Hey guys! It’s been awhile since we talked about Doomsday Clock! Mostly because the book’s schedule keeps changing, moving from monthly to bi-monthly (that’s once every two months, not twice a month, damn you English language!!!) and also because, well, life. Yes I know, boo on me. String me up and incinerate me in a squid explosion in New York City. So in honor of the release of Doomsday Clock #7, we’re gonna catch you up with a double review so you can go out and pick it up and not feel like you’re missing something here. Sound good?
WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS...DUH
Issue two begins with a flashback to a bank job Marionette and the Mime are pulling contrasted with the escape of Rorschach II and Ozymandias in the present. If you have no idea what in Doctor Manhattan’s big blue dong I’m talking about, then I refer you to our review of the first issue. The past bank heist goes belly up and the two criminals trip the alarm but unfortunately for them the bank is protected by Dr. Manhattan who doesn’t kill the couple because Mime is pregnant, and instead leaves them for the police. In the present, Ozymandias fixes up Nite Owl II’s old ship, Archimedes, and makes it so that it can follow Doctor Manhattan. Their timing is impeccable too as the Russians nuke their location in what very well may be the end of the 90’s Watchmen Universe. With that we transition to the main DC Universe, where Bruce Wayne is ironically going through a Rorschach test and facing more problems than just mental health. Lexcorp is trying to buyout Wayne Enterprises and spy on them, and Wayne Enterprises itself is trying to kick Bruce out. All of Gotham has turned against the Dark Knight in the face of the “Supermen Theory”, that’s blaming the U.S. Government for the creation of metahumans as agents against foreign aggression. In short, life sucks and no one likes Batman. What else is new? Back with our not-dead protagonists, Archimedes crash lands into the circus from The Killing Joke and knocks out almost everyone on-board. Here we learn the new Rorschach’s name is Reggie, and Marionette and Mime are handcuffed to the ship so that they cannot kill and maim people, or cause any trouble. Ozy and Reggie go out to explore this new universe they landed in as well as to find the two smartest men of this world, Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne, to convince them to help their cause. Ozymandias goes after Lex, who calls him a quack and tries to kick him out of his office before (SPOILERS, just in case you’re not paying attention) The Comedian (Edward Blake), back from the dead, takes a shot at both of them. The issue ends with Batman finding Rorschach in the Batcave, and comments on how he ate the dark knight’s breakfast.
Issue 3 opens up with the Comedian’s death from the original Watchmen comic, but with the added bonus of him surviving and washing up on a beach in presumably the DC Universe at the behest of Doctor Manhattan. Cut back to the present with Eddie Blake cornering Ozymandias and the two fighting until he injures Ozy and escapes by jumping out the window, several stories down. Meanwhile, in the deep dark lair of the Batcave, Batman and Rorschach II cross-examine each other and Reggie asks for his help. Hey, I wonder what’s going on with Marionette and Mime? Oh looks like they’ve escaped and are going out for a drink.
You know what else I’ve been thinking about lately?
Johnny Thunder. You know, Johnny Thunder… The Justice Society of America member? No?
Well he’s in an old folks home and his family has forgotten about him. How cheery. It’s here that we are also introduced to a detective serial from the 50's that serves as Doomsday Clock’s version of The Black Freighter comic from Watchmen. In the meantime, it looks like Marionette and Mime have found a local watering hole for that drink. Unfortunately, the bar is on Joker turf and oddly enough he and his gang don’t take kindly to those dressed in clown paraphernalia. Even more unfortunate is how our deadly couple wipes the figurative and somewhat literal floor with the Joker’s goons. After they quench both their blood lust and thirst, the two decide to stretch their legs and see what this Joker character is all about. We then return to Reggie at Wayne Manor waking up from a traumatic memory of the “space squid attack” from the end of Watchmen. He’s been asleep for a bit which has given Batman the chance to read through Walter Kovacs’ journal that Reggie had on him and says he’s found Doctor Manhattan. The two suit up and go to Arkham Asylum, while quipping about Rorschach needing a better grappling hook. Batman leads him into a prison cell for him to see Manhattan but it turns out (ahem) IT’S A TRAP! Doctor Manhattan isn’t there and Batman locks the cell, believing Rorschach to be just another costumed crazy in Gotham City.
Doomsday Clock is still hitting the high notes, even if the release dates seem farther apart. I still love how Johns is progressing this and how the overall story will unfold. One problem I do have is that it feels like it’s pandering to the fans a bit, as well as being a little fan-fic-y. At least in the sense that “aw, you’re resurrecting the comedian, duuude!” Don’t get me wrong it’s cool but it kinda retracts from the original comic. But hey, we also had Before Watchmen so what the hell. I still think it’s a fun story though and some of the concepts are really interesting, like the Supermen Theory or the detective serial in place of The Black Freighter. I’m more interested in seeing the return of the JSA hinted back in DC Rebirth and this comic, but I’m at peace with the crossover and the art is still fantastic! Gary Frank can do no wrong in my eyes. Overall pretty good comic, let’s see what happens next!
Verdict: 8.5 Joker Gangs
TO BE CONTINUED…