Jeannette Mooney ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
November 22nd, 2017
The much anticipated twelve-part sequel to Alan Moore’s Watchmen is here. There have been mixed opinions regarding this followup to the 1986 titan of the comic industry. Some fans are excited for this comic, which will be a crossover between the Watchmen and DC’s Rebirth universes. Others, on the other hand, see Doomsday Clock as a pointless cash-in for a comic that would be better off as a standalone.
This is not the first time DC has expanded the Watchmen universe. Before Watchmen, a collection of several miniseries that followed the lives of the heroes featured in the original graphic novel before its events, was not looked upon favorably by critics or fans. Doomsday Clock, however, appears to be off to a promising start, which is not surprising considering it was written by Geoff Johns, who has created countless memorable storylines for DC in the past.
While the main conflict in the story is set to take place between Superman and Dr. Manhattan, the first issue focuses mainly on the current state of the world in the Watchmen Universe. The story opens in 1992, seven years after the events of the original comic. There is rioting in streets across the country, and news headlines tell us that Russia is invading Poland. The world is on the brink of nuclear war and American citizens are calling for the execution of Adrian Veidt, formerly the hero known as the hero Ozymandias. For the sake of avoiding spoilers for Watchmen, we’ll skip the reason for his prosecution. Meanwhile, Rorschach, who is another recurring character from the original comic, is breaking a criminal, Marionette, out of prison. From their preceding conversation we learn that Doomsday Clock’s Rorschach is not the original, but a completely different person who has molded himself to the identity.
Rorschach II tells Marionette that he and Ozymandias need her in order to prevent the incoming nuclear war. As payment for the job, Ozymandias offers to reunite Marionette with her son. Marionette agrees on the condition that Rorschach also break out her husband, known as The Mime. This issue finishes with Superman having a dream about the night his parents died. The scene was most likely a setup for Clark’s later interactions with Dr. Manhattan, who has the ability to see past, present, and future simultaneously.
This first issue does a very good job at setting up what is at stake as well as what has changed since the end of Watchmen. Creating a successor for Rorschach is an interesting concept, and it will be interesting to see what Johns chooses to do with the character. The other new characters, Marionette and Mime, hold promise as well. Marionette’s compassion for her estranged son makes her very compelling, and Mime’s quirks managed to bring humor into a very serious comic.
The art is very well done and well suited for the tone of the comic. Artist Gary Frank manages to create a gritty and realistic style without sacrificing the expressiveness of his characters. Frank and Johns utilize the three-by-three panel layout style that was used by Watchmen and many other comics during its time period. This layout and composition combined with the style of narration creates a good connection between the two works. Whether or not Johns and Frank can keep up these styles without them becoming forced in later issues, time will only tell. For the first issue, however, Johns delivers a promising start to a much-hyped comic.
Overall Rating – 8/10