Review – “Doomsday Clock #7”: Answers and Questions

Comic Books DC This Week
Doomsday Clock #7 cover, credit to DC Comics.

Doomsday Clock #7 – Geoff Johns, Writer; Gary Frank, Artist; Brad Anderson, Colorist

Ray – 10/10

Corrina: Narration Reads Like a Moore Parody

Ray: For almost a year now, Doomsday Clock has been slowly parceling out information, teasing us about the all-powerful force that lurks in the background. That would be Doctor Manhattan, who has been shaping the DCU in unseen ways for decades. In Doomsday Clock #6, he finally steps into the spotlight, so the question is – was it worth the wait?

And for me, at least, the answer is absolutely. From the opening pages of this issue, as Doctor Manhattan calmly explains how through a select few steps he successfully wrote the JSA out of history, there’s a sense of cold terror over every scene. The odd couple team of Johnny Thunder, Saturn Girl, Ozymandias, and the new Rorschach are getting closer to finding out answers, and the purpose of Ozymandias’ kitten version of Bubastis is finally revealed. Meanwhile, Joker has Comedian captured, with Mime and Marionette joining up with the deranged alpha criminal’s crusade. As the two groups finally converge, with Batman in the middle, the question we’ve been asking since issue one is finally answered – Where is Doctor Manhattan?

As soon as Doctor Manhattan appears on the scene and isolates the Watchmen characters away from the main narrative, the tone of the issue completely shifts. This is a fascinating chess game of a conversation as Doctor Manhattan single-handedly dismantles the illusions that every character has been putting up from the start of the series. When he reveals the truth about Ozymandias’ ruse, it comes as a shock in some ways but not in others – he’s a consummate liar, and the fact that most people including the readers believed him until now is a testament to the writing. One scene with Marionette does feel like him playing the same card twice, but we also do get some major hints about the identity of Mime and Marionette’s missing child. By the end of the issue, everything that’s been built so far is beginning to unravel, and many characters are back where they began – but we know a lot more. This is the issue I’ve been waiting for since Doomsday Clock began, combining the whip-smart writing with the plot advancement I’ve been waiting for. As we enter the second half, we finally see the story from Doctor Manhattan’s perspective – and it ends on a genuinely terrifying cliffhanger. The next two months are going to be hard to wait.

Also, we just endured a week of Bat-wang hype. Let’s see if Doctor Manhattan breaks the internet too or if everyone is used to seeing him full-frontal by now.

Doomsday Clock #7 variant cover, credit to DC Comics.

Corrina: I started reading this series with an open mind, wondering if anything could be added to the original story. I rather enjoyed the Before Watchmen comics starring Silk Spectre and the Minute Men, mostly because of the talent involved, such as Amanda Conner and the late, great Darwyn Cooke.

But we’re seven issues in and all this series has become is a basic superhero sequel to Watchmen, a story that was a deconstruction of superhero myths.

Which is to say that providing a sequel misses the entire point of the original.

I have said that before that Johns is channeling Moore and he does in this issue but all that provides is a second-rate Moore and reminds me that the sequel has nothing to say, thematically. I don’t even much care for Watchmen. It’s technically brilliant but its’ themes do not resonate with me and it lacks hope or faith in humanity.

And that’s fine for the story it’s trying to tell but it’s not something I find enjoyable.

Still, what Moore was trying to do with Watchmen is clear and making it just another superhero story completely misunderstands the point. We were never supposed to root for any of these characters, we were supposed to be pleased that imperfect men with impossible powers do not exist in our world. (And, given the current political climate, I’m with Moore on this one.)

Doomsday Clock, however, is “oo, isn’t it cool and edgy that Doctor Manhattan is messing with the DC universe?” “Isn’t it cool to have a romantic couple who echo Harley and the Joker in this book?” “Isn’t it a cool twist that Ozy is still, well, basically a sociopath?” “Hey, here’s another Rorschach, as screwed up as the first one!”

My answer to all of those things is a tired sigh.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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