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: Part 1 – Outsiders, Frank Miller & Golden Agers
- Doomsday Clock #2, Annotated: Part 2 – Hemingway, the Batcave & the JSA
- Doomsday Clock #3, Annotated: Part 1 – From The Comedian’s Return to Mime & Marionette’s Mayhem
To this point we have tried hard not to spoil anything major, but beware of spoilers going forward!
Old Man Thunder (Pages 13-14, 17, 23-24)
Page 13’s discussion of the “Supermen Theory” involves “the rapid rise in American metahumans after the arrival of Superman.” Even if Superman’s first in-universe appearance happened fifteen years ago (in DC’s elastic modern timeline), that’s still 2003, when presumably science would have been advanced enough to create super-people. This adds to our theory that having a Golden Age generation of superheroes would have helped society get used to the idea of masked crimefighters. If folks as powerful as Green Lantern, the Spectre and Doctor Fate had existed in the 1940s — particularly before the advent of atomic power — they couldn’t have been explained away by government-sponsored science. Of course, those particular heroes were all magic-based, but that may be beside the point.
Speaking of magic-based heroes, Johnny Thunder was created by John Wentworth and Stan Aschmeier and first appeared in January 1940’s Flash Comics issue #1 (along with the Golden Age Flash and Hawkman, among others). He is not to be confused with the Old West character (real name John Tane) who first appeared in 1948’s All-American Comics #100. This sequence in the nursing home picks up on a subplot from the DC Rebirth one-shot, also written by Johns and drawn by Frank. Johnny Thunder’s power is his control over the 5th-dimensional Thunderbolt, who he summons and controls with the phrase “Cei-U” (pronounced “Say You”). In the late 1990s Johnny was succeeded by Jakeem Williams, who took the name “Jakeem Thunder.” Created by Grant Morrison, Mark Millar and Paul Ryan, Jakeem’s cameo in February 1998’s The Flash issue #134 laid the foundation for his appearance in February 1999’s JLA issue #26 (written by Morrison and pencilled by Howard Porter). Eventually Johnny merged with the Thunderbolt, as shown in August 2002’s JSA issue #37.
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt Jr. (1858-1919) served as the 26th President of the United States from 1901-1909, succeeding the assassinated William McKinley and then winning reelection in 1904. Before that he was Vice-President (1901) and Governor of New York (1899-1900).
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