A payoff issue that changes the story completely.
One of the most hyped comic books last year is back this week. In this issue Ozymandias gets ever closer to completion of his plan, a major Watchmen character finally rears their head, and Joker uses a flamethrower while laughing maniacally. It’s another issue of one of the most compelling superhero books on the stands today.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The critically acclaimed team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank continue the groundbreaking miniseries bringing the world of WATCHMEN to DC. In this chapter, the truth behind Dr. Manhattan’s curiosity with the DC Universe is revealed as the planet teeters on the edge of the Super-War.
Why does this matter?
Writer Geoff Johns said at San Diego Comic-Con, “issue #7…changes the story completely.” Believe him. This issue begins to take the story in a new direction, not only completing the goals of a few characters but finally involving Superman.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say this issue is narrated with blue captions. In these captions, we learn a bit about the actions of a character previous to this story that involves a Green Lantern’s powers. This plays a big part in moving the plot forward, but also taps into the thinking of the character as they change history. This issue has a lot going on and moves the needle quite a bit, especially in comparison to the first six issues. It seems Johns and Gary Frank focused the first issues on setting up the characters and the world so that they might pick up the pace. At least in this issue.
A lot happens in this issue with the help of well-timed cutaways to TV screens to help the reader understand the state of world politics when it comes to superheroes. A lot has built up to it and Johns and Frank don’t hold back with characters learning new details and others coming in contact for the first time. It’s an issue that pays off and should get readers very excited for what is coming. Customary of Watchmen, Johns plays the part of Oracle with some of the narrative structure which in turn helps get your imagination running as far as where this story goes from here.
Frank and colorist Brad Anderson do an impeccable job on the art, continuing in the 9-panel structure that is so iconic for this series, though it’s not used on every page. Once again Marionette steals the show visually due to her intensity but also her magical invisible wire that can cut through anything. Fans of the Joker should not miss this issue as he’s depicted in some very striking ways that’ll linger.
It can’t be perfect can it?
A major Watchmen character ends up delaying the inevitable once again and you’re left not quite sure how this tale moves on from here. I suspect reading this in one sitting will be a far better experience since we’ve had to wait so long to get this far and because there are prophecies foretold here that could pay off if they do indeed go the way they are suggested. In a verbose way, I’m basically saying the wait for Superman and the deeper meaning this series has alluded to for over a year now has become maddening. Here’s to hoping the next issue begins to make sense as far as the grand scheme is concerned because as it stands it’s an intriguing story about characters, but the bigger message is as vague as ever.
Is it good?
This series continues to be one of the most unique superhero reading experiences every issue. This issue pays off in a lot of ways and should have fans of The Watchmen on the edge of their seat.