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‘Doomsday Clock #7’ (review)

Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Gary Frank
Published by DC Comics

 

After seven issues and so much build-up in other books, Dr. Manhattan makes his long-awaited return in Doomsday Clock #7, in all his naked blue glory, throwing everything upside down and leaving more questions than answers.

Rorshach and Adrian have reunited, joined by Johnny Thunder and Imra Ardeen, also known as Saturn Girl.

Meanwhile, the Mime and Marionette have helped the Joker capture the Comedian, and begin to torture him while Batman regroups.

Both of these threads converge at the Joker’s hideout, and chaos reigns once the former Dr. Jonathan Osterman makes his appearance.

But we meet him much sooner, in an opening sequence that retells the origin of the Golden Age Green Lantern’s lamp, before the twist that said Green Lantern, Alan Scott, dies before he can take on the mantle. Between this and the tweaks to Clark Kent’s origin in the first issue (plus the months of build-up in Rebirth), the implication seems to be that the good doctor has altered the history of the DCU.

Dr. Manhattan does reveal definitively that Adrian Veidt isn’t dying of cancer, which drives a huge spike between Adrian and Reggie, especially once Reggie learns the truth of his father’s relationship with Rorschach. What’s more, Adrian reveals the truth about the new Bubastis, that she’s able to sense Jon and track him down.

Jon also reveals that he left his home Earth because he looked ahead and literally saw no future, and now he seems the same in the DCU–following a battle with Superman in one month’s time.

Now that we’re getting to the meat of the story, Johns is turning up the intensity immensely, and is ably met by Gary Frank, who has gotten a good hang on the Watchmen characters by this point. His work is not just very expressive, but textured in a way that is different but no less valid than Dave Gibbons’ cleaner linework in the original. He especially shines when rendering Adrian Veidt, letting his mask of humility slip to reveal the sociopath we all should have known was hiding underneath.

Where this leads next, and how this story fits into a changing DCU, is anyone’s guess. It’s going to be a long ten months…

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