Review - The Clock #1 (@TopCow)

"So much suffering."

The world's population continues to climb and is putting the planet on course for something potentially irreversible. That's a big point in fiction as well, evidenced by The Clock #1 from Top Cow and Image Comics. The issue is written by Matt Hawkins, illustrated by Colleen Doran, colored by Bryan Valenza and lettered by Troy Peteri.

Within three weeks, hundreds of millions of healthy people worldwide contract various forms of aggressive cancer, and the proliferation, seemingly a viral outbreak, stumps the best scientific minds available. But after a leading cancer researcher loses his wife and watches his nine-year-old daughter begin to succumb to the same illness, he must race against the clock to end a global conspiracy that could propel the world straight into WWIII...or worse.

Much of The Clock #1 is spent with Hawkins emphasizing the rapid overpopulation plaguing the Earth and using that as a means of offering up the story's major plot point of a presumably incurable virus. And while the premise isn't exactly original, Hawkins still manages to make it feel relatively fresh by injecting a sense of personal touch through the main character Jack. Jack is the one tasked with curing the virus and Hawkins channels the narrative through his point of view. Hawkins paces the issue up and down appropriately, rising with the frenetic moments of an insurgent attack to Jack conveying to a group the dramatic steps necessary to stop the aforementioned virus. The dialogue within the issue is perfectly capable of informing the reader of the stakes at play as Hawkins balances a mix of scientific jargon without it being too intense to understand.

Doran's artwork is very clean and organized in its approach to the coming apocalypse. Much of the issue follows the characters as they careen from one meeting to another giving Doran plenty of opportunity to depict characters in suits as they grapple with the coming crisis. A lot of the perspective is done from something of a distance as Doran doesn't delve into facial expressions intimately, instead relying on the emotion to be carried by the weight of the moment being rendered. The panels are very cleanly arranged throughout the issue in a way that keeps the visuals organized throughout. Valenza's colors are dark throughout the issue, especially during the funereal scenes that really underscore the emotion of the moment.

The Clock #1 is an appropriate title for a book about the impending demise of civilization. It's doubly appropriate in that both the clock is counting down and Jack is racing against the clock to find a cure for the upcoming virus. Hawkins' script is pretty fast-moving and to the point, raising the spectre of something bad on the horizon. Doran's illustrations are appropriate for the tone of the book and effectively handles the sentiment of the various scenes. The Clock #1 bears with it a lot of drama in dealing with the potential end of the world.

The Clock #1 is available now.