Writer: Geoff Johns / Artist: Gary Frank / DC Comics
The return of The Watchmen has been a long time coming, and while I enjoyed the first issue, I did wish to see more crossover with the DC Universe proper. Well, request granted. The issue still spends a great deal of time on Rorschach and Ozymandias as their quest progresses. However, we do see them cross over to our familiar heroes as they try to encounter them on their ground with mixed results, admittedly. While good, this issue still serves as more setup and character progression than story progression which isn’t a terrible thing to be honest. Unlike many other big events, Johns is going to have 12 issues to flesh this story, so I’m ok with the methodical pace thus far.
Bargaining with God
The strongest part of the issue is probably the opening and the revelation. We get an explanation of how the sadistic Marionette and Mime play into their plans to convince Doctor Manhattan to come back. The flashback is disturbing and fills in the backstory of the murderous couple by showing them at their troublesome apex. Johns has all his skills in the toolbox on display here as the scene turns on its head. It simultaneously gives us the relevance of their involvement in this book and makes them more than one note characters. The characters are such wildcards, who knows how they will be involved moving forward, but they are instantly more entertaining.
Another entertaining aspect of this book comes with the introduction of Bruce Wayne. Mainly, his psychology and what being Batman in a society that has turned against heroes looks like. All the debates about whether Batman is Batman because he wants to do it or has to do it get a new wrinkle when society doesn’t want him. Definitely sets the tone for more interesting Batman deployments as the book marches forward.
Doomsday is Terrifying but Still Looks Great
Make no mistake, Frank is keeping pace with Johns on this Doomsday story. A lot of the character work is done through the art, particularly with the close-ups. Frank gives these characters a wide range of facial expressions that often convey the tone of the action. From the power couple’s origin story to the Ozymandias “meeting” near the end of the book, the art and characterization are top notch.
Doomsday Clock is taking its time moving through the plot and that’s ok. With a lot more time to breathe than most events, Johns and Frank are building a fascinating environment with plenty of room to drop the big revelations that we know are coming.
Reading Doomsday Clock? Find BNP’s other reviews and coverage of the series here.