So here we are with the final issue of Doomsday Clock.
It’s a helluva book, to be honest with you all.
Why? Let’s find out together, shall we?
We start with Doctor Manhattan watching as this world tears itself apart with all the remaining “superdom” (mostly Black Adam’s metahumans and several international groups) coming to fight or defend Superman. Alfred, later joined by Batman, attempts to convince Reggie Long a.k.a. Rorschach II to come with them and help set things right by donning the Rorschach mask again. He’s fairly reluctant to do so, especially now that he knows that Mothman lied to him about the original Rorschach’s relationship to Reggie’s dad. Batman explains that Bryon Lewis was just trying to help Reggie cope and turn his life around through the persona. After all, a Rorschach test is literally what you make of it.
Meanwhile, Superman is still trying to save lives and defend the city from the metahuman madness that has consumed the area and Doctor Manhattan is just standing there. Superman, confused with the good Doctor’s inaction, calls him on it and is answered with the reveal that it was he who was at fault for making Superman’s life worse i.e. “Mentors’ not known, friends’ forgotten” and the death of Ma and Pa Kent. So what does the Man of Steel do with that information? He does what Superman does and doesn’t beat the living daylights out of Dr. Manhattan, but instead defends him from an attack by Pozhar. You see, with Superman there’s always a better way and he gives Dr. Manhattan one of his patented super-hero pep talks.
Manhattan takes Kal-El’s advice and uses all of his power to restart the universe, manifesting on the page as a sudden darkness (for an entire page and a few panels) followed by the rebirth of the DC Universe with the “big bang” being Superman’s origin (or at least the ship escaping the doomed planet part). Also Doctor Manhattan fixes his mistakes. He moves the lantern back so that Alan Scott can become the Green Lantern. This brings back the Justice Society, which in turn makes way for Clark Kent to become Superboy as a child and save Ma and Pa Kent from that car accident. This all inspires more superheroes and specifically the Legion of Superheroes. The metaverse then reforms to include all of Manhattan’s actions and Superman, on the ropes against all the metahumans, is joined by the Justice Society of America and the Legion of Superheroes to kick butt and take names.
Doctor Manhattan finally realizes what Superman is and what the Man of Tomorrow means to not only the universe but the Metaverse as a whole. He sees this first hand while Superman is fighting the good fight and being inspiring and he looks into the future to see more of the ripple effects of the Man of Steel. It’s 2020 and the metaverse is fixed (a.k.a. this comic). It’s 2025 and a crisis that rocks the metaverse occurs but revitalizes Superman in the aftermath, strengthening the idea that hope is the North Star of the metaverse and Superman is that hope. It’s 2026 and Earth 5G is born and there is an adventure involving Batman. It’s 2030 and the “Secret Crisis” occurs, where Superman will brawl with “Thor” and “a giant green behemoth with strength much more powerful than Doomsday’s”.
And so the heroes win the day, but we’re far from over. After all this is a Watchmen sequel, so what happens to the Watchmen characters?
First, Doctor Manhattan teleports all of the Watchman people to the Washington monument where Ozymandias reveals that everything that happened was part of his plan. As soon as he learned of Manhattan’s vision of the future, he knew that he could get Superman to change his mind on the fate of their world. Adrian is then promptly shot by the Comedian. The Comedian is then teleported back to the time and place of his death by Lex Luthor. Reggie Long steps in to stop the bleeding using his Rorschach mask, taking Alfred and Batman’s advice and becoming a different kind of hero by helping Ozymandias. Last but not least, Marionette and Mime want their son back but that’s not in Doctor Manhattan’s plan. In fact, the duo get to stay in the DC Universe while Manhattan tends to their son.
Before he does that, he has some house cleaning to do in this universe. Doctor Manhattan goes back to the last meeting he had with Carver Coleman, the friend from the “Nathaniel Dusk” serials and Jon’s anchor to this world, and gives him some advice. Carver takes Jon’s advice, comes out as gay in the 50’s to fight the blackmailing. He gets booted from the industry for a while but then comes back in later years as both an actor and an activist for the LGBTQ community, finally retiring and dying happily in his old age in the early 2000s. It’s here we see the DC Universe is also on the mend with things like the JSA investigating the “Supermen Theory” and Clark and Lois grabbing lunch with Ma and Pa Kent.
Back in the Watchmen universe, Doctor Manhattan arrives to his home world to make everything right again. How? Well besides handing over Ozymandias to the authorities and remaking New York City, he moves onto Marionette and Mime’s son. What actually happened to him and why did Jon care about him so much that he spared his mother? He imparts all his knowledge and teachings to the boy, passes his power to him and sends him to the Hollises (a.k.a. Night Owl II and Silk Spectre II) giving him a family that will care for him as the Kents did for Kal-El. The boy is named Clark and lives happily ever after.
So when this series came out I was cautiously optimistic. A sequel to Watchmen? That did not sound like the best, most creatively sound, or smart idea at the time. I was interested to see what Geoff Johns would do with the idea of the Watchmen characters in the DC Universe but at the same time, knew it was a bit creatively bankrupt. But if anyone could be up to trying this weird, crazy idea I was confident that Geoff Johns and Gary Frank could handle the task. After twelve very delayed issues over two years, I’m happy to say that this was a great book. After reading it, I, (much like Doctor Manhattan), now have a new appreciation for Superman and for what he stands for both in the DC Universe and to many of his readers. This was a great story from start to finish, exploring the importance of hope in the DC Universe as well as why superheroes are important. For everyone who’s against the idea of a Watchmen sequel, I totally understand your point but I’d implore you all to give this book a try as I think it’s as worthy a sequel as the HBO show is. Although I may agree that a Watchmen book shouldn’t have a happy ending, I feel it works here. Doomsday Clock is as much a good antithesis to the original story as it is a sequel.
I was a bit anxious and worried that the finale wouldn’t stick the landing but I’m happy to be wrong about that. This issue was a great conclusion to the epic story that was told skillfully and beautifully by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. The return of the Justice Society of America and the Legion of Superheroes, heroes inspiring other heroes, and the rebirth of the Metaverse with the Superman we all know and love at its center is everything we needed in a comic!
I. Loved. This. Book!
My only issue with it (besides the happy ending for the Watchmen characters) was the part where Doctor Manhattan looks into the future to see Superman’s effect on the metaverse. Jon Osterman predicts (or maybe he doesn’t and Johns is just playing around with events) a few specific events like Superman finding Batman’s daughter so that she can find Batman’s son and a “Secret Crisis” where Superman fights Thor and Hulk, from Marvel. I don’t think there is a crossover on the horizon, especially with who’s who of the DC and Marvel higher-ups, but if this is a tease, cool. If not, ha, alright. Also a twelve issue maxi series coming out over two years instead of one… Just sayin…
Otherwise, Doomsday Clock is a bonafide masterpiece of amazingly crafted storytelling and phenomenal art of which we only get so many times a decade. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank pulled out as many stops as they could to deliver an extraordinary series, and for that I thank them.
Verdict: 10/10 Superman Origin Stories
Overall Verdict: Buy this entire series in trade, graphic novel, back issues, digital, however and wherever comics are sold! This is a keeper folks!