Story: Matt Hawkins
Art: Colleen Doran
Colors: Bryan Valenza
Letterer: Troy Peteri
What They Say:
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.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I don’t get too many books from Image Comics to review but when something comes along from a team like Matt Hawkins and Colleen Doran I’m damn glad it did. Hawkins has had some interesting works over the last few years I’ve dabbled in irregularly and he’s done some solid hard SF comic storytelling, which is a really underserved genre going into the freakin’ 2020s. This time he’s teamed up with the legendary Colleen Doran and she’s delivering some fantastic pages here as we get a bit of globetrotting going on and some very human tales that require a good range of emotions and characters to deal with. While many artists could handle this story well, Doran’s style is going to elevate it several notches, especially with some of the variety that she’ll bring to it – such as Kimmie here.
The premise here is a familiar one in that a new kind of cancer has surfaced, first in eastern European nations, but has gone “viral” in that it’s showing all over the world. There isn’t a sign of a communicable aspect to it but the whole thing has a team of scientists going about getting samples from different groups that aren’t being affected in order to see if they can find why or an immunity strain. The opening pages in Nigeria are interesting in showing a remote group that’s been free of it being checked out and it deals with some basic issues there, but it’s all just to paint the larger picture as time goes on that even these low-impact groups are being impacted. The main focus is on Jack, a cancer research scientist who had gone there with his father. The problem comes when they’re called back to the states because Jack’s wife has died of this particular cancer.
The emotional component of the funeral helps to show what kind of person Jack is, throwing himself into work and leaning on his father for help with Kimmie, but it also reveals his connections since he’s set for a private congressional questioning panel. It’s here that we learn the real truth in that he’s essentially found out that anyone with the predisposition toward cancer is being targeted by this new cancer and that it’s his belief that half the world will be impacted within a year and eliminated. That he leads with some population control pieces from the early 1900s and the idea that mother nature will course correct, a common enough thought, paints a bleak picture of what’s to expect here. The end scene is as chilling as it is ridiculous though. I like the visual presentation of the world population counter suddenly going down, it’s a wonderful moment, but it’s such an unrealistic thing because it’s not how that kind of clock actually operates.
I’m definitely intrigued by The Clock and what it presents. It’s the kind of present-day style science fiction that I like and that we see in a few different places in the last decade or so. I suspect it’s the kind that will increase as time goes on as well and Hawkins’ tale could be a solid entry into the genre depending on how it all unfolds. It’s off to a good if grim start and having it feature some fantastic artwork from Colleen Doran just ups the interest. There’s a good bit of tension going on here and I like the overall flow and presentation of it as it hits all the right marks.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Image Comics
Release Date: January 8th, 2020