Doomsday Clock #11 – Review
Doomsday Clock was reportedly going to signal the return of the JSA and the Legion of Super-Heroes. Both those teams returned elsewhere this month. That means the purpose of the series now remains to explain how the DC Universe was altered by Dr. Manhattan and essentially be a sequel for Watchmen.
Before I get started talking about this issue, let me get out the obligatory spoil warning and give the credits and solicitation for the comic.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Cover Art: Gary Frank
The critically acclaimed series by the renowned team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank marches toward its conclusion. In this penultimate issue, the truth behind “Rebirth” is revealed as Batman searches for the one person he believes can help him save the world…Rorschach!
As the series started, it had promise, and it appeared to be more focused on fixing the mess left after the New 52 transformed into Rebirth. It also promised to reintroduce the Justice Society and the Legion of Super-Heroes to the DC Universe. With those two teams reintroduced in other titles, there are only two purposes left. I find that problematic since one is completely expository, and the other is both unnecessary and a slap in the face to any creator hoping to have DC Comics live up to any agreement they make with the creator.
In having to explain the story to the reader, Ozymandias has to tell it to his captives Johnny Thunder and Saturn Girl. He even explains that his motives have changed from the beginning. This just makes a confusing story even more confusing. It also demonstrates to Saturn Girl that she has been erased from the timeline, and with that, she evaporates, leaving behind only her Legion flight ring. Why did that stay? I guess in a story full of remnants of the meddling Dr. Manhattan did, another remnant is just one more object that shouldn’t be.
Do we need there to be an explanation for why the New 52 became Rebirth? I think we got that through the exposition in the previous issue by Dr. Manhattan. There’s so much exposition in this series. There’s a saying in storytelling, credited to Anton Chekov of “Show, don’t tell.” Whenever a writer, especially in such a visual medium as comics, resorts to exposition, in this case, lengthy exposition, it signals a failure in storytelling. For a series that’s a sequel to Watchmen, one of the greatest comics of all time, that is extremely saddening.
That’s where the biggest sin of this comic comes in. It’s a sequel to Watchmen. DC Comics has made a habit in the past few years of reminding their readership that they own Watchmen, not Alan Moore. They’ve also demonstrated it with some of the America’s Best Comics characters. That also ignores the opinion many have, myself included, that Watchmen doesn’t need a sequel. It did fine for twenty years without one. The only reason to do one is for DC Comics to flex its corporate muscle, to put it delicately. I truly believe that Geoff Johns and Gary Frank went into this with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, their delays meant two of the things that were to make Doomsday Clock special got taken away from it, and it hurts the entire series.
I like Gary Frank’s art in here, but it’s just a little too stiff. Many times, the faces are expressionless or just a generic emotion, something we’ve seen before. Saturn Girl doesn’t look like she’s terrified that she doesn’t exist, it’s just like she’s a little put off that Ozymandias told her she was. Maybe he was going for the Infinity War dusting effect, but everyone took it differently. Star Lord probably had the reaction I would have expected here from Saturn Girl. Instead I get sleepy-face Imra.
So that leaves me just to give this a rating. To paraphrase, I’ve seen worse, but not many.
Final rating: 2.5 (out of 10)