Review – The Clock #1 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics (Top Cow Imprint)
Writer: Matt Hawkins
Artwork: Colleen Doran
Colours: Bryan Valenza
Letters: Troy Peteri
Release Date: 8th January 2020

It’s always good to start a new year with a new story, right? One can’t have escaped the eco/geo-political tensions which seemed to reach fever pitch in 2019 – in the UK, at least – so what better way to kick off new comic reading in 2020 than with a tale of global emergency? A strange form of cancer is spreading like a virus across the globe with devastating consequences. Indiscriminately taking loved ones young and old, rich and poor, this new cancer will have dire consequences for humanity, and those spared.

At its heart, The Clock feels like a traditional disaster movie plot. Jack is a leading oncologist who is trying to understand why this new form of cancer is in essence spreading throughout the world’s population. The stakes heighten when his wife dies from the disease, along with the revelation that anyone genetically predisposed to the condition will succumb; including his young daughter.

Earth (well, really only us humans) finds itself threatened by a seemingly neutral ‘villain’. There’s no baddie to rail against. No shadowy organisation to which we can direct our anger and vengeance. Instead, we have a cold, uncaring enemy in nature and genetics itself. Or is that entirely the case?

The art and lettering here is good, clean, and consistent. Whether it’s capturing desperation and explosive action in Nigeria, or cold science and the contrast of human emotion, each panel leads into the other without jerking you out of the story. Special mention should be made to the choice of the cover art which definitely captures the eye. Don’t judge a book yadda yadda, but this kind of imagery and synopsis offer up so much potential for where the story might go.

Hawkins et al. have clearly spent time doing their research for this book, and I’m a big fan of the science class appendix which discusses some of the content found within. However, whilst the premise is interesting and well delivered, I can’t help but feel it treads too long on established ground. Panels of our protagonist talking about the dangers of overpopulation and the damage being wrought by humanity on our planet, although perfectly in fitting with the set-up, could be lifted from almost any genre movie. Or maybe that’s the point. Rather than look at this as naivety, instead it can be read as an almost snarky take on the fact that regardless of how often the message is repeated, the assembled suits sitting in shadow will never heed the message.

Regardless of the intent, this is a comic that gets you thinking, and, coupled with an engaging story and art, is well worth investigating.

Rating: 3/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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