Review: Doomsday Clock #6 By Geoff Johns & Gary Frank For DC Comics


Review:  Doomsday Clock #6

Truly Laugh

Published by DC Comics

Written by Geoff Johns

Art by Gary Frank

Colours by Brad Anderson

“It hurts when I smile.”

The Plot

The story begins with a flashback to when Marionette was younger and her father is dealing with criminals.  Back to the present, Marionette and the Mime are with the Joker and a captive Batman as they come across some of Freeze’s henchmen.  In the past, Marionette is with her father who is a puppet maker as she first meets a young Mime.  Eventually, she is bullied and beaten, but is rescued by her new friend setting the stage for what their partnership would become.  In the present, they find the secret villains’ meeting set up by the Riddler.  The villains target Typhoon who was outed by Killer Frost earlier, but he denies being associated in any way with the Supermen Theory.  The meeting is….disrupted…by the Comedian who wastes no time in savagely attacking the villains.  In the past, we learn that Marionette’s father is from another country and is forced to help a crime boss from a couple of crooked cops.  Tragedy strikes and she is forced to adjust to a different life.  Back to the present again and Marionette decides that it is time to find their child.  However, she is interrupted by the Comedian who wants them for one specific task.  Fortunately for them, they are saved by an ally.

The Breakdown

I really enjoy the flashbacks and while it does make the pacing slower, they are absolutely necessary.  Issue 4 was dedicated solely to explaining Rorshach’s origins, but it had to be done.  Rorshach is arguably the most popular character from the Watchmen universe and the new one had to be explained or else it would’ve looked like Johns was including a Rorshach just for the sake of including one.  Marionette and Mime have been interesting so far, but in order to not make them one-dimensional characters and genuinely seem like they come from that universe they needed their origins explained.  It was interesting that her father’s actions inadvertently lead to her taking a different path than what he envisioned for her.  Also, this universe was bad enough that it created two would-be monsters.  The Joker being the Joker with Marionette was a much better reaction than him going in all-out attack mode.  They don’t know what to make of him and that’s been fun to read so far.  The Comedian’s appearance this issue was a welcome one too.  He came in and made short work of many people, but he also made Marionette realize their position as well.  So far they have wreaked havoc in the DCU, but the genuine fear of the Comedian shown by Marionette made that situation more interesting.  The only other time she has shown that level of fear was from Rorschach back in the first issue when she thought he was still Kovacs.  This made me interested to see how their experiences went with these characters back in the Watchmen universe.  The art in this issue was pretty damn good as well.  The expressions, the storytelling, the crisp line work…it’s all there.  Frank does a really good job of making a character seem innocent in one panel and then embracing violence in the next.  The colours by Anderson continue to suit this new story, but still fit in with the tone of the original Watchmen story.  I could not imagine another creative team doing the quality of work that is required for this story.  I’m looking forward to seeing how the next issue is going to play out.

BUT…

There was one thing that really had me irritated in this issue, the Riddler’s appearance.  He was rocking the Gershin look, which is completely different from the look he’s been given the past couple years over in Batman.  His attitude was completely different from the character we’ve seen so far in Rebirth.  I’m trying to hold off judgment overall because I’m waiting for this entire event to wrap up and I’d rather see the bigger picture…but sometimes this series feels like an Elseworld’s tale.  There have been a couple of examples in this series that have made me think that.  I have been able to brush them aside because we were less than halfway to the finish line in this series.  However, seeing the Riddler in a way that is really out of touch with what we’ve been seeing in the DCU annoyed me.  When this series is over the rest of the DCU is has to fast forward and incorporate whatever large scale changes occur here.  It would’ve been better for this series to at least acknowledge what is currently going on the DCU with some of their characters.  It also makes it seem like it’s just a version of the DCU interacting with the Watchmen universe.  The other thing that is starting to concern me a little bit is that half of the series is already over.  There is so much ground to cover in this series, re-establishing the Watchmen universe, properly introducing the new characters, the JSA, possibly the Legion (or it could just be Saturn Girl), re-establishing the DCU (I’m saying re-establish because the tone and circumstances are different in the near future DCU than now), and introducing as well as resolving the main conflict.  I don’t mind not seeing Dr. Manhattan yet as the slow build is working for me and I thought Superman would have a larger role thus far.  However, the creative team are the professionals and I am not, so I’ll just sit back and enjoy the ride…but I did start to wonder a bit about how much will get resolved in the final six issues.

The Verdict

Buy It.  A numbered rating for this one would be 9.5/10.  The emotional impact of Marionette’s origins was well done and I’m glad a lot of screen time has been devoted to Rorschach, Marionette, and Mime’s backstory so far in this series.   It’s making some of the characterizations as layered as some of those in the original Watchmen story.   This story is continuing to shape up as one of DC’s better offerings in a long time and while the delays are unfortunate, they are worth it with the quality of this book being top notch.  I recall back in Infinite Crisis, there were various changes made in the trade because of how some of the work came out during its initial release.  With the delays in this title, I’m sure that they are avoiding the need to revise anything when this comic is inevitably released in trade format.  I do wish that they could have been avoided, but when I read them as they are released I am quick to forget about the delays.  Frank is doing the best work of his career so far in Doomsday Clock.  The creative team has respected the original material and have done a great job of adding to the story thus far.  While I do have a gripe or two in this series, I have to keep in mind that the story has only been half told and that a lot has yet to be revealed.  Another great read this month.

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