Doomsday Clock has certainly been a slow story due to delays, but has been deep in its purpose and planning. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are delivering a tale that feels resolute and thought-provoking. That was never more obvious than with issue #10, out this week, which focuses on Dr. Manhattan.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
This stunning issue of the critically acclaimed hit maxiseries reveals the secrets behind Dr. Manhattan and his connection to the DC Universe.
Why does this matter?
This issue fills in some of the blanks around Dr. Manhattan, giving a bit of context as to why he’d fought all the heroes previously but also why he’s so focused on Superman. It tells a story in its own right too. If you’ve been at all interested in this series, this is the one that’ll connect the dots.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue uses a bit of misdirection via a classic Hollywood actor — or at least it appears to be an unimportant detail until late into the issue. This actor supplies a human connection to Dr. Manhattan who is trying to figure out the DC universe. As the story progresses we see how Dr. Manhattan is a bit of an uncaring god and how his perspective changed on Superman and the universe as a whole. Johns introduces a new term to be added alongside “multiverse” that not only makes sense, but gives the entire approach to this story good context. It also lends believability to how comics seem to reboot every generation or so.
In the grand scheme of things this issue adds a new layer to the story and makes it feel all-encompassing of the DCU. I won’t spoil it, but Dr. Manhattan comes to a conclusion about Superman and this universe that properly answers the question of what he meant when he told Ozymandias he’s leaving their galaxy for one less complicated. It’s a statement that helps make this entire series make so much sense and should help placate anyone annoyed that they’re making this sequel.
The art by Gary Frank continues to be excellent. The 9-panel layout continues to give each page more bang-for-your-buck storytelling than your typical comic. Superman pops up quite a few times and the different looks for the character are spot-on. The use of black and white is quite intriguing too, opening with a lack of color and then being used later to show how making movies is similar to alternate dimensions, but even these can mimic and connect to reality similar to the multiverses and superheroes. I also rather like how Frank practically makes Dr. Manhattan a villain through his facial expressions. He’s smug, annoyed and at times angry. Frank will make you believe he’s villain material.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
As is customary of this series so far the plotting makes the overall pace feel all over the place. It’s episodic, as if each issue was its own thing. There isn’t a core line to follow and as a result this series can feel almost unplanned. This issue offers answers, but something about it does seem off.
Is it good?
An issue that is filled with answers and fulfilling revelations. It gives the series as a whole purpose, connecting the bigger DC universe with Dr. Manhattan as well as supplying perspective that enriches everything. I only wish this chapter came much earlier.