Things aren't looking so good for DC's visitors from the Watchmen universe, with this week's Doomsday Clock #3 concluding with the new Rorschach in jail and Ozymandias injured at the hands of the Comedian.
A reference to the Justice Society of America also shows up in this issue, although they haven't exactly shown up yet. And as suspected (thanks to a variant cover for a future issue of Doomsday Clock), Mime and Marionette have learned about the existence of the Joker and want to meet him.
The issue also revealed the background of the new Rorschach and spent a lot of time on the previously hinted black-and-white film The Adjournment, a "film noir"-type movie that stars Carver Colman in his recurring role as Nathaniel Dusk.
Doomsday Clock is the event miniseries by DC Chief Creative Officer and President Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank. The 12-issue mini-series was initially expected to take about a year to finish, but Frank just confirmed that the series is taking a two-month break in March and April, and he expects that issues #5-#12 will ship bi-monthly starting in May.
The series brings into the DCU the characters from the now legendary mid-'80s series Watchmen, which was published by DC but previously existed in its own, separate universe.
Where We Left Off
To review, Doomsday Clock #1 and #2 revealed that four characters from the Watchmen universe traveled to the alternate universe of the DCU via quantum tunneling - including Ozymandias/Adrian Veidt, a new version of Rorschach, and married characters Mime and Marionette (invented for Doomsday Clock, but based on DC's Jewelee and Punch).
Ozymandias assembled the team (some of them unwillingly) to find the missing Doctor Manhattan, whom he believes is in the DCU. (Ozymandias is apparently hoping Manhattan can come back and save their Watchmen world from its impending nuclear destruction.)
Last we left off at the end of Doomsday Clock #2, Rorschach was seeking the help of DC's brilliant and rich Bruce Wayne - instead discovering the Batcave and Batman - and Ozymandias had asked a reluctant Lex Luthor for help.
And on the final page, the Watchmen character Comedian, who was presumed dead (murdered, in fact, by Ozymandias himself), was revealed to be alive and in the DCU.
In apparent payback, Comedian fired a gun toward Adrian that seemed to injure Lex and just graze Adrian.
Let's take a look at how Doomsday Clock #3 went down.
The issue starts by telling how Edward Blake/The Comedian got to the DCU. At the moment he was murdered by Adrian in the Watchmen universe - pushed out of a window to fall several stories to his death - he was transported somehow to the DCU before he hit the ground.
Still falling, he dropped into the ocean near a huge city, and as he climbed to the beach, a voice (depicted in a blue-colored word balloon) said, "Hello, Blake."
"Doc?" the Comedian replied (as readers are shown the blue legs of a character we can assume is Jon Osterman/Doctor Manhattan). "What am I doing here? And where the hell is here?"
In the present-day, Eddie Blake and Adrian Veidt fight in Lex Luthor's office where Lex lay on the floor bleeding. As the two Watchmen characters exchange punches, Ozymandias realizes that Jon is responsible for the Comedian's presence in the DCU.
Adrian asks Eddie where Jon is and what he's doing in the DCU, but the the Comedian just talks about how he'll be rewarded in the Watchmen universe for killing Ozymandias.
As the Comedian is about to shoot him, Ozymandias jumps out the window and - protecting his red cat within his costume - maneuvers himself to fall onto the ground in a way that saves his life, but leaves him with serious injuries as on-lookers approach his body in the street.
Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?
Mime and Marionette, who escaped from their handcuffs in the last issue, climb out of the Owl Ship and emerge in Gotham City. After visiting a bar and being told they can't wear make-up - the Joker's rule - Marionette offends the rough-looking crowd by saying, "Who's the Joker?"
A fight ensues and readers are shown why people are afraid when Mime points his finger - he's got some type of invisible gun, as well as invisible knives. He and Marionette (using her deadly wire) kill everyone in the bar.
The two sit down to help themselves to a drink, Marionette saying to her silent husband, "What do you say we go find this 'Joker'?"
Meanwhile, Rorscach is mumbling to Batman in the Batcave. Within his mumbling, he mentions that his family was killed during Adrian's plan (in which Adrian destroyed New York City to get humans of his world to unite). Rorschach's mumbling also makes it clear that he wishes he wasn't helping Ozymandias - "shouldn't be here; should have killed him; hate him," he mumbles.
Batman doesn't understand Rorschach's mumbling, so Rorschach gives Batman the journal of Walter Kovacs (the former Rorschach), a journal he just happens to have in his jacket.
As Batman reads the journal, Rorschach goes to freshen up - particularly wanting to wash after shaking hands with Adrian.
Alfred shows Rorscach to Wayne Manor's smallest guest room - because this Rorschach says he doesn't like big rooms - and the butler promises to make him more pancakes.
Rorschach removes his mask, and as readers suspected from the color of his hand (revealed in issue #1), this Rorschach appears to be of African descent.
He also seems to be pretty young, and as he showers, it's clear that the death of his family disturbs him quite a bit.
Readers are also shown a bit of his history during a flashback/dream. In the scene, the character remembers driving in New York City (with a little red cat figurine hanging from his rear view mirror). He says out loud that he's trying to get home to his mom and dad when suddenly, the giant alien monster appears in front of him - presumably the monster that Adrian Veidt genetically engineered and transported to New York as part of his crazy peace plan.
Poor Johnny Thunder
Juxtaposed with the previous plotlines is a scene from what appears to be the "home for the elderly" where Johnny Thunder is locked up - according to what's been shown in various comic books in recent years since DC Universe: Rebirth #1.
Johnny Thunder is a character who's associated with the Justice Society of America that was eliminated from continuity with the start of the "New 52." In this scene, he's looking out the window, waiting for a visit by his grand-daughter and her son. He says that they visit on the first Monday of every month.
But the two don't show up in this issue, and Johnny clearly isn't happy.
So readers will have to wait at least another issue to find out more about this former member of the Justice Society of America.
(However, as long as we're talking about the JSA, we should mention that a seemingly unconnected back-up story in the last few pages of Doomsday Clock #3 has a mention of "boxing champion Ted Grant," another long-time JSA member.)
In Johnny's scene, the television is on behind him, as several elderly residents are watching the TV and turning the channels.
In the audio and visuals from the television, readers get a recap of the "Superman Theory" (mentioned in issue #2) that blames the preponderance of superhumans in the United States on interference from the government, as well as a reminder that some demonstrators in Gotham are angry because they believe Batman is involved. Along with previously explained revelations about Metamorpho and Man-Bat, there's also an accusation from Sondra Fuller - or "Lady Clayface" - that she was recruited by the government.
Meanwhile in Germany, there's been an explosion that is rumored to be the result of that government's attempt to create metahumans, with a mention of the DC German character Wild Huntsman.
And Lex Luthor is in surgery at Metropolis General, and the TV news is reporting that "his attacker remains in serious but stable condition."
The attack on Luthor is linked by the newscaster to LuthorCorp's development of "metagene detectors," which are being set up at airports - and are not surprisingly being misused by foreign governments in a "metahuman arms race."
In the midst of all the scenes is the TV airing of The Adjournment, the 1954 film from Verner Brothers Studios starring Carver Colman in his final appearance as private investigator Nathaniel Dusk.
In the film, a police officer named Murray Abrahams asks Dusk for his help investigating the murder of his brother-in-law Bentley Farmer and the man's neighbor, Alastair Tempus. Dusk is a former cop who quit the force because of the "hypocrisy," but he appears to trust Murray.
In the film's voiceover, it's revealed that Dusk's "girl" Joyce was killed by her gangster ex, and her kids are being raised by their grandparents. Dusk goes to her apartment and finds an unopened Christmas gift that Joyce had under her tree for him.
At one point in the story, a character spoils something from the film - that one of the dead guys "turns out to be a killer too."
And the back-up material in Doomsay Clock #3 is a story from an old issue of Screenland Secrets that tells the story of movie star Carver Colman's murder. In the story, it's alleged that Colman lied about his past and was linked to the "Sabella crime family."
The back-up material also drops a few names of old DC characters, including members of Easy Company and the aforementioned Ted Grant.
Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne wakes Rorschach up - he's been asleep almost 24 hours - and informs the young man that he believes that he found Doctor Manhattan.
"I ran a search for temporal anomalies," Bruce Wayne explains. "And I found one in a place called Arkham Asylum."
But after Batman and Rorschach break into Arkham, it turns out that Batman has tricked his new friend. He locks him into an empty cell - one with the words "We're all mad here" caved into the wall.
"I'm sorry," Batman says. "But you belong in here."
The story ends with a quote from former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt: "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure … then to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
Doomsday Clock #4 is scheduled to be released February 28.