Nerdbot Comic Review: DC’s Doomsday Clock – Issue #1
First, we here at Nerdbot hope everyone had a fantastic holiday weekend!!
Even though family, football, and running into people you don’t want to see from high school at your hometown bars, take center stage this past weekend, an event of equal importance transpired in the world of comic books.
That’s right, it’s finally here, DC unveiled the highly anticipated, twelve issue series, Doomsday Clock. Some of us have been waiting for this since the brief tease at the end of DC Rebirth #1. Some of us (me) got hooked when “The Button” came out. Some of us have been waiting for a legitimate follow up to the Watchmen saga since the 1980’s. And don’t forget, there are some of us, the Truists, who want to see Watchmen left alone, untouched.
I am not one of those people. But if you are, now is the time to stop reading because Doomsday Clock is good, really good.
I have to give a big time shout out to Geoff Johns (writer), Gary Frank (illustrator), and Brad Anderson (colorist), they really did their homework. The whole thing reeks of somebody really giving a shit about what the Watchmen brand means to not only DC, but the fans. I hope I’m not being too positive too soon because this has the potential to be something really special. Over the last couple days I went to two different stores, each had been sold out of at least one, of the three different collectors covers, with small piles remaining on the new books table.
As per the usual, I like to keep reviews as spoiler free as possible but it this instance I feel obliged to discuss a few with the intention to fuel your interest. Trust me.
Before we even get to the characters, I feel the setting is by far the most important thing to address because it establishes Doomsday Clock as a Watchmen sequel. It’s now 1992 and the alien invasion staged by Ozymandias, has been exposed for the lie it was. In response to the bombshell of news, Adrian Veidt has disappeared from the public eye, our costumed heroes have disbanded, society is on the verge of collapse, and the peace brokered between the world’s superpowers is nonexistent. Russia begins its conquest of Europe and global war once again is on the table as the Doomsday Clock ticks closer to midnight.
Originally I was against any form of a continuation of the 1980’s graphic novel. But my feelings have changed. The atmosphere presented in Doomsday Clock walks a fine line, but in the end, Johns and company nailed it. Having the events which stopped a nuclear arms race in the past carry over to shape the situation we are in now was a genius move. It adds weight to the current story while expanding on the connection to Watchmen. This is probably one of only a couple routes DC could have taken to make this whole idea work. Thank god that the right choice was made.
Rorschach is back. I know what you’re thinking… Rorschach? But wasn’t he wiped out by Dr. Manhattan? Yes, he met his maker on the snowy terrain of Antarctica which is why this is so interesting. Could we dealing with an imposter? We will have to wait and see but I may have found evidence to support that statement. If you read the prose throughout the issue, you may notice the tone and vocabulary are very similar to what we saw with Rorschach’s journal in the 1980’s. Only this time, there is something about it that is off. Like a person, not Walter Kovacs, is trying to replicate the character but is coming up short. I believe Johns does it intentionally to set us up for a big reveal later on down the road (my theory). Aside from the aforementioned analysis, Rorschach is the protagonist of this arc, tasked with a prison break that carries us through a bulk of the issue.
When the mission culminates, we get Ozymandias. Since we saw him last, he’s profited immensely from the aftermath of his plan to save the planet. In 1992, he’s public enemy number one. The discovery of the staged invasion has stripped Veidt of his stature and he secretly resides in a place we’ve been to before. There is also a “development” that threatens his life and it fits the growth of the character perfectly.
The closing pages deepen the underlying thread of Superman’s connection to Dr. Manhattan. You are left wanting more, waaaay more.
I can best make an analogy about Doomsday Clock through Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Radiohead.
Bear with me on this…
I’ve always viewed The Force Awakens as a “reintroduction”, taking elements, characters, imagery we are familiar with, and cranking them up to thirteen. The same end result is on the line, only now the stakes are elevated. Doomsday Clock may fall into the reintroduction category depending on how far they go after next year. So far it meets all of my criteria. We get heroes from the past, dealing with the problems of the present. Global War still looms over the story, only this time, the first shots have been fired, Russia has already made their move. The book itself, artwork, dialogue, everything even feels like you’re reading the original. Now think about what I said with regards to the Force Awakens, it’s true…
Radiohead? Here’s a long shot. Many people consider the 2007 release, In Rainbows, to be in their upper echelon of their discography. Next, in 2011 came The King Of Limbs, an uncontested fail when you consider what proceeded it. If Watchmen was In Rainbows, the recent attempt to purge nostalgia, Before Watchmen would be The King Of Limbs. Leaving room for a true follow up which Radiohead’s 2016 A Moon Shaped Pool definitely is. Will Doomsday Clock be remembered as Watchmen’s true follow up? The fans hold the fate of it in their hands. And if the rest of the story is anything like the first issue, we are in for a real treat.
Check back with Nerdbot next month as Doomsday Clock continues to tick.
The second chapter arrives on December 27th.
Nerdbot Rating: 8.5 out of 10
By Adam Chmielewski
Photo Credits- DC Comics
What did you think about Doomsday Clock? Living up to the hype? Let Nerdbot know in the comments!!