Best Shots Review: DOOMSDAY CLOCK #7 'a Real Shot in the Arm for the Event' (8/10)

Doomsday Clock #7
Credit: Gary Frank/Brad Anderson (DC Comics)
Credit: Gary Frank/Brad Anderson (DC Comics)

Doomsday Clock #7
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank and Brad Anderson
Lettering by Rob Leigh
Published by DC Comics
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10

Doomsday Clock finally gets to the good stuff in its seventh installment. After gathering his cast and eking out plot details, Geoff Johns finally delivers that sense of bombast that that made all his "Rebirth" events so fun. Momentously rendered by Gary Frank and Brad Anderson, Doctor Manhattan finally makes his presence known as Ozymandias successfully summons him, monologing his plan to the motley crew of heroes and villains. Absolutely stuffed with portentous, time-bending narration, this issue may have taken ages to get here, but it really shines in the pale blue light of Manhattan.

Credit: Gary Frank/Brad Anderson (DC Comics)

After literal months of set-up, Geoff Johns finally starts doing the damn thing. Some might be turned off by his mirroring of Alan Moore’s detached, god-like voice for Doctor Manhattan, but really, how else would you write him? Even that aside, Johns is finally making good on the promise of this event by actually getting down of the grunt work of telling this story instead of just setting it up. Scaffolded by Jon’s narration, a quantum tale from above time about just how he has been futzing with Prime-Earth, this issue’s story and action really feel like a gear switch for the series. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Credit: Gary Frank/Brad Anderson (DC Comics)

“At first, I thought I might find a place among them,” Jon intones during the issue’s main set piece; a trippy palaver between the Watchmen characters as they glide through time and space above Prime-Earth. Issue #7 is all about Doctor Manhattan’s plucking of strings across the DCU as we know it, but Johns is smart not to show all his cards just yet. He gives us some answers, answers like the fate of Green Lantern Alan Scott, Jon foretelling an incoming fight with none other than Superman, and the explicit naming of Saturn Girl (a reveal that had been obvious for a few issues now), but not just all of them. Frustrating, I know, but at least we are getting somewhere and Doomsday Clock is finally starting to get interesting.

Johns even doubles down on his subtle, background plot of the “Superman Theory” and the unrest spreading throughout the country. In a Frank Miller-esque “news bulletin” page, Johns gives us a look around the globe as nations shore up their ranks of metahumans as a sort of superhero arms races heats up and protests shake the foundations of America. This stuff about the “Superman Theory” has really been a boon for the series, giving it a paranoid Tom Clancy-by-way-of-Vertigo-Comics feel and it is really interesting to see how Johns has been threading it through the overall story.

Credit: Gary Frank/Brad Anderson (DC Comics)

Meanwhile, the artwork has consistently impressed during this series, and Doomsday Clock #7 might be Gary Frank and Brad Anderson’s best issue yet. Frank really nails the theatrical posing of the Watchmen characters during the issue’s main set piece. Bathed in a sort of clean flooding light as they travel on a perfect checkerboard disc, Anderson and Frank make good use of the heady “importance” that comes with doing new things with such iconic characters. Even better, this issue gives the artists a brutally compressed fight scene that captures the grounded but theatrical violence of this story and cast. Marionette and Mime taking on the Batman with the Joker playing deranged cheerleader on the sideline reads just as fun and bone-crunching as you would imagine. The scripts make be spotty at times, but thanks to Gary Frank and Brad Anderson, at the very least Doomsday Clock has been a richly entertaining visual experience so far.

The Big Blue of Watchmen-Earth has made the scene, and is apparently headed toward some sort of confrontation with our Big Blue, Superman. We don’t know much else, but I at least know that Doomsday Clock #7 is a real shot in the arm for this latest “prestige” event. Geoff Johns kicks it the narrative into gear, getting a real charge out of this installment and the art team. Time will tell if the series capitalizes on this momentum, but a win is still a win for Doomsday Clock #7.

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