DC fans everywhere desperately scrambled to get a copy of one of this year’s most anticipated series on Wednesday. With expectations looming, Doomsday Clock promises to answer all of the questions presented within the publishers main line since the inauguration of Rebirth in 2016.
So, what did I think of the first issue of the maxi-series? I can without a doubt say, Doomsday Clock is unlike anything Geoff John’s has ever done before. John’s has challenged himself to tell a multilayer story expanding upon the modern classic, Watchmen, by bringing it’s world into the DC Universe. It’s aspiration is to present two clashing ideologies between the omniscient, Dr. Manhattan and the awe-inspiring, Superman by tackling issues that are present in our society today. The first issue has set the stage for what could be John’s magnum opus.
Now onto the nuts and bolts… *Potential Spoilers Ahead*
What I liked:
- The Art – Gray Frank has done a masterful job channeling Dave Gibbons (Original Watchmen artist) and bringing us back into the world of Watchmen. It’s strikes the perfect balance between paying homage to the original, while adding Franks’ own flavor into the mix. To top it off, the final scene with Clark and Lois in bed together is haunting and the life that Frank brings to the panels subtly expresses the impending threat for Superman.
- Death hasn’t cheapened: When I saw the leaks and previews before the release I was very skeptical about the inclusion of Rorschach. His death in the original is so powerful because of what it represented, Rorschach stood up for what he believed no matter if that mean’t ruining a potential utopia and it ultimately lead to his own demise.
“Much like Watchmen where there’s another Nite Owl, there’s another Silk Spectre, in my mind there can be another Rorschach,” Johns said. “And it also preserves what I think is one of the best moments in the original Watchmen, his death. But the character is so iconic and his voice is so iconic that I wanted to do a different version of it.”
John’s clearly understands the importance of the original and how this sequel could impact it’s legacy. Respecting the source material while adding his own spin is a difficult step and at least for this first installment John’s has succeeded.
- The new characters: The Marionette, The Mime, & potentially Rorschach 2.0 are all new additions to the Watchmen Universe. John’s dedicates a sizable portion of this first issue introducing us to these violent criminals that Rorschach has been tasked to free. I’m intrigued by their history, especially considering John’s uses The Mime as a callback to the original Rorschach jail scene in Watchmen.
What I didn’t like:
- The Pace: I understand completely that this maxi-series will probably be a slow burn. However, it felt like not much has happened in the opener except learning Veidt has Cancer and Rorschach 2.0 is working with him to find Dr. Manhattan. With all the questions that we all still have since the launch of Rebirth it would have been nice to finally see Dr. Manhattan, or at least have had a little bit more involvement from Superman. Granted, this is just a minor quarrel I had with issue #1, I know it’s coming in this series. Not to mention it’s been 32 years since Watchmen hit shelves, John’s has to incorporate readers back into this universe, I guess I’m just eager for the payoff.
- Rorschach 2.0: Yes, I know my point above was that I’m glad they didn’t bring the original Rorschach from the dead, but it just seemed like this new Rorschach is an exact copy of the original. He talks the same, he is a slob, and he is dressed identically to Walter Kovacs. In Watchmen, as mentioned by John’s himself, their are multiple interpretations of Nite Owl, and Silk Spectre and each were different from their predecessor, it would have been nice to see a Rorschach that’s not just a rehash of the original. However, this is only the first issue and there is still plenty of time for character development on Rorschach 2.0.
It’s impossible to live up to a classic, sequels rarely hold a candle to their precursor and while it is way to early to tell if any of this will hold true with Doomsday Clock, it is safe to say John’s and Frank are embarking on a very special story. All of the pieces are in place to tell a tale relevant to today’s societal issues and at the same time fixing what has been missing in the DC universe since the New 52 started back in 2011.
Doomsday Clock #1 9/10