We are officially halfway through Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s run on DOOMSDAY CLOCK, and there are now more questions than ever. DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6 brings the series to a resounding halt. There is no Rorschach in this issue, nor does the plot take any major steps forward.

Rather, most of the issue’s focus lies in The Marionette and The Mime’s mysterious origins. Johns deepens the universe of DOOMSDAY CLOCK by pursuing an unexpected path within its narrative.

Though DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6 may move slower than its predecessors, it is still a worthy read that excels in its portrayal of supporting characters.

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DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Playing With Dolls

After tumbling out of Nite-Owl’s Owlship into the depths of Gotham City back in DOOMSDAY CLOCK #5, Batman has fallen into the possession of The Joker who paralyzes the bloodied Dark Knight with toxins. Interestingly, The Joker isn’t alone in his capture of Batman, whom he is merely pushing around in a wheelchair without any clear indications of his ultimate intentions.

The Joker has recruited The Marionette and The Mime onto his team. The three actually have a lot more in common than their theatrical appearances. The Marionette and The Mime are brutal killers who do not hesitate to lash out at strangers. What The Joker doesn’t know is the root of the pair’s brutality, which lies in their childhood.

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No Rest for the Wicked

From here, Geoff Johns segues into a narrative deep in the past. We learn that The Marionette met The Mime when they were kids living across the street from one another. Corruption and evil deeply marred their youth. The Marionette herself spent her days being bullied due to the fact that her father was an immigrant, and The Mime spent his in silence since he was born mute.

What truly brings the two together is their disturbing relationship with death. Corrupt police officers terrorized The Mime’s mother until they ultimately pushed her down a stairwell to her death. We never understand the overarching motives behind her murder, but it ultimately left The Mime in complete isolation, finding his only solace in his relationship with The Marionette. In regard to this segment of the narrative, I do wish we attained more context in regard to The Mime’s own relationship with his mother and her death.

Those same officers terrorized The Marionette’s father, extorting him for money by threatening his daughter’s life. One day, those threats took a toll and The Marionette’s father took his own life in an effort to protect his daughter.

Thus, the two’s exposure to violence at such a young age catalyzed their rage within. They were left alone in a brutal world. As a result, the only response they knew to a world that showed no mercy was violence.

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DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Six Down, Six to Go

Johns certainly paints a detailed, disturbing portrait of The Marionette and The Mime’s pasts. I enjoy the focus DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6 maintains on these supporting characters; they have been a constant, significant presence since the run’s first issue. The presentation of The Marionette’s past also strengthens the darkness of this series, particularly the sequence in which she kills those corrupt police officers at such a young age in response to her father’s suicide.

Unfortunately, the other narratives that juxtapose the two’s origins are not as fleshed out. The villains of Gotham City and beyond have teamed up to form The League of Villainy in this issue. Together they discuss the Supermen Theory. The idea is that because most superheroes are of American origin, the government has intentionally experimented on individuals to create metahumans. At this time, we don’t exactly know the overarching purpose of the League mainly because The Comedian interrupts the meeting when he begins shooting and killing the League’s members.

This segment of DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6 feels more abrupt than the overarching narrative of The Marionette’s story. It moves too fast and lacks cohesion in its rushed development. As a result, readers may not fully understand the purpose and motives of the League of Villainy nor may they comprehend The Comedian’s abrupt appearance.

As a result, I hope the series’ upcoming installment will flesh out the conclusion of DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6.

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DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues of DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6

Gary Frank has been consistent throughout his run on DOOMSDAY CLOCK, and this issue is no different. He constantly uses neutral tones and subdues vibrant ones to enhance the issue’s dark, thematic elements. He also presents some beautiful parallels between The Marionette’s past and present, depicted through numerous side-by-side panels.

However, one notable flaw throughout DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6’s artwork lies in its repetitiveness. This can be noted in the issue’s organization of panels. Almost each and every page shares the same distribution. This ultimately makes it hard for a reader to engage with the artwork since it remains static and restricted.

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Also, the fact that the narrative moves quite slowly does not make engaging with the artwork any easier. Like my hopes for the narrative, I hope DOOMSDAY CLOCK’s next installment reinstalls the dynamic energy previous issues have presented.

What Lies Beyond

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6 is by no means a bad issue. In fact, its characterization excels in Johns’ portrayal of The Marionette and The Mime, and Frank does an excellent job in depicting that. However, the issue is certainly the weakest installment of the two’s run on the series.

The artwork and plot feel too boxed in for the universe it takes place within. As a result, I hope the next issue addresses the faults of this one by improving upon them.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank
DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6 doesn't pack the punch its predecessor had, though it presents enough essential backstory to render The Marionette an engaging character.
75 %
slow but steady
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