It feels like an eternity since we read Doomsday Clock #10. In fact, it has been three months ago! The shipping delays for Doomsday Clock have really killed this title and blunted much of its impact on the DCU and readers. Keep in mind that Doomsday Clock #1 came out back on November 22, 2017. It has taken DC nearly two years to publish just eleven issues. That is pathetic. Having said that, I am sure that Doomsday Clock #11 will be a brilliant read. Let’s go ahead and hit this review!
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank
Colors: Brad Anderson
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Ozymandias watching multiple news channels. The news reports that the United States in chaos. The Joker Gang is running wild. Protestors are out looting in response to the mandatory curfew. We see Batman taking out some U.S. soldiers who were about to launch nuclear weapons in response to threats to the country. We see that Batman is now wanted for treason. We hear that the Justice League has been missing since they went to Mars. That Putin is demanding that Superman be turned over to Russia.
We see reports of Wonder Woman battling the metahuman forces of Kahndaq. That Black Adam is a huge terrorist threat. We then see Black Adam blasting Wonder Woman with lightning.
We cut to a general telling the President that they need to inform the public about the Superman Theory. That they must tell the public that the government has created a percentage of the superheroes and supervillains in the world. That this may help restore trust and faith in some of the heroes. That with their nuclear systems down that the United States has no defense systems in place. The general says that they have not seen any signs of the Amazons coming to Wonder Woman’s aid.
We shift to Paradise Island. The Amazons decide that they will go to rescue Wonder Woman and bring her back with them. But, the Amazons will not get involved in the fight between the world of man and Black Adam.
We then cut to Lois Lane and Lex Luthor at Lex’s building. They watch a news report that there are protesters outside of the Hall of Justice. That Putin gave the United States a midnight deadline to turn over Superman.
Lex says that a few weeks ago he met someone claiming to be from an alternate Earth. Then Lex was shot by someone from that same alternate Earth. The man who met with Lex was called Ozymandias. That Ozymandias created an alien life form to create a common enemy that killed millions but also proceeded to unite the Earth. But, Ozymandias’ plan was exposed and his world fell into nuclear war.
Ozymandias came here to their Earth looking for the one man from his alternate Earth who could save his world. The man he was looking for was called Dr. Manhattan.
We shift to Superman waking up from his coma. We cut to riots in Metropolis. Perry White wonders where is Superman. We slide back to Superman getting out of his bed.
We shift back to Ozymandias watching the various news channels reporting all of the chaos around the world. We see that Ozymandias has Johnny Thunder in a cell and Saturn Girl in another cell. One of the news reports says that they need a hero. Someone to stop it all from falling apart. We see a logo of Superman on the news report.
Ozymandias walks past Johnny Thunder’s cell. Ozymandias then goes to Saturn Girl’s cell. Ozymandias asks Saturn Girl what she wants. Saturn Girl replies that she wants to know why she cannot read Ozymandias’s mind.
We hop back to Lex and Lois. Lex asks Lois if she has ever heard of Coleman Carver. That Carver’s estate went up for sale and that Lex purchased a photo of a man and a woman. Lex says that according to the inscription on the photo that the man’s name is Jon (Dr. Manhattan) and the date is April 18, 1938.
Lex says that he has been tracking strange anomalies ever since he was a boy. That two years ago Lex began tracking abnormal chronal energy spikes which had been increasing in power and frequency. That something was trying to come into their universe. We cut to Lex witnessing the return of the real Wally West and seeing Wally and Barry Allen embracing each other. (See DC Universe Rebirth #1.) Lex said that the anomaly he was tracking was not the two Flashes. That it was a photograph. We see the same photograph and Jon and a woman where Wally West had appeared.
Lex then leads Lois into a room with numerous copies of the same photo sealed in bags. Lex says that it is obvious that their reality had been altered. But, it was the photograph that was the true anomaly. Lex says that he has found them mostly all over America. They are all absolutely identical to each other.
Lex says that the photo in Lois’s hands is from 1938 and is the earliest one. However, if you look at Jon’s suit in the 1938 photo you can tell that his suit is from the 1950s. Lex says that these photos appear to be left behind by someone like a trail of breadcrumbs. Lex says that he does not think that the person is aware of the trail they are leaving.
We cut to Dr. Manhattan. He is in 1981. Dr. Manhattan says that he will speak to Superman for the first time in four hours and seventeen minutes.
We hop back to Superman dressed in his costume. Soldiers blast down the door to Superman’s room. The soldiers tell Superman that the President of the United States has ordered Superman to come with them quietly. Superman tells the soldiers to lower their guns and that if the President wants to meet with him then he will go to meet with the President. Superman then races off at super speed.
We shift to Ozymandias and Saturn Girl talking. Saturn Girl says that Superman will stop Ozymandias. Ozymandias replies that Superman does not know that he exists. Saturn Girl says that she can read Ozymandias’ mind but that she cannot find the truth. That his mind is full of lies. We see a news report saying that there has been a Superman sighting in Washington, DC.
Saturn Girl laughs and says that Ozymandias will never destroy Superman. Ozymandias replies that he is counting on Superman surviving whatever comes his way.
We cut to Alfred finishing reading Rorschach’s journal. We cut to Reggie sleeping in an alley. Reggie is dreaming about how Rorschach killed Reggie’ father. Reggie says that Kovacs (Rorschach) was a monster. Rorschach then grabs Reggie by the throat and says that he sees a world dying.
We then see Alfred waking up Reggie. Alfred says that Batman asked him to read Rorschach’s journal and then to find Reggie so they could help them locate Ozymandias so they can prove Superman’s innocence. Alfred says that they need Rorschach. Reggie yells that he is not Rorshach. (Well, we agree on that point.) Reggie then runs down the street away from Alfred.
We zip to Mime and Marionette attacking some Joker Gang thugs. We see that the Comedian is also on the scene.
We cut to Ozymandias and Saturn Girl. Ozymandias says that his original plan was to get Jon to go back to their Earth and save it from nuclear war. But, Ozymandias knows that Jon would never listen to him. So, Ozymandias recruited Mime and Marionette promising to tell them the location of their child in return for them coming with him to confront Jon. Ozymandias needed them due to their past experience in dealing with Jon. Jon was responsible for their incarceration.
We shift to Mime and Marionette coming face-to-face with Jon. Ozymandias narrates that he did not bring Marionette with him thinking her being pregnant would make Jon have mercy on her. Jon had watched the Comedian kill a pregnant woman in Vietnam and did nothing to stop him. (Nice call back.)
Jon had told him that he had seen Marionette’s son’s future. That the boy would be adopted a couple and would bring incredible joy to a woman who was important to Jon at one time. We see the boy with his adopted parents Sam and Sandra Hollis (Who we know are Daniel Dreiberg aka Night Owl and Laurie Juspeczyk aka Silk Spectre.) That the reminder of the family Jon wanted to protect would allow him to grant mercy to Marionette.
Ozymandias says that Reggie assumed the persona of Rorschach under the mistaken belief that his father and Kovacs were friends. That Ozymandias tricked Reggie into believing that Ozymandias had cancer and that Ozymandias was regretful about what he had done. Then Ozymandias got Rorschach to join him. That Ozymandias converted Nite-Owl’s ship into a time sphere and they traveled here to this Earth.
Ozymandias says that Jon was here on this Earth because he believed that he was fated to confront Superman and this would lead to his or the universe’s oblivion. Therefore, Ozymandias came up with a new plan: he would save both worlds.
That this world’s belief in Superman was the string and chewing gum holding the world together. So, to create a change the world had to hit rock bottom. Ozymandias then discovered the Superman Theory which was partially true. After Superman’s arrival, the U.S. government created a program to create metahumans. Professor Martin Stein was put in charge. The program led to the creation of Firestorm.
Ozymandias knew that Ronny Raymond was mentally unstable. Therefore, Ozxymandias created media speculation about Firestorm being created by the government. This led Firestorm to freaking out in Russia. This led to Superman arriving to help Firestorm in Russia. Then Ozymandias had Bubastis create a massive explosion that killed the bystanders. That Firestorm would get blamed for the explosion and deaths. However, eventually, the metahumans would discover that the energy from the blast did not come from Firestorm. That they would trace that energy not to Bubastis but to Dr. Manhattan. (Bubastis has a simliar atomic energy as Dr. Manhattan.) This would result in a battle that would remove all of Superman’s allies.
We cut to the White House. Black Adam and his metahuman army are in front of the White House. Black Adam demands for the President’s surrender. Black Adam urges all metahumans to join him. Suddenly, Superman appears on the scene.
We hop back to Saturn Girl and Ozymandias. Saturn Girl says that she has seen the future and it exists because of Superman. Ozymandias asks if Superman remembers Saturn Girl. Imra replies, “No.” Ozymandias says that he believes that Saturn Girl is no longer part of this timeline. Saturn Girl then suddenly begins to turn to dust and fade away. All that is left is her Legion Flight Ring. Ozymandias then tells Johnny Thunder to quit crying. That Johnny is from the past and that it won’t be erased.
We cut to Black Adam punching Superman so hard that Superman flies through a bunch of buildings and down a street. Superman’s body zips past Mime, Marionette, and the Comedian driving in a car while being chased by the police. Superman’s body zips past Reggie.
Superman then gets up and finds himself face-to-face with Dr. Manhattan. Dr. Manhattan says that it is Superman and it is me. It is us. It is the world. It is time. We then cut to Ozymandias saying that it is time.
We then get four extra pages detailing Lex Luthor’s research about the photograph of Jon that he collected in his studies of the time anomaly. The same photograph was found at 11 different locations in 11 different time periods. The twelfth photograph that Lex has is one of Barry Allen and Jay Garrick in action together.
Lex says that Jon is who has caused their revisionist reality. Lex says that this universe is ever-evolving. That Lex has lived past lives alongside Superman. That the two have been locked in an endless battle that neither man shall win. Lex says his goal is to find Jon and learn what he can about this endless loop between himself and Superman and too close it. End of issue.
The Good: I can grouse about the terrible delays in the shipping schedule for Doomsday Clock, but damn, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are pure gold. Doomsday Clock #11 was another impeccable read. Johns continues to blow me away with his phenomenal writing. It is a shame that Johns is no longer a full-time comic book writer.
Doomsday Clock #11 delights the reader with an incredibly complex and deep read. Johns packs so much amazing detail and information into every single panel. Seriously, there is not a single wasted panel at all in this issue. Everything has a purpose. Everything has meaning. Doomsday Clock #11 is such a sumptuous read that it demands multiple readings from the reader. Even on the second and third reading of Doomsday Clock #11, the reader will take away new details and information. There is just so much to consume and digest in this issue.
As usual, Johns delivers an incredibly plotted issue. Johns’ plotting is currently only rivaled by what Snyder is doing on Justice League and what Hickman is doing on House of X/Powers of X. That’s it. Doomsday Clock #11 is wonderfully immersive. The reader is fully enveloped by this story and the richness of the setting that Johns has created for Doomsday Clock.
Doomsday Clock #11 is all about the reveal. Johns finally shows the reader how the various pieces of the puzzle all slide together. Of course, Johns is able to link all of the disparate plot-lines together in a logical and natural fashion. Johns unveils to the reader just how much of the events in Doomsday Clock have been orchestrated by Ozymandias. It is wild to see how Ozymandias’ brilliant plan has come together. This also helps to further cement Ozymandias’ character as one of the most bad-ass Machiavellian villains in the DCU. Looks out, Lex Luthor! You have real competition in the form of Ozymandias!
It is fascinating to see how Ozymandias has orchestrated everything that has been going on in Doomsday Clock including the Superman Theory, the distrust of super-heroes., the chaos in the streets, the completely brilliant framing of other Firestorm and Dr. Manhattan in the tragedy in Moscow. That last one was a true masterstroke. By initially framing Firestorm but leaving an energy trail that would then frame Dr. Manhattan helped cement Ozymandias’ incredible genius.
Johns also continues to engage in incredible world-building and continuity work. Again, Hickman on House of X/Powers of X is the only other writer who is rivaling Johns at the moment. Johns is easily one of the best writers in the industry when it comes to continuity work. Johns genuinely loves the DCU and the history of the DCU. Johns adores research and loves rolling up his sleeves and getting dirty dealing in the minutia of DC’s continuity.
Pulling off detailed continuity work Post-New 52 is no easy task. The New 52 made such a ridiculous mess of everything with the arbitrary nature in which some characters were completely redone while others were barely touched. The lack of internal consistency to the New 52 has made doing continuity work under the Rebirth initiative a rather difficult task. However, Johns is absolutely the man for the job.
It is phenomenal how Johns is able to take DC’s Pre-Flashpoint continuity, DC’s New 52 continuity, DC’s wishy-washy Rebirth continuity, and the original Watchmen continuity and masterfully meld them all together. It is honestly stunning. When I first heard about Doomsday Clock, I thought that Johns was taking on a nearly impossible task. Yet, Johns is pulling it off with aplomb.
Doomsday Clock #11 is a continuity nerds dream. There are so many tiny details and easter eggs littered throughout this issue. I am curious to see how Johns ends up having the events of Doomsday Clock impact the Rebirth DCU. We know that the New 52 was created by Dr. Manhattan tinkering with the DCU. The real question is how the DCU is going to be shaped going forward by the events in Doomsday Clock.
Johns begins to hint at what may come. We get the surprising moment in Doomsday Clock #11 where Ozymandias states that Saturn Girl’s future does not exist in this timeline. At that point, Saturn Girl dissipates into nothing but still leaves behind a Legion flight ring. The Legion of Super-Heroes title was the only title that was completely untouched by the New 52. That Pre-Crisis Legion had been brought back by Johns in Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds. Johns then firmly established the Pre-Crisis Legion into Superman’s continuity and had Superman remember them. Now, having Superman no longer remember the Legion Post-Flashpoint would indicate that Dr. Manhattan’s creating the New 52 has removed this timeline from the Pre-Crisis Legion’s timeline.
Now, I am not sure why that would make Saturn Girl disappear. She is not a figment of Superman’s imagination. She is a real person. She is simply an anomaly from a multiple Earth. Just like all the characters from the Watchmen’s Earth. Saturn Girl is not a fictional construct that would dissipate. So, at this point, Saturn Girl’s dissipation makes no sense.
Johns does make a point of having the Legion flight ring stay behind. Again, if Saturn Girl was fictional and her clothing was also fictional and they all disappeared then the ring would have also disappeared. I think Johns is trying to use the Legion flight ring remaining as a sign that no matter which Earth we are on in the Multiverse that there will always be a version of the Legion of Super-Heroes. That the creation of the Legion is an inevitability in every timeline.
Johns continues to have fun with massaging the Watchmen’s continuity with the current DCU continuity with the plot-line involving Lex Luthor and the various photographs of Jon. The best part of this plotline is the excellent extra pages that we got at the end of Doomsday Clock #11. I love all of the detail about when and where the various photographs of Jon were found. It is this level of detail that makes Johns’ story so rich.
I also loved the twelfth photograph of Jay Garrick and Barry Allen in action together. I adore old Earth-2 stories and I love both Jay and Barry. This photograph was an obvious homage to the cover of The Flash #123 published in September 1961 that featured the famous “Flash of Two Worlds story.” This story was the very first appearance of Earth-2. I love seeing Johns reinstalling more and more of the real DCU from before Flashpoint.
Even though Doomsday Clock #11 is a continuity heavy issue, Johns certainly does not ignore the character work in this issue. Johns delivers quality character work and excellent dialogue in every scene. Reggie, Marionette, Mime, and Comedian are certainly shuffled into the background. Doomsday Clock #11 was designed to make Ozymandias the star of the show with Superman, Lex Luthor, and Doctor Manhattan in the supporting roles.
Even though we got very little Mime and Marionette in this issue, I did love the little bit that we got. These two characters are fantastic and really deserve a mini-series once Doomsday Clock is finished. I also liked the surprise reveal that Mime and Marionette’s son was given to Nite Owl and Silk Spectre for them to raise as their adopted son. What a fantastic twist. It is nice to see Nite Owl and Silk Spectre getting some happiness. And it also helps to show that Dr. Manhattan did have a compassionate side to him at one point.
I also like the excellent character work done on Reggie. For the first time during this story, I actually enjoyed Reggie’s character. Johns makes Reggie such a wonderfully tragic character. I fell such sympathy for Reggie as he finally becomes a more unique and interesting character.
OF course, Doomsday Clock #11 is not just a great story. Gary Frank delivers plenty of fantastic artwork. Yeah, Frank not being able to even remotely keep a regular schedule absolutely sucks. But, there is no denying how wonderful Franks artwork is in this issue. Frank continues to evoke that Dave Gibbons’ style with this issue. Frank packs an incredible amount of detail into each panel. Frank also brings Johns’ story to life in vivid fashion thanks to the incredible facial expressions that he is able to give the characters.
The Bad: I have no complaints about this issue. However, the fact remains that Doomsday Clock #11 is a slow issue. This combined with the ridiculous delays in the shipping schedule may turn off some readers.
Overall: Doomsday Clock #11 is another excellent read. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank deliver another intelligent read that immerses the reader into this world that celebrates the details of DC’s continuity. The shipping schedule remains the only weakness of this title. I would definitely recommend buying Doomsday Clock when it comes out in trade format. It is absolutely worth the price of admission.
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