Deconstructing the Doomsday Clock #5

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Doomsday Clock #5

It's been two months since DOOMSDAY CLOCK #4, when we learned the back story of the new Rorschach and saw him meet up with another Arkham Asylum inmate, Saturn Girl (of the future Legion of Super-Heroes). After reading issue #5, it's going to be a long wait for the next two months...because the next two months are actually three months. I've said before, Geoff Johns and company are mirroring the original WATCHMEN run so closely with this that they're even copying the production delays. At this rate, I expect we'll have the horrible six-month-gap between issues 11 and 12.

We open with Adrian Veidt in a hospital bed, lucky to be alive ("lucky" juxtaposed to the skull exrays we see of his brain tumor), having been thrown through a window by The Comedian and charged with the assault on Lex Luthor. He's treated as a metahuman because he wore his Ozymandias outfit, which earns him extra guards. We see that the world is truly on a WATCHMEN-like edge of global conflict, due to the release of The Supermen Theory positing that all of America's super characters were created by government design.

Needless to say, Adrian escapes his guards easily.

Rorschach is also out of Arkham, having escaped with the girl who introduces herself as Saturn Girl to Rorschach, prompting him to ask her if she knows Sally Jupiter. She's agreed to help him find Doctor Manhattan, and says what they need is "a great big light."

At the nursing home where Johnny Thunder resides, we see more of the Nathaniel Dusk marathon play out, and learn that Thunder has escaped his room, having seen a headline about a steelworks engulfed in a green fire. He takes the bus to Pittsburgh with the hopes that he can get the lantern and the genie back into his life.

Veidt returns to the Owlship at the abandoned amusement park in Gotham where he finds Batman waiting. Batman knows who Adrian is from Rorschach's journal, which means (a) he believes Rorschach's story and (b) he locked him up in Arkham anyway. As this meeting occurs, the Comedian is investigating the dead bikers killed by Mime and Marionette, and we see him tough-guy his way past the officers who arrive on the scene.  And where are the two villains from the Watchmen universe? They're killing more people trying to find The Joker, and they get directed to a meeting he's having tonight at "the light." Which light? The Batsignal of course. It's Gotham after all.

Batman confronts Adrian, believing that he's trying the same plan on this world that he tried on the Watchmen world, placing the blame on him for all the global unrest and riots about metahumans. Thousands of people march on Gotham, protesting the Batman's presence, as he is somehow at the forefront of The Supermen Theory. In fact, the only hero exempted from the protesting is Superman himself, who is still revered as a trusted protector. So who is behind the theory? Lex Luthor has an idea about that, and he's willing to work with Lois Lane on exposing the truth -- that the person who created metahumans for the government is also a metahuman...and a former member of the Justice League!

Johnny Thunder arrives at the burned out All American Steel factory, a rough section of town. This vignette is cast in parallel to the argument between Batman and Veidt, as police copters chase after the Owlship. Veidt blames Batman and his super friends for the condition of this world, clinging to a "simplistic morality based on pulp heroes." During the evasive maneuvers, Batman is thrown from the Owlship and into the riots below, while Mime and Marionette arrive at the Batsignal and Johnny Thunder runs from a street gang straight into a chamber where the Green Lantern battery sits glowing on a pedestal.

As Batman is pummeled unconscious by the mob, Thunder is beaten by the gang members with the Lantern, paralleling the gang beating of Nite Owl I in the original series. 

Thunder is rescued, however, by the arrival of Rorschach and Saturn Girl. So we know that the Green Lantern is the "big light" Saturn Girl was looking for to call Doctor Manhattan. Has he been The Thunderbolt all this time in the DC Universe? That would be interesting.

And with Batman beaten and battered--the Joker finally arrives.

Enjoy the summer, kids. It'll be August before we meet again for the next chapter. Just as things were finally starting to get good and the plot was really starting to pick up. At this pace, the only people picking up the single issues will be people like me who report on it, while everyone else will probably just wait for the collected edition.

4.5 / 5.0