In Review: Doomsday Clock #5

The best issue yet with many characters in play.

The covers: Gray Frank & Brad Anderson have created both covers for this installment in DC’s mega-miniseries. The Regular cover features a close-up of Adrian Veidt’s x-ray of his skull. This was done in a hospital because his body has been recovered after he fell twenty stories from a building. This cover should have a deeper meaning for readers as it relates to his having brain cancer. Nice. The Variant cover is the one I purchased because it has an absolutely insane looking Joker putting lipstick on using a compact that features Ozymandias’s Nostalgia logo. A neat way to combine both universes into one image. I also like the watch the Joker is wearing. Overall grades: Both A

The story: This issue does a lot. Seriously, a whole lot. It opens with Veidt waking up in the hospital and escaping from it, recovering Bubastis in the process. That’s the first four pages and where my spoilers end in reviews. I’ll tease everything else that writer Geoff Johns does. Two heroes are captured in Russia, prompting a surprising action. Lois Lane is given a challenge by Perry White. Saturn Girl and Rorschach seem to be on a mission. Johnny Thunder is on a mission of his own to find something from his past. Batman and Veidt meet, with the latter lecturing Batman on how to save his world. The Comedian resurfaces. Lois Lane reveals something that causes Superman to furl his brow. This issue is the best so far because of the number of characters that actually do something in this issue. It’s taken a while, but it seems that Johns has finally got all the characters where he wants him so he can move the story forward. The dialogue in this issue is great, with Lois being the standout character. Ozymandias has officially gotten old for me; I no longer care for him in any way. If this series ended with his death, I would be extremely happy. As a tremendous Legion of Super-Heroes fan, there’s not enough of Saturn Girl in this issue. Johnny Thunder gets a lot of this issue, leading me to believe the Justice Society is soon to be resurrected. Sixty days is going to be a long time to see what happens next. Overall grade: A-

The art: The visuals also come off better this issue because Gary Frank gets to illustrate so many of them — and not just heroes! The sixth panel on Page 4 makes me smile like Bubastis because of the characters’ reactions. The person Clark is watching on television looks great, as do the characters that eventually surround this metahuman. The seventh panel on Page 7 was a highlight for me because this is a moment I’ve been waiting for since Issue #1. It was neat to briefly return to the movie that Johnny Thunder was watching, having me hope that Frank or another equally talented artist would illustrate a one-shot or miniseries featuring this character. The hero’s introduction on 10 is outstanding, as is the hero’s entrance on 11. Classic. The two action sequences on 21 are hair raising and beautiful. The joy in the first panel on 22 is incredible, which makes the actions that occur immediately after it incredibly painful to see. Frank has me completely wrapped around his finger with the images on this page. The entrance that begins 24 is also good, though I’m not a fan of this version of the character. I prefer the Aparo version, the one I grew up with. However, the story has this character finally meet with two other characters, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Frank will get to do with all three individuals. Overall grade: A

The colors: Brad Anderson is a master colorist, as this issue easily shows. Look at the great work done on the doctor’s jacket on the opening page, as well as the shades in Veidt’s top and pillows. I really like what Anderson does with lighting. The middle three panels on Page 2 have a character in the dark, but the reader can still see what’s occurring on the page. This happens several times in this issue and I’m so grateful that he does this. The oranges and yellows on the character on 5 look great. When the character put on the red top and matching pants on Page 6 I practically wept at seeing those colors — she’s back! The black and white work on 8 ages the film wonderfully. The oranges in the sixth panel on 11 are as fiery as the element employed and the nature of the character. The color used in the second and fourth panels on 21 had me sitting up straight, because that color near that character could only mean one thing. When the object is revealed in the sixth panel I was cheering at the light. The colors on the character revealed on the final page are his trademark hues, as is the color of his hair and face. Excellent job. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Rob Leigh continues to employ the lettering style used by Dave Gibbons on the original Watchmen series. This issue’s text includes dialogue and transmissions (the same font), the story’s title, yells, screams, and the closing quote. All are easily read and fit the story fine, but with exception to the yells, especially those done to find an enemy, there’s nothing that’s not been seen before thirty-two years ago. Overall grade: B

The eight bonus pages: WOW! This is great. This is the best backup feature since the focus on the scandals behind the Nathaniel Dusk films. The magazine Trouble Alert has a special report on The Metahuman Menace and the reader can see how some view the rise of metahumans. I liked the map of the world, with specific characters named and shown, and the focus on Kahndaq and its “Savior or Sinner?” This was terrific! Overall grade: A+

The final line: The best issue yet with many characters in play: six different storylines all headed toward certain doom, but incredibly illustrated as they go there. Seeing Superman and Saturn Girl in costume is fantastic, while Johnny Thunder may have discovered something that will change the world. Must reading for DC fans. Overall grade: A

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To see the covers go to my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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