Doomsday Clock #1
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Gary Frank
Colors by: Brad Anderson
Letters by: Rob Leigh
When Watchmen first arrived in comic stores in September of 1986 Alan Moore was looking to change the landscape of comics while also commenting on the state of the country and nature of our idolization of superheroes. In the opening pages of Geoff Johns long-awaited and highly anticipated sequel to Moore’s masterwork, it’s clear he is looking to once again change everything, and like Moore, the current political and cultural climate is his inspiration.
Doomsday Clock opens once again in the bleakest manner possible, as we are shown a society tearing itself apart only a few years after Ozymandias had orchestrated world peace, through mass murder. Thanks to Rorschach’s Journal, Ozymandias’ plan to kill millions in order to unite billions and finally bring peace to the world has been revealed. As the world once again begins to crumble, we find ourselves in the presence of a familiar friend, Rorschach. This is the point when Johns grabs you and begins to tighten his grip with each passing page. From the moment Rorschach appears we are given one mystery after another and each more intriguing than the last as he searches for the one man who can set the world right again, Dr. Manhattan. Or, as Rorschach puts it, “Finding God”.
Johns follows the traditions of the original Watchmen with the vigor of a fanboy writing the comic of his dreams. It’s not only a love letter to the original but it actually feels like a sequel in every sense of the word. Even our new characters follow the same formula as they also appear to be inspired by characters from deep within the DC mythos. Johns makes Doomsday Clock impossible to put down as no panel is wasted as we drive to its final pages and the last year of Rebirth groundwork begins to fall into place and you can start to see where this is all going.
Gary Frank’s art brings a modern feel to these retro characters. He doesn’t try to emulate the style of the original but does try to create a sense of realism with his characters and the world. Frank’s images are detailed yet gritty and further emphasizes the dower situation the world and our “heroes” are in.
Doomsday Clock is maybe DC Comics biggest risk ever as they simultaneously are creating a sequel to arguably the greatest comic of all time, while also attempting to integrate this decaying world into a hopeful DC Universe. Its a risk that if handled correctly could become one of the greatest moments in comics history, and if issue one is any indication I think it safe to say Doomsday Clock couldn’t possibly be in better hands. Johns knows the material probably better than anyone and knows the importance of keeping it faithful to the original. He does this and so much more as the pieces of the last year begin to come together in issue one’s final pages and you can see the clock reaching midnight.