DOOMSDAY CLOCK: PART 1/ WRITER: GEOFF JOHNS / ARTIST: GARY FRANK /PUBLISHER: DC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Finally, the comic book event of the year is here - and it does not disappoint. (Well, maybe, just a little - it’s a fast read and over all too soon, but more of that later.)
In an industry where hype is basically everything, it really is no exaggeration to state that this is one of those events that readers have been waiting for and discussing in various ‘what if’ scenarios since Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons unleashed The Watchmen on an unsuspecting world over thirty years ago and raised the bar for sequential graphic storytelling forever. But the problem was that The Watchmen was a self-contained story with a conclusive ending, and Alan Moore was in no mind to revisit his creation despite (or maybe because of) the fact that it is widely considered to be the greatest graphic novel of all time.
The road to Doomsday Clock has been a long one, kicked off by DC’s Rebirth, which effectively closed their New 52 era and re-established the long-standing company-wide continuity as having a multitude of multiverses. Then came a crossover between Batman and The Flash which saw our heroes discover an all too familiar Smiley button in the Batcave. Similarly, Superman encountered connections with The Watchmen universe, leading to Doomsday Clock where The Watchmen meet characters from the DC Universe for the first time.
As Alan Moore isn’t involved with this project, DC has wisely handed the writing reins to the ever-reliable Geoff Johns, who certainly delivers here in the style of Moore. It’s hard to imagine a writer better qualified to carry on the tale, or for that matter, a more suitable artist than Bristol-born Gary Frank in the absence of Dave Gibbons.
The story, as in the original, is a grim and unflinching reflection of the uncertain world and dangerous times we live in. Against this backdrop of near dystopia, citizens are rebelling against our heroes. The Superman Theory posits that most superheroes identify as being American, leading to a feeling of a conspiracy within the government, creating metahumans and further, manipulating a crisis to trigger their superpowers and introduce them to the population.
Meanwhile, the world’s smartest man, Ozymandias creates a means to travel from his reality to the DC Universe in search for the near-omnipotent Doctor Manhattan, believed to have travelled here and in an ingenious twist, hinted to be responsible for the whole warping of reality that caused the New 52 series.
Our one complaint is that this book is a textbook exercise in creating tension, blindsiding twists and sets up for what we trust in Johns will be a conclusion several degrees beyond epic, but we have to wait until Part 2 due in May 2020.
We want it NOW!