This review is free of major spoilers.
Even though Dark Nights: Metal is currently unfolding, DC has decided to make a bold move by launching yet another event series in the form of Doomsday Clock. Sure, “event fatigue” is a very real thing, but when you factor in that the latest project coming to us by way of the all-star team-up that is Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, and that the last year and a half of Rebirth storytelling have led up to this, well, then I’ll most definitely welcome such a 12-issue series with open arms.
Oh yeah, there’s also the Watchmen factor.
That’s right, not only is Doomsday Clock blooming from the seeds planted in last year’s DC Universe: Rebirth one-shot, but it simultaneously serves as a sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ immortal classic. Granted, some of you out there will call this sacrilege, but let’s be honest in saying that DC owns these characters, therefore they’re free to explore them in any way they desire. And hey, at least they got someone of Johns’ pedigree on this, so you know it’s going to be dynamite. Lest we forget, this is the same guy that gave us the greatest Green Lantern run of all time, in addition to other modern classics such as Blackest Night, Infinite Crisis and Flashpoint.
Johns’ impressive resume aside, those who count Watchmen as their bible will feel right at home, even from a visual standpoint. The artwork is most certainly quintessentially Gary Frank, yes, but even the most casual of eyes will notice how he evokes Gibbons throughout with nine-panel grids. Actually, it’s a subtlety that pays off because it affords this team much wiggle room when laying the foundation for the year ahead of us.
Being a sequel, it’s incumbent upon Johns to bring us up to speed on what’s been going on in Watchmen‘s world, and he does just that. In a nutshell, it’s 1992, the world is on the brink of nuclear war as obvious parallels are drawn to today’s political climate, and it’s all thanks to Ozymandias’ great lie being exposed. As such, he’s now the most wanted man in the world.
Still, the flavor of the original is retained, right down to Rorschach’s spot on dialogue and internal monologue. Now, the involvement of Rorschach and what was said above regarding Ozymandias have been public knowledge for some time, so that’s why I’m willing to talk about them. But as I continue to deliberately dance around spoilers, I will say that you need to keep your eye on the trench-coated anti-hero who’s a bit, um, different, as he’ll no doubt play a major part in what’s to come. Rest assured that you’ll have a fair idea of why he’s walking around when you’re finished reading this issue, but there’s much more to be explored when it comes to the mystery surrounding him.
Like I said, this is a sequel to Watchmen through and through, with Superman’s “screentime” as it were being very minimal. Soon enough, we fully expect these two universes to collide in kind, but it’s for the better that Johns spent much time focusing on the Charlton archetypes because it’d be downright disorienting if he thrust us headlong into such a monumental mashup.
Speaking of which, a cover gallery is included that gives us several subtle hints as to what we can expect over the course of the next few issues. It’s possible that you may have seen some online, but I’m going to preserve the surprise while also saying we’re going to have many, many reasons to geek out in the months to come.
As if there were any doubt, Johns and Frank have done it yet again with Doomsday Clock #1. Suffice it to say, we likely have another instant classic on our hands, one that is as riveting as it is uncompromisingly brutal. All I ask is that these two gentlemen swiftly get to work on Batman: Earth One, Volume 3 once the final issue is in the can.
Doomsday Clock isn't just another event series. It's shaping up to be one of the definitive comics of our time.