Jon Osterman vs. the DCU: A Doomsday Clock #9 Review

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

It seems that the DC gods have graced us with another issue of Doomsday Clock. I kid, but it feels so rare that we see this comic because of the delays throughout its release. Anyway, issue eleven of the story is coming up soon so why don’t I catch you all up.

The issue opens up similarly to that of issue seven, with Dr. Manhattan narrating his perception of time and his actions across the DC timeline. Using a Legion of Superheroes ring, he sees that one time that a Legionnaire saves the universe in the 31st Century. He sees Alan Scott’s origin and then moves Alan’s lantern just out of reach. The ring disappears because there was now no Legion. He goes back to the 31st Century and sees nothing. He continues to move backward in time seeing nothing until he sees his meeting with Superman. As a virtual god he still doesn’t know what happens: does Superman kill Manhattan, or does Manhattan destroy everything?

Cut to the entire DC Universe…

No, really. Almost every superhero in the DCU is on their way to Mars where they’ve tracked the energy from Firestorm’s blast in Moscow to. We’ve got the Justice League, Justice League Dark, The Green Lanterns, the Titans, the Shazam Family, the Bat Family and the Outsiders, The Doom Patrol (presumably the Grant Morrison version), the former Charlton Heroes and many more.

Next we join more protests of metahumans in the streets in the wake of the Moscow incident from last issue. In D.C. crowds swarm outside the Hall of Justice, where Superman is recovering from the attack from last issue. The sight is similar across America, with President “Not-Trump” being advised by his cabinet and advisers to condemn Superman for his actions in Russia. Rorschach II (Reggie Long) is unmasked and on the streets with a sign reading “you see what you want to see”. The news is showing Russian officials demanding that America disavows their superheroes, and Wonder Woman is preparing to speak in front of the United Nations.

Meanwhile, at stately Wayne Manor, Batman finally wakes up from his recovery nap and asks Alfred to bring him up to speed. Alfred explains that all the heroes left the planet to find the energy signature from the Moscow incident, and that someone may be trying to kill Superman. Bruce responds to Alfred by saying the League is being played. He has an idea about who they might be after, but he also isn’t sure if that person is responsible for what the world blames Firestorm for. Bruce tries to warn the Justice League via transmission but it will take thirty-five minutes for the message to get there.

Our heroes land on Mars, with the Lanterns going out to investigate and finding the checkered floor from issue seven and the picture of Jon Osterman pre-Doctor Manhattan and his then love Janey. They move forward by encasing the planet in green light so that Firestorm can create a breathable atmosphere for the rest of the heroes. From there, it doesn’t take long for the heroes to meet Doctor Manhattan. The group’s leader, J’onn J’onzz the Martian Manhunter, attempts to peacefully talk to Doctor Manhattan, but after a small conversation, Guy Gardener thinks that the good Doctor is a lunatic and decides to flex on him by saying that they’ve kicked evil’s butt from Darkseid to the Anti-Monitor to Superboy Prime. Guy’s prodding leads to everyone learning of Manhattan’s visions of the end of either him or everything via Superman and then Guy punches him in the face, seemingly killing him. Instead, Doctor Manhattan reforms and proceeds to kick some caped ass. Although to be more accurate, he dismantles everyone there by taking Guy’s lantern ring and redirects all the magic heroes’ powers against everyone.

Back on Earth, Lex Luthor pays Lois Lane and a comatose Superman a visit. Despite what Lois thinks, he’s not there to kick Superman while he’s down. Instead, he reveals that he was one who sent the footage of the JSA last issue as proof that they’re being toyed with by a force of unimaginable power. To further prove his theory Lex asks Lois if she’s ever heard of Wally West.

Back on Mars, Doctor Manhattan decides to remove Ronnie Raymond from Firestorm and out of the fight by taking him back in time. They travel to the point right before Ronnie and Professor Stein were merged. There, Manhattan shows him that he was actually a part of the Supermen Theory from the very beginning. He reveals Stein to be completely responsible for the accident where they were merged and complicit with the U.S. government in creating metahumans. They both snap back to the present and Firestorm shoots Manhattan, seemingly wounding him a bit, leading to everyone else throwing whatever they have at him. This culminates in Captain Atom blasting him with all his might essentially blowing him up in a big smoke cloud.

The issue closes with Wonder Woman preparing to speak to the United Nations and the Heroes on Mars trying to lick their wounds before returning home but both failing. Manhattan reforms and takes out the heroes in a blast of energy, walking away with ease. Wonder Woman’s speech is crashed by Black Adam, Giganta and the Creeper who see fit to make a power play while almost all the heroes are out of commission.

I’d say this was the perfect comic book. This issue is seriously beyond awesome but I’m sad to see this book so delayed and now so unimportant to the rest of the DC canon. We got the return of fan favorite characters (i.e. all the heroes travelling to Mars), an intriguing fight between the heroes and Doctor Manhattan, and the clock ticking further towards doom as now no one stands between Osterman and Kent. The fact that the Charlton Heroes (the inspiration for the Watchmen characters) are present and Captain Atom (inspiration for Dr. Manhattan) has the “finishing blow” on the big blue god is just icing on the top of this issue. What more does a DC fan need from a book? Oh, and Gary Frank’s art is still the best, hands down.

Verdict: 9/10 Badly Beaten Justice League Members

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