Doomsday Clock #2, Annotated - Outsiders, Frank Miller & Golden Agers


Before we dig into Doomsday Clock issue #2, a quick addition from issue #1. The story's start date of November 22 is significant for several reasons, but we missed mentioning one of the more notable. On November 22, 1959, the familiar glowing blue form of Doctor Manhattan first appeared, hovering over his colleagues in the Gila Flats Test Base cafeteria. You can check out the first issue's complete annotation here.

As you might expect, Doomsday Clock plays around with timelines in some interesting ways; but that's not all we have to discuss today. Clearly there will be SPOILERS from here on out, so grab your copy of issue #2 and follow along!

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Doomsday Clock issue #2 was written by Geoff Johns, drawn by Gary Frank, colored by Brad Anderson and lettered by Rob Leigh. Brian Cunningham was the Editor, with Amedeo Turturro as Associate Editor.

(By the way, one of the creative team's nicer "retro" touches is the inclusion of actual page numbers on the story pages. They are very much appreciated.)

Two Clowns Walk Into A Bank (Pages 1-10)

At Rockefeller Military Research Center
Rorschach visits Doctor Manhattan and Silk Spectre at their military home

The issue's first sequence may inadvertently tell us something about how closely D-Clock will or won't follow Watchmen's structure. Over its first six issues, Watchmen focused alternately on present-day events and character-specific flashbacks. Issue #1 concerned the Comedian's death, so issue #2 revealed his backstory. Doctor Manhattan left Earth in issue #3, and we learned his origins in issue #4. The police caught Rorschach in issue #5, so issue #6 was his origin. Issues #7 and 8 were Nite Owl-centric, so he didn't get a flashback issue as such; while Silk Spectre's flashbacks were in issue #9 and Ozymandias' were in issue #11.

While two issues might not be enough to establish a pattern (particularly considering this story's wider scope), clearly this issue isn't all character-specific flashbacks. Granted, D-Clock doesn't have to do as much world-building as Watchmen did. So far it's only introduced a handful of new characters, and probably isn't done with the familiar ones. In short, D-Clock looks to be much more plot-intensive than Watchmen was.

RELATED: Doomsday Clock: How The Watchmen Characters Arrive In The DC Universe

At any rate, while Johns and Frank play around a little, structurally, this sequence involves Ozymandias watching archive footage of Mime and Marionette robbing a bank, as the present-day pair reclaim their costumes and equipment. The sequence becomes a complete flashback on Page 4, reverting to the present on Page 9. It's a well-executed manipulation of the timeline, and may even be as subtle as some of Watchmen's structural feats.

Page 1's reference to The Tailor's Wife, a/k/a "this woman out in Jersey" who sold supervillain costumes and codenames, may well remind longtime DC fans of Paul Gambi, sartorial consultant to the Flash's Rogues' Gallery. Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, Gambi first appeared in December 1963's The Flash issue #141 and became a fixture. He lasted well into the Wally West era, where his ultimate creation "The Suit" broke Wally's legs (November 1997's Flash vol. 2 #130; written by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar and pencilled by Paul Ryan). Not to be outdone, Paul's brother Peter Gambi designed Black Lightning's first costume (as per April 1977's Black Lightning #1, written by Tony Isabella and pencilled by Trevor von Eeden).

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