WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for up to Doomsday Clock #4
Doomsday Clock, DC's sequel to the classic comic Watchmen has revealed the secret identity of the new Rorschach. As some fans theorized, Doomsday Clock #4 confirms he is the child of a key (but minor) character from the original Watchmen story.
The first Rorschach, Walter Kovacs died at the end of Watchmen, choosing to let Doctor Manhattan kill him rather than be a party to Adrian Veidt's conspiracy (to bring about world peace by faking an alien invasion). The opening chapters of Doomsday Clock's first issue revealed that Kovacs' journal, detailing his discovery of Veidt's conspiracy before his death, helped inspire the investigation that exposed Veidt's plot to the world.
These issues also unveiled a new Rorschach, who was working with Veidt to locate Doctor Manhattan, despite having a clear psychotic hatred of Veidt. The only other information readers learned about the new Rorschach (apart from his love for pancakes) was that he is African-American - a fact that was revealed when he took off his glove and revealed his skin-color as proof that he was NOT the original Rorschach.
One popular fan theory that arose in the wake of the first three issues of Doomsday Clock was that the new Rorschach was related to Dr. Malcolm Long - the psychiatrist who examined Walter Kovacs after his arrest and the first person to whom he told the story of how he became Rorschach. Doomsday Clock #4 confirms the theory, revealing the new Rorschach's full name as Reggie Long - the son of Dr. Malcolm Long and his wife, Gloria.
The issue also confirms what had been hinted at by a flashback in the last issue - that Reggie was on his way home from college to visit his parents when Adrian Veidt's fake alien "attacked" New York City. One of the thousands on the outskirts of Ground Zero who as driven crazy by the psychic attack that killed three-million people, Reggie was committed to an insane asylum. It was here that he met and befriended another character from the original Watchmen comic - Byron Lewis, a.k.a. Mothman.
Lewis is shown as being able to escape the asylum with relative ease, always being recaptured but still managing to rebuild working wings and retrieve materials from the outside world. It is on one of these trips that he retrieves the contents of Dr. Long's desk, including his notes on Walter Kovacs, as a Christmas present for a grieving Reggie.
Reading his father's insight into the original Rorschach gives Reggie a much-needed focus, as does Byron Lewis's efforts to teach him all the tricks he learned from the other heroes in The Minutemen. Doomsday Clock #4's conclusion goes on to show how Reggie escaped the asylum, tracked down Adrian Veidt, and reluctantly joined forces with him to save their world.
While the question of whether or not a Watchmen sequel was necessary is sure to rage on for some time to come, it cannot be denied that Doomsday Clock #4 is a wonderful bit of character analysis. Geoff Johns' script does a masterful job of building upon the classic story while adding his own twists, and the artwork by Gary Frank hasn't dropped below phenomenal.
Final verdicts will have to wait, but fans now have one less character to speculate on, and one more character journey to discuss.