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Rorschach & Mime

Doomsday Clock
by yo go re

Comics are shipping again, which means comicshops are starting to reopen. And that means it's a good time to swing by your lcs and see if you can't find something to buy, to help welcome them back and show them that you still support them.

After decades of trying to play nice and appease Alan Moore, DC finally accepted that nothing was ever going to be enough for him, and began just using the Watchmen characters they owned the rights to. Their first effort (2012's Before Watchmen, a series of miniseries) was of decidedly uneven quality, but in 2017, DC came back with Doomsday Clock, a sequel exploring Dr. Manhattan's effect on the New 52. And it was honestly pretty good. Between that and the HBO series, it became apparent that you don't need Alan Moore to tell a good Watchmen story. And really, you don't even need most of the characters. You just need someone who understands themes and has a story they want to tell, rather than one they're just being paid to tell.

Anyway, DC Direct made toys based on Doomsday Clock, marking the first time DCD has been able to release comic-based Watchmen - in this case, specifically Rorschach. They've made a movie version of him before, which may be fundamentally the same (if a bit more detailed), but that was a decade ago.

Doomsday Clock Rorschach dresses the same as in the original book: brown trenchcoat, striped purple pants, indeterminate style of shirt. His fedora is removable, allowing you to really appreciate the paint on his mask. Unfortunately, the pattern they've chosen to give him is way too specifically a face: rather than random, interpretable shapes, it's clearly got eyes, a nose, a mouth... we can't even make a joke refering to it looking like some improbable thing, because it's just blatantly a face. How disappointing! To say nothing of the fact it appears to be painted too high on the head. Although, how hard could it be to customize this by painting the while head white and then detailing some new black spots.

In addition to the separate hat, Rorschach's accessories include an extra pair of ungloved hands and his grappling hook gun, which is true to the comics. The gloved hands and bare hands are posed differently: while both sets have one fist and one open to hold the gun, they're on opposite sides on each.

The Doomsday Clock figures are sold in two-packs, or else you wouldn't have had to read a review of Rorschach to get to the good stuff. You see, while Doomsday Clock was about the intersection of the DC and Watchmen universes, it wasn't just a parade of existing characters: Geoff Johns also created a few new ones to expand the world, including the figure paired with Rorschach in this set, Mime.

Born Marcos Maez, the boy who would one day become Mime grew up with his mother and stepfather, helping in the family store. When they would argue, he would stare out the window, which is how he first saw the girl who lived across the street, Erika Manson. The children became close friends, supporting each other when corrupt policemen began shaking down both their families - and when Marcos' mother and Erika's father were killed by the cops, they teamed up for some bloody revenge. They only had each other to count on as they grew up, eventually turning to a life of crime to survive.

Mime's look is based on a puppet Erika gave him as a gift. He wears a short-sleeved black unitard with a striped white pattern on the chest, white leggings visible from the calves down, and black ballet shoes. He also wears white gloves, and has a white streak in his hair. Just like the puppet, his face paint has black diamonds covering the eyes, and small black dots immediately below them.

Both figures in this set were sculpted by Paul Harding, one of DCD's go-to guys. They're done in the 7" scale, so don't expect to blend them with Mattel's "Club Black Freighter" figures. DC Direct has never really managed to lock in one specific scale, have they? Some of their things are too big, some are too small... how is it so hard for everyone to just make their action figures the same size as Marvel Legends? Mime would have worked well in Mattel's line, honestly, because none of his costume elements are sculpted on - even here from DCD, it's all done in paint on a big, muscular body.

Mime has a swivel/hinge head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a hinged chest, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge/swivel ankles. (Rorschach is mostly the same, just missing the shins: yes, he's even got the chest hinge, though his overcoat means you may miss it). His hands are open to hold his accessories, and it's up to you whether he comes with any: as real mimes mimic objects, Marcos does too; it's just that the things he mimics become real and functional. Pointing an imaginary gun at someone? He can shoot them. Throwing an imaginary knife? He can cut them. Given that Dr. Manhattan was explicitly the only being in the Watchmen world to have any super-human powers, it's unclear how Mime does what he does, all we know is that he does it. So, is he holding both his guns right now? Yeah, why not! Molding them out of "clear" plastic probably would have looked tacky, and definitely wouldn't have been invisible enough. Just be sure not to lose them, because they'll be hard to find again.

I suppose it's nice getting a Rorschach that can be in scale with DC Direct's other figures, but Mime, an interesting new character added to the comics' world, is the real draw of this set. It's just a shame you can't get him and Marionette in the same pack... but that's a story for another review.

-- 05/21/20

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