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7 Things We Learned in DOOMSDAY CLOCK #1

Beware all ye who enter here: this article has serious spoilers for both Watchmen and Doomsday Clock.

It’s finally arrived! After much anticipation, controversy, and comic fanboy conniptions, Geoff Johns‘ official sequel to the seminal comic Watchmen has finally hit shelves. Doomsday Clock #1 is not only revisiting Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins’ classic comic, but it’s the first ever crossover of the Watchmen characters into DC Comics‘ mainstream universe. Drawn by Gary Frank, colored by Brad Anderson, and lettered by Rob Leigh, Doomsday Clock dives straight into the Watchmen continuity starting in 1992, six years after the end of the original. But what does any of it mean? And what did issue #1 reveal? Luckily for you, we’re here to break down the seven most important things we found in Doomsday Clock #1.

Ozymandias’ Plan Didn’t Work

Watchmen was groundbreaking in a multitude of ways, including its bleak ending. It saw the story’s “heroes” become the villains after agreeing to allow their former teammate Ozymandias to destroy New York City in a scheme to unite the world against a (fake) alien foe. This was a shocking twist for ’80s cape comics which usually played it safe when it came to who you were supposed to root for. Doomsday Clock #1 turns that ending on its head, finally answering the question, “Would that wild plan even work?” The answer it turns out is no, and Adrian Veidt, a.k.a. Ozymandias, is now the most wanted man on Earth.

Rorschach Is Still Dead…Sort Of

Another shocking moment from Watchmen’s final issue was the death of our narrator, Rorschach. The twisted moral heart of the book, Rorschach is nothing if not consistent. From the beginning we know he’s obsessed with his own version of justice; he has no gray areas. When Ozymandias’ great scheme is revealed, ol’ ink face is less than pleased. When he tries to leave, Dr. Manhattan kills him. This is seen by some as a compromise, meaning Rorschach knew the secret needed to be kept but couldn’t keep it alive. In Doomsday Clock, we discover that Rorschach’s journal, which he delivered to the New Frontiersman newspaper, played a large part in uncovering Veidt’s scheme, and now a new figure has taken on the mask and mantle of Rorschach.

The World Is At War

Adrian Veidt’s plan was to fool the world into peace, and shockingly it didn’t work. We find the world of the Watchmen in 1992 on the brink of nuclear war, with the world convinced that the American government was party to Veidt’s scheme. This is the war to end all wars and it’s one that Rorschach and his mysterious partner are determined to stop by any means necessary.

There Are New Supervillains

Originally, Watchmen was supposed to use DC’s (at the time) newly acquired Charlton Comics characters, though when Moore and Gibbons finally pitched the story it was seen as too dark, so they were told to create their own. This led to most of the story’s characters being analogs for existing DC/Charlton heroes, as well as the huge moral and ethical conversation around DC’s continued ownership of the book and its content. Johns uses Doomsday Clock #1 to introduce new villains into Watchmen continuity; for example, this issue includes the duo of Marionette and Mime. This is an interesting hint that Johns isn’t afraid to adapt and change the seminal world he’s playing in.

Doomsday Clock‘s Rorschach Has An Unexpected Partner

After freeing the newest canon criminals from prison, Rorschach returns to Nite Owl’s former underground lair. But instead of meeting his old friend Daniel Dreiberg, we actually meet Ozymandias himself. Apparently the journal-writing vigilante has been working alongside Ozy in his quest to find “God, a.k.a. Dr. Manhattan, to save the world once again.

Ozymandias Is A Good Guy?

Let’s just get this straight: you can’t trust Adrian Veidt as far you can throw him. But in Doomsday Clock #1, Ozymandias once again appears to be playing the good guy, orchestrating yet another plan to save the world…and we all know how that worked out last time. For now, though, it looks like Doomsday Clock’s heroes are the unlikely duo of Rorschach and Ozymandias.

New 52 Superman Was Actually Doctor Manhattan?

The last couple of pages of Doomsday Clock are where Johns and Frank really start to play into the potential that’s been brewing since Rebirth #1 when Batman found the Comedian’s bloody badge in the Batcave. Taking Dr. Manhattan’s infamous quote from Watchmen, “I’m leaving this galaxy for one less complicated,” Johns hints that maybe the “less complicated” galaxy was actually the setting of DC’s New 52 continuity, and maybe–just maybe–Dr. Manhattan took on the persona of that world’s Superman. Could Watchmen’s god have become the savior of Metropolis? Did Dr. Manhattan create the world of the New 52 to give himself an entirely new life? That would be a really innovative way to retcon the much maligned 2011 reboot.

What did you think of Doomsday Clock? Happy that they’re finally asking some long awaited questions? Mad that they’re still making Alan Moore sad? Mad that we think Superman was Dr Manhattan all along? Let us know in the comments!

Images: DC Comics

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