Doomsday Clock 2: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Drew Baumgartner 

Doomsday Clock 2

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Michael: It seems that the divisive issue this holiday season was not about the fictitious “War on Christmas” but instead about your opinion of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I’m fascinated by the varying differences of opinions on this film. One of the most popular criticisms amongst detractors is that it didn’t meet their expectations. Some Star Wars fans might have given The Last Jedi a small margin of potential victory where the film was both different and spiritually the same to the original films. I’m reminded of this intense desire for both nostalgia and innovation in Doomsday Clock 2.

Doomsday Clock 1 beautifully set the stage for the post-Watchmen world, and in issue two our “heroes” have abandoned it for the DC Universe that we know and love. Adrian Veidt meets up with Lex Luthor, Rorschach comes face to face with Batman — what more could you want? Geoff Johns meets the expectations of what you’d hope for in a story like this, but it would be a mistake to simply label it as a crossover. Instead, he introduces these characters to one another in a way that both services the story and the integrity of the characters themselves. Johns doesn’t dumb down the script in the slightest for the sake of simplicity and accessibility.

As great as these character introductions were, I found that one of the most memorable parts of Doomsday Clock came from the new character of The Marionette.

Marionette finds an old bottle of one Adrian Veidt’s signature products: Nostalgia perfume. I feel like this disjointed sequence — split up on the bottom of one page and the top of another — is symbolic of both Doomsday Clock and Watchmen as a whole. “Nostalgia…they don’t make this anymore.” What a delightful mindfuck that is. Is Johns saying that we champion books like Watchmen because we’re nostalgic for nostalgia’s sake?

Marionette goes on to say how disappointing the follow-up scent “Millennium” was. I think it’s widely agreed that, while trends from the ‘80s and ‘90s often come back in style, no one is really nostalgic for the early 2000s. This feed into my The Last Jedi hypothesis: Johns is aware that with a “legacy sequel,” it’s important to innovate certain story elements while replicating others present in the original.

After all, for all of the boldness of throwing the characters of Watchmen in with DC’s stable of heroes, Doomsday Clock is mirroring a lot of story beats from its predecessor. Barring Superman waking up from a nightmare at the end of last issue, Doomsday Clock 2 is the first introduction to the goings-on of the DCU in this series.

Instead of Watchmen’s “The End is Near” signs we have numerous protest signs of the anti-Bat variety. This latest anti-superhero sentiment is due to recent revelations of “The Superman Theory,” that contextualizes America’s superheroes as government-funded WMDs. The real reason that most superheroes are from America is simple: the writers, publisher and (majority of) readers are American, but this is a great in-story way to address the over-abundance of superheroes from America. “The superman/God exists and he’s American” was a headline featured in Watchmen announcing the arrival of the super-powered hero Dr. Manhattan — one that Johns is most certainly emulating in Doomsday Clock 2. And like Watchmen, a lot of the meat and potatoes of the public policy and opinion of Doomsday Clock is in its “supplemental” materials — The Superman Theory is detailed in full in news stories from The Bulletin.

The Superman Theory is also explored a bit in Watchmen world just before they hop into the Owl Ship and come over to the DCU. As most of the city runs in terror, Gary Frank draws one man standing out from the crowd to recite part of the old catchphrase from The Adventures of Superman:

It’s kind of surprising that a Superman optimist such as Geoff Johns would paint such an ominous and contemptuous picture of the archetypal do-gooder as the bringer of annihilation. Personally, I found this imagery ten times more effective than a Superman/evil Superman counterpart. The juxtaposition of the world looking up for a hero to save them and instead being greeted by a nuclear warhead is very Watchmen indeed.

And even though it might have seemed like I poo poo-ed the base level of a Watchmen/DC crossover earlier, it was a delight to see Rorschach in Wayne Manor/The Batcave.

Gary Frank does some great visual storytelling with Rorschach on par with Dave Gibbons’ original Watchmen work.  Without a speech bubble or internal monologue, Frank shows us Rorschach’s detective work in action.

Similarly I think that Rorschach’s reaction to all of Batman’s trophies in the cave was awesome.

Though Batman has seen his share of evil in his time, Rorschach comes from a world that is as violent and unforgiving (maybe moreso) than our own. Can you blame him for thinking that Batman’s collectibles were trophies commemorating his crimes?

Drew, if you couldn’t tell I am still really digging this series — was Doomsday Clock 2 a dip in quality for you? I’m also still digging The Mime and The Marionette, do you have anything you’d like to comment on their robbery/costumes? One thing I’ll say is that this DCU doesn’t necessarily jibe with the current continuity — it has a different feel to it — do you think that’s intentional or matters at all?

Drew: I’m willing to chalk that up to the style of the creative team and the tone of this series — of course it feels different, but I think we’re meant to understand this as the mainline DC Universe. Those kinds of differences of tone and voice are true of pretty much any crossover, but are particularly pronounced in one that is explicitly paying homage to a series that was conceived in many ways as a critique of the DC Universe.

But I think this works best for me when I’m thinking of this less as a crossover between these universes (or even as a sequel to Watchmen), and more of a way of reconciling the legacies of these two properties. Specifically, the way the more shallow “grim’n’gritty” elements of Watchmen were adopted by the DC Universe in the wake of Watchmen‘s runaway success. The precise narrative for how and why that happened is a bit more complicated than that, but I don’t think “Watchmen made the DC Universe dark for decades” is entirely inaccurate.

Which may be why the DC Universe seems so markedly dark in this issue. The reality of the DC Universe probably is darker on the whole than it was before Watchmen, but some corners of the DC Universe have resisted that more — or recovered from it more rapidly — than others. Indeed, we might understand Rebirth as a kind of rebuke to the lingering effects of Watchmen, returning the DC Universe to a more hopeful, less bleak outlook.

But that it’s “returning” to that hopefulness complicates the nostalgia narrative for me. Is the nostalgia for Watchmen or a time before Watchmen? Is this series critical of one of those nostalgias but not the other? I think it’s too early to say specifically what this series has to say on the issue of nostalgia, but I’m excited that Johns seems committed to the idea of addressing these issues in a series that clearly has a complicated relationship to nostalgia.

I suppose what interested me most in this issue is where Johns and Frank start to break away from the Watchmen style. That style clearly has a profound influence on the look of this series, from the nine-panel grid to Rob Leigh’s hand-drawn(looking) speech balloons, but the strict intercutting that Johns and Frank use for much of the issue insists on a few four-panel rows that feel decidedly alien to the Watchmen universe.

Rorschach and Ozymandias

That may feel like a modest example of breaking the Watchmen style — and it would definitely be an overstatement to suggest that this issue’s visual style isn’t largely conceived as a tribute/homage — but it does show that Johns and Frank are willing to break with convention when and where it suits their story. That’s an important distinction for this series moving forward, and one that gives me confidence for how things might pan out. There’s a deep reverence for the source material, to be sure, but it’s not slavish devotion.

Which might just speak to the Carson McCullers quote from which this issue gets its epigraph:

We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.

It’s an obscurer reference than we ever got in Watchmen, but I think its specificity more than makes up for its unfamiliarity — this is obviously chosen rather precisely. Which is why I’m reading this quote as a mission statement of sorts for this series. We’re not just torn between the foreign and strange; we’re homesick for something we’ve never seen before. Here’s hoping Doomsday Clock can deliver on that promise.

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?

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12 comments on “Doomsday Clock 2: Discussion

  1. I think the big difference between Doomsday CLock and the Last Jedi (other than the fact that the Last Jedi is actually good) is that Last Jedi intimately understands the original trilogy, might Geoff Johns… might not understand anything

    I wonder if Doomsday Clock would work better (or less worse) if you replaced Watchmen with Pax Americana. As much as I’d hate DC to fuck up Multiversity again, the fact that the Pax Americana characters exist solely to provide commentary upon Watchmen makes them a better tool to use*.

    Because Drew is right when he says that ‘But I think this works best for me when I’m thinking of this less as a crossover between these universes (or even as a sequel to Watchmen), and more of a way of reconciling the legacies of these two properties’. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is a crossover between these two universes. And a particularly bad one.

    You really wonder just how much Johns actually understands Watchmen. Last issue was a complete disaster of world building that creates an incoherent setting that fails to engage with the realities of Watchmen, 1992 or anything it should be, in exchange for a random assortment of 2017 references stripped of the context that makes them work, completely failing to work together or to fit the world of Watchmen. And this issue just compounds it.

    Does Johns understand, for example, that the newspaper that Rorschach gave his diary to was a fringe extreme right-wing paper of so little respectability, it would be compared to Alex Jones? That a key part of the ambiguous ending was that the diary might not even be believed because of who would be saying it? Or that the Comedian was so broken that it wasn’t that he ‘lost’ a fight to Veidt, but that he wanted Veidt to kill him? I honestly wonder if Johns truly understands that Watchmen isn’t a superhero story. At least, it isn’t by the conventional tropes that dictate superheroes. He’s writing them like Watchmen is… the original Wildstorm or something.

    Gary Frank can draw some wonderfully pretty pictures, but nothing he can do will make Rorschach entering the Batcave make sense. One of the essential parts of Batman is that he is competent enough in protecting his secret identity that the Batcave is secure and hidden. The idea that Bruce hasn’t placed… extreme levels of security on the Cave is not exactly unknown.

    Meanwhile, the original Rorschach isn’t exactly detective material. He’s a paranoid lunatic caught up in his own imagined view of the world. He doesn’t deduce so much as follow the trail of breadcrumbs left. And from an ‘abilities’ level, he is particularly ordinary. Not shown to be particularly smart or in any way not ordinary. He’s a normal guy in a mask, not hypercompetent genius ninja. And while this is a new Rorschach, everything suggests he’s pretty much like the old one (I know his political beliefs are different, but otherwise…). Quite simply, Rorschach is not a hypercompetent genius ninja, and yet he’s able to break into the Batcave. The whole point of the characters like Rorschach, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre is that ordinary people can’t match up to superheroes, even ‘real’ superheroes like Batman.

    Though I think the parts with Veidt is where it is truly demonstrative of Doomsday CLock’s problems. Not only does it continue to demonstrate how completely it fails as a Watchmen story (Veidt was a man who initimately understood the effect that Doctor Manhattan had on world politics. This is a genius at a superhuman level whose speciality subject is global politics. Shouldn’t the idea of a world full of superhumans horrify him? And shouldn’t this be the perfect place to contrast Watchmen and DC by using the nature of superhumans in their respective worlds as a point of major thematic difference. SOmething similar to how, in JLA/Avengers, Marvel’s distrust of their heroes and DC’s worship of them are contrasted), but it is where whatever little argument Johns pretends to have just turns into moronic posturing. Because honestly, Luthor rubbishing Veidt’s pan is a million ways bullshit

    Not just because, again, it fails to actually treat these characters in any way that suggests understanding (Veidt’s intelligence is superhuman. That’s the point. He, like Doctor Manhattan, is a comic book character in the real world. The idea that his plans are supposed to be bad, instead of debatable, is bullshit).
    Or because it is bad writing – outcome based character decisions. Veidt’s plan is bad because it fails. Therefore, Luthor, genius, says that it is a bad plan. Except the plan only failed because Johns decided it would fail, and the only reasonable argument for the opinion Luthor provides is rooted in the fact that Johns decided that it failed.
    But because it shows that Johns approach to Watchmen is derision. THat he doesn’t care about it. Again, the Last Jedi initimately understands the original trilogy. It loves the original trilogy. The importance of the original trilogy on the previous generation is a key element (R2-D2’s message, the presence of puppet Yoda…) A key idea is that Luke saving Vader is a miraculous, legend worthy feat, even if Johnson then critiques the fact that the same Luke who did that could very easily screw up with respect to Kylo Ren.
    Johns, meanwhile, is placing himself above Moore, insulting the work as garbage. That’s a big reason why I question if Johns even understands Watchmen. Maybe he thinks that by rebuking Watchmen, he is rebuking Watchmen’s viewpoint and influence on the industry. Except that influence is also its innovations on form, on how it helped teach an entire generation on the literary potential of comics. Johnson could respect how the original Star Wars influenced a generation while he criticised to obsession with bloodlines. Johns doesn’t.

    And of fuck, is that Nostalgia scene awful. Let’s ignore the fact that in the original comic, that can only be discussed with respect to the COld War (Millennium was a failure, because the future was something to fear. The future was nuclear winter. Nostalgia, meanwhile, was a retreat away from the Cold War). Because that isn’t important. What is important is the meaning in the context of this comic.
    I’m not entirely sure that Johns means Millennium to be the actual early 2000s instead of keeping it as a futuristic reference, but if that is the case, that is laughably stupid and another example of Johns lack of understanding of what he talks about. Just as he wants to have a Trump without any of the things that make Trump, he wants to discuss nostalgia without discussing nostalgia. We aren’t nostalgic for the 2000s because nostalgia operates on a 20-30 year cycle. That’s why Happy Days and American Graffiti was released in the 70s, that 70’s Show around 2000 and why now we have movies like Blade Runner, Power Rangers and the Force Awakens. That’s why the original It set the kid sections in the 50s, and the new movie sets in in the late 80s. We haven’t got nostalgic for the early 2000s because the early 2000s is still too young.
    And what if it is supposed to represent the future? What if we focus on what the Marionette says about the Nostalgia bottles? ‘THey don’t make this anymore’. Today’s world is fucking frowning in nostalgia. The cinema is filled with reboots and legacy sequels of nostalgic properties, not matter how ill advised (Blade Runner 2049, you were one of the best movies of last year. But you were never going to be successful). Star Wars fans are in revolt because Rian Johnson made a movie about how Star Wars has to move on from the past and belong to Rey’s generation. The current US President came into power on political nostalgia. I mean, Trump has literally been replacing the United States’ actual logo with Make America Great Again.

    The Marionette’s line only makes sense from the mouth of a man who honestly thinks we need more. A man who has torpedoed DC’s entire line out of a destructive need for nostalgia. Which, unfortunately, is exactly the guy writing this book. Honestly, that’s the greatest answer for why Doomsday Clock is so, so, so bad. THe best qualification for writing this book would probably be rejecting the offer. But the second best qualification is someone who can look past the rose coloured glasses to understand the bitter truth of the world. Hell, a big part of Watchmen is that today’s hellhole is made up of yesterday’s problems. That the nostalgia we love is the threat.

    I’m pretty sure that the Milenium bottle is supposed to represent the future. Because the idea of the Milennium is an inherently futuristic one, and because you never compare the past with the past. To do so would be bad writing (which I know isn’t a good argument with respect to this issue, but let’s use the Principle of Charity and assume it isn’t the one that has Johns made such basic failures as that). You compare the past with the future. Which is the problem. Underneath the nonsensical world building, the horrific character work and the fundamental misunderstanding of everything, Johns’ case is honestly ‘Comics should go back to what they were like before Watchmen’.

    And here is where I bring back that point about nostalgia. Primarily, that the US President came to power on political nostalgia. Because that’s the problem with Rebirth. That’s why Rebirth has been so awful. Why it is so backwards looking. Why it is so sexist. So racist. So homophobic. Why it blatantly lies about hope and optimism while it cancelled every book that fits that description so it could write a bunch of garbage that fetishized darknes and edginess.
    Because Rebirth’s values have always been reactionary. Always been Trumpian. Rebirth has always had one message to preach, and the message is ‘Make DC Great Again’.

    It is no surprise that this is odious and awful. This is the centrepiece of Rebirth. Can it be anything else?

    __________________________________________________

    *On the other hand, it is worth remembering the whole point of Pax Americana is that Moore’s obsession with the formal elements of create a universe so precisely built (like a watch, for example) that it fails as a ‘real’ examination of what a world would be like with superheroes and is instead entirely artificial (to the point where the world of Pax Americana is literally a comic book). The characters exist for a very different critique.

    On the other, other hand, the use of Pax Americana characters would also be a million times more ethical

  2. On a broader DC Universe note, is there any good reason for Bruce Wayne to be the second smartest character in the DC Universe? Reasons other than meaningless idolatry and exclusionary bullshit. It has been part of the DC Universe for as long as I remember but I’ve never liked it.

    Batman stories need him to be a genius, but not second smartest. As long as he’s the World’s Greatest Detective and smarter than the Riddler, he is smart enough. And while JLA has done a lot to increase Bruce Wayne’s intelligence (how much of Justice League stories are about trying to write a book where Batman and Superman make sense together), I’ve been reading Morrison era JLA, and generally the Atom is used as the resident genius, while Batman is the strategist.
    And honestly, if you look at the Ted Lord Blue Beetle, Kord makes all his tech while Bruce Wayne always diverted it from Wayne Enterprises. He’s Batman if Batman did tech, which feels more deserving of the place of second smartest than Bruce Wayne.
    And then there are characters like Steel whose ‘abilities’ all come down to being so smart that they create their tech.

    Though honestly, I can’t think of an argument for why Mr Terrific isn’t the second smartest in the DC Universe other than ‘It would be more interesting if he was smarter than Luthor’. Mister Teŕrific’s entire high concept is, in a way that no other hero’s high concept is, that he is very, very, very smart. He should be DC’s resident supergenius, before the Atom, Blue Beetle and especially Batman

    • I’m not going to touch on most of what you wrote because you hate things so much more than I do to discuss them feels wrong tome. I don’t really want to justify my thinking something is fine (and I thought this was fine, mostly because my students liked it, and they don’t have anywhere near the Watchmen passion that you do (we actually read it the last week before Christmas break (don’t tell my principal, I think I broke a couple rules giving that to freshmen))) through your abhorrence.

      So: I was surprised that Bruce Wayne was the second smartest person in the DC world. Writing this, I’m actually not sure I would know if Bruce Wayne went to college. (I just asked my wife. She replied, “I don’t think so.”) Second smartest in the world really surprised me. Second best at Cross-Fit I could believe.

      • I know that in Nolan’s movies, Bruce Wayne dropped out of Columbia shortly after Joe Chill’s trial, when he disappeared. And I believe in some continuities, Bruce completed university and started studying to be an FBI Agent, until finding that too limiting. In others, I believe, he skipped university entirely and did Batman training. Regardless of how he got his education though, he clearly has a greater than university level knowledge. His training was enough to make him the world’s greatest detective, including becoming an expert in all forensics. He is an unparalleled master of strategy. And his training made him an highly competent in creating gadgets. But I struggle to see any reason that Bruce Wayne belongs anywhere near the smartest man in the DC Universe. A genius for sure, but not the smartest. THere are many much better candidates. THey should treat him as Marvel treats TOny Stark. Tony is universally recognised as the best engineer and no one is treated as better at building things than Tony. But if you have a radiation question, you got to Bruce Banner. If you have a physics question, you go to Reed Richards. If you have a biology question, you go to Hank Pym. It should be the same with DC. No one should be better at investigation or strategy than Bruce Wayne (or Crossfit. Did you not watch Batman v Superman), but he is just one genius among many. And just as Reed Richards being the smartest (or Lunella, now) doesn’t make Tony Stark dumb, treating people like Ray Palmer, Ted Kord and especially Mr Terrific (whose High Concept is ‘genius at everything’) as smarter than Bruce Wayne should be something broadly acceptable. I think Bruce Wayne as second smartest man in DC is stupid, and always has been.

        ______________________________________________________

        And on Doomsday Clock, I should make something very clear. I think Doomsday Clock 2 is the worst comic of the year, easily. But I should also make very clear that the comic that used to be the worst (other than Doomsday Clock 1) was Secret Empire 10. And if you look at my comment for Secret EMpire 10, that was ludicrously vicious. So my hatred of this is very different to my problems with, say, Metal.

        And honestly, I wouldn’t say I have a great love of Watchmen. Certainly a great book, but I’ve never had a great book. I have a great respect for the book (part of the reason Luthor’s line about Veidt’s plan is very nearly the worst moment in comics of the year comes down to ‘if you aim at the king, you best not miss’. Watchmen is such an influential book that popularised so many techniques, you don’t get to insult it unless you have a damn good case. Grant Morrison did in Pax Americana. Johns doesn’t.

        But I don’t think you need a great love of Watchmen for Doomsday CLock to fail. Doomsday Clock would be like if the writer of Spiderman after Slott left gave us a Peter Parker who didn’t care for responsibility and had Miles Morales’ powers while J Jonah Jameson, unironically and without explanation, endorses Spiderman.
        Things like the Watchmen Earth being a nonsensical as a Watchmen follow up, or characters like Marionette back-flipping and slicing off people’s fingers, or Veidt being treated like he isn’t a supergenius, or Doctor Manhattan caring about human life before the events on Mars or Rorschach being able to break into the secret lair of a paranoid hyper-competent genius superninja would be like Peter venom striking a supervillain while discussing how stupid responsibility is. It goes against both the specifics of the character and the themes/soul of the book. And the fact that Johns can’t even get that right is a complete failure.

        And I think this books fails on many levels completely unrelated to Watchmen. Like the Nostalgia scene, by far the worst moment in comics in 2017 by a long shot (which is impressive, because Secret Empire 10 exists). I completely disagree with Michael’s analysis, because I believe he is adding context that is not there. I think Michael’s read is a bad read for many reasons. THe biggest being, we have been championing Watchmen long before it was old enough to be nostalgic. 90s comics is proof of it. Nor do I think Millennium makes any sense as a symbol for nostalgia (hell, from the perspective of the characters, the millennium is still 8 years away). And most importantly, I don’t think there is any context clue that suggests we are supposed to see the scene as a criticism of nostalgia. In fact, I think the dialogue very specifically refutes such an interpretation by not being about nostalgia at all. BUt about it’s absence.
        Phil Sandifer said it better than me. “The declaration is made, without any clear commitment to irony, that nostalgia doesn’t exist anymore.” Which, in today’s world where every movie is a reboot, an adaption of a beloved property or set in the 80s* (and TV starting to go the same way with things like WIll and Grace returning) and Donald Trump winning on the dangerously nostalgic phrase ‘Make America Great Again’, Johns saying there isn’t enough nostalgia is such a misreading of the zeitgeist that it questions this ability to be a creator in today’s environment, let alone write a highly meta comic specifically about the zietgeist. Just as I wouldn’t trust a man who looks at today’s culture and seeing too many adult dramas and thinks what is missing in culture is explosions, space ships and superheroes

        If you have an alternate take, I’d love to hear it. Michael and Drew’s takes, to me, feel like they are putting the effort of filling in the blanks that aren’t there. Assuming Johns has something to actually say, and reminding me of when Film Crit Hulk discussed how directors like Inarittu and Tom Hooper use cinematic language to make it look like they are saying something as they literally say nonsense. I love them as critics and usually find them intelligent and insightful – that’s why I’m here – but this is one of those cases where there are too many maybes. Too many cases where they are doing the heavy lifting. Too many cases where they are assuming that a missing piece will arrive later that will illuminate things in interesting directions instead of asking why that it is missing in the hear and now. And whether there is actually a missing piece in the first place.

        And every other take I’ve seen has said things like ‘Glad to see that Doomsday Clock #2 is properly, entertainingly shit instead of merely mediocre’. Which is not the sort of response that Johns wants.

        Honestly, I feel bad for Gary Frank. His linework is amazing, but between the nonsensical attempt to poorly ape Watchmen’s panelling and the terribly trite ‘symbolism’ he has to draw, it really feels like an insult to his skills. I just feel like Rod Reis and Gary Frank need to meet up for drinks.
        “I spent nine issues of Secret Empire drawing dream sequences. I poured my heart and soul into pages that ended up being empty and meaningless.”
        “You think that’s bad? I drew twelve issues of Doomsday Clock. And I drew every panel of every issue”

        ______________________________________________________

        *Just watched Sing Street. An amazing movie, but another nostalgia movie.

        • I actually don’t have a counter argument. I thought it was fine but mostly boring. I’m impressed at how little the comic brought me into the story.

          I guess I didn’t care enough about it to hate it. I’m disappointed that I don’t want to buy issue 3.

          I guess that I’ve read other comics that are just put together poorly – At my comic shop they have semi-annual 50% off back issue sales – so I bought the modern Blue Beetle run – It’s inexcusably bad. It’s so poorly constructed as a comic one has a hard time criticizing the lack of coherency in the story – every issue has lettering not attributed to a character – just dialogue with circles, frequently from a different scene. Sometimes the pointy part of a dialogue circle points to the previous panel, but not to the right person in the panel.

          They’re awful – it’s amateurish. The story is bad, it’s story structure is atrocious, it doesn’t use any of the characters well, it’s poorly constructed, lettered, and while on some pages the art is pretty damn good, other pages look like they didn’t have time to finish and it’s colored over sketches. It’s BAD.

          To me, this comic, while obviously not good, has extraordinary art and at least has a purpose, even if it’s purpose seems to ignore actual defining traits of the characters it’s using.

          Anyway – what I’m saying is, I don’t mind you hating it. It was pretty bad. But it’s at least professionally made. And don’t read Blue Beetle. (Which is such a fucking shame, there were like 3 good Blue Beetle issues in the New 52 incarnation and I kind of wanted to like the character)

        • I have to edit my last response. The last two Blue Beetles I read (issues 14 and 15) were a noticeable improvement. Giffen (and deMatteis) were on the first 13 issues and they went poorly. I’ve never read Christopher Sebela before, but these last two are good. Over the top ridiculous, but at least well constructed and I’m curious as to what happens next.

        • I think to some degree, when discussing best and especially worse, you have to put it in the context. THe worst will always be some webcomic by a guy who has no idea about nay element of comic or story craft, but to call that the worst isn’t fair at all.

          And yet, when DC’s highest profile comic, the comic they are putting everything into, completely fails on nearly every level, down to the basic level of misunderstanding of the very elements it uses. And is massively unethical to create in the first place. And whose sole strength, Cary Frank’s art, is let down by the fact that what he has to draw is put together so poorly – lots of ‘I want to be arty, but don’t understand how’ choices. And whose purpose misreads the zietgeist so terribly that it is actively ignorant (having a purpose is not always a good thing), I think it is a very good qualifier for worst.

          Much better candidate for ‘worst’ that the actual worst of that crappy but honestly made webcomic, and a much better candidate than a crappily produced series DC doesn’t want to talk about.

          Even if we could scientifically compare the quality of Doomsday Clock and Blue Beetle, I think the fact that Doomsday CLock, despite having what should be every advantage imaginable with the full support of DC behind it, is comparable to Blue Beetle is the best argument for why it counts as the worst. When you have every advantage, you should be judged harder

          (And what little I saw of Blue Beetle seemed to completely misunderstand what made the original great. I think it was aiming to be a return to form after the New 52 series, but what little I saw seemed instead to go for Rebirth’s usual strategy of smothering light hearted elements. I’m unsurprised it got worse.
          I highly recommend reading the original series, by John Rogers. That is a classic)

        • Have we had a John Rogers conversation before? I think we have. It may have been about Blue Beetle and me not knowing he wrote Blue Beetle because…

          His Dungeons and Dragons comic should be must reading for anyone who wants to write fantasy comics. It got it SO much. An underappreciated masterpiece.

          Jim Zub writes the D&D stuff now and does some things right and he’s a decent guy (although I think Minsc and Boo limit story possibilities), but John Rogers killed it. I’ll have to look up his Blue Beetle stuff.

        • I believe we have. Including the discussion about Dungeons and Dragons being a truly amazing comic.

          And yeah, Jim Zub is certainly fine as does decent work, but the Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder comics should be fighting over getting John Rogers to write their books.

          And I agree that using Minsc and Boo is a bit limiting.

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