When DC Comics first announced Doomsday Clock, it was intended to be the very end of a story which began during DC Universe: Rebirth. A restoration of everything that was lost during the New 52 era, from relationships and friendships to entire superhero teams.
But it’s been two years since the series began, and to maintain the series’ superb level of quality it’s required a number of delays and even a switch from a monthly release schedule to a bi-monthly one. Because of that, many of the changes which should have spun directly out of Doomsday Clock have simply happened on their own. However, that doesn’t mean the series itself isn’t worth paying attention to, and thus here are ten things we hope will actually pay off by the end of the series.
10 THE CURIOUS CASE OF CARVER COLEMAN
From the beginning of Doomsday Clock, we’ve followed the story of Carver Coleman, an actor from the ’40s who enjoyed a sterling career until being brutally murdered. It’s background material that’s reminiscent of Watchmen’s Tales of the Black Freighter. But unlike that story, Carver Coleman’s storyline has a much greater relevance to Doomsday Clock, as he’s the first person of the DC Universe that Dr. Manhattan ever involved himself with. It’s his actions which allowed Coleman to go from a homeless person to a famous movie star, and if this story is going to end well, Coleman’s story needs to be less of a tragedy when it’s all said and done.
9 THE SUPERMEN THEORY
As Watchmen characters have inhabited the DC Universe, the DC Universe has started to become... colder, and more logical. One side effect of that is the emergence of the Supermen Theory. It’s meant to provide a unified and in-universe explanation for how America always seems to possess so many superhumans. Rather than being series of increasingly unlikely incidents, it’s been a government plan all along, meaning the superheroes were secretly government agents. Pushed forward by Lex Luthor, we’ve yet to see the true endgame of this plan and whether or not it will remain as a theory after Doomsday Clock ends.
8 THE NEW INTERNATIONAL HEROES
Over the course of this maxi series, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have both introduced and re-introduced a ton of additional heroes. They’ve given super-teams to a wide variety of countries, and even expanded on existing teams, like turning the Great Ten into the Great Twenty. This is excellent, especially as DC and Marvel become more global entertainment brands.
But... where do those heroes end up by the end of this comic? DC has long had a history of telling stories about non-American heroes, from the Justice League International to Great Ten to Justice League of China. Hopefully, the end of Doomsday Clock sees DC establish a series of comics which can cater to international audiences.
7 MIME AND MARIONETTE
The most unexpectedly enjoyable thing about Doomsday Clock has been the introduction of Mime and Marionette. Something of the Watchmen universe’s version of the Joker and Harley Quinn, they’ve been a joy to watch since their first appearance, giving us a look at the human side of things for an event that’s supposed to be cosmic in nature. Their heartbreaking origin plays into the corrupt and morally gray world of Watchmen, but currently their fates are up in the air. Johns has hinted that while these characters aren’t especially relevant to the future of their world, their child certainly is, and Doomsday Clock would be doing a disservice to the readers and itself if we didn’t see how that eventually played out.
6 SAVING THE WATCHMEN WORLD
When Doomsday Clock begins, we see the new Rorshach chasing down Mime and Marionette for the purposes of taking them along with him and Ozymandias to find Dr. Manhattan. The four of them just narrowly leave before the city they were in is obliterated by a nuclear bomb. This is obviously the beginning of a terrible fate for that version of Earth, as Ozymandias’ plans have pushed humanity towards a mutually assured destruction. Hopefully, in the remaining two issues they’ll be able to push the clock backwards just slightly and leave the world a better place than what Ozymandias’ plans would have, even if things aren’t going to end perfectly.
5 SATURN GIRL IN THE PAST
Though the Legion’s story is no longer tied to that of Doomsday Clock, Saturn Girl’s certainly is. The character has been trapped in the past since the beginning of the story, and no one really knows why. She’s been following around all the relevant players in this story like she knows what’s meant to happen, at least until she runs afoul of Ozymandias’ plan and winds up unconscious. But surely she didn’t travel a thousand years into the past just to miss all the important bits of this storyline. She’s got a purpose here, whether it’s helping to foil Ozymandias’ plan or being present at just the right moment to see the universe restored to the way it should be.
4 CYNICISM VS. OPTIMISM
In the end, Doomsday Clock is supposed to be a “war of hope versus despair”, as the beacon of hope that is Superman battles against his cynical opposite Dr. Manhattan. Whether that battle turns out to be emotional or physical remains to be seen (though the latter’s been hinted more than anything), but the outcome of that battle is going to affect both characters.
But more importantly, hopefully we get to see how it affects the DC Universe. Rebirth has seen the universe trend brighter than it ever did during the late '90s and all of the 2000s. Will that continue, or will Manhattan’s intentions leave the DC Universe forever a little more cynical and bleaker than it should’ve been?
3 NATION OF KAHNDAQ
One thing which lost a bit of relevance in the aftermath of Flashpoint was the nation of Kahndaq. The home to Black Adam, we saw this country play a major part in the mid to late 2000s of DC Comics history, specifically during the weekly event 52, where the land was decimated for having Black Adam as its leader. But in Doomsday Clock, all of that has been wiped away, and the country has become a safe haven for superheroes fleeing the country in the proliferation of the Superman Theory in the minds of Americans. Whether that theory is proven false or not, the nation of Kahndaq is back on the map again - how does that change the world’s politics going forward?
2 LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES AND THE JUSTICE SOCIETY
Whether it’s due to delays or inter-company politics, whatever the plan for the Legion of Super-Heroes and Justice Society of America were in Doomsday Clock are clearly no longer what they were. By the time the last issue of this maxi-series hits store shelves, both the Legion and the Society will have been reintroduced into the DC Universe through other storylines. However, what we don’t know is what their ultimate fates are here. Manhattan’s actions have stolen both the DC Universe’s future and its past... how does that end up undone?
1 FIXING THE DC UNIVERSE'S TIMELINE
Rebirth #1, we learned that someone had “stolen time” from the DC Universe. This was the reason for the New 52, this was why so many characters seemed not to know one another, and this was why some key characters from the ’90s and early 2000s vanished for such a long period of time. This has partially been undone over the past few years, but if Rebirth was where this storyline started, hopefully Doomsday Clock is still where it wraps up. Though we have groups like Young Justice and the Legion of Super-Heroes back, there are still valuable pieces of the original universe left behind, like Connor Hawke and his relationship with his father. If they’re going to fix the timeline, they should fix it all.