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 Clock: The 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.
INCREDIBLY CYNICAL REVELATIONS AHEAD
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?
THE CURSING IS VERY DISTRACTING
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.
BOTTOM LINE: JUST A MESS
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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DOOMSDAY CLOCK #9
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.