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Doomsday Clock #1 (of 12)

Spoiler Free

The first highly anticipated issue of this hopefully game-changing event sets the stage and catches up mostly with characters from the Watchmen world.  We get introduced to new characters, replacement characters, and at least get mentions of old favorites, as well as ones who have been in the spotlight.  The style is exactly what you’d expect from Watchmen, but with a slightly more contemporary twist since it’s clearly not being handled by the same creators.  With all of the build up since the beginning of Rebirth, this is a solid first entry and it promises to be a wild ride.

Spoiler Filled

First things first – we barely get Dr. Manhattan or Superman in this book, and that is perfectly fine.  So if you were expecting 12 issues of these 2 going at it, you will clearly be disappointed. 

That said, this delivered on many levels.  The story picks up after Watchmen ends.  Rorschach is dead, Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt) is on the run, and Dr. Manhattan is nowhere to be found, yet this world drives forward.

The book opens from Rorschach’s point of view, with him walking us through his journal in 1992 talking about the chance we had to start over, but squandered it.  The US is on the brink of nuclear war with Russia as they look to invade Poland.  This issue cuts in many newscasts giving a picture of this world, which is grim.  In addition to the war tensions, North Korea has developed the ability to hit Texas with missiles, people are fleeing the US for Mexico, and political murders have taken place.  Amidst all of this, Ozymandias is being hunted for the events of Watchmen, with a hefty price on his head.

As the situation with Russia escalates, evacuations are called for across the country.  As this is happening, we find Rorschach going to a jail to break out 2 prisoners – The Marionette (Erika Manson) as well as The Mime (Marcos Maez)– where he promises to reunite them with their son for helping him 'find God'.  While speaking with The Marionette, Rorschach reveals that he’s not the same person and reveals that he is black, which is clearly different than the original Rorschach, yet he is still an exceptional and terrifying badass. 

This group heads into an evacuating city and goes underground into Nite Owl’s former base.  As they get inside, it’s revealed that Rorschach is working with Ozymandias.  Naturally, threats ensue, and Ozymandias implies that this Rorschach is quite dangerous and different compared to the first one.  It’s also revealed that Veidt has cancer and is spreading.  Even in the face of this, he expresses his disappointment that he couldn’t save this world, but Dr. Manhattan can, and it is now on this foursome to find him, wherever he is.

This ends the Watchmen portion of the book, as we see Clark’s home in Metropolis at night and he’s asleep next to his wife, Lois.  He’s dreaming about a dance he was at when he was younger.  He is expressing his disappointment to his parents about not asking Lana to this dance.  His parents convince him to go inside and have fun as they leave.  After they leave, they discuss their son and his future as they drive home.  They are T-boned by another vehicle and die in the crash as their truck hits a tree, which leads to Lois waking a levitating Clark.  Lois mentions that she can’t remember the last time Clark had a nightmare and Clark reveals that he doesn’t think he ever had one.

Reflections, Impressions, and Predictions

  • This chapter may have seemed slow, but it absolutely was necessary to bring readers up to date with some pivotal characters

  • Gary Frank’s art here was so accurate to what Dave Gibbons did in the initial series, that it feels right at home

  • Great use of the 9-panel layout that was so common in the original Watchmen series

  • I wish we knew more about The Marionette and The Mime prior to the start of this series, specifically who their son is and why he seems important

  • Speaking of The Mime, there is a moment of comedy gold between him and Rorschach

  • Rorschach seems incredibly similar to the first one we got to know – could there be an actual connection between them, not just someone being a copycat?

  • Will we see Nite Owl or Silk Spectre in this series?

  • I’m really hoping for a Batman/Rorschach heavy issue in this series.

  • Given current events, this issue hits pretty close to home

  • I’m hoping that this series finds a way to fit properly into the Rebirth Continuity.  There have been many parts to the mysteries surrounding Rebirth, starting with Wally West and there needs to be a way that this story fits, especially with other events (namely Metal) going on right now.  For example, this story opens with Rorschach referencing the year, 1992.  We assume that Rebirth is present day, so how does this match up?  Additionally, there is mention in Rebirth that 10 years have gone missing from these characters lives, which may be why New 52 had a younger Superman and the Rebirth Superman was older (before they were merged and their history was rewritten, of course).

Final Breakdown

Story – 8/10.

The story capitalizes on the popularity of the Watchmen Universe and the Rebirth reboot, setting us up for a slingshot into the meat of this event.

Art – 9/10. 

In some places it gets a little inconsistent, but this is one of the most excellent pieces I’ve seen in a long time, particularly the changes in Rorschach’s mask.

Continuity/Character Consistency – 6/10.

Too many questions about how it all fits together between New 52 and Rebirth continuity remain right now.  The characters that we know behave exactly how we expect them to, however.

Twist Factor – 8/10. 

Nostalgia and excitement are the driving forces of the Twist Factor in this book.  We all want to see what happens when DC characters meet some of their counterparts from Watchmen, specifically Superman and Dr. Manhattan.  This book also serves as a direct continuation of the Watchmen graphic novel, which is to date one of the best I've ever read.

Final Score – 8/10.

This book is good and it looks good, which is nice considering all the build-up.  It may take a read or two to catch everything, but it is absolutely worth the price of admission.  This makes the anticipation for the second entry that much higher.

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