WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Doomsday Clock #2
Dr. Manhattan has a role to play in DC's Rebirth, but will the Doomsday Clock series make him a father, as well? To be clear, we're not referring to an abstract 'Creator' role, like many have theorized given the evidence that the Watchmen star may have literally created the DC Comics Universe. We mean to ask the question literally: having learned the value of human life in the original Watchmen story, did Dr. Manhattan head off to a new universe with hopes of becoming a biological Creator, and fathering a child to save a new world?
As outlandish a theory as it might sound - and may be - the latest issue of Doomsday Clock may be guiding readers to consider it. And despite how cold, distant, and inhuman Dr. Manhattan tends to be remembered, he didn't start that way. In fact, it was love at first sight that made him a superhero - and eventually, convinced him humans were worth saving. Now that Dr. Manhattan's value for the potential of an unborn child has become a Doomsday Clock plot point, it's time to ask the hard questions.
No, not whether Dr. Manhattan having a child would impact the legacy of the original Watchmen story (that time will come). But if he did come to the DC Universe with that in mind, what happened to the child? And do we already know Dr. Manhattan's child by a different name?
Dr. Manhattan Left Watchmen's Universe to 'Create Life'
As a quick reminder for Watchmen fans, there have been plenty of clues that Dr. Manhattan is responsible for creating something in the DC Universe. Doomsday Clock confirms Dr. Manhattan came to DC's reality after Watchmen, and Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have gone a step further, recreating his final panels as a memory of Adrian Veidt's. Specifically, the moment in which Dr. Manhattan conceded Veidt's murderous mission was not for him to judge... and that he was "leaving this galaxy for one less complicated."
But it's the lines exchanged after that quote that might prove more telling. Adrian asks why Jon would leave, having assumed his return from Mars meant he had "regained interest in human life." And in some of his final words Jon Osterman reveals that 'interest' to be of a different, higher nature, responding: "Yes, I have. I think perhaps I'll create some. Goodbye, Adrian." A thought that needs re-examining after Doomsday Clock #2 suggests a different kind of curiosity.
The handful of panels solve a mystery that was barely established in the first issue of Doomsday Clock, when Rorschach helps a pair of costumed criminals escape from prison: Marionette and The Mime. He's following Adrian Veidt's orders, even if Ozymandias, the world's smartest man hasn't explained why they're needed. Well, technically, it's just Marionette who's needed, with Adrian using her young son as leverage. A son that she was carrying, it just so happens, when she crossed paths with Dr. Manhattan prior to his departure from the universe.
A growing human that stopped Jon Osterman in his tracks - and gave Adrian Veidt his only hope of convincing the blue god to save humanity once and for all. But even Adrian may not understand the true meaning of the moment like Doomsday Clock readers...