In the aftermath of the mysteriously massive explosion in Russia, the whole world has shifted the blame on Firestorm.

No longer is Firestorm to blame, now the whole world blames Superman. Now unconscious, Superman is in a coma underneath the Hall of Justice, and the world is ready to combust in rage against the superhuman community. The Justice League and every other team on Earth have discovered that traces of the explosion did not come from Firestorm…but from someone that resides on Mars.

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for, it’s everyone against Dr. Manhattan. What can the Justice League do to resolve the conflict? What is it that Dr. Manhattan seeks? Who will come out the victor?

I feel like every time that I talk about this title, I can’t help but think about how the delays in some cases hurt the book. Sometimes I would go on threads, and see people comment that they had forgotten that the series was still going on, or that they forgot there was another issue. Despite delays, in regards to story, Geoff Johns seems to show effort that he’s trying to tell the best story that he can tell that could be worthy enough to sit on the shelf next to Watchmen.

Time will tell whether or not this series will truly age well and live up to the level that Watchmen is held. But if there is anything that is certain, is that this slow build up since issue 7 & 8 feels like the wait is paying off. Throughout most of the series, readers have only seen Batman, Mine and Marionette, and mostly Rorschach. But as the series progressed, Johns began to weave in more characters and exploded with more characters by issue 7 & 8.

Issue 9 is a very insane issue full of events that showcase the DC Universe spiraling out of the control due to the Superman fall out in Russia. What’s great about this issue is readers get to see how the rest of the world is reacting to the events that occur, ranging from the public, all the way up to the superheroes and beyond. There are some surprising character interactions as the heroes rally together to confront Dr. Manhattan. Events transpire where on first reaction will make readers say “ Wait what!? That shouldn’t happen if these two characters fight each other!” But then Johns will throw some curveballs that will retract readers initial reactions that make for an interesting journey as the issue progresses.

John’s has a proper understanding of each of the characters that come into conflict and creates interesting scenarios that gets everyone talking. Without spoilers, the events that unfold makes one wonder how John’s is gonna conclude this story with only three issues left. But he’s shown thus far that each issue is carefully crafted with enough pages to keep the story alive with each monthly installment.

Gary Frank never fails to deliver in the art department with this issue and every other issue prior. What really makes this issue standout is the assembly of characters that Gary Frank has illustrated. Each encounter that every character has with Dr. Manhattan is wonderfully drawn with each page and panel creating some of the best visual moments in comics to date. There is nothing more that can be said that the art doesn’t say for itself.

I definitely recommend picking this issue up since it’s dense with string pace, story, and art. I think every time I revisit the prior issues and lead up to the current, I end up getting a different experience. I think many readers will feel the same way when this series is completed. I don’t know what John’s has in store for the final issues, but this series continues to pique curiosity of how events unfold with each issue. I couldn’t recommend it any more than I already have.

By Anthony Andujar Jr.

Anthony Andujar Jr. is an NYC cartoonist and lover of comics and music. So much so that it led him to writing comic book reviews in between it all.