WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Doomsday Clock #2
The DC Universe is turning against Batman, with protest marches coming in Gotham's future. It isn't the first time that the citizens of Gotham City have fallen out of love with the Dark Knight, with just as many viewing him as a violent vigilante as a guardian angel. To DC Comics fans, there's never been a question of whether or not Bruce Wayne is on the right side of things (not in DC's main, canon universe). But thanks to DC's Watchmen sequel comic Doomsday Clock, that's all about to change.
The images of Gotham citizens taking to the streets in angry droves, calling for the end of Batman seems a small detail in Doomsday Clock #2. After all, the second issue delivered some controversial twists for Watchmen fans. Writer Geoff Johns promised that this story would expose the core of DC's Rebirth mystery, leaving wide swaths of the DC Universe forever changed. For Batman and Gotham, it means the city's love affair with the caped crusader may be coming to an end.
Readers may be lost when the narrative shifts from Ozymandias and Rorschach entering DC's universe to Bruce Wayne. Mainly because... this is not the Bruce Wayne of the current DCU. That's thanks to Doomsday Clock's timeline, beginning decades in the past (in the 1992 of the Watchmen timeline) before leaping into the future of the DCU - one year, to be exact. And as Johns explains to CBR, the public outcry over Batman won't be confined to this story:
The series takes place over a matter of time. Everything that's happening now -- there's a protest in Gotham on Batman, and you'll see that a year from now in the [main] comics. The DC Universe line of comics will catch up with Doomsday Clock when the series concludes.
It may seem more complicated than necessary, but makes sense for Johns's mission. DC Comics has returned to the top of the comics industry thanks to Rebirth, a company-wide relaunch with a specific twist. When Johns crafted DC Universe: Rebirth #1 to return the publisher's heroes to their roots, he blamed Dr. Manhattan for them straying to begin with. Now, Johns is leading the narrative charge for the entire DC Universe with Doomsday Clock by revealing its future... as it clarifies the superhuman responsible for its past.
Those who have already read Doomsday Clock #2 know that Batman will have more than a few protesters to worry about at home. It seems that a year into the future of DC's current universe, the rise of an aptly-titled 'Supermen Theory' stokes public suspicion and unrest. Why? Because it hypothesizes that the American government is engineering heroes and villains. And even though he lacks any superhuman abilities, Batman is becoming a target as a vigilante who violently reinforces that troubling status quo.
Johns goes onto assure potential readers that as complicated as this jumping timeline and grand conspiracy might seem - on top of an already complex Watchmen sequel - this isn't like normal comic crossover. If fans are intrigued by this story, then Doomsday Clock is the only comic they'll need to read:
The book's for a lot of different type of readers. 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.
The future may be uncertain for both Batman and Bruce Wayne (whose company has fallen into LexCorp's corporate crosshairs). But for DC Comics readers, it's undeniably intriguing.
Doomsday Clock #2 is available now.
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