This week Doomsday Clock finally arrives from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, and the God Country team takes on the Mad Titan himself in Thanos!
Doomsday Clock #1 (of 12) (DC Comics)
The hype around Doomsday Clock is certainly palpable. When the DC Universe unveiled the Rebirth initiative two years ago, it was all but assured that it would lead to the DC heroes meeting the characters from Watchmen, thanks to Doctor Manhattan screwing with time and causing the heroes to forget ten years of their lives and adventures. Today, it’s finally time to see just what Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have in store for the DC and Watchmen worlds with Doomsday Clock. But if you’re expecting to see Superman square off with Doctor Manhattan in this first issue, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
While the cover sure has Superman floating in front of Manhattan’s ominous gaze, a large chunk of Doomsday Clock’s forty pages is set in the world of Alan Moore and David Gibbons’ Watchmen. So much so that Doomsday Clock reads more like a sequel to that series than a crossover event so far. Much time has passed since the events of the classic tale, and while some characters remain the same, others, Rorschach in particular, are pretty different and offer a few surprises. With their world on the brink of destruction, Ozymandias and Rorschach agree that they must find “God”, or as he’s more commonly known as, Doctor Manhattan. The issue then smashes to the DC Universe as Clark Kent has a nightmare involving the death of his parents Jonathan and Martha, something that hasn’t happened in a very long time.
So yes, the opening issue of Doomsday Clock isn’t exactly what the cover promises, but those of you who were worried that Geoff Johns was going to tarnish the legacy of Watchmen can rest easy, Johns nails it (though after Before Watchmen I’d argue that nothing could tarnish Watchmen). From the pitch perfect tone of Rorschach to awesome back-story pages that flesh out what’s happened in the world of the Minutemen since the end of the original tale, there’s plenty here for fans of Alan Moore’s original work to dig into and enjoy (even though Moore probably wouldn’t want you to). The amount of pressure put on Johns for this series is probably more stress than I could ever imagine, but so far, he’s able to come up with a worthy story that can stand as a nice pseudo sequel to the original tale.
Any time Gary Frank takes the time to bring his artistic talents to comics, you take notice. Doomsday Clock is no exception, and Frank really brings his all to this issue. From the nine-panel grid layouts that evoke the classic “ Watchmen feel” to truly stunning details and character work, Frank stands to deliver the ultimate work of his career if he keeps this up.
Any story that decides to follow up on Watchmen is one that deserves only the best creators on it, and so far, Doomsday Clock is that. While it’s not the team-up promised just yet, all signs are pointing to something that will not only make new DC Rebirth fans happy, but old-school ones and even Watchmen fans as well.
Thanos #13 (Marvel Comics)
Villain Comics are always a tough nut to crack, and Thanos’ series was no exception. It had a strong start, but around the halfway mark Jeff Lemire’s story started to drag, and it definitely ended with a whimper more than a bang. But now we’ve got Marvel’s Legacy event in full swing, and with that means a new creative team, this one being one of the biggest gets in the Marvel stable: God Country’s Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw.
Thanos #13 finds the Mad Titan making his way through the universe, fighting any and all creatures that he can find. After decimating a Chitauri Prime world, Thanos is visited by the Ghost Rider. Well, not just any Ghost Rider, but one from the future, who’s also a former Herald of Galactus. Ghost Rider is in possession of the Time Gem, and needs to bring Thanos into the far future, where he can meet….his older self?
That’s the main twist of this series, and I gotta say, it’s a good one. Donny Cates has made a name for himself with clever twists and character work on books like the already mentioned God Country and Redneck, and he brings that to this new Thanos storyline. Cates is able to go back and forth between the excellent dramatic narration and hilarious jokes from Ghost Rider with ease and the questions this issue bring up are pretty intriguing as well.
I was already aware of how well Geoff Shaw worked with Cates thanks to God Country, and as good as he was on that series, he outshines it with Thanos. This issue has it all: giant planets, crazy aliens, Thanos looking intimidating, and a cosmic Ghost Rider flying through space. There’s so much insanity in this issue that it’s hard to imagine what Shaw will get to draw next, but I know I’ll be there to see it.
Thanos is another strong re-start in the Marvel Legacy era, and I’m pretty hopeful that the good buzz and reputation that Cates and Shaw made on God Country will be put to good use here. With any luck this will be the first in a long line of Marvel titles from these two red hot creators.