We have loved Doomsday Clock here at The Revolution. Johns has been consistently delivering a meticulously crafted and complex read with each issue. I am confident that Doomsday Clock #8 will be another richly written read. Having said that, we are rapidly approaching the end of this series and Johns has a ton left to stuff into these remaining five issues. Hopefully, Doomsday Clock #8 delivers plenty of plot progression. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank
Colors: Brad Anderson
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Ozymandias in the Oval Office looking at a file. Ozymandias says that this file will do nicely.
We hop over to the Daily Planet. Lois is complaining to Clark that someone went through her desk. Jimmy Olsen shows up with orange juice for Lois. Jimmy apologizes for forgetting to get something for Clark. Lois complains that the orange juice is not fresh squeezed. Jimmy says they were out of fresh squeezed and that he had to improvise and get something like Tang for Lois. (First, this is boring and a time waster. Second, Lois comes across like a spoiled bitch. Third, Tang rocks.)
Perry storms over and yells that he wants something from Lois about the metahuman conspiracy involving the American government. Suddenly, news breaks over the TV that Firestorm attacked Russia and their group The People’s Heroes. Clark says that Firestorm is composed of Ronnie Raymond and Dr. Stein. Clark says that Ronnie is a good kid, but he does have a temper. Perry yells out which of his reporters want to go to Moscow to cover this news. Clark and Lois both volunteer.
We cut to Firestorm battling The People’s Heroes. During the battle Firestorm gets knocked to the ground. A large group of Russian citizens all rush Firestorm and start attacking him. Firestorm starts freaking out and yells for them to let go. Firestorm then erupts in a big flame burst. We then see that the entire crowd of civilians have been transformed into glass. Firestorm freaks out and says that he did not mean to do that. Firestorm then flees the scene.
We hop back to the Daily Planet. Jimmy asks if Firestorm just killed all of the civilians. Lois asks Clark if what they are seeing is actually real. Lois looks over and sees that Clark has left the scene.
We cut to Superman arriving in Kahndaq. The Creeper watches Superman arrive. Gigantic then leads Superman to Black Adam in his throne room. The two men shake hands. (Yeah, this took two pages.)
Black Adam and Superman walk around Black Adam’s headquarters. We are introduced to a boy named Sandstorm who used his powers to animate sand in order to protect other children like him who were fleeing Syria. Black Adam says that the Russian backed Assad is responsible for the deaths of children in Syria.
Black Adam says that all metahumans are welcome in Kahndaq. even Firestorm. Superman says that he wants to talk to Firestorm. Black Adam says that Firestorm is not in Kahndaq now. Black Adam says that Superman cannot trust the Americans or the Russians. Black Adam says that the Superman Theory is true. That there are metahumans in Kahndaq who were a part of that program. Black Adam says that people with the power to change it must act. Black Adam says that Superman is not one of those people because Superman is just a glorified firefighter with a cape.
Superman tells Black Adam to watch how he talks to him. Superman says that Black Adam is breaking the law when he crosses the borders into other countries and carries out his own brand of justice. Superman tells Black Adam to stay in his own country. Black Adam says that when Superman finds Firestorm to tell Firestorm that he is welcome in Kahndaq. Superman then flies off.
We hop back to the Daily Planet. Lois is at her desk. She finds a package with no return address on it. In it is a small USB drive. Lois plugs it into her computer. A video begins playing. It is a news report from World War II about the Justice Society of America. (HELL YES!!!!) Lois looks at the screen in confusion and wonders who in the hell is the Justice Society of America.
We cut to Superman arriving at a remote location in Russia. Firestorm is hiding in an abandoned building. Firestorm keeps trying to transform a child from glass back into flesh. Firestorm keeps failing. Firestorm screams out for Dr. Stein to help him figure out how to fix everything.
Superman approaches Firestorm and asks him what happened. Ronnie tells Dr. Stein that they can trust Superman. Because everyone can. Ronnie says that he can transmute elements. But, that his powers have never been able to affect anything organic. Until now.
Superman says that Firestorm did it once and can do it again and turn the people from glass back into flesh. Superman says that maybe Firestorm’s powers are evolving. Superman says that he has faith in Firestorm.
Firestorm agrees to try again. Firestorm warns Superman that he might detonate. Superman says that he is not leaving Firestorm. Superman says that he will be fine. Firestorm then transforms the boy from glass back into flesh. Superman tells Firestorm that the other Russian civilians who were turned into glass are going to be okay. Firestorm thanks Superman.
We zip back to Russia. We see Putin addressing the media. Putin says that the linchpin of international security has been the balance between the two nuclear super powers (American and Russia) keeping each other in check. But, that balance has been destroyed. Putin says that the United States has been amassing an army of metahumans covertly for more than a decade. Putin says that Russia is at war with America.
Suddenly, Superman arrives on the scene. Superman tells Putin that he is here to help. Superman says that he is not here to pass judgment. That he is here to ask everyone to trust him. Superman says what Firestorm did was an accident. But, it can be undone.
Superman says that his home world of Krypton did not survive because a council could not agree. They could not come together to try to save it. We cut to Batman in his Batship. Batman is watching Superman talking at the media event in Russia. Superman says that the Superman Theory has spread fear and hatred throughout the world.
Batman asks what the hell Superman is doing. Batman then radios Superman and tells him to stop talking. Batman tells Superman to keep his mouth shut and to not pick a side. Superman ignores Batman and says to the media that the demonization of metahumans is wrong. That Firestorm is not a villain. That Firestorm can change the Russian citizens back into flesh.
Putin interrupts and says that Firestorm attacked Russia and its people. Firestorm then appears on the scene and is holding the Russian boy. Firestorm says that he can fix the problem and turn the civilians back into flesh.
A Russian soldier gets jumpy and fires a few bullets at Firestorm and the Russian boy. Superman dashes in front of the bullets to protect the Russian boy. The bullets bounce off of Superman and shatters the glass body of one of the Russian civilians.
Firestorm yells that the Russian soldier is killing the glass civilians. Firestorm blasts the soldier’s rifle. This causes The People’s Heroes to attack Firestorm and Superman. Putin is then evacuated from the scene. Russian tanks then move in to attack Superman and Firestorm. The Russian tanks mow over several of the glass figures of the Russian civilians.
Superman screams out, “No!” Superman knocks over one of the Russian tanks. We cut to Lois watching the events on a TV with the reporter stating that Superman is attacking the Russian military. Lois is terrified. We cut to Batman in his Batship. Batman curses at the events.
We cut to Firestorm and Superman fighting off the Russian military. Firestorm says that he cannot fix the civilians who have been shattered by the Russian military. Firestorm screams, Why “wouldn’t you listen to me?!” Firestorm starts losing control as fire spreads out of him.
We see Batman in his Batship racing toward Moscow. Batman tells Superman that the energy readings are spiking in Moscow. Superman tells Firestorm to keep control and calm down. Firestorm says that he is okay. Batman then screams that the energy readings are not Firestorm.
We suddenly see a massive flash of light like an atomic bomb exploding. It wipes out Moscow and Batman’s ship. We cut to Lois as the TV feed from Moscow goes dead. We cut to Ozymandias watching the events in Moscow on multiple TV screens. All of the screens go dead. Ozymandias says, “Yes. It begins.” End of story.
We then get a few extra pages that show headlines from the Metropolis Times and Metropolis Today about Superman taking a stand for the wrong side and attacking the Russian military.
We then get a page with the cover of the Daily Planet reporting that Superman is missing. The report wonders if Superman was the cause of the solar flare that wiped out Moscow. End of issue.
The Good: Doomsday Clock #8 is another meticulously crafted issue. Johns delivers some excellent character work, well crafted dialogue, impressive world building, and wraps it all up with an incredibly dramatic hook ending.
The character work and the dialogue are easily the two greatest strengths of Doomsday Clock #8. Johns displays such an impressive feel for the main characters in this issue. Doomsday Clock has a pattern of focusing on just a few characters with each issue. While this leads to serious pacing issues, it does allow Johns to delve deeply into the few characters and deliver some incredible character work.
Superman and Firestorm take center stage with Doomsday Clock #8. These are two characters that Johns loves and respects deeply. Johns has an excellent knowledge of both character’s continuities as well as both character’s core personality traits.
Johns’ Superman is always a joy to read. And Doomsday Clock #8 is no exception. Johns understands Superman’s character better than any other writer at DC. Johns just gets it and always nails that perfect vision of Superman. Johns’ Superman is strong, honorable, trustworthy, but also firm and fearless in the face of those with whom he opposes.
Johns shows the tender and caring side of Superman with the scene where Superman finds Firestorm in hiding. This was such a wonderfully crafted scene. Superman’s compassion and his ability to inspire Firestorm to do the seemingly impossible highlights Superman’s inspirational role within the DCU. This was such an incredibly effective scene.
Johns also shows Superman’s honorable side as he gives his speech in Moscow. Superman never shies away from standing up for what he things is right. This also plays into the aspirational aspect of Superman’s character within the DCU.
But, Johns also shows the firm and fearless side of Superman, too. IN the scene with Superman and Black Adam, Johns effectively shows that Superman may be polite, but he will not take shit from anyone. Black Adam is clearly chest thumping and posturing in front of Superman. Superman’s simple response of “Careful, Adam. I didn’t get my workout in today.” was absolute perfection.
Johns is able to show how Superman is not one to be rude or trash talk. Johns understand Superman’s desire to handle things the polite and diplomatic way. But, this does not mean that Superman is meek and mild. Superman’s tempered response to Black Adam nailed Superman’s firm and fearless nature. Johns knows that Superman does not need to flex and beat his chest. That Superman himself speaks for what he is capable of doing if crossed.
I have never been much of a fan of Superman. But, I am when Johns writes Superman’s character. It is just feels so right. Johns makes Superman a character that you simply cannot help but to admire and appreciate.
Johns also nails it with Firestorm’s character. Johns has always like Ronnie Raymond’s character. Personally, I have always been a fan of Ronnie Raymond. I am thrilled to see Firestorm finally getting some panel time. Ronnie is an excellent character who deserves more attention in the DCU.
Johns has an excellent feel for Ronnie’s character. Ronnie Raymond is a good kid who always tried hard, but often falls victim to his temper or his youthful exuberance. Johns understands this balance and delivers a wonderful Ronnie Raymond.
The scene where Firestorm transforms the Russian civilians into glass was stunning. This was quite the twist on Firestorm’s powers. Firestorm has never been able to transmute organic material. This new wrinkle to his powers is rather intriguing. I am looking forward to seeing where Johns takes this plot-line.
The scene with Firestorm and Superman in the abandoned building is beautiful. Ronnie’s frustration and sorrow over not being able to transform the boy back into flesh. The emotion in that scene was palpable.
Johns also did an excellent job with Black Adam’s character. This is also no surprise given that Johns loves Black Adam’s character, too. Johns nails the haughty and regal nature of Black Adam. I dig how Black Adam was agitating in his scene with Superman.
I also enjoyed Johns’ Batman. Even though Batman only appears in the final scene he still is written very well. Johns nails Batman’s blunt and terse style dialogue. Only Batman can get away with talking to Superman in that manner.
Johns also whips up plenty of excellent dialogue. Each of the characters have their own unique external voice. The strong character work and well crafted dialogue combine to provide for some excellent chemistry between the various characters. This is evident in the electricity in the tension between Superman and Black Adam. It is equally evident in the more compassionate and emotional scene between Superman and Firestorm.
Of course, the highlight of Doomsday Clock #8 was the one page scene with Lois viewing the video footage of the real Justice Society of America. I am a massive fan of the Justice Society of America. I have been waiting for this moment ever since the debacle known as the New 52 began.
The New 52 was rife with stupid ideas. One of them was the trashing of the Justice Society of America from DC’s continuity. Well, it looks like Johns is finally going to rectify this problem as a continued push of his Rebirth initiative. It is about damn time. I am more than excited to see where Johns takes this plot-line. There is no doubt that there is no other writer more qualified for the task of bringing back the Justice Society of America than Johns. No writer at DC loves or understands the JSA more than Geoff Johns.
The final eleven pages of Doomsday Clock #8 are spectacular. There is no doubt that Johns is an expert on delivering powerful final scenes with incredible hook endings. Johns brilliantly construct the final elven pages employing effective quick cuts between Lois, Superman/Firestorm, and Batman. This helps to build tension that culminates in a shocking and chilling ending.
I am curious to learn more about what Ozymandias is up to with the massive explosion in Moscow. There are only four issues left in this big event and Johns is certainly setting everything up for a wild finish.
Gary Frank’s artwork has been spectacular during this entire big event and Doomsday Clock #8 is no exception. This is a gorgeous looking issue. Frank is able to deliver powerful facial expressions that inject so much life into Johns’ script. Frank perfectly recreates the vibe of the Watchmen in stunning fashion. Frank’s art is absolutely worthy of a big event.
The Bad: The Achilles’ heel to Doomsday Clock #8 is the pacing. This issue is a slow and plodding read. Johns delivers such a terribly decompressed issue that offers the reader very little plot progression at all. Johns only presents the reader with about a half an issue of actual content. The rest is such filler.
Johns begins the issue with a one page scene of Ozymandias up to something sneaky in the Oval Office. There is really nothing to this scene. Then there is a three page scene at the Daily Planet that was mostly about orange juice and tang and recycling what we already knew about the Superman Theory. Four pages into the issue and the reader has not been given anything of substance.
Johns then delivers the three page scene with Firestorm in Moscow and turning the crowd to glass. This sets up the plot device to lead to the climactic ending. It was an okay scene that felt a bit shallow and too long.
Johns then burns an entire page showing us Clark Kent leaving the Daily Planet. This was a panel worth of content stretched over an entire page.
Johns then wastes an entire page showing Superman arriving in Khandaq. This was pure filler. Again, a single panel stretched out over one page. Then Johns wastes an entire page showing Superman walking to Black Adam. Yup. That is it. Just walking. These two pages were blatant stalling by Johns. He took what was maybe three panels and fluffed it into two entire pages.
We then get a two page scene with Black Adam and Superman talking in repetitive fashion about how Khandaq is home for any metahuman. Again, this is nothing new. We already had this information. These past four pages set in Khandaq were largely a waste. Johns probably did not even need to conclude these pages in the issue. And if he felt compelled to do so then it could have been done in a page or two at most.
Johns then delivers the one page scene with Lois and the Justice Society of America. Hey! Something new! Real plot progression! Yay!
Johns then burns a stunning four pages for a pep talk from Superman and Firestorm turning the Russian boy back into flesh. Yes, it was great character work. It was also so much fluff.
We then get the final eleven pages of the issue. This is the real meat of Doomsday Clock #8. These 11 pages plus the 1 page of Lois and the JSA is the only real content at all that we get in this issue. The other half of this issue is pure filler.
The three extra pages included in Doomsday Clock #8 are unimpressive. The extras are rather shallow and lacking in the incredible detail and content that we have gotten in the previous seven issues of Doomsday Clock.
The plotting in this issue was also a disappointment. Johns hits the pause button on every single plot line except for the Superman Theory. And what Johns gives us with the Superman Theory is not anything new at all. The only actual new content the reader gets are the final two pages and the one page scene with Lois watching the Justice Society of America video.
Overall: I enjoyed Doomsday Clock #8 for what it delivered: excellent character work, great dialogue, and a riveting final scene. However, the poor pacing and lack of much new content and real plot progression hurt this issue. There are only four issues left in this big event and it feels like Johns still has a ton of ground to cover in a small amount of time.
Having said that, Doomsday Clock #8 is still a lovingly crafted story. To be sure, Doomsday Clock is going to be a brilliant read when delivered in a collected format. Despite the few defects with Doomsday Clock #8, the fact remains that Doomsday Clock is still easily the best out of the five big events that DC and Marvel are currently publishing.