Doomsday Clock #1 (of 12) (DC Comics)
The hype around Doomsday Clock is certainly palpable. When the DC Universe unveiled the Rebirth initiative two years ago, it was all but assured that it would lead to the DC heroes meeting the characters from Watchmen, thanks to Doctor Manhattan screwing with time and causing the heroes to forget ten years of their lives and adventures. Today, it’s finally time to see just what Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have in store for the DC and Watchmen worlds with Doomsday Clock. But if you’re expecting to see Superman square off with Doctor Manhattan in this first issue, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
While the cover sure has Superman floating in front of Manhattan’s ominous gaze, a large chunk of Doomsday Clock’s forty pages is set in the world of Alan Moore and David Gibbons’ Watchmen. So much so that Doomsday Clock reads more like a sequel to that series than a crossover event so far. Much time has passed since the events of the classic tale, and while some characters remain the same, others, Rorschach in particular, are pretty different and offer a few surprises. With their world on the brink of destruction, Ozymandias and Rorschach agree that they must find “God”, or as he’s more commonly known as, Doctor Manhattan. The issue then smashes to the DC Universe as Clark Kent has a nightmare involving the death of his parents Jonathan and Martha, something that hasn’t happened in a very long time.
So yes, the opening issue of Doomsday Clock isn’t exactly what the cover promises, but those of you who were worried that Geoff Johns was going to tarnish the legacy of Watchmen can rest easy, Johns nails it (though after Before Watchmen I’d argue that nothing could tarnish Watchmen). From the pitch perfect tone of Rorschach to awesome back-story pages that flesh out what’s happened in the world of the Minutemen since the end of the original tale, there’s plenty here for fans of Alan Moore’s original work to dig into and enjoy (even though Moore probably wouldn’t want you to). The amount of pressure put on Johns for this series is probably more stress than I could ever imagine, but so far, he’s able to come up with a worthy story that can stand as a nice pseudo sequel to the original tale.
Any time Gary Frank takes the time to bring his artistic talents to comics, you take notice. Doomsday Clock is no exception, and Frank really brings his all to this issue. From the nine-panel grid layouts that evoke the classic “ Watchmen feel” to truly stunning details and character work, Frank stands to deliver the ultimate work of his career if he keeps this up.
Any story that decides to follow up on Watchmen is one that deserves only the best creators on it, and so far, Doomsday Clock is that. While it’s not the team-up promised just yet, all signs are pointing to something that will not only make new DC Rebirth fans happy, but old-school ones and even Watchmen fans as well.