Deconstructing the Doomsday Clock #6

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Doomsday Clock 6

There are a lot of dominoes toppling in DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6 -- small ones, but ones that are sure to cascade forward and have a greater impact further into the series.

With TRULY LAUGH, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank delve into the backstory of our dollfaced duo, Marionette and Mime, taking us back once more into that horrid world of The Watchmen where nearly every one is cruel and innocence is lost early in life. Through these flashbacks, we meet Erika as a young girl, and the mute Marcos whose family opens the glassware store across the street from her father's puppet shop. Erika's father is beholden to the police, who use his store as a front for dropping off and picking up payoffs, while Marcos' mother defends him against his step-father. As events cosnpire together, Johns paints a truly sympathetic origin story for this pair.

These flashbacks are delivered largely while Mime and Marionette are in the custody of The Joker, who himself has captured Batman, injured during rioting in Gotham City. This is where things get a little confusing, because this Joker is relishing the fact that he's captured Batman: "The mine!" But Joker has captured Batman several times before -- and, indeed, it has been shown that Joker knows Batman is Bruce Wayne. But when Joker offers up Batman to the gathering of villains who are uniting to defend themselves against the latest threat they see in the heroes, we learn that the Joker has offered up several captured "Batmen" in the past, all people he's dressed up in the costume.

This could mean a number of things. One, this Joker we're seeing in DOOMSDAY CLOCK might be a different Joker than the one we've seen in "Death of the Family." This might be confusing, but Johns is already working on THREE JOKERS, a story to explain his puzzling comment way back in Justice League when Batman learned from the Moebius Chair that there were three Jokers -- an impossibility. Or, it could be that the Joker has offeed up Bruce Wayne as Batman before, and has since offered up other pseudo-Batmen to obliterate that revelation so he can continue to toy with Bruce himself; but that wouldn't explain why the Joker is so keen on having captured Batman this time.

The convocation of villainy is interrupted, however, by the intrusion of Edward Blake, the Comedian, who has been trailing Mime and Marionette in order to find Ozymandias. Blake has been resurrected from the dead by Doctor Manhattan. Rather, at the moment of his death in WATCHMEN, he was portaled into the DC Universe and a replica body left in his place. Mime and Marionette escape, but not before the Comedian has killed at least one DC supervillain: Firestorm nemesis, Typhoon.

Comedian eventually does track down the fleeing couple, but is then taken by surprise, giving Mime and Marionette the upper hand, as they realize that Blake probably has the knowledge of Doctor Manhattan's whereabouts.

The backup material of this issue includes files from the Department of Metahuman Affairs. The director's name is redacted in all documents, so we don't know who's running the show. However, we do learn that some of what has been posited by the so-called Supermen Theory could actually be fact -- that many of the heroes and villains have been created by the government, either in controlled experiments that were allowed to look like accidents, or given cover stories. In these documents, we learn that Typhoon actually was one of these created agents, and that most of his encounters with Firestorm were staged to help him develop his powers and to create his public cover as a supervillain. (If you want to do a little sleuthing, all the agents listed in the document are given code numbers that can be translated. Typhoon's is FL294-1981; Typhoon's first comic book appearance was in Flash 294, published in 1981.)

We're halfway through the series, and while we're nowhere near close to confronting Doctor Manhattan, we are definitely seeing references to other outside story elements illuminating the entropic path the DCU has set itself upon. There are references to Sanctuary, and potentially to events that spin out of HEROES IN CRISIS. There are indications that Green Lantern may have gone rogue, so you might want to keep your eyes on Hal Jordan over the next several months.

4.5 / 5.0