While his run on Batman may be ending soon, writer Tom King's future is looking brighter than ever, and now he's teasing an especially exciting project inspired by one of the landmark comics of all time: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen. But exactly what story he'll be telling is a total mystery.
It wouldn't be the first time King has followed in Moore's footsteps, having previously written two Swamp Thing stories for DC's Winter Special and the one-off "Brave and the Mold" team-up in Batman, both heavily influenced by Moore's run on the character. Several of King's books, including the acclaimed and award-winning Vision and Mister Miracle, are based on the nine-panel grid Moore famously used for most of Watchmen. All of which makes King's tease that he's revisiting Watchmen as "research for a thing" a tantalizing mystery.
King has shared the same interest in deconstructing assumptions behind superhero stories -- like Watchmen examined characters whose superhuman powers and singleminded pursuit of justice turned them into something inhuman, King explored how heroes might grapple with PTSD in Heroes in Crisis; Vision and Omega Men, part of his "Good Intentions Trilogy" with the Iraq War story Sheriff of Babylon, showed heroes' attempts to save the world... and themselves blow up spectacularly.
This isn't even the first time King has written a book based directly on the events of Watchmen: that would be 2017's Batman/Flash crossover The Button, co-written with Joshua Williamson with art by Howard Porter and Jason Fabok. In that story, the two detectives examine the bloodstained smiley face button that kicked off Watchmen's central murder mystery, which had appeared in the Batcave during the previous year's Rebirth special. This set the stage for Geoff Johns' and Gary Frank's Doomsday Clock miniseries, which they announced would bring the cast of Watchmen into the DC Universe, opening up some intriguing possibilities for the project King is teasing.
Like the new HBO series, it opens in the aftermath of Moore and Gibbons' classic, with Ozymandias' planned utopia collapsing after the publication of Rorschach's secret journal. Hoping to escape an incoming nuclear war and find the missing Dr. Manhattan, several characters, including a new Rorschach, flee to the DC Universe. The series went on to reveal that Manhattan was responsible for many of the changes in the DC Universe following 2011's New 52 reboot, using his existence outside of time to prevent the heroes of the WWII-era Golden Age from ever existing.
Though Doomsday Clock has been delayed many times over its run, the final issue is die to arrive next month, and it may provide more insight into King's cryptic tweet. No matter what, it's a safe bet that Alan Moore will not approve of another creator using his masterwork for anything.
Source: Tom King