Saturday, 30 December 2017

Doomsday Clock #2 Review (Geoff Johns, Gary Frank)

The Doomsday Clock is ticking and only Dr. Manhattan can stop the end of the world. But first Ozymandias must find him and needs help from two of the smartest men from the universe Manhattan escaped to: Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor - the question is, will either of them want to? 

Well that didn’t take long - we’re only on the second issue but already the wheels on Geoff Johns’ story are starting to fall off! Doomsday Clock #2 is such an unnecessarily confusing, messy comic. The opening scene shows the two new characters, Mime and Marionette, robbing a bank and then encountering Dr. Manhattan who stops them; it’s intercut with Mime and Marionette putting their gear on. The bank robbery is a flashback that Ozymandias and Rorschach are watching on video but at first it reads like it’s happening in real time, especially as Ozymandias is talking about Marionette meaning something to Manhattan and that’s why her presence will lure him out, so I thought that’s what we were seeing, but no. 

I guess fair enough on Marionette meaning something to Manhattan - we’ll just have to wait and see what that’s all about - but why are Ozymandias and Rorschach watching this video in the first place? Why do we as readers have to see it? Was anybody wondering how Mime and Marionette were caught? Why not just tell us Marionette means something to Manhattan in a panel instead of devoting nearly half the issue to such a pointless scene? Gah! 

Then we’re in Gotham where apparently the people have suddenly decided to start protesting Batman because “Russia”. Wow, what shitty, contrived writing! And just like that the Watchmen make their entrance into the DCU - an underwhelming introduction to say the least. 

Ozymandias goes to see Lex, Rorschach goes to see Bruce (I have no idea how baby Bubastis, Ozymandias’ new cat, is in any way a “compass”). I thought it was amusing that Rorschach’s first move is to eat the breakfast Alfred prepared Bruce and I liked that Lex shits on Ozymandias’ plan from the first Watchmen book - I’m not one to venerate Alan Moore’s comic either! 

The cliffhanger is a WTF moment as yet another dead Watchmen character is arbitrarily resurrected for seemingly no reason. At least in Rorschach’s case it made some sense but this one looks to be the original dude so who knows what the heck’s going on. 

Aside from a couple enjoyable moments, as well as Gary Frank’s high quality art, Doomsday Clock #2 is a crapfest. Geoff Johns’ writing is just too sloppy and muddled and both the structure and the storytelling could be far clearer and more effective than it is. Fingers crossed it gets better - after all there’s still ten more issues to go - but I’ve a feeling this is gonna be another frustrating series from a writer who does fine with the broad strokes of a story but really struggles in making the details click.

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