SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Doomsday Clock #3 by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Brad Anderson and Rob Leigh, on sale now.
Doomsday Clock is a controversial title, without a doubt. The idea of following Watchmen with a sequel was always going to be a shaky prospect, but following Watchmen with a sequel which brings its characters to the DC Universe is considered by many to be blasphemy.
Until now, Doomsday Clock has lived on its own without affecting Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' classic graphic novel; if you wanted to believe the story ended with Watchmen #12 without being sullied by crossovers, there was nothing to stop you doing that. However, Doomsday Clock #3 makes a massive change to the story of Watchmen itself which is bound to be controversial among many fans and creates a huge paradox within the original story that changes everything we thought we knew.
The Last Laugh
The big cliffhanger of Doomsday Clock #2 revealed The Comedian — seemingly resurrected and somehow in the DC Universe — confronting Ozymandias, the man who murdered him. There were many theories as to how The Comedian could be in the DCU, much less alive, ranging from his being a creation of Doctor Manhattan all the way to being a shapeshifter posing as Edward Blake to distract Ozymandias. However, this issue reveals that the story behind Blake's DCU debut has much larger implications for both Doomsday Clock and the original story of Watchmen. Moments before his death at the hands of Ozymandias, Edward Blake was plucked out of thin air by Doctor Manhattan and transported to modern day Metropolis.
This potentially creates a fairly huge paradox at the heart of the original Watchmen story. If The Comedian doesn’t die on the street, Rorschach never investigates his murder, which doesn’t set off the chain of events that leads to the amorphous-masked vigilante's own death and Doctor Manhattan’s exile. It’s arguable that Adrian Veidt still would have succeeded with his plan either way, but Rorschach's journal would never be discovered, and Veidt would never need to make the journey to the DC Universe in order to bring back Doctor Manhattan to save their world. The death of The Comedian has to happen for Watchmen to happen. If you take that away you fundamentally change the story of Watchmen.