Doomsday Clock #2 (February 2018)

Doomsday Clock #2

Upon reading this issue of Doomsday Clock, which is regular length instead of extended like the first, I’ve decided I’m done. I don’t care about the identity of the new Rorschach. I don’t care how Rorschach gets on with Batman. Don’t care how Veidt gets on with Lex Luthor. Or why the Comedian’s back? Or did Dr. Manhattan create the DC Universe–Johns just integrates the big rumors about the series into the book. Why not. There’s nothing else to do.

The jumping off point isn’t the cliffhanger or the trip to Earth One. It’s Batman. It’s Bruce and Lucius Fox arguing over whether or not Batman is necessary. Maybe it’s in current DC continuity, I don’t know. Something about the Superman Theory, which I thought was the name of a bad comics convention bar band, but whatever. Don’t care.

Johns isn’t trying. He’s also got a gross sexist opening he can’t get away with because he’s Geoff Johns and craven and Gary Frank’s art lacks any subjectivity. It’s too objective for gross sexist bank managers. Frank’s art invites a lot of examination Johns’s writing really can’t support. Frank’s at least trying. Johns is not.

So. No more. Clock is stopped for me.

Unless the villain’s Labo at the end and Johns is daring the original creator to sue. But maybe not even then.

CREDITS

Places We Have Never Known; writer, Geoff Johns; artist, Gary Frank; colorist, Brad Anderson; letterer, Rob Leigh; editors, Amedeo Turturro and Brian Cunningham; publisher, DC Comics.

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Doomsday Clock 1 (January 2018)

Doomsday Clock #1

There’s one big problem with Doomsday Clock. It exists.

And a lot of it is worse than one might expect. Apparently, in 1992, after the plan at the end of Watchmen didn’t work out, the United States elected Robert Redford president. Only he isn’t a hippie dippy Robert Redford, he’s President Trump. There’s even a wall.

So, you know, if you want to read Doomsday Clock to make fun of Geoff Johns’s writing… it provides a lot of opportunity. Is it worth reading for that reason? Depends on whether or not you want a lot of fodder for mocking Geoff Johns.

Or maybe you just want to see Gary Frank “Gary Frank” a Watchmen sequel. Only one where the DC Universe gets involved. And that crossover–albeit to a different, somewhat darker DCU (I think, has DC changed Superman’s origin lately)–gets to have the Watchmen panel layout.

You think Frank and Johns weren’t going to ape Watchmen down to the panel layouts. Please. Doomsday Clock is craven and desperate.

It also seems to be implying, after Watchmen, Nite Owl feels so shitty about Rorschach dying he takes up the mask, as it were, and lives his life aping him. Or something. It’s dumb. It’s a Watchmen sequel written by Geoff Johns. Of course it’s dumb.

It’s kind of sad how dumb it gets. Especially when Johns brings in some costumed villain sidekicks for NuRorschach. They’re terrible enough maybe they were in Before Watchmen. But I’ve blocked that previous desperate attempt from DC to turn Watchmen into a brand name from my memory.

I finished Before Watchmen though. I’m not sure I really want to see what Johns and Frank have cooked up for them in After Watchmen.

I do want to know if the team refers to themselves as The Watchmen though. I really, really hope they do. If you’re going to show the world you’re an exceptionally pedestrian writer, you might as well do it on a corporate Watchmen sequel.

Is Doomsday Clock worth the read to intellectually dissect it and roast it? For five dollars? In this economy?

CREDITS

That Annihilated Place; writer, Geoff Johns; artist, Gary Frank; colorist, Brad Anderson; letterer, Rob Leigh; editors, Amedeo Turturro and Brian Cunningham; publisher, DC Comics.

DC Universe: Legacies 10 (April 2011)

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The story ends before Infinite Crisis, with an OMAC showing up and attacking the narrator. The narrator’s nurse at the assisted living place ends the issue suggesting he’s full of crap, which ends Legacies on a decidedly negative note. Not because the reader would believe he’s a loon, but because it’s such a mundane thing, being elderly and dismissed. It’s a defeat. What’s the point of getting all excited about the superheroes if the elderly are being dismissed in the DC Universe? What, is Superman going to deal with nuclear proliferation next?

Saiz only handles a handful of pages then Derenick takes over. It must be at that point DC finally stopped pretending they cared about Legacies being a professional job. Derenick’s expressions get hilarious at times.

The backup is an Infinite Crisis prologue with Blue Beetle. Nice Frank art, I guess, but totally useless.

Kind of like the series.

CREDITS

Truth and Consequences!; pencillers, Scott Kolins, Jesus Saiz and Tom Derenick; inkers, Kolins, Karl Story and Robin Riggs; colorists, Mike Atiyeh and Tom Chu. Snapshot: Redemption!; penciller, Gary Frank; inker, Jon Sibal; colorist, Brad Anderson. Writer, Len Wein; letterer, Rob Leigh; editors, Kate Stewart, Chris Conroy and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

Tom Strong 7 (April 2000)

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Moore finishes the story with an unexpected conclusion, one he hadn’t hinted at earlier and should have. Tom Strong’s birthday was coming up. It ends at his birthday party (and the Millennium City Y2K party). It’s a great scene, but it’s sort of tacked on.

This issue is significant for one major reason. Moore talks a lot about race. Sure, it’s in the extremes of Tom Strong having a bastard son with a Nazi superwoman, but Moore doesn’t flinch when putting those two up against Tom’s black wife and his mixed daughter. Most mainstream comic books completely avoid the discussion (or just don’t have any black characters).

This issue has a flash forward, not flashback, but Frank and Smith. It’s not the best Frank art, but it’s good. Moore’s writing isn’t as strong on that portion though.

It’s a decent issue, some good surprises… but there’s no kick to it.

CREDITS

Sons and Heirs; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Al Gordon. Showdown in the Shimmering City!; penciller, Gary Frank; inker, Cam Smith. Writer, Alan Moore; colorist, Mec Garcia; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Eric DeSantis and Scott Dunbier; publisher, America’s Best Comics.

Superman: New Krypton Special 1 (December 2008)

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Someone has pointed out Johns casting Lois Lane’s dad as a jingoistic, sadistic supervillain really just is… you know, the Hulk, right? I mean, someone besides me. It’s so startlingly uncreative, one has to wonder.

This New Krypton Special does raise a couple interesting ideas—one is the People of Kandor being, well, basically stupid jerks. It doesn’t make me want to read the series, however. Oh, another moronic move—a bad guy named “Agent Assassin?” I mean, that one’s worse than the Image stuff.

There’s some great art. I love the way reading Frank’s pages feels like one’s reading a sequel to the Christopher Reeve movies. It’s too bad Johns’s plotting on everything else is goofy. Woods and Guedes are good too, Woods being better.

It’s too bad Johns shoved New Krypton into a nice memorial to Jonathan Kent. It sort of undoes that whole sequence, the subsequent nonsense.

CREDITS

Writers, Geoff Johns, James Robinson and Sterling Gates; pencillers, Gary Frank, Pete Woods and Renato Guedes; inkers, Jon Sibal, Woods and Wilson Magalhaes; colorist, Hi-Fi; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Nachie Castro and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Superman: Secret Origin 6 (October 2010)

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So after making everyone wait for months, DC put out this piece of crap?

I mean, it’s not terrible, but it’s garbage. Frank’s artwork is visibly hurried, with Superman looking different in every other panel and the Christopher Reeve likeness looking traced when he uses it here. Lois looks funny, more of the hurrying.

As for Johns, it’s like he was trying to see how many endings he could do in one issue to give Frank the chance to do full page panels.

It’s completely moronic conclusion to the last three issues too, but particularly to the last one, as General Lane is reduced to a cartoon joke. Lex is a goof too.

What’s funniest about the comic is how self-important Johns writes it. It’s clear no one edits his scripts.

I think it’s about a five minute read. People waited three months for a five minute read. That’s value.

CREDITS

The End; writer, Geoff Johns; penciller, Gary Frank; inker, Jon Sibal; colorist, Brad Anderson; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Superman: Secret Origin 5 (May 2010)

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Ok, so Johns finally did something completely unexpected. He made Superman the Hulk. General Sam Lane–I think that’s Lois’s father’s name anyway–is a psycho warmonger who tries to kill Superman.

Funny how John Byrne is known for Superman and the Hulk and Johns is playing with both here.

There’s some decent character scenes, not as much Christopher Reeve in the Frank art but some… A lot of the scenes play well. Superman posing for Jimmy seems really stupid.

But Johns doesn’t have a good narrative structure here or in the series overall. This issue, like the last, is sequential, while the first two issues weren’t tied by an exacting structure.

It’s like Johns can’t decide if he’s doing Man of Steel or something else. The confusion isn’t helping.

Some of the problem probably stems from Johns’s handle on Superman being a tad trite.

It’s a passionless mechanical story, completely unnecessary.

CREDITS

Strange Visitor; writer, Geoff Johns; penciller, Gary Frank; inker, Jon Sibal; colorist, Brad Anderson; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Superman: Secret Origin 4 (March 2010)

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Maybe I’ve surrendered. Johns doesn’t introduce anything new to the canon this issue, instead he just does a sequel to the previous issue. The Gary Frank Parasite is hideously wonderful too.

But back to Johns. He does a decent job this issue. Sure, he’s set up a disastrously bad idea, but once he’s writing in that idea, instead of about it, he does fine. A limited series about Superman’s first week in Metropolis (this issue would be the second in that wish) would be good. I’m sure Johns will screw it up next issue, but as a brief reprieve, this issue is welcome.

There’s a lot more of the Christopher Reeve referencing from Frank here, which certainly makes it feel part of a brand… But Superman doesn’t look like Reeve in the rest of the DC publications, so why here?

Oh, and Johns’s Luthor is uncharacteristically dumb. That’s a problem.

CREDITS

Parasites; writer, Geoff Johns; penciller, Gary Frank; inker, Jon Sibal; colorist, Brad Anderson; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Superman: Secret Origin 3 (January 2010)

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DC never did a formal adaptation of the first Superman movie, so Johns gives it a shot here, with some modernizing and some adjustments for comic book continuity. The result, I suppose, depends on if you like the first Superman movie. Even with the silly Lex Luthor is a power mad bad guy (from Byrne)–it makes Smallville real famous too, which misses the point I think, it works.

But then I love Superman: The Movie.

Frank draws Clark to look like Christopher Reeve here, Johns has him bumble well like Reeve does in the movies… There’s really nothing new here. It’s just a really good adaptation of a movie, which I’m sure they’ll have to redo once the new Superman movie comes out (didn’t anyone tell Johns about corporate synergy?).

His biggest innovation is to make Metropolis an unfriendly city. That general unfriendliness will probably turn around once Superman arrives.

CREDITS

Mild-Mannered Reporter; writer, Geoff Johns; penciller, Gary Frank; inker, Jon Sibal; colorist, Brad Anderson; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Superman: Secret Origin 2 (December 2009)

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The second issue, featuring the return of the Superboy and the Legion (at least in an origin retelling) to continuity, works a lot better. There’s still some stupid stuff. Instead of coming up with something interesting to do with Lana, Johns just has her get mad at Clark and storm off.

And then the Lex Luthor stuff. Johns seems determined to keep Luthor in the story, even though he doesn’t fit. But he shoves him into the story–the scene this issue between Lex and Clark makes almost no sense… though it does further alienate Clark so he’s overjoyed when the Legion shows up.

Of course, I like how Johns is inferring sexual desire when Clark meets some of the female Legionnaires. Isn’t Superboy having naughty thoughts kind of like Jesus having naughty thoughts?

I’m waiting, desperately, for Johns to come up with one thing superior to John Byrne.

Clock’s ticking….

CREDITS

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes; writer, Geoff Johns; penciller, Gary Frank; inker, Jon Sibal; colorist, Brad Anderson; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Superman: Secret Origin 1 (November 2009)

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Geoff Johns’s point seems to be to do another Superman origin retelling, this time integrating parts of Superman (Johns used to work for director Richard Donner), the “Smallville” TV show (Johns occasionally writes episodes for the show) and some of the stuff John Byrne left out of his Man of Steel origin retelling back in the eighties.

The result is about as jumbled as it sounds from that grocery list of intentions.

Seeing Gary Frank essentially draw a young Christopher Reeve in a few panels is pretty neat and having Clark and Lana Lang have a budding romance is cute.

Johns even gets in a Superman III reference, which is surprising (Donner didn’t work on that film).

But does it work? Another modernized retelling of the Smallville stuff? No.

Johns is too specific in his writing… except when it comes to creating a believable Smallville.

It’s cute instead of iconic.

CREDITS

The Boy of Steel; writer, Geoff Johns; penciller, Gary Frank; inker, Jon Sibal; colorist, Brad Anderson; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

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