Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artwork: Gary Frank
Release Date: 18th December 2019
It all ends here. The future is lost as Ozymandias’ plan has reached its end. Black Adam marches on the White House. Our survivors of the Watchman universe create chaos in the street. And now, the two most powerful men on Earth stand against one another as Superman finally comes face to face with Doctor Manhattan. Simply put, nothing will ever be the same again.
It’s been a long road getting to here, to say the least. Doomsday Clock #8 was published just over a year ago today, and since then it has a been painful and heavily-delayed process to finally reach this story’s end. But now that we’re here, it’s time to ask a simple question – was over two years of build-up and anticipation worth it?
Yes. Yes, it was.
This is some of Geoff Johns’ best work. It almost feels strange to talk about, because it feels so similar to Johns’ last issue of Green Lantern. It reads like a goodbye to these characters as the status quo is altered in a way that feels like an ending, and it feels like we can finally close the book on this world. More than that, it’s a send-off to not just to current DC but every era of DC prior.
It’s a comic about comics and what it means to know and love these characters, particularly given the constantly changing continuity and status quo over the years. It’s not a comic about worlds colliding or universes ending despite the scale and stakes here. Instead, this is a story about hope and the fact that yes, there may be times where these characters won’t be exactly the way we like them, but that we should still embrace them and know that the core of the character is still there. That’s why in the end this essentially boils down to a Superman story, because really, what’s more hopeful than Superman?
Joining in on Johns’ finest hour is Gary Frank who, like Johns’, leaves everything he has left on the page here. In a book full of double-page spreads and epic panels, everything here looks unique and beautiful. Let’s be honest, Frank is the best Superman artist of the modern era, a fact he proves emphatically here. Big Red has never looked better, and Frank does a similarly strong job with Doctor Manhattan, Batman, Black Adam and all the other heroes of this story.
In the end, while the story feels delayed, staggered and seemingly further disconnected from the wider DC Universe than was perhaps intended, it still works. This is a timeless story about the past, the present and the future. I see similarities between this book and the end of Final Crisis as ultimately it reads like a story about stories and the way we relate to these heroes who have been around for over 80 years.
It’s beautiful, it’s emotionally charged, and it feels like the end of one era and the start of a new one. Who knows what comes after this, or what crises lies over the horizon? What we do know is that regardless of the time and place, with things looking grim and someone coming to the rescue, no matter if it’s 1938 or 2019, the story will keep going. Because as a wise god once said all the way back in 1987… “nothing ever ends.”
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Jonathan Mullen
Jonathan Tweets from @JonathanDMullen