The origins of Marionette and Mime take center stage, while the Dark Knight falls into the clutches of his worst enemy…  Your Major Spoilers review of Doomsday Clock #6 awaits!

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6

Writer: Geoff Johns
Illustrator: Gary Frank
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: July 25, 2018

Previously in Doomsday Clock: After the truth of his manipulations came out, putting his world once more on the brink of nuclear war, Ozymandias traveled to the main DC Universe (maybe?) in the hopes of finding someone who can put things right.  He brought with him a couple of friends, including a new Rorschach and two face-painted folk called Mime and Marionette, who are now in the hands of The Joker…

CLEARLY NOT IN THE MAINSTREAM DCU PRESENT

We open on a flashback, one intentionally designed to ape the surface elements of the flashbacks in ‘Watchmen’, as a small girl hides under a counter while unseen voices menace her father.  In the present (of the story, anyway, as I’m still not sure when or where this book takes place in a larger sense, but it pretty much cannot be the DCU as it currently stands), Marionette and Mime are being held at gunpoint by The Joker, who has a sedated Batman tied to a wheelchair while he prepares to meet with a coterie of other villainous sorts.  Intercutting back and forth between Marionette’s story (which explains not only who she is but how she met The Mime as a child and the brutal, terrible lives they led) and the villain summit, focusing on whether or not to run away to Kahndaq in order to get the protection of Black Adam.  Ultra-violence ensues as The Comedian arrives, including a horrifying moment where he knee-caps the Riddler with explosive ammunition, ending the story with Mime, Marionette and The Joker apparently setting off to find Dr. Manhattan.

FUNDAMENTALLY MISSES ALL THE POINTS

The biggest issue with Doomsday Clock #6 for me is not the way that it sidelines the increasingly confusing plot (though it does), nor the way that it doesn’t really follow from the point Doomsday Clock #5 ended (though it doesn’t.)  It’s that Marionette’s horrific flashbacks to her terrible life echo Rorschach’s a little TOO much, making it all feel like a cover version of a story we’ve already seen.  We’re at the halfway point of this book and I just can’t figure out what the focus is supposed to be.  Is it a big metahuman war?  Is it Dr. Manhattan?  Is it supposed to contrast the terrible world of Watchmen with the mainstream DCU to make a point?  I don’t know, and this issue’s focus on world-building over plot advancement makes it clear that Johns and company aren’t worried about showing me.  Gary Frank’s art is okay, delivering on all his usual tics (with the added wrinkle of using Dave Gibbons’ layouts and echoes.)  That means that the backgrounds are full of texture and shadow, the group shots are a little too loose-looking and all the closeups feature really wide, demented-looking eyes.  That’s doubly disturbing on little girl Marionette, but I have to admit that he can still pack a punch.  A moment where she finds her father after his suicide by hanging is beautifully blocked and set up.

BOTTOM LINE: ENGINEERED TO PUSH ALL THE BUTTONS

In short, Doomsday Clock #6 is another issue of highly-corporatized comics crossover, aping the style and tone of a highly regarded story in order to tell a less-focused, less-interesting version of that story by high-profile contemporary creators in a pricey format, all the while missing the underlying themes of the book they mean to tribute and substituting violence and unrelenting grimness in its place, earning 2 out of 5 stars overall.  If you are one of the people who appreciated Zack Snyder’s DCEU film work, this will probably be right up your alley, and I expect it will be welcomed by fans and be a top-seller for this month.

But even if you get past the plotting problems and story deja vu, it still has the bigger problem of not realizing that ‘Watchmen’ was designed to be a parody of exactly what this issue delivers…

[taq_review]

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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