SPOILER WARNING: Usually our reviews are relatively spoiler free, allowing you to read and enjoy the issue. While this issue is still readable and enjoyable after reading this review, it may contain more spoilers than our normal content
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank
Colors by Brad Anderson
Cover by Frank and Anderson
Previously: Years after the events of Watchmen, the truth about New York and Adrian Veidt became public. The world is on the brink of nuclear armageddon, and once again Veidt has a plan to save it. With the assistance of a new man using Rorschach’s name and outfit, Veidt has recruited two criminals, The Mime and The Marionette, to help with his plan to find Dr. Manhattan and ask him to save them all.
What Happened: This issue opens with two stories being told simultaneously. One of them is a flashback showing The Mime and the Marionette during their criminal days, and the other shows The Mime, The Marionette, Adrian Veidt and the new Rorschach all in Nite Owl’s old basement, their current base of operations. Adrian has given the two criminals their old costumes as a sign of good faith, and he and Rorschach debate the virtue and value of working with sociopathic criminals. Veidt reminds Rorschach that they’re all criminals, and have been since the Keene Act. But if they manage to find Manhattan and convince him to save the world, they can be heroes again. Veidt explains that Manhattan has changed, and that he believes he can convince him to return, using memories like Marionette to remind Jon of his past. Veidt and Rorschach watch a security camera feed from an old bank heist, and there we watch the flashback with them. Mime and Marionette go through the standard procedure of bank robbery, taking hostages and demanding that the manager open the safe. The classic scene is interrupted when Dr. Manhattan suddenly appears in the lobby of the Bank. He points at The Mime, and The Mime points his “gun” back at Dr. Manhattan. Marionette throws herself between the two and demands that before his kills her husband, Manhattan is going to have to kill her. Dr. Manhattan raises his hand as if to kill them both, but pauses. He hears a heartbeat, and notices that Marionette is pregnant. Manhattan vanishes, sparing both of the bank robbers even though they had killed thirty-seven people on their crime spree that ended there. The two are surrounded by police and arrested as out perspective returns to the present. The monitors that Adrian and Rorschach are watching being to go static, indicating that the nukes of the world have been launched. The four unlikely companions all board Archimedes as Veidt explains how he developed a way to track the electrons that leak from Dr. Manhattans body. As the world come to an end, Adrian pushes the final button that launches their ship into a parallel Universe.
In Gotham City, we see Bruce Wayne sitting with a psychiatrist, who is administering a Rorschach ink blots test. Bruce identifies every one as a boat, playing the part of the vapid playboy, and leaves as soon as possible. He meets up with Lucius Fox, complaining about his insurance-mandated annual pschevals, but Lucius just says that Bruce has no one but himself to blame for answering one honestly seven years prior. The two move on to discuss the other problems plaguing Gotham right now. LexCorp is making an effort to buy a controlling interest in Wayne Enterprises, allegations that the US Government has been endangering citizens in a pro-superhero propaganda campaign has turned the public against masked heroes like Batman, and Mad Hatter is on the loose with his henchmen Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Lucius begs Bruce to focus on the problems he can solve as Bruce Wayne, but Batman leaves to stop Mad Hatter.
Not far away, Archimedes crash-lands in the condemned ruins of Amusement Mile. Rorschach and Ozymandias handcuff Mime and Marionette in Archie, and begin their search. Using Ozy’s small pet and his upgrades to their ship, they determine that this is the Universe that Dr. Manhattan came to when he left theirs in 1986. They go to an abandoned library, and Adrian Veidt begins his research. His plan is to find the two smartest people in the world, and for each of them to meet one and explain why they are here, and to ask for any help finding Jon. He finds that the smartest men on the planet are Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne, and Ozy decides he will meet with the smartest.
Rorschach goes to Wayne Manor, finding it empty while Batman is out punching evil right in the neck. He notices something strange about the Grandfather Clock, and finds the entrance to The Batcave. All of the trophies and memories of the past remind him of Walter Kovacs, and his tendency to hold on to the past, to never let things go. He trips a sensor in the cave, and Batman quickly takes care of Mad Hatter and the twins before hastily making his way back to The Batcave, where he finds Rorschach waiting for him, unafraid.
At LexCorp, Lex Luthor enters his office to find a fully Ozymandias waiting for him. Adrian introduces himself as the smartest man from his Earth, and Luthor is immediately skeptical. He explains the events of Watchmen to Luthor while the audience briefly checks in with Mime and Marionette inside Archie, who waste no time escaping from their handcuffs. After hearing the story, Lex is unimpressed with the violent scheme that this self-proclaimed “smartest man” thought would bring peace to all mankind. Veidt isn’t shaken, and moves forward with his proposal, but is interrupted when he hears something behind him. Adrian reacts and ducks just in time to avoid a bullet meant to kill him, as it sails past him and hits Lex in the side. He turns to find The Comedian standing in front of him. Eddie seems to remember that Ozy killed him, and has no plans to allow it to happen again.
Thoughts on the issue: Now that the scene is appropriately set, the plot of Doomsday clock kicks off with the long awaited meeting of Watchmen and the DCU. Ozy meets Lex, Batman meets Rorschach, and things will never be the same. Add in a fun story with Mime and Marionette and a shocking reveal at the end with The Comedian’s return, and you’ve got one exciting comic. Geoff Johns embraces a storytelling style that weaves several plots together. In the first half we see the flashback bank heist taking place on the same pages that we see Rorschach and Ozy’s debate about villains and morality. Then, after the transition to the other Universe, we watch Rorschach investigate Wayne Manor while hearing Ozy’s conversation with Lex and witnessing the endearing escape of Mime and Marionette. And one last thing: While Gary Frank’s art is impeccable as usual, it’s undeniable that his Comedian looks uncannily like Tom Selleck.