Four issues in and this series continues to be mind-boggling. For all intents and purposes, this comic should not work. The very concept, a sequel to Watchmen that is not written by Alan Moore and crosses over with the DC Universe should feel almost sacrilegious to read. However, Doomsday Clock continues to be an impressive and fitting follow up to Watchmen as well as an addition to DC canon that feels both natural and vital.
Picking up right where we left off in the third issue, we see our mysterious new Rorschach trying to adjust to life as a prisoner after being tricked into Arkham by Batman. While this issue does little to move the plot forward, we’re offered some details on what happened to the Watchmen universe after the events of the graphic novel. Perhaps more importantly, we get to know Rorschach. If you weren’t on board with the character before, you will be after reading this.
What’s truly amazing about Geoff Johns’s writing in this series is his ability to immerse you in not one, but two separate universes. To an extent, this has always been a strength of his. Every word that Johns writes, every bit of dialogue that his characters speak, oozes decades of history. You can feel the weight of the continuity — that many stories crumble beneath — melt away as he weaves in deep-cut references. A perfect example is his use of Mothman in this issue.
In the original Watchmen story, Mothman is a pretty forgettable character. Even in this issue, we don’t necessarily need to know more about him to understand the story. However, Johns does something very clever here in tying him to the origin of this new Rorschach. To say that you will sympathize with Rorschach and Mothman is a massive understatement. The origin story is truly tragic but not in the same way of the original Rorschach. The new character, who has taken up this mantle, was birthed out of the events of the original series. Thanks to Gary Frank’s art, you will be affected by this story in the same way.
The rendering of eyes in this issue is absolutely vital to the storytelling. Frank knows how to tug at heartstrings with his art like Johns does in his writing. You can feel the pain and fear behind the characters’ eyes, just as you would if you were talking to a person in real life. The emotional depth that the art brings not only conveys the status of the characters but the status of the Watchmen universe in general. As Johns meticulously lets this epic unfold into a map and sprawl in all directions, Frank’s art serves as a compass. It entices you to push forward. It brings you comfort in knowing that, although this world is new and scary, what you love about these two universes is still here for you to take solace in.
If you haven’t started reading it yet, Doomsday Clock is more than worth checking out. So far, this story is every bit as poignant and relevant as the original series. This issue’s inability to move the plot forward can be frustrating. However, if you are patient with it and get to know its characters, it will reward you with a story that you never knew you always wanted.
Final Score: 9/10
The 7 Best Comic Books Of DC’s Geoff Johns
DC superstar Geoff Johns is reasserting himself back into the comic book world in a big way with Doomsday Clock. Characters from Watchmen have been bleeding into the DC Universe since the beginning of DC Rebirth, and Johns, no stranger to writing universe threatening tales, has finally kicked that story into high-gear.
Johns has also been working at DC Films, but he got his start in the comic book world. He has been my favorite comic book writer since I started reading comics as a kid and his skill has only expanded since then. As his name has grown, Johns has been able to take more and more risks as he utilizes his signature, emotion-filled storytelling techniques on everyone from Aquaman to Superman.
Hit Next to learn about the seven best comic books of Johns!