The Anti-Doctor Manhattan? Reviewing Peter Cannon #3 By Gillan And Wijngaard

by Olly MacNamee

In Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #3 we discover that the Dynamite version of Doctor Manhattan has been standing in plain sight all along and was the reason behind superpowers emerging in the universe of the villainous Peter Cannon, as he recounts during this issue. Seems it’s this version of the many, many Peter Cannon’s across the multiverse that is the closest to Watchmen’s Ozymandias echoing the aforementioned series’ own well-known finale. But, with one difference. Where Moore and Gibbons ends, it would seem that the Peter Cannon of this Earth’s toy only begins as he continues to obsess over his Doctor Manhattan – or rather this particular universe’s version of him – leading him to lose his mind along the way. Imagine the smartest man on Earth, but insane. In many ways, this Peter Cannon, the villain of the piece, is presented as the anti-Doctor Manhattan who destroys rather than creates. An interesting thesis on Ozy once peace has been achieved. I mean, what does the world’s smartest man do when there are no challenges any more?

Meanwhile, our own Peter Cannon seems to be outgunned with only a retreat on the cards if he wants to survive. While ‘Villain Peter Cannon’ uses the formalism of comics to protect himself, it is this very same formalism that sees him imprisoned onto the two dimensional page, while our Peter Cannon can escape such structures to travel not only across dimensions, but across comics too. Kieron Gillen one again plays and experiments with the supposed limitations of comics with Caspar Wjingaard offering up varied differing artistic styles to illustrate the multi-dimensional settings of this issue.

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #3 is an entertaining thesis as well as an entertaining read. I just hope there’s no homework assignment to do before next month’s penultimate issue. And, it’s available now from Dynamite.

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