Black and White Meets Grey and More Grey (Doomsday Clock #2 Comic Review)

Adrian Veidt A.K.A Ozymandias has devised a plan to take him and his newly found crew to wherever Dr. Manhattan has ended up. Will Adrian and Rorschach find what they are looking for? Or will the supermen of this world find them first?

Doomsday Clock #2
Authors: Geoff Johns
Artists: Gary Frank
Inkers: Gary Frank
Colors: Brad Anderson
Publisher: DC Comics

[!!!Spoiler Warning!!!]

What You Need to Know:
Adrian Veidt’s plan to unite the people of the world has failed, and the whole world knows it. Outraged, people all over the world are in mass hysteria. The smartest man in the world has run out of options and has a short time to find an answer when he finally decides he needs to bring home an old friend, Dr. Manhattan. Adrian and the new Rorschach (real identity unknown) have found a few pieces of their plan in finding Jon. Marionette and Mime are two criminals with a mysterious background, but who seem to have a history with the lost Dr. Manhattan. Although we don’t know their past, we do know that Jon has had the chance to kill them, but didn’t due to a heartbeat inside of Marionnette (and possibly other reasons?) and Adrian knows this is important information necessary in finding the unsympathetic superhuman.

What You’ll Find Out:
Not only is the Watchmen universe in hysteria, but the DC universe as well. “The Supermen Theory” states that the mass amount of superhumans that can be found exclusively in the USA are due to the government secretly creating these walking nuclear weapons for themselves. Regular citizens are outraged about this, acting no differently than the way the mobs did from the original “Watchmen” calling for no more vigilantes.

Gotham is specifically outraged by Batman and his reign of vigilantism, calling for “No More Batman!” the streets of Gotham fill with supporters, meanwhile, Bruce Wayne is taking a psych exam with none other than Rorschach paintings.
Afterwards, Bruce is talking to Lucious about LexCorp and their plans to buy out Wayne Enterprises, Lucious is afraid of their secrets being exposed, while Bruce seems to have other things on his mind.

The watchmen crew has little time to locate Jon, Adrian explains all people have a unique intrinsic field that holds their atoms in place. Jon has had this field removed twice, once in his initial accident, and once by Veidt at the climax of the “Watchmen” story. This caused the electrons in Jon’s body to begin pouring out explaining his blue color and leaving a unique trail for the group to follow. Adrian has a throwaway line about the owl ship being modified to withstand quantum tunneling, although he doesn’t go into detail it was really only a way for the reader to know they are able to jump dimensions, as much as they are trying to ground this story into reality, I’m glad they didn’t over analyze this particular scene, making you remember that you are reading a fictional story, that shouldn’t be taken as seriously as the original “Watchmen”. Before Adrian can get the ship started we witness the nukes finally hit the ground in the Watchmen universe, seconds afterward the ship takes off, barely keeping the characters alive.

After crashing into a familiar abandoned carnival (see Alan Moore’s “Killing Joke”), Adrian attempts to wake Rorschach by giving the first hint to his identity, calling out the name “Reggie” to calm him down.
I won’t get into the identity of Rorschach until it is revealed, but I’d like to know everyone’s theories down in the comments. Adrian and Rorschach decide to shackle Mime and Marionette to the ship so they can’t cause any trouble, and so the two go on searching for their first clues to Jon’s whereabouts. We soon find the duo at Gotham Library where Adrian is amazed by the mass amounts of Superhumans calling it “The Dr. Manhattan problem a hundredfold”. Seeing how this world is too different from their own, Adrian searches for the smartest people that this planet has to offer, and lucky for Adrian the first google link he clicks on gives him two names: “Bruce Wayne” and “Lex Luthor” which he decides will help on their search. Splitting up Rorschach locates Wayne Manor, while Adrian heads to LexCorp.

Rorschach enters the large mansion immediately spotting a stack of pancakes. After eating said pancakes,
the vigilante begins some detective work, very reminiscent of the search he did in Eddie’s house after his murder in the first few pages of “Watchmen”. After finding a hidden stairwell behind the famous grandfather clock, Rorschach alerts the bat that someone has entered his home. Rorschach goes on, hypocritically calling Batman a monster as he wanders around seeing all the trophies from Batman’s past. As he gets to the famous giant penny we see Batman come face to face for a meeting some fans only ever dreamed about. Doomsday-Clock-2-Art-600x483.jpg

While Batman and Rorschach are arguing over pancakes, Adrian has found Lex Luthor, seemingly more evil than he has been since “Forever Evil” Lex fires (executes?) a few employees before seeing an unknown man in his office. Adrian lets Lex know he is only here for a short amount of Lex’s time as he just wants to explain his mission. After explaining the events from the “Watchmen” story Lex wonders how Adrian could possibly think it would all pan out correctly, telling Adrian “If you are the smartest man in your world. I’d hate to meet the dumbest.” but before they can share any more information a gunshot grazes by Adrian hitting Lex square in the chest. Adrian turns around to see what he can only describe as the impossible; The Comedian standing alive and well at the door with his famous smiley face button.

Not to forget that Mime and Marionette are still locked up with the owl ship. As they become bored, Mime shows her a “lockpick” that they end up using to escape into the DC universe. 19448111_doomsday-clocks-marionette--mime-are_b7df696d_m.jpg


What Just Happened?

Finally! The first look at Gary Franks Dr. Manhattan and man does he look evil. Sporting the same zig zag shorts he wore slightly throughout “Watchmen” Manhattan is finally seen in the flashback of Marionnette and Mime robbing a bank. This scene reminds me of “Under The Hood” the non-fiction autobiography of Hollis Mason, the original Night Owl. On one page he talks about one of the original Minutemen named Dollar Bill. Dollar Bill worked for banks to keep them from getting robbed, or to stop clients from getting scammed. This looks to be the same type of deal, as the bank manager looked like he knew Manhattan was going to show up. Did Jon takeover for Dollar Bill at one point? Did this bank heist happen before or after Jon left? This small scene raises these and a lot more questions.

Geoff Johns creates a DC universe that feels more grounded than ever before. While Bruce Wayne blames all his problems on Russia, and Lex Luthor goes back to being the supervillain we know and hate “The Watchmen” are slowly creeping into their territory to cause the same grief they caused in their universe. Geoff has done well at making the two universes feel connected by similar themes. While the world is finally being bombed in the cold war era, the contemporary earth is battling its own doomsday clock due to the high tensions between Russia, Markovia, and America due to the “Supermen Theory”. This adds some much-needed realism to the DCU that feels necessary for a story like this, and hopefully, the whole plot device won’t be exclusive to this story but will become part of DC lore.

Writers and artists all do an absolutely amazing job at keeping the characters true to form yet interesting enough that you can’t take your eyes off the pages. Marionette and Mime are a highlight for me, not adding too much to the story itself, these characters are lovable enough to immediately feel at home in the DCU. Again I’m hopeful that these characters will get the DC treatment after the story ends. (duo buddy cop title like Green Lanterns? I think yes!)

The biggest questions are definitely revolving around The Comedian, Where did he come from? Is this a new Comedian, or did Manhattan resurrect him? How did he get all the way to the DCU? So many questions left at the end of this book makes it feel like the last two years of waiting for this story all over again. Which definitely isn’t an issue, it makes me think about everything I’ve read, but in a good way. Also, did he kill Lex Luthor?

I had a hard time reading some of the thought boxes, for no matter who was being referenced they always looked the same. At one point there are six text boxes, all belonging to the same character, except for one. This is easily a way to reminisce back to the older age of comics, where nowadays text bubbles are color coated for each character, But for new readers and quick readers alike I feel this can easily become confusing and difficult to read. Though this is a small critique that once noticed, is easy to pass by.

watchmen similarites
Once again we will look at the similarities between Watchmen and Doomsday Clock panel by panel I take both books side by side to find as much as I can to compare the two. While I couldn’t find many direct links to issue two of “Watchmen” this issue of “Doomsday Clock” was still filled with references and easter eggs from the original series that I love searching for as I read these stories simultaneously.  If I miss any please let me know in the comments.

First off the most noticeable scene are the mobs. In both “Watchmen” and “Doomsday Clock”, the world is watching as the actual doomsday clock counts down. In “Watchmen” mobs of people flood the streets looking to get rid of vigilantism once and for all. This looks very similar to what’s happening in the streets of Gotham as the citizens call for “No More Batman”. Although these panels don’t fall on the same pages, the characters within the pages look so much alike, holding the same style signs, and wearing the same type of shirts.

The backstory for Mime and Marionette are shown in black and white,
While this isn’t really common in “Watchmen” what was common was using different colors and lighting showing a flashback scene. Usually using reds and orange originally it was never difficult to pinpoint what was the past and what is present day, and they appear to be following the same theme here.

The scene with Rorschach investigating Wayne Manor was very similar to him in Eddie’s apartment. After the Comedian’s death Rorschach breaks into his home to check out the crime scene, even finding his way into his secret closet. The new Rorschach does almost the same exact thing here. Finding the secret stairwell towards the Batcave.

Bruce Wayne having to look at ink splots is very similar to when Walter had to do the same in prison. Bruce even storms off in a similar way even though he doesn’t kill half the buildings population in the process.

At one point Rorschach’s journal entry compares Adrian to a sailor hearing the sirens cry, pulling him towards the rocks. This is referencing the fictional comic book within the Watchmen universe named “Tales of the Black Freighter” this is also referenced lightly when Bruce is doing his exam he keeps answering that every ink splot looks like a boat or ship, lying saying that this is due to a friend waiting on him at the harbor. “Tales of the Black Freighter” is referenced all over the original “Watchmen” and it was only a matter of time before it got referenced here, I wouldn’t be surprised if we ever see a copy of it later in the story.

Again we have full-page text at the end of this issue, just like the excerpts from “Under The Hood” in the final pages of every “Watchmen” issue, the last few pages of “Doomsday Clock”  gives us online news articles about what’s going on in the DC universe. In this issue, they explain the “Supermen theory” where the doomsday clock sits and the dispute between LexCorp and Wayne Enterprises.

Rating: 9/10

Final Thoughts: Geoff Johns, Gary Frank and anyone else that might have had even the smallest amount to do with this book deserves as many awards as they can get for capturing the bleak spirit of Watchmen and blending it so well with the ideals of mainstream comics. Geoff delivers a story that you can tell has been well thought out, While Gary Frank embarks on the journey of a lifetime, trying to recapture the look of Watchmen without feeling like he’s copying the original. Both do their jobs seamlessly as issue two of “Doomsday Clock” marks a historic time in comics, where the Watchmen universe and the DCU finally don’t feel so far apart. A few difficult sections of dialogue and so many unanswered questions kept this issue from being perfect. Only small critiques though in an otherwise phenomenal second issue. 

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