Watchmen is full of bizarre imagery and unanswered questions. One character combines the two: Lube Man. Who is Lube Man? You know, Lube Man, the shiny tall guy who slid down a storm drain to escape Sister Night. Everyone’s favorite character ... Lube Man.
Thankfully for Lube Fans, two weeks worth of Peteypedia entries shed some essential light on the subject.
According to the latest canon update on HBO’s Peteypedia site, after chasing Lube Man down the street, Abar recounted the odd episode to her coworkers. Red Mask referred to the mysterious masked vigilante as “Lube Man,” and thus a hero (?) was born. And in the entries published after the finale, we get even clearer hints of the culprit.
[Ed. note: this post contains spoilers for the first nine episodes of Watchmen season 1.]
At the time there weren’t many hints about Lube Man’s true identity, but in one of last week’s Peteypedia entry, all about the book Fogdancing, Petey gives us some background on the costume’s inspiration. It turns out, silver jumpsuits were the uniform of the Fogdancers, a group of US black ops special forces that, in the book, worked to clean up the various war crimes of Vietnam and worked alongside masks like Dr. Manhattan and The Comedian. These suits even came with a special liquid agent called SPF-666, which the Fogdancers would coat their suits in to prevent them from burning.
Fogdancing, Adrien Veidt is reading in his cell during this episode 8’s post-credits scene, was a favorite among many costumed adventurers, according to Petey. And if costumed adventurers liked it, Petey was obviously, completely obsessed.
The Peteypedia entry also includes a plot summary of the notoriously complicated book, which a teenage Petey submitted to a Fogdancing-focused magazine called Nothing Ever Ends. The magazine ranked Petey’s summary last out of 50 published entries. Petey refers to this moment of public humiliation as his origin story in this week’s other entry. With his mention of an origin story, his obsession with the book, and his detailed notes on the costume, it certainly seems like Lube Man may be Petey himself.
Did Petey take his obsession with costumed adventurers to the next one by becoming one? Being a giant nerd, basing his alter ego off of a notoriously complicated book about the people who work alongside the real heroes would make some sense. Even Watchmen’s costume designer Meghan Kasterlik suggests he could pull it off. As she told Polygon, the costume is just a custom made latex suit with a belt on it — you know, to hold the lube. Such a simple look is something that anyone could cobble together. Even Petey.
In fact, based on the Peteypedia entry, it seems like we may not have been the only ones to make this connection. The reason Petey is reminded of his own history with Fogdancing is because he finds a copy of the book in the bunker of Wade Tillman — also known as Looking Glass — along with a copy of the issue of Nothing Ever Ends that Petey himself was published in. Petey even remarks that this is an odd coincidence, but maybe it’s more than that. Perhaps Detective Tillman was doing his own research on Petey, and drew the same connections we did about Lube Man’s true identity.
Update: The final episode of Watchmen’s first season has aired, and as always the Peteypedia was quickly updated with new information. It turns out Petey has been immediately fired from the FBI and has disappeared somewhere in Tulsa. This final note also contains plenty of information about the contents of his office which seem particularly relevant to his possible secret identity.
Anyone interested in taking anything from the stacks of media, ephemera, and straight-up junk cluttering his workspace — multiple copies of Rorschach’s Journal, hundreds of ‘comic’ books (why our society is still so obsessed with pirates is beyond me) and a jug of what appears to be some kind of canola oil, help yourselves. Let the record reflect that I have personally removed a new album by The Nine Inch Nails entitled The Manhattan Project
The memo, written in-universe by FBI deputy director Max Farragut, provides a final analysis of Petey’s character:
It’s clear now from his memos that Petey (Hero Enthusiast-Obsessive/ Solipsist on the Werthem Spectrum) is at risk for vigilante behavior, and most likely, always was. Perhaps sooner or later, this task force will be investigating him
So, it seems like the FBI think Petey is probably Lube Man too.