Never was a truer word said Doc… since DC Comics and comic-book author – Geoff Johns – once again returned us to the dystopian landscape of Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins’ original groundbreaking ’80s maxi-series.
I am a self confessed Watchmen fanboy, it is without a shadow of doubt my favourite comic-book series of all time. When I first consumed Alan Moore’s trailblazing series in 1986, I was blown away, it was a unique and contemporary take on the Superhero genre, a treatise on social anxiety, and a complete deconstruction of traditional Superhero conceptualisation, it was different in every single way possible to everything that came before it, and is almost single-handedly responsible for completely transforming the face of the comic-book medium for future creators, and readers. A veritable masterpiece.
Since that time we have been regaled with scant few other forays into Moore’s apocalyptic vision, from Director – Zack Snyder’s masterful cinematic adaptation in 2009, a motion comic version of the original series released the same year to coincide with the movie’s release, through DC’s prequel series – Before Watchmen, released in 2012, and more recently, the superb HBO television saga by Damon Lindelof. And though some fans revelled in the new material presented to us (myself included) others believed that the original should have always have been left as a standalone project, with whom co-creator Alan Moore has always sided.
I personally believe that any beloved piece of creation, be it film, novel and comic-book should always be given a chance to grow and re-present itself to a new and modern audience, Snyder’s movie was the first instance of this for Watchmen, opening up the material to new fans, but at the same time being honest and respectful of Moore’s original vision. Watchmen is a world that has so many more tales to tell, and even more lessons to bestow upon it’s readership, and with Geoff Johns’ – Doomsday Clock series, DC did just that, oh and it also marked a return for irascible ink-blot masked vigilante – Rorschach, but not in the way anyone was expecting (I mean, Doc Manhattan did, literally, implode Rorschach at the end of the first series!!)
Doomsday Clock actually counts as our first foray back into the pandemonium that is the Watchmen as it’s a direct sequel to the iconic ’80s series, and as controversial as that seems to some fans, as I stated earlier in the post, I personally am more than happy to once again step into the chaotic and dystopian world of the titular Crimebusters. Sequels, movie adaptations, et al, do not dilute the original works, and if done with care and attention to the former work, can add more layers to the existing whole, plus if the idea of a Watchmen sequel is in any way sacrilegious to you, then you can always ignore it and continue to enjoy Moore’s superlative original story in all it’s well deserved glory.
Doomsday Clock is initially set just a few short years after the end of the original storyline, it’s 1992 and the world is still in turmoil after the events set in motion by Ozymandias, but with his scheme now laid bare, the world is once again on the brink of nuclear armageddon. With this premise, writer – Geoff Johns and artist – Gary Franks, effortlessly transport us back to the wonderfully dark and grimy world set up by Moore, stylistically the comic evokes the original material beautifully, from the dialogue set, through to the nine panel grid layout, visually this feels perfectly at home to it’s predecessor.
Of course, I haven’t even touched upon the cross dimension interaction between the Crimebusters and DC’s regular pantheon of Superheroes, but let’s just say that the Batman/Rorschach team-up is as delightful as you can imagine, with some utterly fantastic dialogue between the two maniacal masked manhunters.
If you’re fan of Watchmen and can get past the apparent controversy that a sequel to the seminal original exists, then the recently released Doomsday Clock: Complete Collection is an absolute must buy. Johns and co have presented us with an extremely well written dark, but at times amusing return to the world of masked vigilantes, chaos and deep rooted fear and anxiety, and I for one am more than happy to continue my stay in its fatalistic presence. Highly recommended.