Doomsday Clock, Geoff Johns’ Watchmen sequel that brings back the Justice Society and Legion of Super-Heroes has finished after numerous delays. As Gerald Ford put it, “Our long, national nightmare is over.”
Let’s get this out of the way.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist/ Cover Art: Gary Frank
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
In Shops: Dec 18, 2019
This is it! The final showdown between Dr. Manhattan and Superman shakes up the DC Universe to its very core! But can even the Man of Steel walk out from the shadow of Manhattan?
I hold in the camp that Watchmen is most likely the finest comic book story ever published. There are arguments to be made for Maus or Dark Knight Returns, but Watchmen exists on several levels and manages to incorporate the art of Dave Gibbons on almost an abstract level.
Watchmen was also essentially stolen from Moore and Gibbons due to their own excellence. As long as Watchmen stayed in print, DC Comics could do whatever they wanted to do with it. Over the years, this meant a film adaptation directed by Zack Snyder, prequel comics series from DC Comics, an HBO series and of course, Doomsday Clock.
DC Comics is perfectly within their rights to do this. As I’ve said before, just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you should. I believe I may have made this point before. People will argue that Alan Moore wouldn’t be pleased with any adaptation of his work, and I’m in agreement. Where I disagree is that it’s perfectly his right to be displeased with adaptations of his literary work. Many authors have opposed adaptations of their work. In the case of Watchmen, it was often deemed impossible to adapt, just because it made such perfect use of the medium of comics. Aside from the story itself, there was ancillary material that came in appendices like excerpts from Under the Hood. There was also Tales of the Black Freighter which mirrored the story.
In Doomsday Clock, the series seemed to have the purpose of fixing the problems in the new continuity of DC’s main universe. Unfortunately, many of these changes had been made already. The multiverse had been reestablished, including the infinite nature of it. Geoff Johns writes this issue like Dr. Manhattan is the one that does so, when he simply didn’t. That story was told. Geoff Johns writes the issue like the Legion and JSA are reestablished by these events, but the version of the Legion that arrives is the one created by Brian Michael Bendis and has no established history to Clark Kent. Perhaps if this series had been on schedule, it wouldn’t have suffered these problems.
Of course, maybe the simplest answer is the correct one. DC Comics wanted to make a little cash off of a Watchmen sequel. It probably worked, as the sales were pretty solid for the series. To the credit of DC Comics and Geoff Johns, there weren’t endless crossover issues in other series. However, the impact of the series couldn’t materialize due to creative delays. It only serves as a sequel to Watchmen. It’s lasting result is to tear down and rebuild the world of Watchmen, with Dan and Laurie raising a child that Dr. Manhattan abducted and I assume empowered. All of this is because Superman inspired him.
Hopefully, Damon Lindelof and the writers of the Watchmen television series can look at this and take some lesson from it. There have been rumors that the series will stop at one season. I hope so, because if there’s one thing everyone should have learned by now, is that a sequel almost can never be as good as the original. Of course, Hollywood hasn’t learned that, so why should Marvel and DC?
Final rating: 4.0 (out of 10)
Do yourself a favor, and just get yourself a good copy of Watchmen and forget this ever happened.