[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
It opens with Erika Manson and Marcos Maez putting their costumes on to become their alter egos, the Marionette and the Mime. Rorschach and Ozymandias explain to them why they are needed. During the explanation, it flashes back and forth between the past and present to give some backstory to Marionette and Mime as to how they were imprisoned in the first place.
Marionette, Mime, Ozymandias and Rorschach board Archie, the Owl-ship and set off to find Doctor Manhattan. The trail leads them to a parallel dimension where they find themselves in Gotham City. They decide to split up and talk to the world’s two smartest people: Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne. Ozymandias chooses the world’s smartest person: Lex Luthor, leaving Bruce Wayne for Rorschach.
Since the first issue, Geoff Johns has written these in such a way, you feel as if you should already know who Erika and Marcos are, and there is something familiar about them even though they are new characters created for Doomsday Clock. I felt it made the characters more compelling this way, but it’s still great to get a backstory for Marionette and Mime in this issue as they become more like their Charlton comics counterparts, Punch and Jewlee.
Rorschach and Ozymandias meeting Batman and Lex Luthor makes for a couple really intriguing and great geek-out moments that make me very excited for the next issue.
Artistically, Gary Frank’s artwork is superb as always, but it’s worth noting how creative some of his scene transitions are in this issue. In one scene, there is a close-up of Rorschach that transitions to Bruce Wayne taking a Rorschach test, and another scene where the bat-signal is shining bright in the night sky when it appears to have eyes. Then suddenly, Archie, the Nite-Owl’s Owl-ship breaks through the clouds. Both instances were well thought out transitions that come across very cinematically and could easily translate to a movie as beautiful match-cut transitions.
Not much to say negative in terms of writing or artwork. I am, however, still disappointed that this Rorschach isn’t really Rorschach. Somehow it causes the meeting between him and Batman to lose its magic. Anyone can wear a mask, but Kovacs made Rorschach who he was. To see Kovacs meet Batman is something I would still very much like to see.
And neither a positive or a negative, in the last review I suspected that the new Rorschach was little Bernie from the original Watchmen, all grown up and living the life of the comic book characters he read about at Bernard’s newspaper stand. But this issue debunks that theory when Ozymandias calls him Reggie. This now leads me to believe his full name is Reggie Long. The psychiatrist that treated the original Rorschach, Walter Kovacs, was Malcolm Long and even though they never said any names, there was the perception that he had children. Perhaps one was Reggie, who may have been able to get into his father’s psyche files on Kovacs.
As of now, this series is great, and I can’t recommend it enough. The artwork, the pacing, the new characters, everything is just done very well. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have really brought their A game to this series so far and I am anxiously awaiting the next issue.