In Review: Doomsday Clock #8

The tipping point has arrived and there's no going back.

The covers: A pair to choose between for this key issue. The Regular cover features the first panel of this chapter, which is a close-up of Bubastis, Ozymandias’s cat. The cat is beautiful and undeniably cute, but if anyone knows anything about the Watchmen series, they know that when this violet colored kitty gets larger she’s fiercely loyal to her master. I own two cats, so I’m a sucker for this cover. The Variant cover is symbolic and its content so true. On the surface of Mars, I’m guessing because it’s pink colored, marionettes of Superman and Dr. Manhattan confront each other. The puppet master above them, manipulating all their moves, is Ozymandias, who is obvious because of his bracelets and purple shirt. A nice way to show that everything that has or will happen has been orchestrated by this insane member of the Watchmen. Both covers are by the excellent pairing of Gary Frank and Brad Anderson. Overall grades: Regular A- and Variant A

The story: Bubastis yawns as she sits on the logo of the President of the United States within the Oval Office. Her master looks at a file and says to himself, “Yes. Yes, this one will do nicely.” Geoff Johns then moves the issue to the Daily Planet where Lois tells Clark that she thinks someone has gone through her desk. Looking intensely at it, Clark says, “The locks aren’t broken…and I don’t see any fingerprints.” He tells her it always looks like that. Perry White appears to yell at Lois for not writing a story about ninety-seven percent of the world’s metahumans are revealed to have been born in America. He has several questions she can’t answer and storms off. That’s when Lois spies a package on her desk that’s new. Before she can open it the television in the room reports that Firestorm is in Moscow and attacking the People’s Heroes because of Russia’s new metahuman laws. White sticks his head out of his office and yells, “This is big folks! Who wants to go to Moscow?” Lois and Clark raise their hands. The action then turns to Moscow where something horrible happens because of Firestorm. This is the moment where the world’s opinions will turn. After this action occurs, Superman goes to Kahndaq and speaks with Black Adam. The conversation doesn’t go well. The contents of Lois’s mystery package are revealed, which will bring immense joy to fans of the Golden Age. Page 17 is an incredibly joyful moment, which makes 21 – 28 brutal. This looks to be the tipping moment where everything changes. Overall grade: A

The art: Gary Frank’s artwork continues to impress as well. There are several panels that mirror the standard nine panel layout of the original Watchmen series, but Frank has been getting away from that and that’s for the best, as it allows these visuals to stand on their own merits. The first page that shows the two characters in the White House is good, especially given where Bubastis is sleeping. I like the look of Lois’s desk — it’s exactly as I would expect it to be. There’s a neat moment where Clark uses his super vision and it’s just classic looking. I love the reaction from Lois on 3 when she drinks something she dislikes. The action on 4 is good and the reaction to the attacks on 7 is awesome. The character’s reaction to what he’s done is priceless. Superman’s reaction to a character’s hand on 10 is fantastic. The constant look of disgust on the Kryptonian’s face throughout this scene is excellent. The look of relief on 17 is perfection. My hat’s off to Frank for doing such an outstanding job on the real life character on 18, 19, and 21. The shock on 22 resembles Christopher Reeve and my heart continues to flutter every time I see that panel because it taps into my childhood. The large panel on 25 is awesome. The final page is a heartbreaker, ending with a familiar character engaging in a familiar action. I so despise that slight smile. Overall grade: A

The colors: I like how the bright colors of the kitty quickly darken to show the passage of time, which is carried over to the dark work in the larger panel at the bottom of the first page. The interiors of the Daily Planet are as drab as one would expect of a business. When Firestorm is in action the colors are extremely bright, with orange and yellow dominating. The whites and grays on 7 and those that appear on several pages afterwards must have been a nightmare for Brad Anderson to create, but they look fantastic each time they appear. There’s a cool lighting effect when someone steps in front of the sun on 9. The blasts of yellow on 14 and 16 are appropriately explosive. The panel of shock on 22 has the colors darken, foreshadowing how everything after this moment will be dark. Overall grade: A

The letters: Bubastis’s opening yawn, the story’s title, dialogue, yells, transmissions, and the closing quote are crafted by Rob Leigh. I’m enjoying what he’s doing, especially since he’s differentiating the dialogue from transmissions, and the closing quote looks unlike any other text in this issue. I wish he had been allowed to include some sounds, but that’s John’s job, not his. Overall grade: B+

Four newspaper front pages: The Daily Star, the Metropolis Times, Metropolis Today, and the Daily Planet covers the fateful action that occurs at the end of this issue. It’s a neat way to show how the horrible moment is perceived. It’s way too similar to modern day papers, sadly. Overall grade: B

The final line: The tipping point has arrived and there’s no going back. It was nice to see the focus on Superman, who’s the one character to unify this entire story that takes place in three different countries. The story also finally seems to be going somewhere, so that was long due change. The visuals continue to be top notch, with the coloring and lettering strong, though the absence of sounds is sad. Still, the story is finally reached a crisis point. Now what, Mr. Johns? Overall grade: A-

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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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