Warning: This article has major spoilers for Doomsday Clock #3, on sale now.
Right from the day an announcement was made about Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Doomsday Clock, DC Comics’ readers have been puzzled about what it would be like to see Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ characters from Watchmen interact with the other DC Universe characters. Which of these would crossover first? What would be their reaction to each other?
The second issue of this highly ambitious event ended with various edge of the seat moments, one of which was Batman and Rorschach coming face-to-face in the Batcave. These two are widely regarded as the leading characters of their respective universes, and to see them face off was the number one item on the fans list of “what would happen if they met.” Doomsday Clock #3 has finally made it happen and showed the two characters join hands to handle their first joint assignment, however, the end is unlike anything that the readers would have anticipated.
During the meeting of Batman and Rorschach, the Batman is shown to be unusually calm. He is alert, but, he pays attention to Rorschach’s words, probably he figured out that the guy with changing face isn’t posing any immediate risk. No matter what, Batman plays on with Rorschach intruding his cave, even if he is greatly surprised. The first meeting of these two characters has a humorous touch, a refreshing, and unusual, a tone which is a pleasant contradiction to everything else that happens in this issue.
Beckoned by Rorschach, Batman sat down to read Walter Kovac’s journal, with a great deal of concentration, and Rorschach spent the night showering, taking rest and eating pancakes. Upon waking up in the comfortable bed at Wayne Manor, the unmasked Rorschach, whose identity hasn’t yet been completely revealed, found Bruce Wayne waiting. Bruce tells him that he thinks he knows the location of Dr. Manhattan. This means that the hunt is on! Batman and Rorschach dress up and breach into the perimeter of Arkham Asylum as equal partners. Everything is the way it should be.
Batman led Rorschach while telling him that the signal emanating from the signature radiation of Doctor Manhattan is becoming stronger, and Rorschach follows him to the point where Batman slams a door between them. That’s when Rorschach, and the readers, realize that their favorite conspiracy theorist is holed up in an Arkham Asylum cell. From outside the cell, Batman offers an apology and tells his new captive that this is where he belongs before walking off amidst while an angry Rorschach screams his lungs out threatening the Batman. This was quite an unexpected and nasty twist.
Batman had reached a logical conclusion after reading Kovac’s journal: Rorschach was a dangerous person apt to remain in an asylum for lunatics. Basically, Batman did what he has always done. He took note of the lack of trust, played it smartly and fooled everyone else. Although this is a characteristic Batman move, it might not be acceptable to fans because, during the last three issues, fans have come to like the new, sympathetic Rorschach.
So much is happening simultaneously that we doubt if Rorschach will be held at Arkham for a considerable amount of time, but, there is some parallel to it. In the original Watchmen series, Walter Kovacs had been in prison under the observation of a psychiatrist. Maybe in his current condition, this is just a formal period which comes along with his decision to take up the Rorschach mask.