As Ozymandias continues his quest, global hostilities continue to escalate due to the Supermen Theory causing international distrust. Firestorm, one of the metahuman heroes who has been singled out as possibly being created by the US government as a weapon of mass destruction, finally snaps. In a move that will inevitably be seen as an act of war, he flies to Moscow and engages in a fight with Russia’s own metahumans. After being injured, a panic-stricken Firestorm unleashes the full force of his powers on innocent bystanders before disappearing.
Superman, determined to avoid World War III, seeks out Firestorm in an attempt to understand what has happened and why. Meanwhile, Lois Lane receives information on a team of superheroes active during the Second World War – a team that, to her knowledge, never existed. But with nuclear war about to break out, can Superman – or anyone – uncover the truth behind the events that are happening?
There was a time when everything Geoff Johns worked on turned in to comic book (an onscreen) gold. Lately, however, his Midas touch hasn’t been constant. However, with Doomsday Clock #8 it’s clear that when it comes to creating massive moments – both with action and emotion – he’s still one of the most talented writers out there.
As a mostly self-contained issue, Doomsday Clock #8 is one of the best displays of his work. His knowledge of the characters and understanding of their psychology shines through as his real gift, while he ratchets up the tension of the story skillfully. Under Johns’ writing, Superman shines as the ultimate good guy, a well-intentioned peacemaker struggling to do his best in a world of political posturing that’s on the verge of war. Meanwhile, the plight of Firestorm – one of DC’s lesser-appreciated characters – is almost heartbreaking and leads to one of the best cliffhangers in modern comics… as well as teasing readers’ understanding of the DC Universe as it is today.
What’s unfortunate is that this is still only a part of the entire series, so once again it can’t strictly be judged on its own merits. Without knowing the end, it’s impossible to say what its true value is to the story. In terms of how Doomsday Clock #8 relates to the series so far though – a series that has mostly ignored Superman and only skirted around the issues of the Supermen Theory and Firestorm – it feels slightly out of place and disjointed. It’s a jarring shift in the narrative to suddenly throw these elements into the spotlight given the build-up of the series. In a similar style, the moments with Ozymandias fall flat as he postures without purpose.
Again, it’s possible that the long wait for this issue hasn’t helped matters at all. It’s hard to keep the finer details of the series fresh and the pace constant when there are over two months between issues. It’s also hard to keep the readers’ excitement up when new issues are few and far between, and it’ll be interesting to read this series again in its entirety once it’s complete – to see how it flows (or doesn’t) without the delays.
Still, the fallout from this issue has the potential to be a game-changer and so it’s definitely worth a look. As its own work, it’s incredibly strong, and even the scenes of the hustling and bustling Daily Planet offices are lively. Lois Lane’s moments, in particular, are a joy to behold and should provide optimism for many fans clamouring for the return of the Golden Age heroes.
As usual, Gary Frank’s artwork is stunning, although for once he’s slightly off his best form, with some panels failing to flow and some characters being awkwardly framed. But even despite those problems, Doomsday Clock #8 still looks incredible and is a treat for the eyes.
Standing on its own merits, or had it been a part of another story, it would have been impressive regardless. Whether it has the same impact on this series will only be known in time, but for now Doomsday Clock #8 is the best of the series yet.
Doomsday Clock #8
The best issue of the series so far.