Things are really heating up in Doomsday Clock. So much so, rumor has it the eighth issue leaked online due to Russian intervention. Out in comic shops today, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are giving readers a heavy dose of Superman as he attempts to stop a world conflict with Russia. Just another day for the protector of all of Earth, I guess.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The critical and commercial hit series by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank continues following the shocking revelations of last issue. As the truth behind Dr. Manhattan’s actions against the DC Universe are revealed, Ozymandias turns to the only being who can stop him: Superman.
Why does this matter?
It is widely known the events in this series will dictate the future of the DC universe. This is all in canon and based on the first seven issues, it is clear the world is becoming a very dangerous place. A country where super-powered people can live in harmony has sprouted up and it is run by Black Adam. Meanwhile, why is Dr. Manhattan in the DC universe at all? So many mysteries continue to linger, driving readers to read into every panel and making this series a different kind of reading experience.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The story gets very political this issue, weaving in the Superman Theory while things escalate in Russia thanks to Firestorm. The Superman Theory asks the question as to why over 90% of metahumans originate from America. Superman doesn’t believe in the theory that the government is creating heroes, but how can you blame Putin (who appears in this issue) when an American hero like Firestorm shows up in his country and seemingly kills a crowd of people. Johns and Frank have crafted an interesting Cold War-style story where everyone in the world is on the edge and at any moment the world could blow. This aligns well with The Watchmen but in a DC universe sort of way.
This issue also continues to balance the good heart of Superman against a world raging for violence. Superman has always rooted for everyone to do the right thing and knows in everyone’s hearts they mean well. It’s a characteristic which is probably what drew Dr. Manhattan to the DC universe in the first place. In a great scene, he helps Firestorm control his powers and start to get to the bottom of what happened in Russia.
The art continues to be one of the biggest draws of this series. Gary Frank puts a lot of time and effort into each panel, drawing your eye and making you linger. You can tell a lot of time is spent simply planning the panels, let alone drawing them. Also, big props to him for drawing Superman in the likeness of Christopher Reeves, more or less. There are a lot of cutaways to characters’ reactions in this issue and Frank nails every one, from a smug smile of Putin’s to the intense shock of Superman’s face in the face of a horror.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m at a loss as far as what Batman is doing in this issue. Last we saw him his face was being pummeled by Rorschach. He seems to be randomly flying the bat-plane for some odd reason and one has to assume he’s headed to Superman’s location (though there’s no confirmation of this). I simply love what Johns has done to weave him into Superman’s immediate experience, but his place in the story is confusing.
The pacing of this series has also been all over the place. One issue might focus exclusively on a character’s journey up until this point, while the next is devoted almost exclusively to a couple hours in time. This issue speeds up the escalation of world fears well, but it’s so fast in comparison to other issues it can make the reading experience awkward. I can’t wait to read this series in one sitting to see how the story paces out.
Is it good?
A strong issue that builds up the global tensions and prepares readers for all-out war. I know this isn’t an authorized sequel to The Watchmen but it certainly has the soul of the original. Doomsday Clock makes the foreboding message of the original loud in clear in a modern superhero format.