With just two issues released, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Doomsday Clock has provided DC Comics fans dozens, possibly hundreds of clues to study, dissect and debate. Issue #2 alone had enough Easter eggs and subtle references to DC and Watchmen continuity the we had to break our annotations into two articles (Part One here, and Part Two here).
But hidden among the event series’ second issue’s myriad revelations is one that, on the surface seems inconsequential, but in reality tells us quite a bit about one of th story’s major players.
Rorschach likes pancakes. In fact, he really likes them — so much so that his constantly morphing inkblot mask actually forms the unmistakable image of a smiley face when he comes across the breakfast Alfred has left Bruce Wayne.
It’s not so much what makes Rorschach happy that’s important so much as the fact that something can make him happy in the first place. The original Rorschach, Walter Kovacs, was painted as an unrelentingly miserable conspiracy theorist, albeit one who’s apparently demented obsessions turned out to be correct (more or less). This is a new Rorschach, however, one whose identity we have yet to learn. What we learned from his first appearance in Doomsday Clock #1 is, he’s shorter than the original, has a similar speech pattern, and is a person of color.
Now, we learn that this Rorschach is actually able to experience things that give him genuine pleasure. Yes, Kovacs-Rorschach enjoyed his sugar cubes, but they never seemed to give him any true satisfaction. The signature crunching of the makeshift treat came off more as a nervous habit or addiction, not unlike a chain smoker lighting one cigarette after another. This Rorschach, though, has apparently suffered less of a psychological break from reality. As evidenced by his posture of utter contentment once he’s eaten all of Batman’s breakfast (leaning back, smile on his face hand across his full belly), still able to take a break from the harsh world of vigilante justice to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
That he’s not quite as broken as his predecessor is driven further home by Rorschach’s reaction to how Batman has decorated the Batcave. “Only monster would keep trophies like this,” he thinks as he looks around Batman’s home base, taking in the newspaper clippings and mounted costumes under glass. “Tokens and prizes from victims. It’s how Kovacs caught so many animals. They couldn’t let past go. Obsessed with reliving yesterday.”
That this Rorschach is driven, and possibly a little insane himself, is unquestionable. It takes a special kind of crazy to not only buy into Ozymandias’ plan to travel from one universe to another, much less make the leap alongside the superhero turned fugitive. However, whatever drove him to take on the mask of a dead man in the first place wasn’t enough to break him. Now, we’ll just have to wait and see whether Doomsday Clock‘s upcoming revelations are.
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