Since May 2016, the threads of this maxi series had been weaved throughout Rebirth. For every nod to an encroaching darkness, there has been a consistent feeling of “things not be quite the way they should be”. Two Kid Flashes, Green Arrow and Black Canary not together, three Jokers, a widespread feeling of lost memory and manipulated time, and of course, the Comedian’s badge in the Batcave. There have been many hints, many false alarms; but now the Doomsday clock is ticking for the Man of Steel and the entire world!
This book stars in an odd fashion, truth be told. It is set as a direct sequel to the ground-breaking The Watchmen series. After the events in New York, the world is in turmoil. Countries are again invading, the Government controls the news, ironically providing false news and there are enough hints to indicate that this is a Trump world, rather than a Nixon one. This then is the first hint that this may not be the same Watchmen world that we left way back in the 80’s. This is further alluded to in the fact that while the world burns Clark Kent is rousted from his sleep, suffering his first ever nightmare.
Geoff Johns is a without doubt a master of his craft. Taking a leaf from the original, the plot is a slow burner, which is a welcome relief from the chaos and non-stop action of Metals. Johns sets the pace at simmer, adding little bits of ingredients into the pot. I have absolutely no issues in this stance, you can not rush a master piece! Johns’ works hard to make the familiar characters sound like themselves; Rorschach (yes Rorschach who died) is perfect with his rambling diatribe of life in the big bad city. Of course, this book is billed as Doctor Manhattan versus Superman and for my money, there is no-one who writes Superman as well as Johns. Throw in a couple of new characters to act as proxy for the reader and you have yourself a story!
Gary Frank is an artist that should need no introduction. As synonymous with Superman as Johns, the art is plainly put, simply gorgeous! The art is all clean lines, providing a sense of timelessness and quality that’s eschews its comic book format. In addition, Frank has done his homework. Reading this book, is at times, like putting on a pair of comfy sneakers, with a great deal of work making the world in this book look and feel the same as it’s predecessor. Look at the detail of Night Owl’s lair! The attention to detail is staggering. Fans and detractors of the original will be pleased/sad to see the return of the nine panel page. Frank does well to mix it up with some larger panels to catch your eye. Brad Anderson applies the colors giving another massive nod to the original schemes. Towards the back of the book are text pieces creating the nuances of this world.
So far, this is the first issue after all, I am still looking forward to this series. There is nothing of the rail like crazy named metal or various versions of Superman running around, In a lot of ways, this is the sort of Superman book i like to read, facing a problem that can’t be just punched or shot up with heat vision. Its the sort of problem that shows the humanity of a character that has been called godlike more than once. Of course, this isn’t the first time that DC have revisited The Watchmen, with the Before Watchmen series going some way to fill out the characters that at the time, had only been around for twelve issues. I would counter that everything you need to know about Night Owl, Silk Spectre and crew was in that first series. Now rather than fill in the blanks, Johns and Frank are invoking the original to maybe mess with our expectations. As it stands, the clock may be ticking but my interest in this series is by no means running out.
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by; Gary Frank
Colors by; Brad Anderson
Published by; DC Comics