Since the advent of Rebirth, Johns’ writing duties have largely taken a backseat to his work on the DC Films front, so it’s hardly outside the realm of possibility that Doomsday Clock will not only address the Watchmen mystery but the “Three Jokers” mystery, as well. After all, he appears on Gary Frank’s alternate cover for issue #5, which shows the Clown Prince of Crime applying some Nostalgia lipstick while looking into a similarly branded compact mirror.
Back to Doomsday Clock #1, though. Many readers’ first impression was that Mime and Marionette – the two inmates Rorschach helps break out of prison – were the Watchmen Universe’s counterparts to Joker and Harley Quinn. And while that’s a fair assumption, given the Mime’s horrifying, blood-soaked smile after his “performance,” they’re actually stand-ins for the Charlton-turned-DC characters Punch and Jewelee. That, alone, seems to rule the Mime out as being one of the three Jokers, but interestingly enough, we also learn in this issue that the couple has a child.
While trying to convince the Marionette to assist him on a job, Rorschach hands her a folder containing a snapshot of a small child, presumably an infant. “Picture’s a little old,” he says as Marionette stares longingly at the photo of her son. In exchange for finding him and freeing her husband, as well, Marionette reluctantly agrees to go with Rorschach, and while that’s the last we see of the young boy in this issue, there are definite subtleties that lend themselves to the idea that he might actually be one of the DCU’s three Jokers.
For starters, there are the obvious Joker and Harley/Mime and Marionette comparisons, which feel – particularly in the case of the Mime – too blatant to just be a misdirect. Then, there’s Rorschach’s seemingly throwaway line about the photograph of their child being “a little old.” Remember, this issue takes place in 1992, so even if the picture is only a few years old in-story, that would still make Mime and Marionette’s son a man somewhere in the vicinity of 30 years old in the present-day DCU. Finally, there’s fact that the Marionette is apparently very crucial to Ozymandias, who makes a passing reference about laughing uncontrollably until it hurts at one point in the issue.
Of course, if these are clues hinting towards Mime and Marionette’s son being one of DC’s three Jokers, they’re certainly minor. After just one issue, though, that doesn’t come as much of a surprise, since it will be another 11 months before the story concludes. Who knows, though? According to the solicitation, the next issue of Doomsday Clock will see “killer clowns trek through Gotham seeking a madman,” so perhaps the answers we’re seeking will be here sooner than we think.
Doomsday Clock #2, by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, is on sale December 27.