Doomsday Clock #8 Annotated, Part 2: Watchmen Callbacks & Timeframe Questions

Potpourri (Pages 13, 20, 28)

JSA on the march
The Justice Society of America, from All-Star Comics #4

Page 13, panel 9 is an homage to the cover of March-April 1941's All-Star Comics issue #4, by E.E. Hibbard with Sheldon Moldoff. According to the Grand Comics Database, it would have gone on sale February 7, 1941. Thus, the "April 2" date mentioned in the newsreel likely refers to the cover date. Pictured are the original Hawkman, Green Lantern, Doctor Fate, Spectre, Sandman, Flash and Hourman. The All-Star cover also includes the original Atom.

Naturally, Lois has never heard of the Justice Society, because they're not part of the current timeline. However, she should recognize at least a couple of its members. Hawkman and Doctor Fate were big parts of the Dark Nights: Metal miniseries, and the Golden Age Flash showed up briefly in the "Button" crossover (Batman and Flash issues #21-22). We discussed Green Lantern and Hourman back in Issue #2's annotations.

The Batplane seen on Page 20 is based on the vehicle designed by Shayne Poindexter from the 1990s animated series. When last we saw Batman, he had been zapped by the Joker's joy buzzer but had recovered enough to retrieve Rorschach's discarded "face." Accordingly, it seems like a decent amount of time has passed between issues. We'll get back to that in a minute.

The "council" Superman refers to on Page 20 is probably most commonly known as the Science Council. That name appeared first in May 1957's Superman issue #113. Previous texts referred to the "Council of Five" (July-August 1948's Superman issue #53) or simply the "Council" (November-December 1949's Superman issue #61); while July 1962's Superman issue #154 mentioned a "Supreme Council." In virtually every account of the Superman legend, its primary function seems to be to disbelieve Jor-El's predictions about the planet's destruction. One notable exception came in 2007's Action Comics Annual issue #10, which showed "the Council" condemning General Zod, Non and Ursa to the Phantom Zone. Ironically, in this version Zod and Ursa believed Jor-El; but Jor refused to help them stage a coup. The Council then went on to ignore Jor-El's warnings, as per usual.

Page 28's H.L. Mencken quote comes originally from 1956's Minority Report :H.L. Mencken's Notebooks, where it read

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve. This is true even of the pious brethren who carry the gospel to foreign parts.

While the changes don't really alter the quote's underlying meaning, they do flesh it out more. In fact, the quote which appears in Doomsday Clock is decidedly at odds with Superman's traditional ethos, and the original version is even moreso. Of course, we think the quote is commenting on Superman because he's front and center this issue, but it could apply very easily to Ozymandias working behind the scenes.

Among other things, Henry Louis Mencken (September 12, 1880-January 29, 1956) reported on Tennessee's trial of evolution teacher John Scopes, dubbing it the "Monkey Trial." Mencken disliked both religion and representative democracy, and was an isolationist, racist and anti-Semite. He published the multi-volume study of American English called The American Language and served as editor and mentor for early 20th Century writers including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis and Alastair Cooke.

NEXT PAGE: Doomsday Clock #8 - There's A LOT TO Unpack In the Backmatter

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