The original 1986 release of Watchmen, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, resulted in unparalleled praise and a legacy as the greatest comic book series of all time. But a Watchmen sequel seemed like a longshot until very recently. Partly, this was due to the sheer ambition that such a follow-up would require. Another reason for the delay was the cantankerous Moore himself, who vehemently argued against a sequel and eventually publicly divorced himself from the mainstream comic book industry entirely. With the sales success of the Before Watchmen prequel series in 2012, DC Comics decided the time was finally right to revisit the world of Rorschach and Nite Owl. They began to set the stage for Doomsday Clock, which made its debut in late 2017.
To have Doomsday Clock explained in simple terms is rather difficult. The project, which was entrusted to veteran creators Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, builds on both the entire history of Watchmen and several decades worth of DC continuity. The result is a rich and rewarding storyline for long-time readers, but not everyone is satisfied with the results. The original creators are not connected with Doomsday Clock in any fashion, and Moore has specifically denounced everything related to Watchmen aside from the initial series, including Doomsday Clock, Before Watchmen, and the 2009 film adaptation.
Doctor Manhattan Is Nowhere To Be FoundPhoto: Watchmen/DC Comics
The answer to saving the world of the Watchmen from nuclear annihilation seems obvious to both Ozymandias and Rorschach II: the only person in the universe with actual superpowers, Doctor Manhattan.
Unfortunately, Manhattan hasn’t been seen since the events of the original series, when he set off on a quest to explore reality and the nature of life. Ozymandias becomes convinced that the only way to fix things is to draw Manhattan back to Earth, and he recruits Rorschach II to help him accomplish this seemingly impossible task.
New Old Villains Are Recruited To Help Bring The Big Blue Guy Back
The plot to bring back Doctor Manhattan begins with Rorschach II breaking two criminals, Marionette and Mime, out of prison. Although Erika Manson and Marcos Maez are not a part of the original Watchmen series, they’re former costumed villains who were put away by Manhattan in 1985 while trying to rob a bank.
Instead of exploding the murderous duo, Manhattan chose to spare them due to Marionette’s pregnancy, a fact that has Ozymandias convinced she can remind the good doctor of the hero he used to be. With the new team assembled, they board the Owlship and take off in pursuit of humanity’s big blue salvation.
The Quest For Manhattan Leads Ozymandias And Company To The DC Universe
During his time on the run, Adrian Veidt devised a way to track Doctor Manhattan via the electrons that constantly leak from his body. In addition to this discovery, Ozymandias has also modified Nite Owl’s ship to follow Manhattan’s trail through “quantum tunneling.”
This leads them not just to another world or galaxy, but to another universe altogether—the DC Universe. Apparently, Doctor Manhattan has been spending his time in the world of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, somehow jumping realities in his search for meaning and purpose.
Doctor Manhattan Has Been Busy In The DC Universe
As it turns out, Doctor Manhattan hasn’t just been vacationing in the DC Universe. Although he states at the end of Watchmen that he hopes to create some life in another galaxy, it seems that Manhattan has settled instead for playing god on a different version of Earth with his omnipotent powers. Although the full implications are still being teased out, Doctor Manhattan appears to be responsible for, at the very least, the 2011 “New 52” reboot, along with numerous other changes to DC continuity.
Although a few characters, including Batman and the Flash, have begun to suspect that some entity is meddling with reality, Manhattan has been careful about covering his tracks—viciously killing the Reverse-Flash when he gets too close to the truth.