Wednesday, December 18, 2019

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #12 by Geoff Johns - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: This is it! The final showdown between Dr. Manhattan and Superman shakes up the DC Universe to its very core! But can even the Man of Steel walk out from the shadow of Manhattan?

After a somewhat sporadic publishing schedule, we finally get to read Geoff Johns's Doomsday Clock #12. The big question coming into this issue was can Johns stick the landing? Well, in my opinion, he did, and did a terrific job of it.

This issue showed the confrontation between Dr. Manhattan and Superman that the series had been building toward for some time. This was the point at which Manhattan could no longer see the future, so he believed the battle would end with one of them dead, and possibly with the end of the universe. In addition, Johns needed to tie up the stories of Mime and Marionette, Carver Coleman, the Comedian, Ozymandias, Rorschach and Batman, Lois and Lex Luthor, and the world's anger with Superman and the American heroes. Each of these threads was given its time, and whether or not you believe their resolutions were satisfactory is a matter of reader opinion. I liked how Johns brought each to end, and those endings felt genuine and true to the story.

Going in to Doomsday Clock, I don't know exactly what I expected, but it wasn't totally what Johns delivered. And that's not a criticism, it's more that I just didn't have any idea where the story might go or how he might tie together all of the various DC reboots over the years. Putting Superman front and center in DC history was both brilliant, and in retrospect, super obvious. I really liked the way Johns used the nearly 100 years of DC history to support his story, yet was also to make some sense of the sometimes convoluted history of the characters, many who have existed in various iterations since the beginning. I'm also glad that rather than rewrite characters yet again, to make them younger, hipper, more diverse, more accessible, etc., DC let Johns restore many beloved characters to the DC Universe proper, such as the Legion of Superheroes, the Justice Society of America, Wally West, and others.

One final comment. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank did a wonderful job of writing and drawing this series in much of the same style as Alan Moore's Watchmen without feeling like it was just a copy of that story. It was a nice tribute, capturing some of the feel of that great story.

I would highly recommend Doomsday Clock #12 by Geoff Johns. It brings a very satisfying conclusion to the series, makes sense of the New 52 reboot, as well as the rest of DC's history, and provides a great way forward for the heroes and villains of DC, including in the Watchmen universe. This is definitely a series worth reading and I'm glad I stuck with it through its various publishing delays.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

FLASH FORWARD #4 by Scott Lobdell - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: On Wally West’s journey into the depths of the Multiverse, he’s run across vampires and hellhounds and his own ghosts from the past...but nothing has prepared him for this next stop on his journey. In this issue, the mysterious world that is causing the Dark Multiverse to bleed into our own will be revealed, and you will not believe what connection it has to the Fastest Man Alive...

What I really love about Flash Forward is Wally West's quest for redemption, and his hope that he might restore his family. Scott Lobdell's Flash Forward #4 does a fine job of moving this story forward. With each stop to save another part of the Multiverse from the essence of the Dark Multiverse, Wally is learning a little more. He is also meeting doppelgangers of people he knows (or in Roy Harper's case, knew) back home. This issue isn't any different, although this time, instead of saving one Earth, Wally has to save two. And assisting him is a speedster version of Linda Park, otherwise known as Wally's wife. Wally is again forced to confront what happened to him and what he caused to happen, helping him with the grieving and healing process. And once again, the readers get a quick glimpse of Wally's (now non-existent) twins, who appear to be aware that they aren't where they are meant to be. Meanwhile, there are more hints that there is more to Tempus Fugit and the mission he's given Wally than we currently know.

There is a bit of A Christmas Carol feel to Flash Forward, as Wally is going from Earth to Earth in an attempt to save himself (and the Multiverse). I like the redemption story because, as I've said before, I like Wally and think DC has given him a raw deal since the New 52. He deserves some good in his life, and hope, because he is a hopeful character. I'm trusting Lobdell with the story he's telling, but I will be very disappointed if something good doesn't come out of this series for Wally. With many other heroes having their pasts restored, he should have his back, too, even if he still needs to atone for his actions in Heroes in Crisis.

Overall, I would recommend Flash Forward #4 by Scott Lobdell. It is a good book and keeps Wally West moving forward. At this point, I wouldn't recommend it as a starting spot, but with two issues to go, if you are curious, you could pick up the back issues and get caught up quickly.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Dreaming #16 by Simon Spurrier - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: At last, Dora stands face-to-face with the man who tried to unmake her...but he’s not what she expected. As it turns out, he’s the architect behind everything that’s happening to the Dreaming-but the true shape of his plan has slipped far out of even his control!

With The Dreaming #16, Simon Spurrier FINALLY clues us in to what has been going on in the Dreaming and with Dream himself. And I've got to say, I didn't see this coming.

The issue focuses on Dora confronting the man (Hyperion "Perry" Ketter) who broke her spirit and discovering just what manner of creature she is. As she considers killing Ketter, who is bedridden and near death due to cancer, an AI begins to speak with her. It begins to reveal the story of just who Ketter is and what he accomplished, mostly told through Ketter's own video diary entries. Ketter's plan, his backstory, his relationship to Dora, and what is currently happening to the Dreaming is all touched on and revealed. Everything is interconnected, including Wan, the blanks, what happened to Daniel/Dream, why mythical beings are disappearing, where Cain is, and what caused Dora to break down. It all relates to belief, something that Ketter is realizing as he mysteriously begs Dora to stop "it".

This is the issue I've been waiting for! I've been wondering where Spurrier was taking this story, and I was curious how each story/arc related to the others. Well, I'm wondering no longer. With echoes of Gaiman's original introduction of Dream in Sandman #1, Spurrier has taken the Sandman mythos and expanded on them in a very satisfying manner. While I was initially afraid of a retread of Gaiman's previous stories, Spurrier's tale is more of an homage to what came before and could end up taking the series in some interesting new directions. And much like Gaiman's best stories always seemed to be about so much more than just the story, Spurrier has been writing about the nature and importance of belief this whole time. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this all turns out and where he takes these characters in the future.

I highly recommend The Dreaming #16 by Simon Spurrier. It is definitely a pay-off story for readers who've been reading since the beginning, but it is not a good starting spot for new readers. I'm anxious to read the next issue, and find out how Spurrier resolves this arc.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.