Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Rob Leigh
Book Matter Design: Amie Brockway-Metcalf
The clock is ticking once again. It’s been a few months but Doomsday Clock #5 once again is a tour de force of beautiful artwork and compelling story that is filled with mystery and tension. Events definitely pick up in this issue after the previous issues detour into the origin story of the new Rorschach. Johns has multiple balls in the air as he not only continues the story of Rorschach, who is now on the run with Saturn Girl (yes, of the Legion of Superheroes and no the book has not slipped to such a slow release that it is now set in the 31stCentury) but he also has Ozymandias breaking out of the hospital after his encounter with the Comedian in issue #3 and comes into contact with the World’s Greatest Detective. Johns love of the JSA is on hand once as Johnny Thunder making a break from his retirement home in search of a bright green artifact. Now if that wasn’t enough there’s also Lois Lane interrogating … I mean interviewing Lex Luthor over his involvement with the ‘Superman Theory’ and the Marionette and the Mime are hunting for the Joker since they have not taken to kindly to his wanting them dead since they dared to wear white face paint.
Yet this is just the main story. What I found to be the most interesting part of Doomsday Clock #5was the ancillary stories, the story going on behind the story. Just like Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons did in Watchmen Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are weaving in side-stories that will no doubt become more important as the story goes. This is the DC Universe a year in the future and it is not a pretty site. The world is on the brink of war, Superman is the only super being the people trust, and Batman has become the most hated man in Gotham. The fear of America’s superheroes is forcing other countries to cut ties with the United States. Russia is assembling its own super team after the arrest of Hawk and Dove by the Rocket Reds in St. Petersburg after they foiled a terrorist plot. In traditional Johns fashion he mines some classic DC history and brings back the original replacement Firestorm, Mikhail Arkadin, who most readers probably don’t remember as a Firestorm but in Doomsday Clock he has become Russia’s most loyal metahuman. There’s also a brilliant Black Adam moment that I hope gets touched on later. Lastly the Superman Theory becomes more apparent and also the conspiracy that America is creating all of their heroes as government weapons. I’m now intrigued as to how the DC Universe got to this point as well as where it’s going from here.
Any fan of Geoff Johns is going to love the story of Doomsday Clock as it has all the great dialogue, superhero moments and continutity history we have come to expect. Doomsday Clock continues to be a beautiful book. Gary Frank is producing some of his best artwork of his storied career. Frank has also amazingly laid this book out in the same fashion Gibbons laid out Watchmenand it truly feels like a sister project. Sadly though at this snail of a pace everything that Doomsday Clock is already an afterthought, by that I mean I’m happy when it’s with my weekly books but what it is building toward seems so far off that my interest is waning between issues. With its bimonthly release schedule we are still a year away from the conclusion. I don’t know what that means to the plot being that the rest of the DCbooks will catch up to Doomsday Clock by its conclusion since that feels like a pigeonhole that I don’t want my books to get wedged into. I have faith in Johns and Frank and truly hope that they stick the landing with this event but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little worried.
Verdict: Doomsday Clock #5 is a wonderful comic, both is story and art. It’s back on track after last issues new Rorschach’s origin story and the plot advances and ends with a great cliffhanger, that sadly we won’t see the payoff until August. For me Doomsday Clock #5 is a Buy, but I understand those who want to wait for the collected edition sometime in 2020.