Tensions with Russia are at an all-time high and Firestorm doesn’t make them better. And neither does Superman. 

Doomsday Clock 8
Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils and Inks by Gary Frank
Colors by Brad Anderson

One of the most intriguing things about WATCHMEN was the social and political commentary on the times that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons peppered throughout the book. The fear of nuclear annihilation had everyone on edge 30 years ago, and it really informed much of the 12-issue story that Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are homaging here with DOOMSDAY CLOCK.

The Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. may have ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but we’re amazingly back in a constant state of agitation with Russia, 30 years later. So, having that kind of commentary find its way into the dominant theme of an issue should have been expected, even if it took 8 issues before the real shit hit the fan. 

While most of the series up until now has focused on Batman, the new Rorschach and the Mime and the Marionette, a far cry from the promised confrontation between Dr. Manhattan and Superman, we get closer to it here, though maybe not close enough. 

Johns turns his attention to the Supermen Theory – that the U.S. has the majority of the world’s superheroes because the government is creating them to give themselves an advantage – and it leads to some very severe problems when Firestorm turns a whole bunch of Russians to glass. And when Superman decides to step in and try and ease conditions, he possibly is framed into starting an international incident. 

If the characters in WATCHMEN thought that their Doomsday Clock was creeping toward midnight, the Russian army attacking Superman and inadvertently killing a bunch of glassed Russians would probably place it at half past one. 

It was an intense issue that makes the wait between issues completely worth it. I still want the confrontation between Superman and Dr. Manhattan, but at this point, I’m pretty happy there was an issue that focused on Superman and his importance to the world.