SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Doomsday Clock #2 by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Brad Anderson and Rob Leigh, on sale now.
The first issue of Doomsday Clock had a lot of work to do in establishing what happened to the world of Watchmen in the intervening years following the destruction of much of Manhattan thanks to Ozymandias’ grand plot. And while it set things up nicely, it didn't delve too deeply into the story's various players, particularly on the DC Universe side of things.
The second issue has a bit more room to explore both the characters and the plot, with Ozymandias, Rorschach, Marionette and The Mime breaching the barrier separating the two universes and arriving in the DCU to search for Doctor Manhattan. The search splits them up, with Rorschach going to speak to Bruce Wayne while Ozymandias heads to LexCorp. There, Adrian Veidt finds the last person he expected to find in this strange new world.
Meeting Of The Minds
Doomsday Clock is said to be a look into the future of the DC Universe, and this second issue gives us some small clues about where things are going, with Lex Luthor seemingly returned to his unscrupulous ways after the last year or so of being a hero. Lucius Fox talks briefly about it to Bruce Wayne, but the backmatter goes into more detail on the attempted takeover of Wayne Enterprises by LexCorp and the industrial espionage Lex is accused of orchestrating. While we have a whole year to see how the DC Universe gets to this point, Lex is back to his old self and as amoral as ever, which is probably the worst possible scenario for him to meet comics’ ultimate pragmatist, Ozymandias.
Veidt explains to Luthor that he is the smartest person on his Earth and comes seeking help from the smartest person on this Earth. Adrian explains his plan to unite the world and how it all went wrong, but Luthor is less than impressed. Ozymandias appeals to Luthor that they should work together, but Lex doesn’t get a chance to respond as they’re interrupted by a bullet. Ozymandias manages to avoid it, but it strikes Luthor as Adrian looks up to see The Comedian, alive, angry and looking for a rematch.
What’s So Funny?
The death of The Comedian is the inciting incident that led to the entire story of Watchmen. Killed in his apartment without a struggle, Rorschach’s investigations into his death uncovered the truth of Ozymandias’ plan. The Comedian — once the toughest and scariest man in the world — discovered that Adrian Veidt was planning to kill millions of people in order to save billions. Faced with a combination of the unfathomable loss of innocent life and the unstoppable nature of Ozymandias’ plan, the Comedian simply... broke. When Adrian came to kill him, The Comedian was already dead; in his place was an old soldier named Eddie Blake, who didn’t even put up a fight.
Now, it seems that The Comedian is somehow alive and living in the DC Universe, but how? The most obvious answer is that he’s been resurrected by Doctor Manhattan in order to stop Ozymandias from tracking him; it would easily be within the scope of his power and the sight of an old enemy brought back to life just might be enough to distract the smartest man in the world long enough to put a bullet in his brain.
There’s also the chance that it’s a shapeshifter, possibly someone such as the Martian Manhunter who can scan Adrian’s mind for an old enemy and then take their form. Why he’d be working for Luthor is a mystery, but there’s definitely a lot more to Eddie Blake’s return than we’re seeing in this issue, and it’s going to be another month before we get anything approaching an answer.