Review: Doomsday Clock #1

You are not prepared for what lies ahead within these pages, good readers. Doomsday Clock #1 kicks off DC Comics‘ 12-issue maxiseries from the critically acclaimed team of writer Geoff Johns, artist Gary Frank and colorist Brad Anderson.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to Doomsday Clock #1 other than somehow the world of Watchmen and DC would meet. Is it as friends? Is it as foes? Does it have to do with Rebirth? With ominous lead ups such as “The Button” and “The Oz Effect” it’s hard to not expect the worst. And that’s why I was actually pleasantly surprised by this first issue which feels more like a natural sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s classic Watchmen than some big cash-in/crossover/event comic.

The first issue has a focus and that’s inform us about the world of the Watchmen after the alien attack that ended the original work. Taking place in 1992, things are again ticking down to midnight using that iconic imagery to make things a bit more tense and create an urgency of time. The issue focuses on Rorschach who’s putting together a team to save his world. But, Rorschach?! We thought he was dead? I’m not spoiling that at all but everything is explained including some of the complaints individuals had about the teaser released.

Everything makes sense and is explained in a way that none of it feels convoluted and this issue feels like a natural successor to the original iconic series. It keeps the political underpinnings, in fact the politics of this world is dead center within the comic. It pays an homage in a way of how some pages are laid out and the dialogue is written. Writer Geoff Johns has done his homework and is playing the issue in a way that it feels like a natural successor.

Gary Frank‘s art helps Johns in creating visuals and page layouts that feel like some of the original work by Gibbons (who provides a cover for the series). The series uses a lot of nine panel pages much like the original work and I’d imagine the only point this might change is when the two worlds collide. It’s clear Frank has also done his homework and sticks to what has happened before. There’s no splash pages or panels breaking each other or characters breaking out of them, it’s conservative in a way helping focus on the characters and the dialogue. Where the series differs in Brad Anderson‘s colors which do break from the original’s more sparse style. That’s not a negative at all but a reflection of how that in particular has changed in the three decades since.

Much like the original series, there’s back material that explains the world a bit more. We get newspaper clippings explaining where things stand and adds depth to the world and characters in a way that wouldn’t be as easy through the regular narrative.

We do get some of the promise of Superman in this issue. It’s brief but leaves you a bit with some of that nervousness of where things are going creating more of the mystery of what’s to come. It’s a literal nightmare, but what does it all mean?

Going in I expected… not this and finishing it I was not only pleasantly surprised but excited to see what comes. An impressive start, Doomsday Clock #1 feels like a bridge from what was to what is. There’s a clear reverence to the source material in its presentation, themes, and the characters. At a time when “event/gimmick comics” feel like they’ve burned themselves out, Doomsday Clock #1 is a pleasant surprise that has me looking forward to diving into the unknown.

Story: Geoff Johns Art: Gary Frank Color: Brad Anderson
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review