Monday, January 6, 2020

Doomsday Clock (12 issue maxi series) written by Geoff Johns and art by Gary Frank

After the Before Watchmen collection of miniseries, I was less than keen for a new comic set in the world of Watchmen. But this was a sequel, and I’d long been intrigued by seeing where the world went next. Intended to finish at the end of 2018, this book ran over time and by a quirk of synergy the final issue came out the same week as the final episode of the TV series and the Watchmen Companion.

The story starts in 1992, Veidt’s deception has been discovered and the world immediately begins firing nuclear missiles. The world’s only hope is to track down Dr Manhattan. Not a bad start, Veidt is joined by the second Rorschach and the criminal duo of Mime and Marionette.

 I’m intrigued by the new characters. Who is the new Rorschach? Johns does a great job with this mystery giving us a character who is only hinted at in one panel of the Watchmen comic, (yep I was sent scurrying to the comic to see if it was legit. It was)

The problem is that the majority of the series is set in the DC Universe so we have to focus on the considerably larger cast of DC characters. Batman and Rorschach interact as do Adrian and Lex Luthor and any ambiguity if Veidt is a villain or a hero is out the window. There is a final confrontation between Superman and Dr Manhattan (the briefer Manhattan/Captain Atom clash was a disappointment)

There is a notion going through the DC Universe of the Superman Theory – America has the majority of superheroes because they are deliberately being created by the US government. It’s an interesting idea and I wonder would it have would have worked better without the Watchmen stuff. We discover that Dr Manhattan was responsible for the New 52 universe and his interference prevented the formation of the Justice Society and Legion of Superheroes.

Ultimately, I didn’t care. The crisis of infinite reboots that is DC makes me ask is, will this story still count/matter after the next round of retcons? I did like the idea that the Watchmen characters end up back in their own universe and their experiences in the DC Universe have injected some hope into their world. Ultimately is this a satisfying story? Yes. Is it what I would have liked to have seen? Not really, seeing the Watchmen characters in the DCU wasn’t something I’d hoped to see – we already had the Charlton heroes in there and writers have tried several times to make them into their Watchmen counterparts, The L.A.W. miniseries and the Pax Americana chapter of Multiversity come to mind. The artwork is really good and seems to have been the hold up with the stories. There were several articles that announced that the art for issue 12 was now done. The delays really hurt this series as it went longer and longer I presume that more people would have dropped the book or forgotten about it – some of the revelations and returns to continuity that should have debuted here had been preempted in other titles.

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