This chapter of the Doomsday Clock series gives us answers while honoring its predecessor masterfully.
Walter Kovacs, a.k.a. Rorschach was the driving force behind the plot of Watchmen. His gritty vigilante style and detective skills have made him a fan favorite over the years. When Doomsday Clock revealed a new Rorschach, many wondered who it could be under the mask. What would turn someone into the terrifying vigilante? Why would they side with his world’s worst criminal? Who is the new Rorschach?
**Some Spoilers Below**
This issue mostly consists of flashbacks to show the life of our new Rorschach, Reggie Long. He was the quiet son of Dr. Malcolm Long, psychiatrist of Walter Kovacs. During the events of Watchmen, Reggie studies to be a psychiatrist as well, but the looming threat of war distracts him. As Reggie returns to his family, Ozymandias’ plans come to fruition, killing three million people. In a single moment, Reggie lost his family and his mind. He is sent to an insane asylum to deal with his trauma, but the images of the alien that killed New York City still haunts him. Months pass, but before he can end his own life, Reggie met Byron Lewis, formerly the Mothman of the Minutemen. Byron trains the future vigilante until the day Ozymandias is exposed for his crimes.
This origin issue for our new Rorschach accomplishes two things. First, it tells the tragic story of a survivor of the finale of Watchmen fantastically. Second, it continues to sculpt the world after the events that played out over 30 years ago. We learn what happened to the survivors of Ozymandias’ attack, see how the world changed because of it, and watch as it all unravels. It’s another great look back to the world we left behind, with the new Rorschach as our storytelling device. He becomes a much more layered character as the issue progresses, growing from timid pacifist to seeker of vengeance. While not much happens to push the main plot, it’s given me a new outlook on Rorschach.
Gary Frank continues to do fantastic work on the series. His style makes the world Geoff Johns has written grittier yet still feel alive. Brad Anderson’s colors also help this by setting the tone of each panel. The colors are especially haunting during Rorschach’s escape from the institution. The art team goes above and beyond each issue of Doomsday Clock and makes me wish more and more it came out quicker.
This will be a divisive issue for some readers who pick it up. Some might be disappointed at the lack of current plot development, but this character piece makes up for it. It’s beautifully drawn, fantastically written and leaves readers hungry for more. If you need something to read this week, check out this fantastic origin for our new Rorschach.