Doomsday Clock #5 was an excellent read and an issue that helped to kick this big event in high gear. Johns delivered an issue that was crammed full of content and delicious details. Hopefully, Johns keeps the story rolling with Doomsday Clock #6 instead of slipping back into his more slower paced decompressed storytelling that has impacted this big event at certain points. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank
Colors: Brad Anderson
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with a flashback scene to when Marionette was a little girl. We see her hiding in her father’s puppet shop. Marionette’s father is an immigrant puppet maker. We hear two characters from off panel talk about how Marionette’s father works for them. That their boss brought Erika’s dad into America and he owns him and his daughter.
Marionette thinks how the powerful and established tug the strings on their arms and force them to do things. That they will always try to control you. Unless you cut your strings and cur the throats of everyone who ever held the strings.
We zip back to the present. We see Joker pushing Batman who is chained in a wheelchair. Joker’s thugs have their guns on Marionette and Mime who have their hands in the air. They are all walking through Gotham’s sewer system.
The Joker says how he would have normally killed Marionette and Mime for slaughtering his men. But, since he has captured the bat that has put him in a good mood. Joker says that his toxin will have Batman paralyzed for the next several hours.
Marionette gives a mocking apology to Joker. Joker wonders if Harley Quinn sent them to kill him since his birthday is coming up soon.
We then see three henchmen for Mister Freeze. They are lost in the sewer lines. They are looking for Mister Freeze. They freak out at seeing the Joker. The henchmen say that they got lost in the confusion with all the riots in Gotham. They say that Mister Freeze might already be dead.
Joker offers the henchmen an opportunity to join his gang. The Joker then has his old tattoo artist, Shakey, give the henchmen facial tattoos marking them as Joker’s henchmen.
We hop back to the past and see Marionette as a child playing with a marionette puppet. Marionette notices a boy her age in a shop across the street. The boy is Marcos Maez. His parents run a glass shop. Marcos then comes over to the puppet shop. Marionette introduces herself as Erika. Marcos says nothing in response. Erika says that she will show Marcos around her father’s puppet shop.
We cut back to the present in the sewers with Mister Freeze’s henchmen getting their facial tattoos from Shakey. Joker turns to Marionette and Mime and says that he is feeling generous and wants to know which one of them wants to go next. Marionette says that she will pass on the offer. Marionette then tells Mime to teach them how to wink.
Mime immediately grabs one of Joker’s thugs and gouges the thug’s eyes out with his fingers. Marionette slices off the head of Joker’s other thug. The Joker laughs and tells everyone to follow him.
We zip back to the past and see Erika walking down the street while playing with a puppet. Three bullies block her path. The female bully grabs Erika’s puppet. The female bully says that Erika’s dad is a creepy old man who makes toys. That Erika’s dad is a child molester. The female bully punches Erika in the face. The other two bullies pin Erika to the ground. They call Erika an ugly slut.
Suddenly, Marcos appears and smashes one bully in the head with a bottle. Marcos then smashes the second bully in the head with another bottle. The female bully runs away. Erika chases her and tackles her. Erika pins the female bully to the ground and asks if Marcos has any more bottles.
We slide back to the present. Joker leads Marionette, Mime and this thugs through a doorway. Inside we see a large meeting of a bunch of super villains. The Riddler is running the meeting.
The Riddler says that they all need to band together for safety. The Riddler says that it is no longer safe for them to operate alone. That they need to band together. Some villains say that they need to make a run for Kahndaq to seek sanctuary. Other villains say that Black Adam is lying about the Kahndaq being sanctuary for metahumans and that he is killing villains that go there.
The Judge of Owls says that the Court of Owls will not abandon Gotham. The Court of Owls then calls Typhoon and Moonbow (An obscure Firestorm character from the 1980’s) traitors. Typhoon says that Killer Frost is lying. That he has nothing to do with the Supermen Theory.
Riddler says that he has some questions about how the new Typhoon got his powers. The new Typhoon says that he got blown up in a nuclear bathysphere. The new Typhoon says that he is no government puppet.
The Joker then enters the room and interrupts saying that he has captured the Batman.
We then hop back to the past and see Erika’s father making a new puppet. Erika’s father asks if the new puppet should be King Arthur or maybe Dr. Manhattan. Erika says the new puppet should be The Comedian. That Marcos is always drawing pictures of the Comedian in class.
Two police officers then enter the puppet shop. The police officers recognize Marcos and say how “sorry” they were to hear about Marcos’ mother’s nasty fall. Marcos runs out of the puppet shop. The police officers then ask Erika’s father which puppet they are going to use this week. Erika’s father hands them a Leprechaun puppet. The police offers take it and leave.
We hop back to the subterranean meeting of the villains. Two-Face asks Joker who he has dressed up as the Batman this time. Two-Face says that Joker has tried to foist off on them that he has captured the Batman when each time it has just been a lie. Joker admits that he has done that in the past, but that this is the real Batman.
The Riddler tells everyone to please stay on topic and keep their attention on him. The Riddler calls the assembled group the League of Villainy. The Riddler says that they need to ensure that none of them are spies. The Penguin accuses Typhoon of being a spy and that they should kick him out of the group.
Typhoon blasts Penguin with his wind powers. Typhoon screams that if anyone else comes at him that he will kill every goddamn one of them. Suddenly, Typhoon’s head is split apart by a bullet from an unknown sniper. Marionette turns around and says, “Oh, shit.”
We see the Comedian standing above everyone with his sniper rifle in his hand. The Comedian then head shots a member of the Court of Owls. The Mime leaps at the Comedian to distract him from shooting Marionette. We see the Mime’s smiling face dead center in the Comedian’s sniper rifle scope.
Giganta then grows large and punches Comedian before he can shoot the Mime. The Comedian rebounds and shoots Mister Freeze and cracks his helmet. The Comedian then shoots the Riddler in the kneecap. Marionette grabs Mime and says that they are leaving now.
The Comedian punches Two-Face in the face and then grows a grenade into the crowd of villains. A massive explosion takes out a bunch of people. The Joker is on the edge of the room watching and exclaiming how today has turned out to be perfect.
Marionette and Mime run from the room. Marionette tells Mime that he is not going to draw the Comedian’s fire again. Marionette says, “That’s the goddamn Comedian.” We see the Comedian stepping out of the fire and smoke of the explosion. The Comedian says, “It sure as shit is.” (Hell, yeah!)
We cut back to the flashback scene at the beginning of the issue. We see that Erika’s father has finished making a puppet for Erika to give Marcos. The puppet is a mime.
Suddenly, the two police officers enter the puppet shop. One of the cops asks Erika’s father what puppet they are going to use this week because his daughter loved the leprechaun puppet from last week. The cops say that it better not be the mime puppet because that would scare their daughter.
Erika’s father says that he cannot do this any longer. The cops say that the Boss brought him into this country and that they own him and his daughter. One of the cops punches Erika’s father. He falls onto the floor and sees Erika hiding under the counter. She cries out for her father.
One of the cops grabs Erika and says that Erika will pay a visit to the boss if Erika’s father does not do what they say. The other cop stands on top of Erika’s father. The cop holding Erika says that Marcos’ mother said “No” to them and look what happened to her. She took a nasty fall. Erika’s father then tells the cops to take the Nite-Owl doll. One of the cops grabs the doll and opens it up and sees the money inside of it. The cops say that there will be another delivery next week and there better not be any trouble. The cops leave and Erika’s father hugs Erika.
We then see Erika and Marcos walking down the street together. Erika asks Marcos what should they do about the cops. Marcos says nothing. Erika asks Marcos if he really cannot talk. Erika then says that it is okay and that she will figure it out.
We cut to Erika entering the puppet shop. She sees that her father has hung himself. Her father left Erika a note next to his body. His note says that he is sorry. That Erika is safer with him gone. That the cops would never have stopped. That Erika is to take all the money he had and run. That the cops have no reason to follow her and she will be safe. The letter says for her to live a good life and that he hopes she will forgive him.
Suddenly, the two cops enter the puppet shop. Erika stabs one of them in the neck with a pair of scissors. The other cop grabs her and throws her into the wall. The cop pulls his gun out. Suddenly, Marcos appears on the scene and bites the cop in the hand causing him to drop the gun. The cop then grabs Marcos. Erika grabs some puppet string and attacks the cop from behind. She wraps the string around his neck and hangs off his back and chokes him to death.
We shift back to the present. The Mime and Marionette are hiding in a hotel room. Marionette tells Mime that he is not going back outside while she hides here. That he is not going to go lure the Comedian away from her. Marionette says that Mime is not going to leave her. That he is not going to die so she can run. That they are in this together. Marionette says that the Mime is the only thing that makes her smile in this dark place. That the Mime is the only one she wants. Marionette kisses the Mime and says that the rest of the world can go to hell but she cannot lose him, too.
Mixed into this scene are some panels of young Erika and Marcos living on the street. Marcos would dress up as a Mime and entertain crowds while Erika would steal food from street vendors. We then see Marionette and Mime as teens getting into street fights.
We see Marionette giving birth. At the same time we see Mime in a prison cell punching the walls until his fists bleed. We see Marionette’s baby being taken from her. We see Mime still in a prison cell and screaming.
We cut to the present and see Marionette and Mime having sex. Marionette tells Mime that she wants to find their baby. Suddenly, the Comedian enters the hotel room. The Comedian says that they did not cover their tracks well. The Comedian says that he only needs one of them breathing to tell him where Ozymandias is located. Comedian asks which one will it be?
Suddenly, the Comedian gets shocked and collapses to the ground. We see the Joker standing behind the Comedian’s fallen body. The Joker takes the Comedian’s smiley face button and puts it on his jacket. The Joker says that he likes Marionette and Mime.
The Marionette says that the Comedian probably knows where Dr. Manhattan is. Joker asks who is Dr. Manhattan and if he is a dentist. The Joker says that he needs a good dentist. That it hurts when he smiles. End of story.
We then get six bonus pages. The are The first two pages are an Assignment Approval form for Typhoon. They talk about how Typhoon is an agent for the Department of Metahuman Affairs. That Typhoon’s new assignment is to infiltrate the League of Villainy. Then he is to get information about Sanctuary in Kahndaq.
We then get a page from the Department of Metahuman Affairs about Creeper, Giganta, and Sandstorm. All three metahuman have already pledged loyalty to Black Adam
We then get a page that is the Report of Death for Typhoon. The report recounts how Typhoon was killed. The agent making the report asks the Director of the Department of Metahuman Affairs to please expose Typhoon’s criminal cover so that his wife and children know that he was actually a good guy working for the government and that Typhoon can be recognized as a hero.
We then get a page that has the General Release concerning Typhoon and a note from the Director of the Department of Metahuman Affairs. The General Release says that Typhoon died and that there will be no funeral and that donations for those impacted by his criminal actions can be made to the Metahuman Victim Fund.
The note from the Director of the Department of Metahuman Affairs says that Typhoon was an agent of the Department and understood the sacrifices that they must all make for the good of the Department and for the security of the United States of America. Therefore, Typhoon’s work will remain classified. The Director then says that Typhoon’s body is to be delivered for research purposes immediately. End of issue.
The Good: Doomsday Clock #6 was a beautifully written issue. Seriously. Johns’ writing on this issue is on another level from what you get from other mainstream super hero comics. It is obvious that Johns is pouring his heart and soul into this story. The phenomenal attention to detail, the careful and loving crafting of each character and plot line, and the intricate themes and imagery. It is all on a higher level than what you normally get on a mainstream super hero title. Johns is so focused and his meticulously writing style is shines through in the pages of Doomsday Clock #6.
It is rare that I attach the word “beautiful” to a mainstream super hero comic book. But, I absolutely would label Doomsday Clock #6 as a beautiful story. Doomsday Clock #6 is a spotlight issue centered around Marionette and Mime. Marionette and Mime are easily the two breakout stars of Doomsday Clock and, outside of the Comedian, the two most compelling characters in this story.
I adore Mime and Marionette. Yes, I know that these two characters are not going to make it out of this big event alive. And what a shame that is, too. Mime and Marionette are two brilliant characters. They deserve to be utilized after the conclusion of Doomsday Clock. Would I purchase a Mime and Marionette monthly title or at least a mini-series? Absolutely.
At any rate, Doomsday Clock #6 is all about Mime and Marionette. Johns spends this issue giving the reader the back story on these two lovebirds. The back story serves to make these two fascinating characters even more complex and nuanced. The reader ends up even more entranced by these two characters by the end of this issue.
Johns does a fantastic job with both Marionette and Mime’s backstories. We learn the motivation for Marionette’s codename and her gimmick. I love that it comes from her father being a puppet maker and the marionette doll that he made. I also dig that Mime took his name and gimmick from the doll that Erika’s father made for him. This was a logical explanation for why Erika and Marcos assumed the Marionette and Mime gimmicks.
The theme of all humans being puppets is rooted in the original Watchmen mini-series. I appreciate that Johns has done his research and has taken small themes from the original Watchmen story and has proceeded to expand upon them in Doomsday Clock.
In Watchmen #9, Doctor Manhattan teleports himself and Laurie to Dr. Manhattan’s fantastical base on Mars. Dr. Manhattan discusses how everything is preordained. Laurie asks if Doctor Manhattan, the most powerful being in the universe, is simply a puppet following a script. Dr. Manhattan responds, “We are all puppets, Laurie. I am just a puppet who can see the strings.”
Johns echoes Dr. Manhattan’s words by having Marionette state that people are just puppets whose strings are pulled by the rich and powerful. Johns effectively conveys the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness felt by Erika and her father as they realize they are nothing more than puppets. Johns builds off of Dr. Manhattan saying that he is only different from everyone else because he can see the strings. Johns has Marionette also see the strings and then come up with a solution. Marionette says that the only way to break free is to cut your strings.
Johns is responding to Dr. Manhattan’s position that everyone is a puppet and that everything is preordained. By having Marionette and Mime “cut” their strings in order to gain freedom these two characters become agents of chaos who operate outside of the preordained world view of Dr. Manhattan. This also may hint at the important role that Marionette and Mime may play in Doomsday Clock.
Johns brings this to a crescendo in the scene later in the issue when Erika kills the crooked cop with, of all things, extra puppet string. Not only does Erika become free by cutting her strings she uses them to kill her perceived oppressor. This was a wonderful ending to a powerful theme that ran through out Doomsday Clock #6.
I also loved the parallel between Marionette and her father and Marionette and Mime. Marionette’s fear of losing her father is reflected in her fear of losing the Mime in the final scene in this issue. Marionette’s state of panic over the idea of losing the Mime is powered by her childhood loss of her father that forever left a hole in her soul.
There is also the parallel between the Mime’s willingness to sacrifice his life in order to save Marionette and Erika’s father sacrificing his life to save Erika. I also enjoyed how Johns laid the foundation for scene where Mime to willingly sacrifice his life to the Comedian to save Marionette.
Before this scene, Johns shows the reader how Marcos again and again comes out of nowhere to help save Marionette whenever she is in trouble. We first see it when he appears out of nowhere to save Erika from the bullies. Then we see it again when Marcos appears out of nowhere to save Erika from the crooked cop. is what he did as a child. Also what her father did for her.
The parallel between Erika’s father’s willingness to sacrifice himself for her and Mime’s willingness to sacrifice himself for her is what helps lead to the incredibly powerful final scene in this issue. This adds extra intensity to both characters. It emphasizes how the Mime has lived his life protecting Marionette and willing to die in order to save her. It also emphasizes why Marionette is so deathly afraid of Mime ever leaving her. Not only does she love Mime, but her childhood trauma over her father dying to protect her has made her determined not to lose the Mime.
I love the intense passion and genuine love that Marionette and Mime have for each other. I love the selflessness of Mime. I love the rawness of his anger and pain over being separated from Marionette while she birthed their child. I love Marionette’s undying loyalty to Mime. I love her pain over her being separated from her child. All of it is beautiful in their own uniquely warped way.
I have always been fascinated by “villains” who are psychotic and sociopaths but still are capable of true love and loyalty for their mate and their child. This is what helps make the Mime and Marionette real fleshed out multifaceted characters rather than one-dimensional cartoonish villains like the Joker or the Riddler.
The only other characters that get much panel time would be the Joker and the Comedian. I will talk about the Joker later in the review. There is not much to say about his role in this story. The Comedian is a different story. The Comedian is fantastic. I adore this character. The Comedian is another character that has so much potential. I would like to see the Comedian involved in some stories after the conclusion of Doomsday Clock.
Johns nails the Comedian’s character is spectacular fashion. Johns captures how badass the Comedian is. The moment in the issue when the Marionette screams “It’s the goddamn Comedian.” and we see the Comedian walking out of the fire and smoke from the explosion and responding “It sure as shit is.” was absolutely fantastic! That is one of those comic book moments where the reader grins and thinks “Awww, yeah!”
It never gets old watching the Comedian mow down people. I dig the Comedians amoral character. It makes him a delightful change of pace from every other type of super hero that you see in the DCU. Hopefully, Johns has some good plans for this excellent character.
The structure of Doomsday Clock #6 is impressive. Johns is able to construct an issue like few writers. The scene transitions were smooth and seamless. I loved how Johns was able to tie the flashback scenes into the current scenes in an organic fashion.
The most impressive part of Doomsday Clock #6 were the final three pages where Johns is cutting back and forth between various time lines with each panel. The accelerated pace of the scene cuts between timelines help to give the ending of this issue a more frenetic and intense feel. It helps end this issue with a strong crescendo.
There is no doubt that Doomsday Clock #6 was a dialogue heavy issue that focused mostly on character building. However, Johns definitely injected enough action into this issue to keep Doomsday Clock #6 an exciting read. We get some nice action when Mime and Marionette take out Joker’s thugs. We also get a fantastic action scene when the Comedian begins kicking all sorts of ass on the assembled villains. And the intense flashback scene with Erika and Marcos taking out the two crooked cops was also incredible.
As always, the extras that Johns adds to the issue after the end of the main story are fantastic. These extras are such a cool way to add extra depth and texture to the main story by fleshing out the details and the setting and world of Doomsday Clock.
I like that we got to learn more about the Department of Metahuman Affairs. These extra pages all reveal the fact that the Supermen Theory is not an urban myth. The Superman Theory is true as the reader learns that the government is making an effort to manufacture and assemble as many metahumans as possible.
Johns does keep the identity of the Director of the Department of Metahumans a secret. I ma glad that Johns is teasing the identity of this character. We all know that Johns has a wonderful surprise in store for us whenever he does reveal the identity of the Director of the Department of Metahumans. Personally, I hope it is Maxwell Lord. He is a character that fits well thematically with the Watchmen setting.
Gary Frank’s artwork is simply amazing. Frank is able to bring the Watchmen’s world to life in a fashion that would make Dave Gibbons proud. Frank is able to take dialogue heavy scenes with zero action and still make them riveting. I adore Frank’s artwork. Honestly, there is nothing more to say about the art in this issue.
Yeah, the delays in the shipping schedule really suck. And the delays only highlight Johns’ decompressed writing. But, I would rather have the crappy shipping delays than have anyone else draw the Watchmen universe.
The Bad: Now, I love Marionette, Mime and the Comedian. So, I adored Doomsday Clock #6. However, I cannot turn a blind eye to the obvious Achilles’ heel of this issue. The pacing is nothing short of atrocious. Doomsday Clock #6 is hideously decompressed. Johns hits the pause button on the story and barely nudges forward a single plot line.
I know that I am in the vast majority with my next comment. Personally, I found the Joker to be an annoying and unwelcome intrusion into the story. Admittedly, I have not been much of a fan of the Joker since the New 52 started. The Joker’s inclusion into the Mime and Marionette plot line adds absolutely nothing to the story. In fact, I think Joker’s inclusion detracts from the story. He is not needed at all.
Overall: Doomsday Clock #6 is a wonderful read that I enjoyed very much. However, this is not an issue that I would recommend readers run out and purchase. If you are not much of a fan of Mime and Marionette then Doomsday Clock #6 is going to have virtually no appeal for you at all. Also, this issue has an expensive cover price of $5 and you get zero plot progression at all. Readers can easily skip Doomsday Clock #6 and pick up Doomsday Clock #7 and not miss anything at all.
All in all, I would recommend that readers do not purchase Doomsday Clock in floppy format. If a writer is not interested in writing a comic with a monthly floppy format in mind then readers should not bother spending $5 every month for that comic. Instead, wait until Doomsday Clock #6 comes out in trade format. Buy it then. After all, trade format is what Johns is writing this story for anyway.