Comic Review: The Clock Strikes! #1 / Writer: John A. Short / Art: Vincent Danks / Publisher: Kult Creations / Release Date: Out Now
Comic books’ (sic) first masked hero returns! Although his return might be slightly superseded by the fact that not many people actually know who he is. On the basis of this atmospheric little noir thriller from Kult Creations, his lack of fame is all the more shocking.
The Clock, a nifty introduction to the comic informs us, was created in 1936 by writer/artist George Brenner and is credited as being the world's first 'superhero' personality. The character has since passed into the public domain to be revived by Kult Creations. Given his dapper appearance, mysterious sounding name and lack of a face, it's surprising that he hasn't been toyed with by the likes of Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman by now. But the big guys' loss is Kult Creations' gain.
Don't let the dodgy punctuation on the front cover put you off – The Clock Strikes is well worth picking up. The vibe is one of old school noir, with realistic black and white artwork and a script more hard boiled than a Frank Miller rendition of Humpty Dumpty. Still, given his seventy year absence from comics, the titular Clock barely gets a look in at his own comic. The story instead follows the path of a scarred, chain smoking cop called Brenner (you see what they did there) as he attempts to track down the vigilante known as The Clock. It makes for a very intriguing introduction to the character, building up his mystery rather than giving us the main man straight away.
Looking like Rorschach after an accident with the ink pot, the Clock appears to dish out Punisher-like justice to mobsters and smear bloody messages on walls. However, he doesn't make things easy for himself, getting both stabbed and shot as soon as he makes his first appearance. Mind, Tim Burton's Batman made a habit of getting himself shot (it's usually the first thing he does after putting on the rubber suit), so that's hardly a smear on his competence or manliness. He certainly rocks the suit and trenchcoat look with the best of them.
The one-shot format works very well. Those enamoured with the character will welcome a full story arc or series of comics, while those less impressed won't be under any pressure to pick up any of his further appearances. Following this fast paced, atmospheric and interesting (sort of) debut, I would certainly be receptive to the Clock's further appearances. I'd go so far as to say I'll be setting my alarm. The Clock has struck and his chime is well worth listening to.