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Doomsday Clock finale previews future of the DC and Watchmen universes
The world of Watchmen continues to play out in television and comics, as Damon Lindelof’s nine-episode HBO series of the same name just ended; and Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s 12-issue miniseries, Doomsday Clock, has finally come to a close more than two years after it began. While everyone is still raving about the TV show’s first (and potentially only) season finale, the comic just dropped a lot of changes too, with repercussions for the distant future of the DCU and the world of Watchmen. Let's go over Doomsday Clock #12's biggest reveals.
**SPOILER WARNING: Beware of spoilers for Doomsday Clock #12 below!**
The first half of Doomsday Clock #12 finally brought us the long-anticipated confrontation between Superman and Dr. Manhattan in Washington D.C., as an army of super-villains converged on the two. Manhattan refused to help the last son of Krypton, telling him, “I’m the one you’re going to destroy, or I’m the one who’s going to destroy everything.”
Superman is left to fight off the villains by himself. Then Manhattan reveals to Superman that he was the person behind the disappearance of the New 52 Universe (as revealed in Rebirth #1) and was also responsible for the death of Superman’s parents. With every justification to attack Manhattan, Superman charges at him, but instead fends off a villain attacking Manhattan, who was inviting retribution from the Kryptonian. Stunned by Superman’s act of heroism and realizing how key he is to the Metaverse, Manhattan proceeds to restore all that was lost by his acts of playing god, and the panels go black. Even the nine panels go black.
Starting with the return of the Golden Age heroes, the Justice Society of America, the inspiration for future heroes plays out, including Superboy, and eventually the Legion. Manhattan explains that as the “Metaverse re-forms, time catches up,” and heroes from the past, present, and future return to bail Superman out of his current battle. This inspires Manhattan to travel through time to restore the metaverse as Earth divides into its first parallel in 1938 with Earth-2, then Earth-1985, and Earth-52.
Manhattan explains: “Every time there is a change in the metaverse, the multiverse grows,” and through every crisis and attack averted, Superman ’s survival will remain the constant — even if change is a constant too, because he brings hope to each world in the metaverse.
Then Manhattan begins to drop hints of the future, starting with 2020 with Superman’s timeline bombarded by the reckless energies of the Old Gods warping the metaverse. Then in July 2025, “A crisis unlike any the metaverse has seen. One they will call 'Time Masters.'” In January 2026, the timeline is restored and a new world is born: Earth-5G.
“On June 17th, 2026 Superman goes on a quest to find Bruce Wayne’s lost daughter… so she can save Bruce’s son.”
But wait, then it really gets weird.
“On July 10th, 2030, the Secret Crisis begins, throwing Superman into a brawl across the universe with Thor himself… and a green behemoth stronger than even Doomsday, who dies protecting Superman from these invaders.”
Uhhhh, would that be a green “hulking” behemoth? Is this Johns rubbing the genie’s lamp or is he planting the seeds of his work for a DC/Marvel crossover 10 years from now? Someone get Joe Quesada on the phone.
Whether this series was worth waiting for two years will be up to the individual reader though it's interesting to see how an entire Watchmen show was written, produced and aired in the same time this series ran. Time will tell if any of these drops materialize into anything but Superman readers will want to see if his timeline will indeed be bombarded by the Old Gods. But he didn’t stop there. Superman’s timeline shifts again and again, each time arriving at the Kents farm in a rocket, marking the first time that world is introduced to Superman, or Superwoman, in years 2038, 2045, 2162, and 2965. All the way up until his timeline converges with the Legion’s when “humankind will embrace the ways of Superman.”
Manhattan then turns his attention to his own world, where he collects Rorschach, The Comedian, Adrian Veidt aka Ozymandias, Mime, and Marionette together. Veidt tells Manhattan he tricked him, since he won't use his powers to help their world, and knew that Superman would inspire him to make things right so that they could all walk away survivors. But The Comedian wants revenge and shoots Veidt; Manhattan sends The Comedian back to his plunge towards death; Veidt is saved by Rorschach, who reveals himself as Reggie Long so that he can serve out his prison sentence.
Suddenly feeling charitable with his powers, Manhattan rids the world of nuclear weapons and then proceeds to transfer all of his power into Mime and Marionette’s baby son. He knocks on the front door of Mr. and Mrs. Hollis (Dan Dreiberg and Laurie Juspeczyk), who have a daughter named Sally, and introduces himself as Clark Osterman. Clark wears Manhattan’s symbol on his forehead and is now inspired by Superman. Will the new Rorschach, Veidt’s daughter Cleopatra Pak as Nostalgia, the next Silk Spectre, and this new young Manhattan form the next iteration of the Watchmen?
Sorry, Alan Moore. It appears when it comes to Watchmen, nothing ever ends.