After two months of waiting, another issue of the much hyped Doomsday Clock has finally come out, but it wasn’t worth the wait, I’m afraid to report. I haven’t warmed up to Marionette or her mute partner in crime, Mime, so having to sit through a whole issue devoted to these two seems something of a stalling tactic, suggesting that while this is a 12 issue mini-series, there doesn’t seem to be enough story to stretch out that far. But, Watchmen was 12 issue long, so I suppose this sequel has to be that length too. After all, this is an issue that once again slavishly replicates the original’s narrative tropes and visual layout, and so this issue one again apes Moore’s reliance on flashback sequences cutting between scenes set in the present to reveal more about our focal characters.
Thus, we learn of the tragic events in both Marionette and Mime’s earlier lives that have led the to a life of crime. And, its a bit so-so; cliched one could say. Don’t expect the same level of drama, emotional resonance or passion that you felt when reading of Dr. Manhattan, or even Rorschach’s origins, when reading this issue. I mean, to have you root for the Objectivist, Rorschach, by the end of the original saga is some feat of storytelling that, quite rankly, Geoff Johns is not achieving here. And I know he’s trying. I mean, why else would we be reading a book that seems mainly about these two sub-par Jokers?
Last issue felt like it should have been the mid-series lull, I wasn’t expecting this to be even less satisfactory. Especially after waiting two months! Yes, we have a reference to The Sanctuary, from the forthcoming Tom King series Heroes In Crisis, and there’s a lot of chatter about the Superman Theory, with the only revelatory moment being when one of the z-lister villains is revealed in the additional material at the back of the book, to be part of the military operation everyone is denying exists, but clearly does. In fact its only in these extra pages at the back of each issue where the reader seems to learn anything of interest. This is becoming a story where the main event are happening off camera, as Black Adam’s Khandaq remains open as a sanctuary itself, to supervilains hounded in their own country, amassing meta-human army along the way. No doubt for a big showdown at the end of the series.
All the while Batman remains unconscious and in the hands of The Joker, who seems to be battling for attention as the aforementioned Marionette and Mime try to outdo the Clown Prince of Crime in their insanity. Indeed, the Dark Knight the only hero to make an appearance in the whole goddamn issue. Clearly we are meant to care about these two loners from another universe, but I simply can’t. And their one-dimensional origin doesn’t help one bit.
Still, with Gary Franks on art, it’s not all bad. I just hope that in another two months I’m not disappointed for a third time. I mean, that’s a strike out, right? Geoff Johns doesn’t get struck out too often. But then, this won’t be the first series he’s relied on the slow burn before hitting us with a home run in the last few issues. Here’s hoping that issue #7 goes someways to picking up the pace, and my interest.