[WARNING: This post contains spoilers for the Doomsday Clock comic series.]
Doomsday Clock artists have revealed an variant cover featuring Rorschach beating the Joker to a bloody pulp. The new DC limited series continues the DC Rebirth Campaign by introducing the iconic characters from Alan Moore's Watchmen into the same familiar DC Comics universe, mainly focusing on conflicts between seemingly natural adversaries in Superman and Dr. Manhattan. But other Watchmen originals, like Ozymandias and Rorschach, also play key roles in the brief but pivotal narrative in the DC Comics universe.
However, Doomsday Clock features a new Rorschach, a successor to the deceased Walter Kovacs. Rorschach II immediately factors into the series as he breaks two new characters, the Mime and the Marionette, out of prison - only to end up in Arkham Asylum himself by the end of the third issue. Despite Rorschach's interactions with Batman in the comics, it's intriguing to think what a confrontation between Rorschach and the Joker would look like. A pair of pictures reveals that.
The two main artists for Doomsday Clock - penciler Gary Frank and colorist Brad Anderson - revealed Rorschach II meeting the Joker in an variant cover for the seventh issue of the series via their Twitter accounts on Tuesday. It's not so much a "meeting" as Rorschach II beating the Joker senseless. Frank's black-and-white version is bolstered by Anderson's full-color edition of the cover, and you can check out both of them below:
— Gary Frank (@1moreGaryFrank) March 24, 2018
— Brad Anderson (@bdanderson13) March 25, 2018
Rorshach has the Joker dominated in this particular image. There's blood flying in all directions and whipping off his fist. Not only is the Joker getting savagely beaten, it looks like Rorschach II took whatever Joker has done personally. As some Twitter responses pointed out, there also appears to be a silhouette of Batman atop the clock tower watching from above as the beating takes place.
Clearly, Rorschach finds a way out of Arkham Asylum at some point. That is, if Batman doesn't break him out. It certainly appears that the two are working together in some capacity by the time issue No. 7 rolls out, but Batman could simply be keeping tabs on whatever conflict is happening between Rorschach and the Joker. What's clear is that Rorschach II does not like the Joker and feels the need to ruthlessly pummel him right in the middle of the street.
There are still three issues between now and the seventh issue of Doomsday Clock. So clearly, there's still a lot that needs to happen between Rorschach II, Batman, and the Joker. It remains to be seen how he ends up out of Arkham Asylum. But this variant cover is sure to build anticipation for this issue when it comes out.
Meanwhile, issue No. 4 of Doomsday Clock comes out on Wednesday, March 28.