[**WARNING: There are spoilers for Doomsday Clock #7 is this review. Be warned.]
Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Watchmen sequel, Doomsday Clock #7 is a comic that returns this title to the promising start I saw at the beginning of this series, almost a year ago now. After a couple of issues that felt like padding, suddenly we are confronted with the return of old blue eyes himself, Dr. Manhattan, and we are treated to a number of shocking revelations and half-prophecies that will have your head spinning by the end of the issue in trying to figure it all out and connect the dots.
Taking another lead from Watchmen, Johns included the familiar non-linear narrative of Dr. Manhattan, who sees his whole life as one fluid time stream which he can access at any point. He contemplates the past, the present and the future, just as we have characters from DC’s own past, present and future in the unlikely companionship of Johnny Thunder, Saturn Girl and, previously, Batman, who is still being held captive by The Joker and his own new besties, Marionette and Mime.
On page one alone we learn why in the New 52 there was no sign of The Justice Society of America, which goes someways to explaining Johnny Thunder’s memories of a silver age that never materialised. That’s pretty mind-blowing stuff in itself, as we have the first admittance, albeit indirectly, that Dr. Manhattan has some hand in the architecture of the New 52. But, in coming from his own earth into the DC universe of 1985, was he also the hand that forged the post-Crisis On Infinite Earths world too? Curiouser and curiouser. Was his the hand at the beginning of time, as witnessed by the collectives of multiple Earths in that series? It wouldn’t be the first time DC rewrote history, now would it? And, I’m calling it now.
But, it’s not the only revelation the book has to share with the readers. The arrogance of Ozymandias, could well be his undoing once again, as the poem he embodies reminds us: nothing lasts forever. And, with his own previous plans to save the world of Watchmen in tatters after only 7 years, how can he honestly believe he can be a saviour for any world? Especially as it is revealed that he hasn’t played fairly to gain the support of the new Rorschach 2.0 in the first place. What might works will be left for anyone to stare at and despair, one wonders?
Alongside this complete change in direction, we have the continued fallout from the ‘Superman Theory’, growing unrest – domestically and internationally – and paranoia in the DCU; all of which seems to be spelling impending doom, again, like the original maxi-series it emulates. Oh, and several bloody beatdowns by good and bad alike.
By the end of this chapter, shocking secrets that have been shared, the brutal takedown of a number of cast members, and a growing realisation that the odds seemed stacked against the protagonists of this series and this Earth, have me hooked once again.
This has been one of the better issues of the series and true to Geoff Johns announcement at SDCC that this issue would indeed “changes the story completely.” Unlike Ozymandias, Johns didn’t lie.
Back on track, sensational and startling, and bloody brutal. My kind of comic all round and well worth the rate this time round.