Review: DOOMSDAY CLOCK #1 (SPOILERS)
By RUSSELL BERGER
The clock has struck 11:57, and DOOMSDAY [CLOCK] is upon us! Geoff Johns (writer) and Gary Frank (artist) deliver the first issue of what’s probably been [one of] the most anticipated release since DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1. This title literally couldn’t be any bigger as it brings together the iconic WATCHMEN and the DC Universe. And let me be honest, I kind of look forward to anything that gets Alan Moore’s (creator of the Watchmen) panties in a knot.
But with that all being said, this issue under delivered big time for me.
Right out of the gate we’re [the readers] smacked in the face with a HEAVY dose of political commentary. The kind that seemed devised to be deliberate, and not organically used. This frustrates me, and that being because it doesn’t necessarily help the story, but rather can turn readers off who are reading comics to escape the daily hounding of politics.
It’s deliberate intentions were also very clear in some of the imagery that was chosen to be used. I’m not sure whether it was Johns or Frank’s decision, but the purposeful use of the National News Network name in order to look like the Nazi SS symbol was one of the more inflammatory images shown. It was clearly trying to strike nerves and play to the “radical” Left claim that President Donald Trump’s administration is fascist, as well as the constant “shouting” by Antifa and other PC/SJWing bases that he [President Trump] is “Hitler.”
Again, this is the type of politics that I hate being injected into comics. It’s very “standing on a soap box” and screaming your views and where you line up at the top of your lungs. It’s often the complaint that many fans have about Marvel, how their writers inject their political beliefs into their writing, and heavy handedly. The story being built around the politics instead of allowing the politics to be controlled by the story.
And we know this to be true since Johns said himself,
We debated whether we would ever want to do it, because it is a big job. We talked for six months, and the truth is, it wasn’t until the election, and post-election, that I called Gary and said, “I’ve got the complete story.”
Despite Johns having said on multiple occasions that this wasn’t a WATCHMEN sequel, this comes off as just that, but broadening its universe [by a million folds] as a result of intertwining it with the DCU.
We see that as it’s revealed to us that RORSCHACH isn’t Walter Jospeh Kovacs in this, but an unknown under that unforgettable mask. I do think that this “Rorschach” was the most interesting part of this issue. The way he was written was the Johns’ writing that I know and love, and felt fitting to that subplot of someone else picking up the mask, trench coat and hat.
This is also a thing that I’ll be watching closely as the story continues to unfold. It has this feeling like there’s a lot more to this character than meets the eye, and has a way of pulling you in.
We knew from DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1 that OZYMANDIAS was going to have a heavy hand in this. I’m not at all surprised to see him “pulling strings” and from what it seems like he’ll be an antagonist for the story in some way.
Another shining moment was the way that Johns addressed DR. MANHATTAN’s powers in a more modern take, which he did by having all of those who were close to him diagnosed with cancer. It’s a measure of reality, and one that I, for one, love about the DCU. It makes things a bit more believable, and that allows for us to escape from our daily problems off of it, because we can dream that this is all possible for us.
We can also see that from the Watchmen Universe‘s inevitable collapse, and Ozymandias having cancer all applied pressure to him in a way that he felt compelled to fix everything. And of course that “fix” being to bring “God” back– God being Dr. Manhattan.
This does raise a question for me, which is if when DOOMSDAY CLOCK comes to an end at issue twelve, will Dr. Manhattan save his universe?
The pace of the issue was another problem that I had with it. It was very slow. Even when the prisoners were taking over the prison, there was never a moment where it felt fast. Not even where you could feel the intensity of their siege. I don’t know if this was purposeful to perhaps help the overall pacing of the twelve issues that this will be, but it made it a bit difficult to read.
Usually when an issue has a slow pace it’s building to something huge at the end, but nothing like that occurred, other than Clark having a nightmare about his parents’ [Jonathan and Martha Kent] death. That also being the first we saw of the “Man of Steel,” whereas we only get a tiny glimpse of Dr. Manhattan.
I’ll be bluntly honest, I felt robbed when I was done reading this issue.
I don’t know whether or not if I overhyped this “event” too much for myself, or if this was a legitimate misstep of a number one. I feel prone to saying a misstep, because unlike DC METAL, which I honestly hyped up more in my mind than I did this, it delivered. I’m not counting this event out, though, as I’ll be extremely critical of the second issue to see if it was just the number one or if this is how it’ll be going forward. But until then, I give DOOMSDAY CLOCK #1 an underperformed 2.5 out of 5.
You can pick yourself up a copy [while supplies last, so hurry] at your local comic shop, and DOOMSDAY CLOCK #2 will be hitting the shelves Wednesday, December 27th,
In this second chapter: The Dark Knight discovers another relic from the Watchmen world. Lex Luthor pays a devil’s bargain. And killer clowns trek through Gotham seeking a madman.