How do you follow up an almost flawless first issue of Doomsday Clock, that not only established a new status quo for the world of Watchmen but also seamlessly integrated a mystery involving Superman? Don’t forget with art and writing that feels like Moore and Gibbons never left.
Well, if you’re Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, having Rorschach eat Batman’s breakfast isn’t a bad place to start. But we’ll get to that.
Issue #2 of Doomsday Clock picks up right where we left Ozymandias, Rorschach, Marionette and Mime. Sticking with the classic 9 panel grid for most of this opening, we start in Nite Owl’s abandoned basement and are shown two interweaving stories. Mime and Marionette are carrying out a heist gone wrong some time in the past, and Rorschach and Veidt in the present debating the merits of trusting two hardened criminals to save the world.
The arrival of Dr. Manhattan during the heist is a fun unexpected moment that reveals why Marionette is such an integral part of Ozymandias’ plan. Whether or not he’s fully aware of why Manhattan spared Marionette’s life remains to be seen. It certainly appeared that Manhattan was hesitant to kill a pregnant woman. This contrast nicely echoes the Vietnam sequence of the original Watchmen where The Comedian demonstrates he has no such qualms.
Then it’s off to the DC universe without a moment to spare as the Watchmen’s world is nuked into oblivion. This whole segment felt rushed and convenient compared to the rest of the issue. Perhaps I was hoping for a more intricate system for travelling between dimensions than a throwaway of, “Oh, its ok, I’ve installed a new button in the Owl ship”.
However, this is only a minor gripe as I can understand that Johns is more interested in showing how these characters interact with the DC universe than how they get there. What’s more interesting is where the Watchmen initially land, in an almost exact reproduction of the funfair from The Killing Joke. It’s a nice nod to Alan Moore’s other DC work and potentially an indication of the way Johns intends to characterize Batman and the Joker for the rest of the story.
Here is where our team splits, as Ozymandias and Rorschach attempt to recruit Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor to their cause, whilst Mime and Marionette are restrained aboard the Owlship. At this point, Gary Frank’s art goes from good to great, as we are treated to some brilliant visual storytelling, mixing Watchmen inspired visual cues with Geoff Johns’ humour and wit. The Owlship bursting through the Bat Symbol and Rorschach’s exploration of Wayne Manor are particular highlights. Rorschach being distracted by a free breakfast leading to him notice a tell tale breeze under the grandfather clock is an amusing and appropriate way for that character to unearth Bruce Wayne’s big secret.
Ozymandias on the other hand has less luck convincing Luthor, who has reverted back to his evil business tycoon demeanor that readers have not seen since before Forever Evil. Luthor questioning Ozymandias’ intelligence after having the plot of Watchmen explained to him feels like Johns winking to the reader about the more ridiculous aspects of that series finale.
We are then left with not one, but three, cliffhangers as a seemingly resurrected Comedian attacks Luthor, Mime and Marionette escape into Gotham City, and Rorschach is confronted by a hungry Batman. Hopefully the Comedian’s appearance is not all it seems, as I feel that bringing back this character undermines the importance of his murder in the original Watchmen. Perhaps it’s tied to Ozymandias brain tumor. We can only wait and see.
Overall, this issue continues the high quality established by the first, with John’s doing an admirable job of echoing the writing style of Alan Moore and Gary Frank bringing beautiful and inventive imagery to every page. My only negatives being the protagonists convenient journey to Gotham and the reappearance of the Comedian, though these do not detract from the story overall. I look forward to seeing where this story goes next and how one gruff vigilante will come to terms with another gruff vigilante eating his pancakes.
The comics industry went through a lot of growth in 2017, some of it good and some of it bad. Through shifts in-universe, massive story events such as Marvel’s Generations and Legacy initiatives to DC’s Doomsday Clock, and questionable PR decisions from most of the big publishers, comics as a whole seemed kind of shaky.
Luckily, the year also saw a bevy of new and old voices, many of whom find themselves on our list of top comics of 2017. We left off ongoing series and chose to focus on new stories and creative teams, all of which you can find at your local comic store! In no particular order, here are our top 10 comics of 2017!
Art: Caspar Wijngaard
Story/Art: Daniel Warren Johnson
Extremity is so damn special. Most issues leave me in my feelings, or swearing while holding my head in my hands, but it’s definitely one you MUST pick up. It’s Mad Max Fury Road meets Avatar the Last Airbender. It’s kinetic and brutal. I actually don’t want to say too much about it because it’s that good and I don’t want a single bit spoiled for you. Bonus: it’s only $10 for the first trade!
Story: Melanie Gillman
Art: Katy Farina
Fans of the Cartoon Network show, rejoice! This ongoing series perfectly captures the voices of the characters and it’s episodic, meaning you can pick up any single issue off the shelf and have a complete standalone story. It’s great for little ones who may want to get into comics and hardcore show enthusiasts as well. There’s currently one collected softcover out too, just in case that’s your preference!
Batman: White Knight
Art/Story: Sean Gordon Murphy
Yes, I know a lot of you are tired of rehashed Batman stories featuring the same old formula of Batman beating up the bad guy and saving the city of Gotham. HOWEVER, the Batman: White Knight mini-series turns it all on its head in a refreshing, dark way. The series is about halfway through, but it makes a very big impression every issue. Be sure to pay close attention to those busier panels; Murphy tucks details in every corner. Issue #1 may be a little elusive to track down if you’re intent on a first printing, but it will definitely stay on your mind for a while after reading it.
Story: C.S. Pacat
Art: Johanna the Mad
If you need something to fill the Yuri!!! on Ice shaped hole in your heart, I can’t suggest Fence fast enough. As you may be able to infer, Fence is about a group of young fencers in a private school. There’s definitely going to be some drama, and there’s definitely going to be some romance. Granted, I have some bias as I love stories about tension filled high school slice of life experiences and I have a soft spot for fencing itself, so this was up my alley. Either way, if you enjoy attitude filled boys fighting with swords, check it out!
Story: Simon Spurrier
Art: Jonas Goonface
This was probably my favorite book out of 2017, if I had to choose one from this list. It’s also one of the hardest to try to summarize. In this universe, every person has a god assigned to them, usually bestowing some sort of skill or power. The story centers around Ennay, a queer “shaper” – which is to say, they change the shape of a person’s god. Those without a god are pariahs, like Ennay. It’s a fresh take and beautiful in every way.
Story: Saladin Ahmed
Art: Christian Ward
This is another title where I have some bias, as I am a hardcore Inhumans fan. That aside, holy crow, please pick up a copy just to look at the art by Christian Ward. The man is a master as space psychedelics and his style is a pretty perfect complement to Saladin’s storytelling. Because Black Bolt can decimate everything ever if he so much as whispers, the dialogue can be a little light, but a glance into the inner workings of the Silent King is always pretty bomb.
Dead of Winter
Dead of Winter is a popular survival horror board game where you have to complete scenarios and make tough decisions as randomized characters with different abilities. The comic it is based on takes these characters and runs with them in a free-for-all hilarious look at the end of the world. It’s a 4-issue series of pure fun, but I definitely think you’ll enjoy it more if you’ve played the board game! I almost always draw Sparky, a golden retriever who can withstand zombie bites, and there’s plenty of Sparky in this series, thankfully.
I’ve missed The Runaways and they’re back in a perfect return of my favorite Marvel teenagers. While I wouldn’t start with this series because spoilers for the television show, I would suggest definitely, DEFINITELY, picking up the 2004 Brian K. Vaughan series first and going from there! Expect some angst because it picks up immediately where we last saw everyone. The creative team perfectly captures every single character and all their hang ups. Hmm, as I reach the end of this list, I realized most of these have some personal bias, but YOU KNOW WHAT, I READ A LOT OF COMICS AND I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT THEM AND LIKE, 94 OF THEM ARE ABOUT THE GODDAMNED RUNAWAYS.
HONORABLE MENTION: The Family Trade
This is going to be a slow, delicious burn and I know those aren’t for everyone. That’s the only reason it didn’t make my top 10 list, but if you find yourself with a couple extra bucks, definitely pick up a really neat story about a family of assassins, particularly one clumsy one who finds herself in quite the pickle.
That wraps up my list, and it’s pretty varied if I do say so myself. I hope you find a couple of new favorites among them and feel free to tweet my way to discuss them (except Runaways cause inevitably I will CRY and that’s no fun for anyone!). Be sure to check out our other comics reviews and lists!
It’s that time of year again! No, not Halloween (though that is sneaking up on us faster that I realize). I’m talking about New York Comic Con time! Though not as prolific as San Diego Comic Con, NYCC is the East Coast’s biggest comic and media convention, boasting hundreds of exhibitors and tens of thousands of attendees.
Just like its West Coast counterpart, NYCC attracts countless collectors and, as such, has become a haven for exclusive merchandise. This is where Funko comes in. Over the summer we showed you all of Funko’s SDCC exclusives, the Pop!s, Dorbz, Rides and Vnyls that were only available at the con. Luckily, they’re bringing a pretty strong game to New York Comic Con as well.
Since they’re revealing all of their exclusives in waves so make sure to check back often as we update to see everything you can expect to find at NYCC.
Rendered to look like a living, breathing comic book, Telltale’s vision of Batman features an award-winning cast of talent, including Troy Baker, who returns to reprise his role as Bruce Wayne, as well as Anthony Ingruber, who reprises his fresh take on John Doe, better known to fans as The Joker.
This new season will be accessible to both returning fans and newcomers alike, though players’ choices from the first season of Batman: The Telltale Series will optionally carry over into The Enemy Within. This season will also include Telltale’s unique multiplayer ‘Crowd Play’ feature, which allows friends and family to engage with the adventure together by helping to decide the direction of the story from any mobile device with an online connection.
Batman: The Enemy Within is a standalone product separate from the first season of Batman – The Telltale Series.
It will be available at retailers across North America on October 3 on a special ‘Season Pass Disc’ for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The disc will include the first episode of the season, as well as access to download all subsequent episodes through an online connection as the episodes are released.