We're inclined to describe Doomsday Clock issue #3 as having "the devil in the details." Although a few sequences showcase various characters almost exclusively, its dips into references and Easter eggs are still fairly extensive. Lots of names are dropped, and lots of clues are laid out for us alert readers to examine. There's even a private-detective story for inspiration.
Previous annotations for Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's series can be found here:
- Doomsday Clock #1: The First Watchmen/DC Crossover, Annotated
- Doomsday Clock #2, Annotated – Outsiders, Frank Miller & Golden Agers
- Hemingway, the Batcave & the JSA: Doomsday Clock #2, Annotated
To this point we have tried hard not to spoil anything major, but beware of spoilers going forward!
Doomsday Clock issue #3 was written by Geoff Johns, drawn by Gary Frank, colored by Brad Anderson and lettered by Rob Leigh. Brian Cunningham was the Editor, with Amedeo Turturro as Associate Editor.
A Fall So Nice They Took It Twice (Cover and Pages 1-9)
Victory Gin (cover and Page 1) is a reference to the beverage of the same name from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four. (Check out when the Veidt distillery was founded.) The post-fight scene in Watchmen issue #1 shows bottles on the floor of Blake's apartment, but they're too small to identify. As far as other brands go, the Vietnam bar in Watchmen issue #2 also includes a sign for "Gordon's Gin"; while the Watchmen movie used "Winston's Gin" (another reference to Orwell's novel).
Pages 1 and 2 present slightly different perspectives (literally) on Watchmen's Veidt/Blake fistfight. In Watchmen issue #1 Dave Gibbons told the entire fight using seven panels, plus three panels of Blake falling to his death. To this account he added an additional panel in issue #11, of Veidt holding Blake over his head. In this issue of D-Clock, Gary Frank recreates only that panel (Panel 6 of page 1) as well as one panel of Blake falling (Panel 4 of Page 2). The rest view the fight from other angles.
Speaking of perspective, Pages 2 and 3 use vertical black bars to show what it looks like when Doctor Manhattan teleports him or her. This was seen previously in the first two pages of Watchmen issue #9. Doctor M himself makes his DC-Earth debut (or at least his leg does) on Page 4. There we also see the blood-spattered smiley-face button next to Blake, which further complicates the question of how it got into the Batcave in the DC Rebirth one-shot.
Doctor M has teleported the Comedian to DC-Earth so that he lands in Metropolis Harbor. At this point we don't know how much Doctor M knows about DC-Earth's super-people, so we don't know how coincidental it was that Blake landed here. On some level Doctor M probably appreciated the unintentional reference to his masked predecessor Captain Metropolis. At any rate, Metropolis has been the home of Superman and most of his supporting cast since September 1939's Action Comics issue #16. Originally, Superman's creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster had Supes share their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio (see, e.g., Action issue #2). Like Gotham City, Metropolis is most often modeled on New York City. 1978's Superman movie just straight-up called NYC "Metropolis," without bothering to disguise landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. In the early 2000s Metropolis got a high-tech makeover thanks to Brainiac, but it didn't last long.
Pages 5-7 continue the present-day Comedian-Ozymandias fight from the end of D-Clock issue #2. Honestly, these pages don't offer much in the way of annotations, except to observe subjectively that all the collateral property damage is reminiscent of the Veidt/Blake fight in 2009's Watchmen film (directed by Zack Snyder). Such a singular focus on the fight -- three straight pages! -- makes it feel fairly long in the context of Watchmen; but Rorschach spends about four pages eluding the police in Watchmen issue #5 and it takes Ozymandias (in between flashback panels) about four pages to hold off Rorschach and Nite Owl in issue #11. Therefore, it's probably more accurate to note that the fight on pages 5-7 and Ozymandias' acrobatic escape on pages 8-9 are distinctive because of their focus. In other words, we don't associate Watchmen with this sort of straightforward storytelling, which lacks the usual juxtaposition or other structural or formatting devices. Even the sequence in issue #5 where Veidt foils the assassin came at the very center of the famous symmetrical issue.
As for Ozy's descent down LexCorp Tower, we consider it a callback to his gymnastic prowess, depicted (in contrast to Dan and Laurie's lovemaking, of course) in Watchmen issue #7.