Review: Doomsday Clock #12 (Finale)
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Colors: Brad Anderson
Reviewed by: Cameron Tevis
The Doomsday Clock finale is here! Superman and Doctor Manhattan have finally come face to face. They’re interrupted by superheroes from Russia who arrive to hold Superman accountable for the recent deaths in Moscow. But then Black Adam and the new super-powered citizens of Kahndaq arrive and plan to take Superman for themselves. The two factions engage each other in a battle over who gets to charge Superman with a crime.
Reggie Long watches the action on a television through a window, when Alfred Pennyworth arrives with Reggie’s Rorschach mask. Alfred and Batman try to convince the reluctant Reggie to once again become Rorschach.
Chaos ensues as the factions fight over Superman. Superman does everything in his power to protect innocent lives from getting hurt during the battle. Doctor Manhattan refuses to help Superman. He just watches everything happen until he is surprised that Superman would defend him from an attack. This triggers Doctor Manhattan’s understanding of everything.
Doctor Manhattan realizes his experiment is over and he returns everything to how it was before he tampered with the timeline and created the New 52. Now superheroes from the missing past emerge and aide Superman and stop the chaos.
Superman inspires Doctor Manhattan who then decides to make changes to his own universe.
The Doomsday Clock finale is a great ending to a great series! Gary Frank’s artwork was as beautiful as ever, but as he slowly broke away from the 9-panel format we got to see more and more of his fantastic artwork. As much as I like the 9-panel connection to Watchmen, I love Gary Frank’s artwork even more and because he broke away from it, we were lucky enough to get some really fantastic spreads this issue. Once particular spread gave me chills when I saw it because it showed the return of a large, missing part of DC Comics.
Geoff Johns shows us once again why DC Comics are so great and have the best pantheon of characters, and he shows us that no one writes these characters better. Some writers claim Superman is hard to write or isn’t relevant anymore or is too powerful etc. But this series and this issue shows us that Johns understands the character and that this character can never be irrelevant. Superman embodies hope. Hope is a concept that is never irrelevant.
This issue also saw some interesting changes to the Watchmen universe as well as set-up major ideas for DC’s future. All of them are exciting to imagine, but with Geoff Johns no longer leading DC Comics, it’s questionable if we will ever see these events unfold.
I loved this series through and through, but if there is something negative to be said about this issue then it would have to be about Doctor Manhattan’s realization. I love that Superman can even inspire Doctor Manhattan. The ultimate optimist won over the ultimate cynic. But I feel his change occurred too quickly. One frame he is watching the chaos around him and Superman and then the next he is inspired by Superman.
It can be argued that since Doctor Manhattan created the New 52 universe, he has been watching Superman this whole time and he actually reached his realization about Superman very slowly. But in this issue, it felt a bit rushed to get to the conclusion. But I am reaching very hard to find a negative.
The true negative is not about the writing or artwork, but where DC Comics goes from here. Since Geoff Johns has left it has already begun to fall apart at the seams. They have abandoned everything set-up by Rebirth, the very thing that drew audiences back. Superman has taken major steps backward, Aquaman is unbearable to read anymore. The point is, without Johns guiding the ship, they no longer have a visionary that loves these characters as much as the fans do, and it’s obvious. Hopefully they will look to some of the ideas set-up in this final issue and go forward accordingly. But only time will tell.
With all the delays that plagued Doomsday Clock, it has been a long journey, but in the end, it was all well worth it. The Doomsday Clock finale shows what’s so great about DC characters and the DC Universe as a whole. Gary Frank and Geoff Johns top themselves by giving readers a story worth remembering while potentially setting up great things for DC’s future.
If you are a fan of the original Watchmen, comics in general, the Watchmen film or even the latest HBO Watchmen series, then I think you will love this series. It’s bittersweet that this story has ended. We have been wanting to see where it all goes for two years now, but now it’s all over. I don’t know about other readers, but I’ll be going back and re-reading them all again.