Continuing with our coverage of Doomsday Clock, let’s take a look at issue #6. Will our heroes find Dr. Manhattan? Will Marionette and Mime find their missing kid? Will this series ever come out on time?
Issue #6 opens up with a small look at Marionette’s childhood while the Joker monologues about breaking free from strings and killing people with them. We flash-forward to the present where the Joker has been keeping Marionette and Mime prisoner, along with a subdued Batman, while he and the rest of his goons move through the Gotham sewers to who knows where. On their journey, they come across a couple of lost Mr. Freeze gang members, who freak out when they see the clown prince of crime, as well as a sedated Dark Knight. Instead of killing or torturing them he gives them a choice of ditching Freeze and joining the Joker gang, which they eventually accept.
Then we have a flash-backwards to the Watchmen universe to view Marionette and Mime’s backstory. Marionette was a little girl named Erika living with her immigrant father who works as a puppet maker. One day she sees a little boy named Marcos, who would become Mime, across the street depressed while his parents argue at the family glass store and decides to cheer him up with a puppet show.
Flash-forwards again as Marionette and the Mime escape. Now another flashback!
(F.Y.I. this is how the entire book is structured; one flashback, one flash-forward.)
Anyway, Erika/Marionette is attacked by some bullies while walking with her doll, who proceed to beat her up, make fun of her, and call her father a child molester (because he makes puppets). The group goes so far as to try to cut her, if not for the intervention of Marcos/Mime throwing glass bottles at the bullies and rescuing her so that they can then both inflict some street justice.
Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom!!!!! I kid, but it turns out that that’s where the Joker was actually headed. So all the villains have been getting kinda antsy in the wake of the “Supermen Theory” and they’ve gathered together to discuss what they should do about it and it seems all the major players are there. The Riddler, dressed in his trademark green with black question mark spandex, seems to be leading this confederation of evil, asking his fellow criminals whether it’s safe to operate alone. Tattooed Man makes a remark about his predecessor who was killed at Sanctuary.
So I’m gonna take a detour here for a sec to explain some things. Tattooed Man is referring to Heroes in Crisis written by Tom King which as of now is not yet finished and as of the initial release of this issue, hadn’t been released. Something also of note, Doomsday Clock is supposed to be set one year ahead of the DC Universe that was going on at the time of issue 1’s release, so by the end of the series (1 year) the DC universe will have caught up with the events of Doomsday Clock. Clearly, especially with all the delays this book has been through, the syncing up between the two has been quite off and things that are mentioned in this book may have been changed or were supposed to be mentioned at a different time. So there’s that.
Anyhow, back to the LoD, the villains all start arguing until the Joker formally crashes the party, to the dismay of Riddler, introducing his new “friends” Marionette and Mime.
After another flashback to Marionette and Mime’s rough childhood, we go back to the present, where the villains turn to Joker and ask him who the Batman is, thinking he just kidnapped some random person in a bat costume. Some rando named Typhoon freaks out and threatens to kill everyone before someone blows his brains out. It’s the Comedian. He’s tracked down his fellow Watchmen Universe peeps and is on the prowl. He kills an Owl and tries to kill Mime before Giganta screws up his shot instead hitting Mr. Freeze’s helmet and then shooting Riddler in his leg. After wasting some other lame or nameless villains, he proceeds to tail the runaway Mime and Marionette.
Last flashback time, I promise. Erika and her dad are in the shop when some dirty cops show up again looking for money. Erika hides while her father tries to settle things, but they beat him and threaten her. The next week, Erika and Marcos walk back to the shop from school and find that her dad has hung himself, leaving a note telling her it’s better this way due to the abuse they receive by the police. The police return for their usual shake-down, only to find Erika grieving at her father’s body. Erika grabs a pair of scissor and stabs one of the officers. The other goes to shoot her but Marcos bites his hand, giving Erika enough time to strangle him with a string.
The Comedian catches up to Mime & Marionette but they’re saved by the Joker, who steals his iconic button. The issues ends with Marionette getting the idea to use the Comedian to find Dr. Manhattan and the Joker eager to meet him, making a joke about needing a dentist.
Doomsday Clock #6, while similar to the structure of issue 4, did a far better job moving the plot forward while also giving us backstory on some of our main characters. Issue 4 had more vital background to the Watchmen universe but still felt a bit lengthy. Issue 6 kept the ball rolling and continued the plot with the “Supermen Theory” among other themes that Geoff Johns is talking about in this book. The meeting of villains is really cool and I like to see how the supervillain community reacts in times of crisis. Marionette and the Mime’s backstory was also interesting to see. This and Reggie’s backstory show that Johns is able to create authentic characters in the Watchmen Universe without it seeming too fan-fic-y.
Gary Frank continues to kill it on art duty, although here he employs his use of real life people as a basis for some characters. He draws Superman like Christopher Reeves, which I absolutely love but he draws the Riddler like Frank Gorshin, which I find to be a bit off-putting as a campier version of the character. Don’t get me wrong, I love this version like other versions of the character, but seeing this iteration in such a darker world was kinda weird. The nods and cameos here were pretty cool, like the Nite Owl puppet in the store or the menagerie of villains present at the meeting. So the clock keeps ticking and the story keeps on moving and it’s still consistently good and intriguing. Let’s hope it continues to be so.
Verdict: 8.5/10 Creepy Puppets