Doomsday Clock #1
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Gary Frank and Brad Anderson
Published by: DC Comics

Reviewed by: Ryan McLelland

I had little interest in Before Watchmen and, once I read reviews, I simply avoided the series. After years of being DC’s graphic novel cash cow, DC wanted to return to the Watchmen world. More adventures. More trade paperbacks. More money. Missing? Alan Moore. Does one need Alan Moore? There was Swamp Thing before and after Moore. Neil Gaiman continued Miracleman. And creations do keep going. The Last Jedi is out in a few weeks sans one George Lucas. But where does it end? “W For War: Coming Summer 2018”?

My DC Comics reading has been limited the past few years but I do know there has been an integration of sorts of the DCU with the Watchmen universe. Something to do with Dr. Manhattan doing something or something or another and I don’t care. But with Doomsday Clock, DC was able to do something I didn’t think possible. Get me interested in a DC book that I would pick up day one.

Full disclosure. I read it hoping it to be a complete train wreck. I wanted it to be a pitiful attempt to join these universes and see it just as a way to cash grab while sullying Watchmen. I hold Watchmen in high regard. I’m sure most comic book readers do. I didn’t care that Geoff Johns was writing it. I did care that Gary Frank was drawing it because…well…because I love you, Gary.

Doomsday Clock #1 is a wonderful start to this quasi-sequel to Watchmen. Yup I said it. It isn’t horrible. Thus far it sullies nothing. I thought the book to have a great Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons feel – except for the use of the word undeplorables. The plot grabbed me right from the start and by the time I got to the end I couldn’t believe how into the issue I was. Especially as the issue shifts from one universe to the next only to suddenly stop.

The issue starts off with Rorschach walking the streets as the world seems to be coming to an end around him. This Earth is still as messed up as ever. The hunt continues for Ozymandias after he killed millions of people. Dr. Manhattan is still exiled. Nite Owl and Silk Spectre nowhere to be found. And if you read Watchmen you also know that (drumroll please) Rorschach is dead. Deceased. Murdered. Gone. Kaput. So who is the new Rorschach?

It’s a good question and one that Rorschach actually reveals in the comic. Just not to the reader. Rorschach breaks into a prison looking to break out a prisoner. Why? The plan is to try and right the wrongs. It’s all a part of the plan of Rorschach and his secret partner. This prison sequence is pretty outstanding with shades of Zack Snyder’s film as well.

Rorschach is able to free who he was looking for and then delves into who his partner is and some of the master plan. It was all pretty gripping and I was way fully invested.  Suddenly the books shifts gears only to quickly finish. I got to the end and was very much like, “What?!? That’s it?!?  WHAT THE WHAT!?!?!”. Now I’m leaving a ton of plot out. If you want the plot ruined I’m sure there are 3,000 other reviews that will discuss every aspect of this issue at length. Me? Not going to do it.

The book feels like an issue of Watchmen. For the most part it seems like a natural extension. It feels like, dare I say it, Alan Moore is still behind the wheel. Look – Geoff Johns is no slouch and this isn’t his first rodeo. But this doesn’t feel like a typical Geoff Johns mega crossover book. It feels like a Watchmen book. Impressive. Most impressive.

Doomsday Clock #1 is an excellent start to this miniseries and I’m immediately hooked. The writing is great. Frank’s art has never looked better. There seems to be a bunch of plot moving forward from bringing these universes together to who is behind Rorschach’s mask. I hope the miniseries can continue the feel of this first issue. If they can then DC not only has a surefire hit on their hands but a book that could be just as legendary as Watchmen itself.

RANK: A

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