Geoff Johns and Gary Frank bring some of the most intense and emotional storytelling yet in this 12 part mini series with the latest issue, DOOMSDAY CLOCK #4.
After the intense meet ups between Ozymandias and Lex Luthor and Rorschach and Batman, issue 4 takes a break from the main story to put a focus on the new Rorschach in Arkham, mirroring his time in his original universe and providing an origin story for this new Rorschach, with his identity and reason for putting on the iconic mask being a mystery since his appearance in the first issue, Doomsday Clock #4 takes some time to explain it.
While not adding much to the main story, this fourth issue does a lot in terms of character development for Rorschach excellently, with his stay at Arkham reminding him of his childhood, giving this new Rorschach a great origin story, thanks to Geoff John’s sharp writing and Gary Franks excellent artwork. This issue also manages to put a lot of context to what happened in the Watchmen Universe after the alien attack in New York, showing the dire consequences of Ozymandias’ actions, with this new Rorschach being born out of it.
While this issue has a slow pace, Geoff Johns does it for a reason. The tragic and moving tale of this new Rorschach is one that needs to be soaked in slowly, and this is executed in the best way possible thanks to Gary Franks art. His transitions from Rorschach’s stay at Arkham to his past life in a mental asylum after the alien attack on New York are smooth and interesting. On top of this, we get a comeback of one of the original and lesser known Minute-Men from Moore’s original Watchmen: Moth-Man, Byron Lewis. Seeing this character make a come back and become essential to the development of this new Rorschach is undoubtedly the best part of the issue, and a clever move on Geoff Johns part.
The path that this new Rorschach follows, as well as his connection to the original, is an extremely intriguing part of this Watchmen sequel and is an astounding part of the issue. Where as Walter Kovacs, the original Rorschach who died due to no believing in any sort of compromise, this new Rorschach sees a chance at hope and light in his world and decides not to follow in the same dark and uncompromising path as his predecessor, and look for an alternative, leading to his partnership with Ozymandias, the author of his pain.
The issue eventually comes to an end when the flashbacks catch up to where Rorschach is right now, with him receiving help to escape from a mysterious ally and seemingly by chance, once again mirroring his encounter with Byron Lewis in an Asylum years earlier. Overall, the new Rorschach is a compelling character with an equally compelling origin story, and the way it is told through Johns sharp writing and Gary Franks equally sharp and sometimes subtle visual imagery is a treat. Despite moving at a slower pace than previous issues as well as not moving the story forward all that much, DOOMSDAY CLOCK #4 is still an excellent issue that manages to tell an extremely interesting story. With these new details given and a newfound sense of compassion and empathy for this new Rorschach, it will be interesting to see where Geoff Johns and Gary Frank take these characters in the next issue. – Ernesto Valenzuela