DC’s Chief Creative Officer and President Geoff Johns revealed the first details of the upcoming Rebirth capstone “Doomsday Clock” tonight in panel hosted by Lev Grossman (The Magicians Trilogy) at NYCC. It’s been known for over a year and a half now that the “Watchmen” character Doctor Manhattan is responible for the current continuity predicament in the DCU, and this 12-issue series from Johns and Frank sets out to explain why. The panel opened in conversation with the two talking about “Watchmen” and its connection to Rebirth and the importance of the work to both writers. Grossman was one of the authors on the Time Magaazine piece that placed “Watchmen” as one of the 100 best literary works of the 20th century. Grossman questioned why Johns needed to tell this story now, why Gary Frank was the right artist for the work, and if the 2016 election influenced the story.
Johns then showcased the first 6 pages of the first issue of “Doomsday Clock” in black and white format, revealing that the series begins in the “Watchmen” universe in November of 1992a after Doctor Manhattan has disappeared and Ozymandius is accused of murdering three million people in New York City and perpetuating the “great lie,” which people are aware of because of Rorschach’s journal. The story then cuts to a prison, as the world is on the brink of annihilation and a prisoner tries to escape and steal keys from one of the guards. It is at that moment that Rorschach appears and the prisoner backs down. This reveal caught much excitement at NYCC as Rorschach was killed by Doctor Manhattan in the original “Watchmen” story. How is he alive?
Johns went on to reveal a few more details of the story, including that the entire series will be based on the nine panel grid like the original series, and that “Doomsday Clock” will be the only series you have to read, there will be no tie-ins or one-shots, it is entirely self-contained and you only have to have read or have a familiarity with “Watchmen” not even Rebirth. Johns also stated that, like the original series had the “Tales of the Black Freighter” comics in the series, that “Doomsday Clock” would be experimenting with something similar. When asked if “Doomsday Clock” would have political overtones Johns responded, “This story, if you want to boil it down, is about a lot of things, but this story is about extremes, I think this world has become an extreme world. Everyone’s moving to extremes for a lot of reasons.”
DC has released the ashcan from NYCC in black and white, digital format on their website and you can also find them below, along with the entire livestream of the hour long panel. “Doomsday Clock” #1 written by Geoff Johns, with art from Gary Frank colored by Brad Anderson launches on November 22, 2017.