Some of us have probably seen the Doomsday Clock Ashcan that’s been circulating around the internet for the past few days. I've really been looking forward to this, as the integration of the Watchmen Universe into the DCU is the thing that most interested me about Rebirth.  The actual Doomsday Clock maxi-series is still a couple months out but I thought I would go ahead and set up a spoiler thread for it and post a few comments on the preview. If you haven’t read the ashcan you can access it here.  I’ll leave a little bit of spoiler space before commenting.




Doomsday Clock Ashcan Edition

The issue starts off with a scene that’s very reminiscent of the original Watchmen maxi-series. It’s not a 9 panel grid, but it’s similar in style and tone. Gary Frank gives us dystopic scenes of chaos in the streets as Geoff Johns provides narration in a style that’s designed to mimic Rorschach’s narration in Watchmen. But, the year is 1992 and if this is the world of Watchmen, Rorschach would be dead. Right? 

Johns tries to add some political overtones to the narration. Painting both left and right wing perspectives in an extreme way.  I found this a little clumsy but it gets the message across.  The political climate seems to have deteriorated since we last visited the world of Watchmen.  Johns seems to want to reference the current divisiveness in real world politics.  In the original Watchmen, the Comedian tells us the American Dream came true. In this story we learn that this is the “American Nightmare.”  The world is in chaos and on the brink of war.  Why?  What triggered all of this?

Well, apparently Ozymandias’ plot to unite the world hasn’t actually worked out after all. Indications are that Rorschach’s journal has been found and published and this has thrown the world into complete chaos.  Adrian Veidt is a now a wanted man and we see a military attack on his arctic stronghold. He’s nowhere to be found but we do see an x-ray that appears to show that he has a brain tumor?

In the final pages we learn that war with Russia is imminent and we cut to a very familiar looking prison setting. Amid the panic a riot seems likely as one of the prisoners is attempting to force his way out of his cell. Suddenly his escape attempt is interrupted by a mysterious stranger.  On the next page we see Rorschach? Alive?  Could it be that he wasn’t disintegrated at the end of Watchmen but was instead transported to the future? And what does any of this have to do with the DCU? I guess we’ll have to wait to find out.

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Has anybody read #11 yet? I'm a bit out of sorts about it.

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  • Does it bother anyone else that we were strung along with Saturn Girl for 11 issues, only for her to evaporate with no lasting consequence? It was a long, hairy-dog-story tease that came to nothing.
  • Did it feel like to anyone else that this issue packed about three issues worth of plot into one issue? It was like Geoff Johns sat down to write it and thought, "Omigosh, I've only got one more issue! Better wrap everything up for the big finish!"
  • Most of the characters who have carried the plot so far didn't appear in this issue. Mime and Marionette, the new Rohrshach, the older Ozymandia, etc. I don't have it in front of me, so I may be off on a character or two, but it seems like this whole issue was nothing but Dr. Manhattan explaining the plot to us.
  • I know Johns is trying to winow down the superhero cast to just the Trinity, but really -- every single superhero on Earth went to Mars, and none of them escaped? Not one? No one stayed home with a cold? No one was "tied up on another case"? Seriously, every superhero Earth was free, at the same time, to drop everything and race off to Mars? Even the non-powered ones who are basically ballast? If you tell me that this was such an important fight that everyone had to go, whey didn't Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman go? Hmm?
  • LIke Saturn Girl, the endless bits with Johnny Thunder in the nursing home came to nothing.

Both the Legion and the JSA were teased, but they actually showed up elsewhere. As a result, those parts are just padding in Doomsday CLock -- you could remove every panel about Johnny Thunder and Saturn Girl, and it wouldn't affect the plot. They don't seem to have served any purpose at all.

When the collection comes out, I expect these faults to be magnified. Read at a sitting, I think the pacing will obviously be off. And the many parts that were superfluous will be even more obvious.

But maybe the reverse will happen. All will be made clear and I will enjoy it more. Could happen.

“Has anybody read #11 yet?”

I did, but I didn’t have much to say. Here’s what I posted over in “What Comics Have You Read Today?”: “This issue has all the answers. (Too bad I've forgotten all the questions.) After #12 comes out, someone needs to host an issue-by-issue discussion of this series.”

Cap, I haven't reread the series yet -- and once I do that, I reserve the right to change my mind -- but in my first impressions, I completely agree with you (and also Jeff). I barely remember what was going on at this point, but most of the stuff I cared about was sidestepped in this talky, overly expositive issue. I was left with a feeling of just not caring about any of it.

I'm sure rereading it at something other than a snail's pace will mitigate that somewhat. But man, from my current perspective, this issue seems like a big letdown.

Captain Comics said:

  • Does it bother anyone else that we were strung along with Saturn Girl for 11 issues, only for her to evaporate with no lasting consequence? It was a long, hairy-dog-story tease that came to nothing.

Yes, I mentioned it in my post above.  My suspicion is that the massive delays in Doomsday Clock and Bendis' desire to do Legion resulted in Johns rewriting Doomsday Clock and removing his planned introductions of the Legion and JSA.  As soon as I saw Saturn Girl disintegrate, I though "there is NO WAY that was Johns' original plan."

I finally read #11 after losing track of when it was sent to the stores. Got it a week late.

Re-reading it is in my future, but not just yet. 

I don't remember Bubastis having any powers so I don't understand how it could having helped kill Firestorm. According to Ozymandias, Saturn Girl helped him retrofit the Owlship to get to a different reality. Since Dr Manhattan arranged for the Alan Scott Green Lantern and others to never exist, IMO this is a different reality than we are accustomed to. Characters dying are unlikely to be gone in the main DC storylines. This is an  Elseworlds.

But haven't they referenced Dr. Manhattan's machinations in regular-line DC books? That the JSA and Legion have essentially been erased from DC history is something that happened at New 52 or Rebirth -- and now they're coming back, so they've obviously been somewhere.

IOW, I think this is still "our" timeline, but it's just been handled poorly to -- presumably -- accommodate Bendis' needs. (A supposition that makes quite a lot of sense to me.)

I don't think it's an Elseworlds, either -- and I have trouble laying this at the feet of Bendis, considering on its original schedule it would have been over last November (and when the schedule was revised to bimonthly, it should still have been over in July). 

Good point. I read somewhere that Doomsday Clock #12 is now scheduled for December. (I'll believe it when I see it, of course.)

Yep, December 18, according to the new DC solicitations. We'll see.

I don't think it's Bendis' fault, per se. I just think that Doomsday Clock has taken so long to come out that DC editorial decided to move on without it.  Originally Doomsday Clock was slated to set up the reappearance of the JSA and Legion and to have sweeping effects on the DCU spinning out of Rebirth.  Once it was clear DC wasn't willing to wait for Doomsday Clock to finish, I think Johns probably had to tweak the story.

I like this series, but at this point I'll be shocked if it ends up having any lasting effects or influence on DC's regular titles.

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