WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Doomsday Clock #2
DC's Doomsday Clock is looking to answer a question most comic fans have probably asked: why are most superheroes American? The cynics might offer the simplest answer - that most superheroes are American, because most early comic writers and artists happened to be - but DC is after something bigger. Something more meaningful to the new DC Rebirth mythology, and according to Geoff Johns, a truth that will change the DC Universe going forward. The world isn't ready for the impact of 'The Supermen Theory.' But what is it?
The promise of Doomsday Clock changing everything has been made in more than a few ways since it was announced. And with the Watchmen stars joining DC's Universe, it's easy to see how there's no going back from Rorschach meeting Batman. Yet Geoff Johns maintains that Doomsday Clock isn't like most crossovers, and Issue #2 gives a major clue to his meaning.
Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach, and world-ending nuclear threats are all headline-worthy twists. So why is it that Bruce Wayne's biggest concern is a corporate takeover from LexCorp, and a race to unlock the secret of metahumans on DC's Earth?
As Johns explains in an interview with CBR, the second issue begins to tell another core part of Doomsday Clock's story. The public paranoia and protests over 'The Supermen Theory' may be connected to the mystery of Dr. Manhattan's location - but it's not a plot device. From the sound of it, the DC Universe may finally be wondering why the superhuman population exploded overnight.
Better late than never, we suppose:
One of the things we wanted to do is go inward -- go inside. Go in the characters in what superheroes and supervillains would mean in a world like this, into the characters individually, into the world, the DC Universe, and how it would react to metahumans.
One of the major elements that we introduce in issue #2 that's going to be a factor, this is DC Universe-affecting in a very major way for the characters, and thematically... this concept of the Supermen Theory... When you look at a world map, 97 percent of all metahumans are American. Why is that? What is the truth behind these supervillains and superheroes?
That's going to play a big factor in the background going forward in our series, and it's going to affect the fabric of the DC Universe.
Johns goes on to tease a "secret conspiracy" tied to this theory, and the news clippings in Doomsday Clock #2 give a major hint. Aside from the clues of the Justice Society heroes returning, it's obvious Lex Luthor is up to something. Paying off Wayne employees to spy on metahuman research, buying up companies with questionable ethics, and using the media to turn public sentiment against Batman is all typical Lex behavior. At least, it used to be... before the Rebirth made him into an actual hero.
So what gives? The events of Doomsday Clock are set one year ahead of the rest of DC's current comics, meaning fans may see the paranoia over America's hero explosion develop in other books. But fear not: Johns is determined to keep everything fans need to know in his own story. Fans are going to see 'The Supermen Theory' develop, and see it all in Doomsday Clock:
We're trying to make a book that you can pick up issue #1 and not have read anything, and read issue #2 and not have read anything. You don't have to go, "Why are they protesting Batman?" You'll find out in the book. One of the big things that is going to have a major impact in the DC Universe is this concept of the Supermen Theory and where it goes. I can't overstate that enough.
Doomsday Clock #2 is available now.