Doomsday Clock #2 – Geoff Johns, Writer; Gary Frank, Artist; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Corrina: Still Missing the Point of the Original
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The first issue of this stand-alone mega-event felt very much like as Watchmen sequel, with only hints of the bigger plan. However, this second issue starts putting the pieces into place as one world’s story reaches a tragic climax and another begins to feel the impact of an other-dimensional invasion. Despite the change in setting, this issue is no less compelling than the excellent debut.
The issue opens with an introduction to the Mime and the Marionette before they wound up in prison, including a tense encounter with Dr. Manhattan that led to them surviving only because Osterman had some humanity left in him. Punch and Jewelee, the characters these two are expies of, are generally absurdist funny characters, so it’s kind of surprising just how disturbing these two can be when they really cut loose in a bank robbery.
What comes next is a hasty evacuation from the Watchmen world for what seems like the only players making their way to the DCU – Ozymandias, our duo of new villains, and the new Rorschach. The sense of doom playing out in this world for the longest time reaches its apex here, with a tense escape segment that may just reveal Rorschach’s identity. Or does it? If it does, it didn’t quite ring a bell for me, although I have my suspicions. The question of characters like Silk Specter and Nite-Owl is still unresolved, but it seems like it’ll be another world’s concern now. There’s an incredibly clever transition from this scene to the first appearance of Bruce Wayne in this issue, one of the few moments that made me laugh in a very serious comic.
One of the most interesting elements of this series is that it takes place a year into the future of the DCU. For those of us who remember the “One Year Later” event from 2006, this may ring a bell, with a lot of unanswered questions. Without spoiling too much, it seems like things have gone bad for multiple characters, but especially Batman. Conspiracy theories about the nature of metahumans are sweeping the world, several major players have emerged including Man-Bat, Metamorpho, and Markovia, and Bruce Wayne is in a battle with Lex Luthor to keep his company. This leads up to the moment everyone has been waiting for, as the two major players from the Watchmen universe meet their targets – Ozymandias and his meeting of the minds with Luthor, and Rorscach’s bizarre encounter with Batman. But the issue has one more shock in store, easily the biggest game-changer of the series so far.
To me, this feels like it’s delivering on every level as both a sequel to Watchmen and a DC event.
Corrina: For me, though this issue is less setup and more action than the first, it still misses the entire point of the Watchmen comic, which was a meta-commentary on world-spanning crisis and how our imagination wants to believe that a few people could save the world, if only they had the power. Thus, the end of Watchmen has Ozymandias creating a horrible tragedy in order to bond people together but that ending is fraying still because Rorschach’s journal is out there.
Whether the world will ignore the journal or people will realize they’ve been had is up to the reader–but whatever reading, the ending hints that instead of unity, things will eventually devolve anyway.
And, yet, in this series, Ozymandias is criticized as being not very bright for thinking his plan could succeed or that this was his only plan to unite the world. Those are fan complaints and comments about the original series, not any kind of insight into Watchmen. Moore makes it clear in that story that Ozymandias is so filled with his self-importance that his ego leads him to think only he can save the world, even if it means hurting it first. His failure is hubris, not intelligence, but Doomsday Clock doesn’t seem to catch that. Especially as this new tale keeps treating him as your basic super-genius type.
This issue, despite the excellent art, continues to show how empty this sequel is, and how little it has to say beyond “hey, let’s put the Watchmen into the regular DC universe!”
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.