REVIEW: Doomsday Clock #3  (Strong Glass and Poetic Justice)

The time has come for Batman to find out what was in the original Rorschach’s diary, but will he be able to handle that information? Will Edward Blake finally get his revenge on Adrian for what he did to him? Find out about this and even Nathaniel Dusk in Doomsday Clock #3!

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DOOMSDAY CLOCK #3
Author: Geoff Johns
Illustrator: Gary Frank
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colors: Brad Anderson
Publisher: DC Comics


!!! Spoiler Warning!!!


What You Need to Know:
All hell has broken loose across both the DC universe and the Watchmen universe, in what can only be described as a non-coincidental turn of events. As the streets of Gotham rage war on the Bat-Family Bruce is struck with the stress of both that and the recent questions on his involvement with “The Supermen Theory” (trying to answer the question why 97% of the meta-humans found across the world come from America, and are blaming it on U.S. Government experimentation.) all while attempting not to lose his company over to LexCorp.

On the other hand, Adrian Veidt’s plan has been foiled due to the information in the original Rorschach’s journal coming out to the public. The world and its peace were torn down as quickly as they were put up when the world becomes as close as ever to nuclear devastation. The new Rorschach (a young African-American man named Reggie, has decided to help Adrian in his plan to travel to wherever Dr. Manhattan has traveled in order to save their universe. With the help of two wild cards, Marionette and Mime, these four travel through dimensions, seconds before theirs is destroyed, to the place Adrian hopes to find John, the DC universe.

Once the gang crash lands in modern Gotham, they split up to look for two popular and powerful individuals, Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor. Leaving Marionnette and Mime locked on the ship, Adrian heads to LexCorp to speak with Lex about his plan, and why it failed. Meanwhile, Rorschach II ends up inside Wayne Manor, where he eats Bruce’s pancakes before finding his way to the Batcave through a stairwell behind the Grandfather Clock. Rorschach is met with grief and confusion when Bruce catches him in the cave, while Adrian runs into an old Comrade, The Comedian, who accidentally shoots Lex Luthor in an attempt to kill the man that had supposedly killed him, Adrian Veidt.


What You’ll Find Out:
Immediately opening up we see familiar panels that are taken straight out of “Watchmen #1”. An elderly and beaten Edward Blake in the middle of a surprise attack, but this time we see that it was in fact, Adrian Veidt that pummeled the Comedian and threw him out of a window falling to his death. As Edward falls blackness takes over the panels, only leaving the smiley face button as the panel fades back into a contemporary setting while Eddy falls safely into an ocean of water on the coast of what looks to be Metropolis. Hardly breathing, Blake hears the voice of Dr. Manhattan calling to him as the scene transitions to real time, with Adrian and Eddy at a stand-off.

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Eddy knocks Adrian into a pane of bulletproof glass, he sees the irony as the two share some dialogue before Adrian swiftly turns the lights out. The two have an outstanding brawl that perfectly captures what was only hardly touched on at the beginning of “Watchmen”, a fight between Adrian and Eddy. Eddy finally gets the upper hand and sends Adrian crashing through the window, only for Adrian to use his intelligence to pull off some impressive acrobat skills in order to land safely, but not unharmed.

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Next, we find Batman and Rorschach II in the Batcave as Rorschach tries to explain what he is doing there. With very little exposition and some very fun to read dialogue Rorschach and Batman exchange the journal that the original Rorschach wrote in order to find any evidence of Dr. Manhattans Whereabouts. With a small one page transition, we find Marionette and Mime free due to Mimes invisible lockpick form the last issue. They decide to explore Gotham and talk about how Adrian is lost and so is the fake Rorschach that is blindly following him. We go right back to Batman and Rorschach as Batman reads the information in the journal. Batman offers sanctuary for Rorschach while he reads the journal, so Rorschach decides to get clean.

In an interesting manner, we visit Mr. Thunder, (an original member of the Justice Society, signaling a hopeful return for one of DC’s most cherished teams.) He’s seen as an elderly man waiting in an old-folks home for his Granddaughter and her son to take him out. Meanwhile, The TV news broadcaster speaks about “The Supermen Theory”, Kirk Langstrom, and Rex Mason who are also suspects in US experimentation with the metagene. The old folks comment about the events, as realistic as possible these elderlies talk poorly about metahumans and talk about “real American heroes” throwing out real-world names like Teddy Roosevelt and Joe Dimaggio, and one fictional name, Frank Rock. One of the men argues about watching old Nathaniel Dusk films. The panels transition as the channel changes to black and white going through the Nathaniel Dusk story “The Adjournment”.

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The story gets told over the course of the issue striking a hard resemblance to the story from “Watchmen” “Tales of The Black Freighter” seeing as how this is what people want to take interest in, instead of Superheroes. Nathaniel Dusk is a Private Investigator who takes a case on Christmas Eve. His uncorrupt cop associate shows him the crime scene where two people were killed while playing chess. He must decipher who was the target and who was the bystander. Ironically later on a small bit of information is presented through a throwaway line that one of the victims was also a killer.

After Alfred show’s Rorschach every guest room in the house he finally settles down and asks Alfred to make him more of those pancakes before finally revealing his true face.

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He tries to shower, as the water starts to feel like the guilt of working with Veidt, and everything else that him as new Rorschach has done.

Marionette and Mime are seen again in front of a bar as they unknowingly walk into Joker territory. Immediately they are met with confrontation as one of the bigger goons take Marionnette and puts a gun to her head. Mime confronts him as the whole building starts to laugh hysterically at his “imaginary” gun. Turns out, the gun is as real as the bullet that flies right through the goons head as Marionnette and Mime take on a whole bar full of Joker goons without even a scratch. Before leaving, they decide to pour one last shot for the each of them, then decide to have some fun, and find the Joker!

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A little more of Mr. Thunder and the Nathaniel Dusk story is seen before witnessing some of Rorschach II’s backstory. He dreams of when he was driving, possibly as a cab driver or at least behind a cab when Adrian’s plan took effect right in front of him, the alien monster destroys everything around him in a flash before he wakes up in a deep sweat while Batman explains that he has read the journal and knows the location of Dr. Manhattan. The two team up for a few of the most astounding panels that I think have ever hit a comic page. Personally, seeing these two together were some of the best moments for me, But what happens next is a true stab in the back, for both me and Rorschach. Batman tricks him into walking into an Arkham cell before locking the door behind him telling Rorschach “You belong in here”. The sad expression on Rorschach’s mask as he pleads to be let out may have been the best use of emotion through the mask I’ve seen from both “Watchmen” and “Doomsday Clock” to the point that Gary Frank and Rob Leigh deserve awards for this panel alone. (see below)

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What Just Happened?
Once again Geoff Johns and Gary Frank deliver one of the best comics I have read since I became a fan of DC. Sure some of these first few issues feel like a significant amount of setup, but it doesn’t feel unnecessary and it’s actually fun to read. The parts that mirror the original work of “Watchmen” feels natural and welcomed while also expanding on the realism inside the DC universe.

The reveal of Edwards survival wasn’t complicated but almost felt too predictable it also opens up many plot holes from the original series. How was Edwards body found in the street if he was teleported? This probably won’t ever get explained, and in my opinion, it doesn’t have to be seeing as how they can use Dr. Manhattan and his vaguely known list of powers to patch any of those plot holes right up. He could easily take Eddy before he falls to his death and copy a whole new and younger version into a new reality, sure, why not? He is, after all, Dr, Manhattan.

Batman’s new chest piece was a surprise that I’m trying to cope with. Knowing in a year that my favorite symbol will be gone is a little saddening, but change is a constant here in comics so change is acceptable. Seeing as how he got the yellow oval back and how Superman is also getting his red trunks in Action Comics #1000 it seems DC really wants the world’s finest to look their most retro when teaming up against the doctor.

Marionette and Mime are still a mysterious duo that hasn’t seen much prevalence through the course of the story, but man isn’t it fun to watch them kick some ass. I’m hoping to see them used more appropriately later on when Dr. Manhattan is in full force among the DCU, but for now, I am actually enjoying their side story, and man that gun of Mime’s is cool!

Rorschach II’s big reveal didn’t “reveal” all that much other than what he looks like. I’m still going with the possibility of Walter Kovac’s psychiatrist’s son, but that a far reach and we will only know for sure when more information is brought to light.

Similarities:

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Here we will be looking at “Watchmen” and “Doomsday Clock” side by side to find just how similar the two are. In the story, it seems to be that they share almost no similarities, as “Watchmen” was all about how the world would react to an actual “superhero” and the real world problems that those masked vigilantes and heroes would actually face. It was adding the greyness of the real world to the black and white of the comic world. “Doomsday Clock” makes for a perfect sequel as it adds to this idea, but takes the bleak outlook of a realistic setting and actually puts it against the hope and prosperity found in most superhero comics. All good sequels always have callbacks to the original showing connection not only in story, but also in detail, narrative, and character progression.

First off, obviously, the very first page. This page shows the fight that ended Edward Blake’s life in the original “Watchmen” story. Gary Frank and Brad Anderson work their magic to recreate these panels only slightly differentiating them from the originals. The added fact that you can actually see Adrian makes going back and seeing the original fight in “Watchmen #1” has that much more impact.

Second off, the Nathaniel Dusk stories. Nathaniel Dusk is a private investigator and the lead protagonist of two mini-series done by DC Comics in the 80’s. Unheard from again until now, the story of “The adjournment” is a new story using the same characters as the original minis taking resemblance of the story “Tales of the Black Freighter” which was used in “Watchmen” to expand the universe and show what people are interested in since masked heroes are an actual everyday occurrence. A fact that most civilians in both the Watchmen and DC universe appear annoyed with. The actor that played Nathaniel Dusk in the films within the DC universe also has a backstory that resembles events from much later in the “Watchmen” story. Carver Colman, the man who played Nathaniel Dusk, was beaten to death with is own movie award, eerily resembling the death of Hollis Mason who was killed the same way with an award he was given for being a masked hero.

Personally, I found Marionette and Mime’s fight against the Joker gang to look very similar to the same song and dance that Dan and Laurie did against a couple muggers in the middle of “Watchmen #3” although the Marionette and Mime fight was a lot more fun.

Most of the other similarities are things I’ve touched on in earlier reviews. Things including the extra information at the end of each issue, or the real world quote’s that also comes at the end of each issue. The 9-panel grid is still the default layout but gets different variations more and more as the story unfolds.

Rating: 9/10.
Final Thoughts: Once again Geoff Johns, Gary Frank and the rest of this incredible creative team create a story that once fully told may stand up to the quality of its predecessor. As long as Geoff Johns can bring this story out of setup and into the full swing of things I see Doomsday Clock becoming a story that gets passed down as the rightful sequel and continuation of the legacy that the story of Watchmen brings with it.


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