[Comic Book Review] Top Cow’s THE CLOCK #1

The Clock #1

PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of the THE CLOCK #1 from Top Cow Productions. Available Wednesday, January 8th, the creative team for this miniseries features writing from Matt Hawkins, art from Colleen Doran, colors by Bryan Valenza, and lettering from Troy Peteri.

Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of…


Writer: Matt Hawkins
Artist: Colleen Doran
Colorist: Bryan Valenza
Letterer: 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.

PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:

When I first caught wind of THE CLOCK being produced by Top Cow, I was instantly intrigued. Matt Hawkins has always been a talented writer. He has a remarkable ability in delivering well, thought out storytelling. Hawkins can infuse emotion into his story with ease by simply reaching the reader with real-life issues/topics which usually evoke feelings like loss, heartache, compassion, regret, fear, love, and sympathy. Colleen Doran has a beyond impressive resume amd has illustrated with some of the best writers in the business. Also a gifted author, Doran teaming with Hawkins for THE CLOCK’s concept piqued my curiosity with what these two sharp minds could produce. Coupled with Top Cow powerhouses Bryan Valenza and Troy Peteri of A Larger World Studios, this series has all the making of not only a successful run, but possesses some terrific entertainment value. I wouldn’t be surprised hearing THE CLOCK being optioned for a film or television series. After reading the first issue, I’m sure most readers would love to see this in live-action. After only one issue.

Writing: With THE CLOCK #1, Matt Hawkins continues the high-level of excellence in his storytelling with a brilliant premise for his new title. I loved how this pandemic felt so real. Almost terrifying. What really hit it home for me was after the book’s last page. Hawkins has a feature entitled Science Class where he goes in-depth regarding the research involved for the book. He met with cancer researchers, received feedback and a quote from a university biochemistry professor, pulled up stats for comparison, and looked at how cancer could potentially be weaponized.

These are all indicators of a creator passionate about his craft, its legitimacy, and the narrative’s plausability. This kind of commitment and dedication in comic book storytelling should be recognized more often, perhaps even heralded. Because of the writer’s love for the work, the reader gets the privilege of receiving that energy emanating from the pages. It’s beyond impressive, it adds value to the book, and it makes you want to see more of it in action.

Art: I love the look and feel Colleen Doran brings to THE CLOCK. It’s beautiful composition which captures the scenes and locations’ essence. From a poverty-stricken Nigeria to the intricate architecture of the Smithsonian, from a somber cemetary to life in a Georgetown neighborhood, Colleen has tremendous range. Very nice layouts as well.

Doran is quite talented with her definition and detail. Exceedingly impressive, honestly. Top Cow has always had artists of a certain caliber gracing their titles. Colleen can comfortably sit among the best of them. I look forward to more of what she delivers in this series in defining the look that is THE CLOCK.

Colors: Colorist Bryan Valenza has time and again put out beautiful colorwork. THE CLOCK #1 is no different. Valenza has always respected his artist’s linework and typically works to accentuate that, rather than detract or ignore it. There’s care in his choices, like the soft, muted tones helping capture the scene’s mood. Bryan has a keen eye for light sources and never overcompensates of what needs to be highlighted and what should be darker. He’s a smart colorist who has a controlled balance to his work. Not sure if that makes sense to anyone, but that’s the vibe I get when I see Valenza’s colors. That’s the vibe I get from his contributions to THE CLOCK #1.

Letters: I did struggle a bit with the dialogue balloons being used without outlines. There were just a few occasions: when there was a light background, sometimes with the panel’s butting balloons. Not that big of a deal, just something that I noticed while reading. It could very well be a stylistic choice by Troy (or maybe another creator).

Regardless, I don’t want to detract from the top-notch care Peteri takes with his work. His line-spacing is done to perfection and his use of negative space with dialogue is uniform and appealing.  Great placements and intelligent layout from, dare I say, one of the top five letterers active today. There’s a reason Troy has a massive list of Top Cow credits to his name…the publisher (and creative teams) know that he can deliver the goods.

This is a strong debut issue. THE CLOCK #1 is enthralling from cover to cover. It’s a book which will grab you almost instantly and keep your interest throughout. The story, though it paints a somewhat potential dystopian future, it really walks the line between science fiction and science fact. Could cancer be weaponized? What if millions were wiped off this earth? The potentiality of the terrifying scenario found in THE CLOCK is its charm and what has me sprung. This is going to be a must-read series and I expect it’ll just keep getting better.

PopCultHQ Rating - 4.5 Stars


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About Jason Bennett 7310 Articles
Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's chief editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. One with the Force. Browncoats Unite! So say we all! Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett

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