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‘Doomsday Clock #8’ (review)

Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Gary Frank
Published by DC Comics

 

Though Bubastis adorns of the cover of Doomsday Clock #8, her owner, Ozymandias, is barely in it, save for the opening and closing pages. While he slinks around an empty Oval Office, the focus shifts to Superman, finally.

After all, it’s the familiar S-shield positioned at midnight on the titular clock logo, and it’s Superman who writer Geoff Johns has teased would be the focal character of this story.

But seven issues have gone with a tour of the DCU, yet very little of the Man of Steel, until now.

He’s just in time, because everything is literally about to explode.

Firestorm has grown in importance over the course of the story, as one of the central figures in the “Superman theory” narrative that posits most of the world’s metahumans are the results of secret American experimentation.

Tensions between the world’s powers have heightened to a fever pitch, and Firestorm is in the middle. Black Adam isn’t far from it, having opened up Kahndaq as a safe haven for all metahumans.

When a battle between Firestorm and Russia’s resident superteam goes horribly wrong, Superman flies out to the calm the situation. But despite an early glimmer of hope he provides, things go horribly wrong thanks to cascading misunderstandings. By the end of the issue, the world seems to be firmly on a path similar to the Watchmen Earth, a notion Adrian Veidt greets with a smile.

Doomsday Clock continues to ramp up, but we’re still left with more questions than answers. The “Superman theory” is still a matter up for debate, and where Firestorm fits into this is also a question mark. Elsewhere in the issue, Lois Lane receives newsreel footage of a superteam she doesn’t recognize: the Justice Society of America. So is this a new retcon? Is Johns finally bringing the original JSA back into the DCU?

Gary Frank is, once again, killing it, and it’s great to see him doing Superman again after all this time. His Man of Tomorrow uses the essence of Christopher Reeve as a baseline and somehow amplifies it. He also depicts Firestorm in the midst of a frantic, desperate unraveling that only grows more heartbreaking by the page.

With only four issues left to tie this up, Doomsday Clock reaches what looks to be the final act. But will it be a thrilling race to the end, or an unsatisfying slog? If the last couple issues are any indication, we might actually enjoy this final stretch.

 

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