After wreaking havoc on the DC Rebirth, Dr. Manhattan will finally face the music in Doomsday Clock – with help from his former Watchmen teammates. For those who haven’t been following the comic’s promotion or the larger mysteries of the DC Rebirth, the fusion of the DC Universe and the world of the Watchmen graphic novel may sound impossible. But from the very first moment that a blue hand began to reshape the reality of Superman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of DC’s heroes, a reckoning was coming.
Since then Dr. Manhattan has killed the Reverse-Flash, seen the hostages he took to advance his master plan escape, and perhaps even let Batman meet his Flashpoint father. It was all in the name of weakening DC’s Earth, and dividing its heroes in anticipation of… something. That’s the real mystery Geoff Johns has been teasing since he personally penned the first Rebirth issue, even before Doomsday Clock was announced to officially merge the worlds of Watchmen and DC.
The smart money said that, given how the original Watchmen story ended, the whereabouts and machinations of Dr. Manhattan would be valuable information to both sides. And from the first issue of the 12-part comic series, it looks like DC’s heroes and the returned Watchmen may be joining forces in the search for Dr. Manhattan.
That’s not the revelation contained in Doomsday Clock #1, since the first issue focuses mainly on setting the series up as a direct sequel to Watchmen‘s story. But with DC openly promoting the return of Rorschach in Doomsday Clock, there’s nobody we can think of with a bigger axe to grind when it comes to Dr. Manhattan. Rorschach was revealed to be the narrator of Doomsday Clock‘s first six pages, tackling the challenge of continuing Moore’s story directly. And he’s not alone.
The full roster of returning and new Watchmen characters bound to play a role in Doomsday Clock has yet to be revealed, but Geoff Johns personally teased the kind of team-up possible when mixing these unique universes – Lex Luthor meeting Ozymandias chief among them. That’s still coming in the series, with the first issue bringing every Watchmen fan up to speed. Jumping forward from the setting of the first story to that world’s 1992, Adrian Veidt’s brilliant scheme to save mankind has been uncovered, making him the planet’s most wanted man (killing millions of people will do that). And with the world once again returned to the outset of nuclear war, Dr. Manhattan may be the only thing strong enough to stop it. The problem for Rorschach, first on the case, and Veidt, should he try to save the world again… is that Manhattan’s nowhere to be found.
It’s here where the story of the Watchmen reality and that of the DC Universe’s Rebirth may overlap directly. After all, Manhattan’s last words before wandering off to leave Veidt to his fate were musings of playing God, and creating life of his own. The first theory put forward by fans was that the DC Universe, its heroes, and its recently-more-obvious-changes could mean it is that very creation Manhattan spoke of. Fans of Geoff Johns don’t need to dig too deep into that premise to see the possibility for commentary on politics, faith, hate, and reality itself, so the writer’s claim that Doomsday Clock is his most important story yet sets a high bar, indeed.
Lest we forget, Johns has framed Doomsday Clock as a Superman story, first and foremost. The first issue gives no hint of exactly how Superman may interact with a version of the world that, sadly, never had a hero like him. Or, for that matter, how or why Dr. Manhattan will choose to address him directly. And of course, what his true goal has been ever since he stole ten years of friendship, experience, and love from the DCU when it was rebooted into the New 52.
So there you have it. On one side, the heroes of the DC Universe looking to expose the villain behind their manipulated reality, led by Superman (who managed to restore his original identity despite Manhattan’s efforts). On the other, a return Rorschach and Ozymandias (so far) in search of that same villain, the only chance they have left to save their world. And with both the Justice League and the surviving Watchmen after the same thing, they may join forces before the end.
If Dr. Manhattan was looking for a galaxy “less complicated,” we can see why he may not want to be found.
Doomsday Clock #1 will be available on Wednesday November 22nd, 2017.
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