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.
The New Watchmen Escape To The DC Universe Just As The Bombs Drop
Aboard the Owlship, the newly formed team of vigilantes follows Doctor Manhattan to the DC Universe, landing in Gotham City—and not a moment too soon. After Ozymandias’s ruse was exposed, the Americans and Soviets were once again at each others’ throats, and the group escapes just as the nukes start falling in a global nuclear war.
It seems likely that all of the Watchmen characters not journeying on the Owlship, including Nite Owl and the Silk Spectre, are doomed—although Ozymandias likely hopes that Doctor Manhattan can rewrite history and undo the destruction.
Seeking Allies, Rorschach II Heads To The Batcave
Upon landing in Gotham City, Ozymandias and Rorschach II shackle Marionette and Mime to the ship and begin their search for Doctor Manhattan. After a bit of research, the duo reasons that they’d be best served by seeking help from the two smartest men in the DC Universe. Rorschach heads to Wayne Manor to meet with Bruce Wayne, discovers the Batcave, and comes face-to-face with Batman.
After sharing his admittedly insane-sounding story and a plate of pancakes with Wayne, Rorschach II ends up tricked into a cell at Arkham Asylum until Batman can investigate further. Given Reggie Long’s history, this is not a welcome development, and he sets about plotting his escape while the Dark Knight secretly observes him.
Ozymandias Visits Lex Luthor
Adrian Veidt, on the other hand, sets off to find his closest parallel in the DC Universe: the megalomaniacal Lex Luthor. Ever judgemental, Luthor immediately points out the logical fallacies in Ozymandias’s world-saving plot, quipping, “If you’re the smartest person on your planet, I’d hate to meet the dumbest.”
Despite his sarcasm, Luthor does seem open to hearing Ozymandias out and believing his story—after all, alternate worlds are old news to the citizens of the DC Universe. Unfortunately, before their conversation can proceed beyond the initial verbal jousting, Veidt and Luthor are interrupted by the most unlikely of intruders.
An Unexpected Return Throws A Wrench Into The Works
Adrian Veidt receives a literal blast from the past when Eddie Blake, The Comedian, walks into the Lexcorp penthouse and shoots at him, hitting Lex Luthor instead. The Comedian was last seen being thrown out a window to his death in the opening pages of Watchmen, so it’s quite a surprise to see him alive and well in the DC Universe.
For reasons unknown to the reader, it seems that Doctor Manhattan plucked Blake from the timestream and gave him a second chance on a new world. However, The Comedian hasn’t forgotten who murdered him, and Ozymandias barely escapes the encounter with his life.