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The Comedian & Marionette

Doomsday Clock
by yo go re

And now, part 2.

It's weird, isn't it, that all the internet tough guys idolize Rorschach? Shouldn't they be stanning The Comedian, instead? He's mean and destructive, he's the big and tough... he's everything they want to be. Heck, even his supranym references the fact that he thinks all of society and all human aspirations are big jokes and that he is the only person who "gets" the punchline - exactly the kind of thing someone who would think it's awesome to go to a protest dressed up as the Joker would find deep and meaningful. (Can you tell he came up with it when he was a teenager?)

Comedian did return for Doomsday Clock. Yes, even though this is a sequel. And yes, even though the Comedian famously didn't make it out of the first book alive. It's a whole thing. The comic's good, you can go read it to find out what's going on. This isn't a very exciting figure, since Mattel's already made a Comedian, but it's not like this is a terrible toy or anything - just something you don't need to buy unless you're desperate to have a 7"-scale Blake Edwards. Paul Harding's sculpt is really nice, of course, but that alone won't carry the day here.

Like Matty's Comedian, this one gets the scarred head, and nothing else - again we'll point out that he should come with alternate unscarred and masked heads, but at least this one has the gray temples. His costume hasn't changed at all, though they did paint his pants gloss black and his shirt matte, so they stand out from one another.

What's not cool, however? This is another instance where they've failed to paint the face on his smiley button. We're never going to stop banging this drum, but the smiley face is not a copyrightable element in the United States. DC Direct (who made this set) is a US company. Diamond (who distributed it) is a US company. There's no excuse for not printing his button! If you want to do a special EU edition (because Europe apparently considers it an ownable thing) then do that and leave the good/complete one to us! Eh, at least this one gets actual working holsters for his pistols and no mis-colored joints, which is more than we could say for Mattel's overly expensive hunk of ass.

The Doomsday Clock figures are sold in two-packs, because reasons. That's certainly what kept me from buying any of them before now, because I didn't care about any of the existing characters, I wanted Mime and Marionette.

Erika Mason was a shy girl who was constantly being bullied at school. Her only joy in life was spending time with her father in his puppet shop, which is where she met young Marcos Maez. Their lives were shattered when corrupt cops began shaking down both their families for bribes, and they relied on each other to survive life on the streets. Taking inspiration from their favorite puppets, they joined the growing ranks of their world's costumed criminals.

You surely know that the Watchmen characters were ersatz versions of the Charlton Comics characters DC had recently bought: Rorschach was the Question, Nite Owl was Blue Beetle, Dr. Manhattan was Captain Atom, etc. Well, while we may (rightly) give Geoff Johns crap for his Green Lantern and Flash work, he did something really clever here. When it came time to create some new Watchmen villains, he didn't just throw any random idea on the page, he did what Alan Moore had done before him: dig up some Charlton characters and give them a new spin. Mime and Marionette are "Watchmen-ized" versions of Punch and Jewelee, a husband-and-wife team who used some alien weapons they found to bedevil Captain Atom, and (after being integrated to the DCU proper) also served time on the Suicide Squad. So no, people who can only name one clown-themed power couple, they aren't a riff on Harley Quinn and the Joker.

It's easy to see why fans would make that assumption, though. Like Harley, Marionette is a blonde wearing white facepaint. Her medium-length hair was designed to look dynamic when she's flipping around on the printed page, and her makeup includes two thin black lines coming down from the corners of her mouth, suggesting a puppet's articulated jaw.

Gary Frank, the artist on Doomsday Clock, tried to design Marionette a costume that referenced Jewelee's diamond motif, but eventually had to drop it. Because that's Harley's thing now. So what we get here is a black dress with a feathery lower edge and three large red buttons down the front. She wears a red ribbon around her neck, black gloves with white frilled cuffs, and strpied stockings that are, on this toy, actual softgoods pieces slipped over the legs, rather than just being paint. Why on earth would that be? Skin-tight tights don't need to be separate pieces, do they? Expecially when everyone else's costumes are just paint.

Marionette has a swivel/hinge neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed chest, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge/swivel ankles. Most of it's really good, giving you enough playability to pose her lots of dynamic ways. It would be better if her head were balljointed, since Marionette tends to stand like a doll with loose strings - in other words, her head lolling to the side, something this toy can't really do because the joints don't move that way.

While Mime has his unexplained invisible guns, Marionette's weapon of choice is a razor-sharp monofilament wire that can easily slice through flesh, bone, and metal alike. While there's no clear logic behind Mime's clear arsenal, Marionette's string is simple enough to understand: it spools in one hand, and has a ring that can slip onto her opposite hand, allowing her to stretch it out in front of her. To signify her using something that wouldn't be visible, both her hands are posed perfectly flat.

The third two-pack in this series is Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias, which I passed on because, again, I've already got a full set of Watchmen toys and unless you're going to make a naked Dr. Manhattan, who bloody cares about another one? (And for the many fans who didn't get Mattel's, what good is a collection that leaves them missing Silk Spectre and Nite-Owl?) If Mime and Marionette had been sold in a single set, I'd just have bought that one, because they're two interesting new characters who fit perfectly into the Watchmen world. It'd be better better if DCD worked in a 6" scale so the toys could integrate with actual broader collections, but the fact we got them at all is a win.

-- 06/04/20

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