Should also note, in fairness, Alan Moore probably would have had the Question say “Good question,” too.

§ March 6th, 2019 § Filed under this week's comics, watchmen § 7 Comments

[maybe some SPOILERS for Doomsday Clock #9 ahead)

I keep telling myself I have another deep-dive post on the whole Doomsday Clock thing, as a follow-up to this entry (and a bit more here) but it never really coalesces around much more of a center than “man, are you seeing this?” which, oddly enough, is sort of the tone of Doomsday Clock itself. “Man, are you seeing Batman fighting Rorschach? Man, are you seeing DC superheroes using swears?” You know, like that.

Issue #9, due out at your finer funnybook emporiums this week, is sort of the ultimate expression of that, where we finally get what we paid that admission price to see. It’s the DC Universe Super-Pals versus Dr. Manhattan, and I’d be lying if I said this isn’t exactly what I wanted from this comic book. I know they’re trying to say some heavy stuff about the political and society impact of superheroes in the DC Universe, a somewhat less subtle mirroring of one of the themes, itself not so subtly expressed in Watchmen. And they’re leaning hard on the anti-hero sentiment (again, as seen in the older series, and also, I’ve read Legends, thanks). And yes, we’ve got the President in here, too…we don’t see his face, but it’s Trump, tying these shenanigans to the here and now, versus the inherent weirdness of seeing Nixon as President in the original’s time frame of the late 1980s.

Hmmm…didn’t mean to do a whole “Watchmen is like this, but Doomsday Clock is like this” thing there, but it’s pretty much hard to avoid when discussing a series that on a very surface level is aping its inspiration while trying to shoehorn the format into a milieu for which it wasn’t really suited. The trappings are all there, the art is quite nice, it remains, as I’ve written before, oddly compelling almost despite itself, but it doesn’t feel right.

It certainly succeeds in not being like pretty much anything else DC has ever published…or it could be exactly like material DC has published, with characters forced to conform to a structure for which they weren’t intended. Even Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, as different from the usual comic book mold as it was, still felt like a natural extension of what had come before. Doomsday Clock feels like having your Star Wars action figures fight your Micronauts toys. Yeah, you bet it’s fun, but clearly the two lines were never really designed to be compatible.

I’m still interested…I’m looking forward to seeing the metatextual hoops the series jumps through where the Watchmen property is being used to explain DC’s real world New 52/Rebirth publishing initiatives (which, while not a fan of how we got to this point with a surfeit of reboots/relaunchs, I still contend is a clever aspect of the Doomsday Clock project as a whole). And, as a longtime Superman fan, I am very curious about Dr. Manhattan’s connection to that particular bit of DC’s continuity changes (hinted at very briefly, but More on That Next Time, I take it).

In conclusion, it’s all been worth it just for Guy Gardner is this issue.

7 Responses to “Should also note, in fairness, Alan Moore probably would have had the Question say “Good question,” too.”

  • Cover’s really calling for a caption: “Finally, clothes! I’ve heard the last of those tiresome nudity jokes!”

  • Thom H. says:

    Given the alternate cover (featuring a bloody Legion flight ring), I’m a little bummed there wasn’t more Legion goodness to be found inside.

    But they’re definitely coming back soon, right, DC? Maybe? Please?

  • Brian says:

    Cover’s really calling for a caption: “Finally, clothes! I’ve heard the last of those tiresome nudity jokes!”

    Alternatively, Doc figures that all the heroes should be as naked as he is. So he’s stolen all of their clothing.

  • Allan Hoffman says:

    @Brian
    “Your costumes are so skintight, you’re practically naked anyway so…”

  • Jack says:

    But I did play with both my Micronauts and Star Wars figures! Darth Vader and Baron Karza, the team up of the 70s! And only the Shogun Warriors can save the universe!

    I am, admittedly, that kind of nerd.

  • Hal Shipman says:

    I am so fucking annoyed at this, as a reader, but I’m along for the ride. This was tightly tied to Rebirth and was promoted to bringing back hope and optimism to the DC Universe, but damn, this is bleak.

    The image of Marionette’s razor wire going almost an inch deep into Batmen’s forearm sticks with me, knowing there’s no way it would come OUT without taking a huge chunk of flesh and bone.

    And how is this new origin for Firestorm and his trauma for having killed 50-100 people (I’d have to count) in any way optimistic?

    I like a lot of Johns’ writing (most of JSA, in particular), but so much is deeply mixed in with really fucking bleak and brutal stuff. Everyone talks about Superboy Prime, and Pantha, but Jesus, it’s non-stop.

    For example, I had to drop his GL because it was just constant slaughter of Corps members. His recent Legion work gave us back the retro-boot, but with more retcons (Red Tornado/Wildfire – whatever mess that was leading to) and brutality (headsmash of Element Lad, etc). It just piles on both here.

    There was exactly a week between when Ferro Lad tried out and when he died? And, of course, he was vaporized, but there are depressing blood drops everywhere. I spent the entire Mars scene wondering when the GLs were going to be knocked out, the shield would drop and someone was going to die (really not sure how that DIDN’T happen). Yet mixed in there is Robby Reed? Yes, that was nice.

    And I find it hard to believe that this much work is going into the “Superman Theory” without it having repercussions outside of Doomsday Clock.

    “Fun” story: Back in the dusty days of Usenet, I mentioned that Johns had I didn’t like how Johns retconned the Vision and stopped reading the mini after the first issue. Johns emailed me for my home address so he could send me the rest and prove that it wasn’t a retcon. I said, “No, thanks.” He persisted and I relented. He followed through with all of them autographed. I pitched those a few years later, probably victims of our move (plus, I still didn’t like them). I should have kept just one as a reminder of, “Well, that was weird.”

  • Hal Shipman says:

    Yeah, that was some pent-up feels there.

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