SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Doomsday Clock #9 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, on sale now.
In Doomsday Clock #7, Doctor Manhattan makes casual mention of an occurrence that's had a tremendously significant impact on current DC continuity. In that issue, Manhattan speaks of interfering with the life of Alan Scott, who was destined to become DC's first Green Lantern. Doc's machinations resulted in Scott's death, rather than him fulfilling his destiny.
Green Lantern, of course, played a pivotal role in the formation of the original Justice Society of America. No Alan Scott means no JSA, so in current Rebirth continuity DC's first all-star super team never existed. That's no coincidence, as Manhattan's presence and meddling in the DC Universe since the advent of Rebirth has already become apparent. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's Doomsday Clock #9 shows just how far-reaching his meddling has become.
No JSA Also Means No…
Alan Scott became Green Lantern by taking hold of the lantern that gave him his powers and saved his life in the immediate aftermath of a train wreck. In Rebirth, Doctor Manhattan's cold, calculating maneuver simply moved that lantern inches from Scott's grasp, so instead he simply died in that accident along with the other victims aboard. This meant no Justice Society, but that wasn't the end of the ripple effect.
The spiritual successor to the Justice Society, the Justice League, came together just fine in Rebirth, so it might appear that any kind of butterfly effect stemming from Alan Scott's death ended there. But there's another startling revelation made by Doc Manhattan relating to his manipulation of Scott's intended fate. That revelation is that Scott's death also directly impacted the formation of another super team centuries later, the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Didn't See That Coming (or Going)
In Doomsday Clock #9, Manhattan snags a familiar artifact floating through space: a Legion of Super-Heroes flight ring. The ring is dripping with blood. That blood is revealed to belong to the Legion's first member to give his life on a mission, Ferro Lad. Ferro Lad, of course, sacrificed himself to defeat the Sun Eater back in Jim Shooter and Curt Swan's Legion story in Adventure Comics #353, over half a century ago.
The explosion that killed Ferro Lad, however, apparently spared his ring, according to Manhattan's observations. That same explosion somehow caused his ring to cascade back through time and into Doc's hands. However, when Manhattan acknowledges his interference with Alan Scott's fate, a curious side effect occurs. Ferro Lad's ring disappears from his hand.
The reference directly ties the original Green Lantern's fate with that of not only Ferro Lad's, but the entire Legion of Super-Heroes, or lack thereof. And not only the entire Legion, but also everything in between.