Well comic book fans, Doomsday Clock may have just been revealed, but it’s already the most coveted DC Comics event in years. The legendary writer Geoff Johns could still be taking a victory lap for DC’s “Rebirth,” a company-wide return to their heroes’ roots – with help from the Watchmen‘s Doctor Manhattan – but he’s already working on the next massive twist. Its name is Doomsday Clock, a standalone series that Rebirth has all been leading to promising Doctor Manhattan’s motivations will be revealed… putting the spotlight squarely on Superman.
It’s a story Johns wasn’t sure he would tell, but one he now says is the “most epic, utterly mind-bending project I have ever worked on in my career.” And when the mind that dreamed up the acclaimed Rebirth storylines that each reshaped the entirety of DC’s Universe claims his next story is the most “personal” one he’s ever told… well, the comic world should start counting the days. Especially with Doomsday Clock beginning as a bold look at the DCU through Manhattan’s eyes… with the world events of the past year convincing Johns and and artist Gary Frank it was a story they had to tell.
The reveal comes courtesy of Blastr, with Johns describing the series as a means to challenge and “reaffirm” the fundamentals of DC’s “Rebirth,” even as the publisher continues to reap the benefits of the creative rejuvenation. The idea that Doctor Manhattan had twisted DC’s reality has kept readers hooked since Johns’s first reveal in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, with the newest chapter in that mystery taking Batman and The Flash past Captain America’s mega-event in sales.
But with Johns returning to write Doomsday Clock himself, the mystery of “Rebirth” takes center stage. And no, fans won’t need to write up their checklist of tie-ins, crossovers, or one-shots – Doomsday Clock is a series all its own:
“It is Watchmen colliding with the DC Universe. It is the most personal and most epic, utterly mind-bending project I have ever worked on in my career. With Rebirth, I opened the door to Manhattan. Part of that was I loved the real-world influence Watchmen has. I put Manhattan out there, and always thought there was a Manhattan/Superman story to be told, but then … it grew. And grew. It took my heart and soul over.
“We’re not going to do a story like this unless we one-thousand percent believe in it. It is all about the story; it is only about the story. There are no crossovers. No watered down one-shots or mini-series on top of this one. This is a standalone story. There is only Doomsday Clock. We had no interest in doing a crossover with this. We didn’t want to see Doctor Manhattan facing off against Superman in Action Comics, with all due respect. That is not what this is about. It is about something different … It will have an impact on the entire DC Universe. It will affect everything moving forward and everything that has come before. It will touch the thematic and literal essence of DC.”
Johns is keeping vague about the story’s specifics, saying only that the stories which mean the most to him, personally, have resulted in the best comics (DC Universe: Rebirth a prime example). So if Doomsday Clock has become the story he needs to tell… well, it may be one for the ages. And that makes it a story he could only turn to artist Gary Frank to bring to life.
Frank and Johns have made a recent habit of collaborating on canon-modifying stories, but the Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics characterizes his role on Doomsday Clock (or simply DC for short) as simply the writer. It’s Frank who will act as director in bringing the ideas to life, and the similarly hand-picked editor Brian Cunningham acting as overseeing producer.
If you’re getting the impression that the story is already heading into Geoff Johns’s ‘magnum opus’, it’s for good reason. The world has changed in significant ways since DC’s “Rebirth” began, and true to the figure at the center of it all, Johns has been watching. As a result, Doomsday Clock will be a reflection of the world we now live in – but not at all in the way you might think. Sure, twisting a hero or beloved icon into something extreme might cause drama in the short term. But Johns is looking to make a statement not only about the world of DC heroes, but the one that DC’s readers now occupy:
“When Rebirth kicked off, and I wrote the special and worked with all the teams… I talked to Gary, and said there is a really interesting story with Doctor Manhattan, and his point of view, and the intersection into what is the DC Universe. We debated whether we would ever want to do it, because it is a big job.We talked for six months, and the truth is, it wasn’t until the election, and post-election, that I called Gary and said, ‘I’ve got the complete story.’
“It is about much more than the American president or the reactions to him. That is low hanging fruit to me. It goes bigger, deeper. It is about the world, and the attitude of people. I feel like there are extremes now everywhere, extremes on all sides. There is no more olive branch. It doesn’t exist. I feel like people, more and more, are separated. They are choosing sides, instead of figuring out how to make life better together. There is a real sense of anger, and frustration, and there is not a lot of compassion, or willingness to understand in the world… The truth is, if the world and the country didn’t go a certain way, I don’t know that we would be telling this story. For us, the story would not exist if the last year didn’t unfold the way it did, and the rise of extremism wasn’t so palpable.”
November is nowhere close enough to start holding your breath, DC fans, but make no mistake: Doomsday Clock is one series the comic world may be talking about for years to come. And if you ask us, the Batman/Flash mystery and the creation of a brand new Superman just became required reading.
Doomsday Clock begins in November 2017.