|The Clock #1 by Matt Hawkins, Colleen Doran, and Bryan Velenza|
The beginning of a great outbreak series
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If someone asked me how the world would end, I’d probably say either by the hands of the current US president, an asteroid colliding into earth, or an alien invasion. Writer Matt Hawkins, along with artist Colleen Doran and colorist Bryan Valenza, presents the end of the world as a new viral form of cancer. This new cancer is what triggers the end of the world in THE CLOCK #1. The first issue delivers some hard-hitting real-world issues mixed with a little government conspiracy. It’s a compelling tale about fear of the unknown and an adventure to save humanity.
THE CLOCK #1
THE CLOCK #1 begins in the midst of an ongoing fast-acting cancer that is spreading across the world faster than you can say pandemic. What we learn very early on is the severity of the situation. It’s far more lethal than any form of cancer the world has ever seen. It doesn’t respond to chemotherapy or standard methods of treatment. But when a cancer researcher loses his wife to the illness, he makes it his top priority to find a cure for the sake of his daughter and the rest of mankind.
THE CLOCK #1 is a scary and creatively inventive plot that gets under your skin the moment you start reading it. Imagine if a disease like this existed in real life. It would absolutely start a worldwide catastrophe in no time. Facing an invisible threat with no known cure would definitely make a person question the survival rate of humans.
The writing starts out as one story but morphs into another by the end of the issue. While the cancer element of the story is more than terrifying, the second part deals with a government cover-up surrounding the sudden death of our main protagonist’s wife. It just goes to show there’s always someone up to no good even when the world is at stake. The only minor flaw I’d say the issue has is character development. Essentially, it feels as if the reader doesn’t get to know any of the characters. We don’t learn much about them other than their job titles and the protagonist’s first name, which is James. But this may change and even out in the next few issues.
Colleen Doran & Bryan Valenza
Colleen Doran wins the day with her fantastic illustrations that add heart and humility to such a serious storyline. She does a phenomenal job of emphasizing the emotions, facial expressions, and fear that makes this comic a story you want to follow. Right from the first page, where we see government officials driving into Nigeria, Africa, the tone is perfectly set. Doran’s splash pages really help sell the point that the world is in peril.
Then there is Valenza’s colorwork. Valenza’s colors definitely remind us that this is a story about human beings. He uses a lot of soft color tones throughout most of the issues. From the Nigerian tent communities to the gravesites, Valenza adds the unique balance of emotion that makes the story feel real. Valenza’s work blends well with the character designs to help with character distinction. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the next issue.
THE CLOCK #1 is an interesting take on the outbreak trope. It makes us wonder what we actually know about cancer. Hawkins hits all the right marks in terms of dialogue, pacing, and intrigue. Doran’s art combined with Valenza’s color brings the perfect fit for the story Hawkins is trying to tell. Definitely make sure to add this new series during your next trip to your local comic shop.