It’s Doctor Manhattan versus the DC Universe.  Place yer bets!  Your Major Spoilers review of Doomsday Clock #9 awaits!


Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: March 6, 2019

Previously in Doomsday ClockThe DC Universe collides with its greatest threat: Dr. Manhattan. But nothing is hidden from Manhattan, and the secrets of the past, present and future will rock the very foundation of the DC Universe.


On Mars, Doctor Manhattan watches the death of Ferro Lad 1000 years in the future, reaching out to catch the falling flight ring from the hero’s heroic sacrifice.  The future, however, is in flux, and as he watches, things disappear and fade out until he realizes that there is no ring.  There was never a ring, because there is no future,  The last thing he can see is one week in the future, as Superman rages, his hands stained with blood, and wonders: Does he destroy Superman or does Superman destroy him?  We then cut to the heroes of the DC Universe traveling to Mars in a caravan of ships, a four-page silent sequence of stern-looking heroes showing their game faces as they travel towards the thing that they think took out Superman and Batman.  The world thinks that it was Firestorm, and even blames Superman for trying to protect his fellow hero and not the public,  We get to see Lex Luthor bringing Lois Lane an olive branch, the governments of the world continuing to collapse and Ronnie Raymond finds out something very shocking about Professor Stein… but is it true?


There are a lot of confusing creative decisions in this issue for me, especially since I still can’t tell what time-frame this story is taking place in.  There’s a very Silver Age Doom Patrol alongside the modern Justice League Dark, with a very Pre-Crisis looking Justice Leauge in play and a Firestorm who is straight out of 1982.  Once the heroes engage Doctor Manhattan on the surface of Mars, Guy Gardner takes point, boasting that these heroes made Darkseid lick the $#!+ off their boots and it’s… just too much.  It’s one thing to have realistic characters who use rude words, it’s yet another to try and pass it off as part of the DCU proper, where Guy hasn’t spent decades f-bombing.  This issue (in fact, this whole series) is yet another attempt to establish a grown-up version of the tales that certain readers, including the author and me, grew up with, but the effect is one that just makes for a muddy faux-adult mess.  This issue has fewer mad-eyed characters staring into my very soul and stealing my essence, which is good, but the battle sequences are SO FULL of characters that there’s no real point of reference for who is where, when, and only a few characters (one of which includes Captain Atom, in a moment that is just TOO precious and self-referential for my tastes) even get any real screen time to do anything.


Compared to previous issues, I like Gary Frank’s art a lot more here, even with the occasional over-packed panels making it clear that he is not quite in George Perez’ (you should excuse the expression) league when it comes to hundreds of swirling heroes, and having Superman and Batman out of focus made for an interesting change of pace.  All in all, though, Doomsday Clock #9 ends up with far too much going on, far too little clarity in theme or sequencing and a lot of distracting moments that detract from what might have been an epic, albeit unnecessary, crossover battle, earning 1.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I have had my issues with this book for some time, but as we enter the final quarter of the story, it’s still not clear what is happening or what the point of it all is.  If this is just another attempt to streamline and restructure the DCU, it has already come off the rails and failed in that endeavor.

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Slow, Dark and Dull

This issue feels like it should be the beginning of the end, the culmination of what this series has been getting at since the beginning, but it's still unclear what's going on or even whether this book is relevant any longer.

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About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Bluebolt1967 on

    This whole series has been a confusing mess to me so far but I’ve just finished issue #7. I like Johns as a writer but I don’t know what he’s going for with this series. I’d argue that an uninitiated reader would have no earthly idea what actually happened in the first six issues or why any of it was relevant. I’m probably missing something but am sure that in #7, two different Firestorms appeared and I don’t have any idea why.

    I liked the idea behind this series in general, to deal with the intrusion into the DCU by various Watchmen characters and (I guess) an attempt by DC characters to maybe restore their timeline, but the execution has been really bad and a let down. The art is nice and I guess the series has done a nice job in trying to emulate the Watchmen style but none of it means anything to me so far. I’m hoping that things improve with #s 8 and 9, but your review here doesn’t give me much hope.

  2. I keep re-reading the series from the beginning every time a new issue comes out and my feelings about it so far match your (Matthews’) opinion perfectly: no idea what is going on or why it matters. I feel obligated to read this but heck if I know why I have to. Is this book even relevant at this point? I don’t know. What a mess.

  3. Wow surprising. I’ve been loving the book. Also love that the Legion and JSA seem to be important going forward!

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