Her lover, Doc Manhattan, appears to be withdrawing into a sub- quantum limbo and she's starting to take a long hard look at herself as a super-hero and as a woman. ~ Alan Moore

Watchmen - The Absolute Edition

The fight with the muggers in Watchmen #3 makes her feel physically powerful in a way that she hasn't felt since the passing of the Keene Act outlawing masked vigilantism. She also derives a significant amount of pent-up sexual feeling from the encounter, both in terms of a release of violence, but also in that she shared the encounter with a man that she has always admired and found physically and mentally attractive.

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Moore is explicit in the script about the intensity and physical and sexual feel he wanted this fight scene to convey. "If you have to resort to cheap devices like showing more of Laurie's leg when she knees the guy in the elbow then I suppose I could turn a blind eye this once." Gibbons' response was to emphasize the active diagonals in his composition, in contrast to the more staid horizontals and verticals surrounding it.

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Watchmen: Annotated Edition

Note that the fight ends up with Dreiberg adjusting his hair and Laurie smoking a cigarette. The symbolism couldn't be more clear.

When the opportunity presents itself a few days later, Laurie jumps at the chance to meet with Dreiberg. She evidently went out wearing her superhero outfit under her street clothes so clearly she was, at least on some level, hoping to get into another fight.


Silk Spectre II does have an ambivalent attitude about superheroes- she was pressured into the business by her mother and appalled by how the others tolerated the Comedian. But superhero work was still something familiar to her and that she was good at - so when her relationship with Jon collapsed, she fell back on her costume and her superheroes work - it may not be perfect, but it was something she understood (and her first costumed adventure in Chapter 7 is unambiguously heroic - rescuing people from a fire - giving her a much-needed boost to self-worth).

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