Doomsday Clock #1 Review

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #1

Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Gary Frank
Colored by: Brad Anderson

There are few graphic novels that have been as universally lauded as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen. Since it was first discovered that DC Comics would be bringing Watchmen characters into their Rebirth continuity, many fans have been eagerly anticipating what the collision of these two worlds would bring about. After over a year of waiting, we’re finally beginning the journey to get those answers with the monthly, twelve-issue series: Doomsday Clock.

Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have become one of the “super-teams” in comics. Johns has spoken on several occasions about how bold this venture is, and how he and Frank are dedicated to putting their best efforts into this series. The first issue they’ve put together is a solid introduction to key events and characters we’ll undoubtedly see more of in future issues, and simultaneously a not-so-subtle commentary on the state of American politics and culture.

This issue is heavy with narration and imagery, and will probably be hard to follow if you haven’t read the original Watchmen series. If you’ve seen the 2009 film, you’ll be able to pick up on a lot of things, but I would strongly recommend going back and reading the original graphic novel because not only is it a classic and a phenomenal read, it will get you up to speed on just about everything you’ll need to know to jump into series. But if you’re not familiar with those events, you’ll still find a thought-provoking story about the aftermath of a national catastrophe in Doomsday Clock #1.

Geoff Johns is entering a lot of new territory as a writer, and he does an exceptional job recreating the feeling of the Watchmen universe and putting it into modern context. From a technical standpoint, the setting, mission, and characters are all presented in a very clear and cohesive manner. Gary Frank’s art is pitch-perfect, and the utilization of the 9 panel grid is a great homage to Dave Gibbon’s work in Watchmen. But the tone would be incomplete without Brad Anderson’s coloring. He does a remarkable job in each panel by creating a tone that feels like the marriage of the hopeless narrative set by Johns and the chaotic, end-of-days imagery in Frank’s art.

Without delving into spoilers, I will simply say that the story presented here by this exceptional creative team is good, but it’s bound to spark controversy among fans. But that’s a good thing. After reading this issue several times over, I can say confidently that Doomsday Clock #1 sets this series on a trajectory to be a critical story for modern day readers. This isn’t just a mash-up Watchmen/DC event. This is a story that should bring each reader to an honest, uncomfortable introspection, but the simple/unfortunate truth is some people just don’t want that.

Doomsday Clock #1 sets us off on a year-long journey into what could become an instant classic. I’m ecstatic to be along for the ride, and I would invite anyone along who is interested to see the limits of the superhero comic book genre pushed to new heights.