Doomsday Clock #1 Review: Amazing Art, Slow Yet Intriguing Plot

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So, here it is. The big beluga itself: Doomsday Clock. This is the story what will marry the regular DC Universe to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' legendary Watchmen continuity.

          I mean, I'm assuming that's the end goal. DC Universe: Rebirth and The Button both laid the ground work for this merger to happen.

          The year is 1992. Things have gone to hell since the publication of Rorschach's journals. People are rioting in the streets, the European Union is disintegrating, Russia is (allegedly) making moves across Europe, and the American government is seizing control of every news network in the nation.

All of this, and someone dressed as Rorschach has broken into a prison with the intent of breaking out an old villain, the Marionette, for some a plan.

Doomsday Clock cover by Gary Frank and Brad Anderson
Doomsday Clock cover by Gary Frank and Brad Anderson

This has been a highly anticipated story, and a lot of what transpires has been heavily speculated upon. As such, I'm going to go ahead and throw up the spoiler warning here. I imagine many people of read it by now given that it's now the Saturday after the release, but better safe than sorry. So, you've been warned.

Also, fellow Bleeding Cool writer Joe Glass has already reviewed this comic, so check that out too.

So, what do I think? It's good, if a bit slow.

There's your hot take for your next Doomsday Clock ad, DC.

I've been interested in the potential of marrying the regular DCU and Watchmen, but I've not been ecstatically waiting with bated breath. It seems cool, and I've been curious how DC and Geoff Johns plans to explain what's been going on in the background of Flashpoint, New 52, and Rebirth canonically.

Plus, I've been hoping it might bring about the return of heroes they've not used in a bit like the Justice Society, Legion of Superheroes, and others.

This goes without saying, but Watchmen doesn't need a sequel or a prequel for that matter. It was a phenomenal standalone story, but DC has been frequently trying to expand on it ever since, given that it's one of the most popular and significant comic book tales of all time.

I personally subscribe to Bob Chipman's evaluation that there will never be another Watchmen. The glass has been shattered, and there is no piecing it back together or breaking it any further.

Back to Doomsday Clock specifically, the plot creeps forward. In Johns' defense, there is a lot establish in the interim between Watchmen and this comic. However, explaining the setting, while done pretty organically, could have been abbreviated somewhat to help the pacing. That being said, the setting is interesting for sure. The world is beyond broken, and, despite it being set in 1992, it does feel relevant to today's political climate, especially in the polarized political outlooks, government attempting to invalidate news media, and the creeping sense of Armageddon's arrival.

This new Rorschach is as entertaining as the old.

I have similar opinions of Rorschach as I do the Punisher. I love him and kind of hate myself for it.

 He's awkward, vicious, and essentially a well-dressed hobo. He speaks in broken sentences, and seems ready to gut just about anyone within arms' reach.

Marionette and Mime are entertaining as well. There's almost a gender-flipped Joker and Harley chemistry between them, except the Mime isn't insufferable nor is his ass hanging out.

The bigger reveals in the last third or so: Rorschach working for Ozymandias, their intent to search out Doctor Manhattan, Superman's appearance and subsequent nightmare, are intriguing if not too shocking. You do expect Rorschach's partner to be Nite Owl of course, and the ending to Watchmen would make you think this Rorschach would want to kill Ozy too. But it didn't blow my mind or anything.

Doomsday Clock #1 art by Gary Frank and Brad Anderson
Doomsday Clock #1 art by Gary Frank and Brad Anderson

Gary Franks' artwork steals the show here. It's gorgeous, detailed, striking, and frankly incredible. He does some damn fine work here, and it helps keep my interest piqued even when the story begins to lag. Brad Anderson's color work is well-balanced and attractive too, and the two make for a fantastic-looking comic.

Also, I dig the dedication to Len Wein at the end. That was a nice touch.

So, Doomsday Clock was a good read. It didn't blow my mind, but my expectations weren't hyped up for it anyway. It's good, and I enjoyed it. I recommend it, and you should definitely check it out.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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