I trekked out in the snow to the comic shop again this week to pick up a copy of Doomsday Clock #2, the second chapter in DC’s 12-issue mini-series that promises to bring the Watchmen and DC Comics universes together. Does it successfully follow up on the strong start of issue #1?
Some spoilers to follow.
What is it? Doomsday Clock #2
Who did it? Geoff Johns and Gary Frank
When did it come out? December 2017
It’s a good follow-up, but I was tiny bit underwhelmed by Doomsday Clock #2
I don’t think it’s any specific fault of the comic book itself, more just my expectations. I didn’t have many of them heading in to issue #1; I figured I’d enjoy it because I liked the idea and I like the Geoff Johns/Gary Frank team. But I was very pleasantly surprised at it—at the homage to Watchmen, about the story it set up. And I think that left my expectations quite high for #2. But it’s issue #2 of 12. There’s still a lot of story to tell; this early in the game, it’s all about putting the pieces into play, and that’s what this issue is. There’s not much action, despite the imminent threat of nuclear armageddon, and it feels a bit slow-moving at times.
So it’s not as exciting as issue #1—but still an enjoyable read.
For the world’s smartest man, Adrian Veidt makes a pretty brutal error here
Overall I gotta question Ozymandias’ plan to find Dr. Manhattan and convince him to save the world. First, Ozymandias, Rorschach, the Mime and the Marionette travel to the DC Universe, just as nuclear bombs hit New York in the Watchmen world; presumably, additional bombs are destroying the rest of the Watchmen Earth. Is Veidt’s plan doomed before it even begins?
Of course, Dr. Manhattan can play with time, but still…
Why does he think the world’s two smartest people will help him find a God-like being who’s controlling the universe? Even Rorschach says it sounds crazy… but then he goes along with it anyway. Hmm.
But the biggest mistake Veidt makes is one even I knew was pretty dumb right from the start: locking up Marionette and the Mime with handcuffs while he and Rorschach went out exploring this new world. Naturally they escaped. I hope that this is all part of Veidt’s plan; if not, it’s a really dumb thing for a smart dude to do.
Also—this sequence has Ozymandias and Rorschach viewing a TV, that’s inside a store window, facing out, still on, and still loud enough for them to hear. A couple pages later we learn it’s 2017.
Does any store—anywhere—still do this in 2017? Has any store done that in the last 30 years? It’s an extremely tired and cheap storytelling trope… it’s lazy. (Final nitpick alert how does Ozymandias know how to use the Internet, if he comes from 1992?)
I loved Rorschach discovering the Batcave
A clear callback to Rorschach discovering the Comedian’s secret stash in Watchmen #1, Rorschach picking up the slight breeze from the grandfather clock as the tin foil fluttered was a nice touch. It was an effective reminder that, for his attitude and savagery, Rorschach (the original) was a decent detective, and the new one appears to be as well. Just like Batman
And if that wasn’t enough of, the pancakes as breakfast choice were another hint that Rorschach and Batman are very much alike… despite Rorschach’s claim that only a monster would keep trophies of his cases, as Batman does in the Batcave.
Shoutout to Gary Frank for his work on the Mime and Marionette
I’m not sure how I feel about these two—their costumes and their schtick are pretty goofy, and they screw up their bank robbery pretty foolishly; they’re also shown to be a rather sadistic duo, with the way the Marionette slices the bank manager’s finger off the the Mime headbutts his way through a glass window . And yet there’s still something oddly charming about them; there’s something fun and cheeky in the performance at the bank. Mostly I think it comes down to Gary Frank’s facial expressions, they way he makes them emote; despite their ridiculous costumes they feel like real people. It’s got to be a challenge making a non-speaking character like the Mime come alive on the page, but Frank does it wonderfully.
Of course, Marionette does enough talking for both of them. Her filthy dialogue is a nice reminder that they clearly come from a different world than your traditional DC villains!
That’s a heck of a cliffhanger
The issue ends on a damn effective cliffhanger, one that shows us that those four cross-dimensional travellers aren’t the only Watchman characters in the DCU: The Comedian has returned from the dead, seemingly, to threaten Veidt. And he clearly has memory of Veidt attacking him in his home—the attack that killed him. Oh, and he shot Lex Luthor, right near the heart.
Meanwhile the final few panels show Batman and Rorschach facing off in the Batcave.
Those two sequences are textbook ways to end a comic book. Your goal is to ensure ensure the reader wants to come back to find out what happens next, and this finale certainly does that.
Doomsday Clock #2 may not have had a lot of action, but the last page sure does get the heart racing for the next issue. Despite a couple nitpicks, Johns and Frank have so far crafted a compelling story out of a pretty crazy idea. Looking forward to what’s next!