doomsday clock
Pages: 32

Storyline: C

Artwork: A+

Fine. I didn’t want it to be this way, but since Doomsday Clock is so insistent on mimicking the original Watchmen story, then it’s forcing my hand to draw comparisons.

Doomsday Clock 4

Reggie Long – the second Rorschach – is forced to adjust to his new surroundings after having been institutionalized by Batman. Within Arkham Asylum’s cold walls, surrounded by Gotham’s most insane criminals, he reflects on his own troubled past and the events which led him to don Rorschach’s mask. As a survivor of Ozymandias’s plan to save the world, his mind was left shattered and he spent time in an asylum on his Earth. Yet a chance meeting with former Minutemen member Byron Lewis helped Reggie to piece together the fragments of his own life… in turn, creating a new persona.

As events unravelled on his world and Ozymandias’s role in the New York incident came under increasing scrutiny, Reggie gained a new purpose. But what lead him to his current situation, and can he escape Arkham to find the missing Doctor Manhattan?

Doomsday Clock 4

Imitation, as the saying goes these days, is the sincerest form of flattery. However, the full quote isImitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” It’s sadly fitting that this quote can be applied to the second Rorschach character, the nature of his “origin” story, and this issue in general. Whether it’s intentional or not depends on how seriously the reader is taking Geoff Johns’s work here, and on whether Johns is trying to recreate Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s style on the original Watchmen while taking it forward… or whether he’s simply insulting it.

While Doomsday Clock #4 is a perfectly serviceable origin story in its own right, it’s also bland, predictable and mostly boring. There’s little tension and almost every supposed revelation and reveal falls flat. Since Rorschach II hasn’t proven to be an interesting character so far, there’s little reason to care about his ordeals. While other elements of the story do work, especially the bittersweet tale of Byron Lewis, on the whole the issue it seems much like the second Rorschach himself: a cheap knock-off.

doomsday clock

Also, it’s too unfocused for its own good. The scene transitions are abrupt and ragged, but then maybe that’s the point since poor Reggie’s mind is so fractured. If so then it’s a risky but poor writing decision, and if not then that makes it even worse. It’s possible that there’s some clumsy meta-textual joke on duality that’s saying this issue is meant to be an intentionally mediocre version of the original Rorschach’s origin… but it’s unlikely.

The only real saving grace is Gary Frank’s impressive artwork but, unfortunately, Doomsday Clock #4 is average at best. At a stage where readers should be left wanting more, it has the opposite effect and makes you question why you’re bothering with it at all. It’s been nearly two years since Doctor Manhattan was first teased in Rebirth but, at this stage, it’s hard to even care anymore if he ever shows up. An issue like this doesn’t help matters, nor does it inspire confidence in how this storyline is going.

Doomsday Clock #4 isn’t greatness. It’s mediocrity imitating greatness.

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  1. James McGill

    Spoiler warning for this comment
    I completely disagree with this. Are you seriously telling me that you’re not at all interested in Rorshach II? I’ve been wondering who he was since he appeared in issue 1, and why he was almost exactly the same as the original Rorshach. I think Geoff Johns handled this excellently. Rorschach II is given a backstory that relates directly to Ozymandias, and not to mention he’s the son of the original Rorschach’s prison psychiatrist, plus he met a former minute man. Meaning he isn’t just some random guy, he was involved with the characters of Watchmen, which to me is excellent storytelling.
    Look, I get that Doctor Manhattan hasn’t been too big a part of Doomsday Clock yet, but to me that’s okay. Characterization is something that is far too often overlooked in comics, and the fact that they took an issue to devote to Rorschach II is perfectly fine with me. We’ve already seen Manhattan a few times in the series, but at least to me the amount that we’ve seen him is just enough.
    Plus what’s going on in the DC/Doomsday clock universe is very interesting to me. They’re addressing fears over meta humans and potential United States intervention in creating meta humans, this hasn’t been explored before and I’m definitely interested in what’s going to happen there.
    Doomsday Clock also has the potential to be extremely relevant for today’s world and political climate. The Watchmen universe is being destroyed by nuclear bombs which is a very real threat today. I appreciate that it can be nostalgic, entertaining, and also have real world meaning.
    Sure its slow, but that doesn’t make it bad. Breaking Bad can be extremely boring and slow at points, but there’s no doubt that the show is amazing. The artwork in Doomsday Clock is fantastic, the writing is great, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes. The fact that the team is devoting 2 months to an issue shows me that they care deeply about the comic.
    To me this series is far above average. It’s different and it takes its time, but that certainly doesn’t make it seem as bad as you say it is. Watchmen at points was even slower, we didn’t even find out that Ozymandias was the villain until the end, and they spent an entire issue with a conversation between Manhattan and Spectre II, judging by your logic, Watchmen should be given the same scrutiny. I love it Doomsday Clock, I’ve loved it since the beginning, and I think Johns is going to do a phenomenal job with the series.

  2. Johnny_Thunders

    I completely agree with your review. Doomsday Clock is a mediocre imitation of Alan moore’s work. Johns should be ashamed of this crap.

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