WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Doomsday Clock #7 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, on sale now.
Doomsday Clock has been slowly leading readers toward a confrontation between Watchmen’s Doctor Manhattan and the DC Universe. Ever since the first tease in the pages of 2016’s DC Rebirth #1, we’ve known that the powerful, god-like Manhattan has been manipulating the lives of DC’s heroes in dozens of ways both big and small. Now, thanks to Doomsday Clock #7, we see another piece of the puzzle, and it looks like Manhattan’s interference may have cost us the Golden Age of comics.
As with every issue of Watchmen that came before it, Doomsday Clock’s story starts on the cover before continuing inside. On the cover, we see a close-up of a blue moth sitting on the Golden Age version of the Green Lantern itself (first seen in 1940). As we turn the page, we're given a brief recap of the origin of the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott, narrated with familiar blue caption boxes.
We’re told about a young train engineer who survives a bridge collapse by holding onto a mysterious lantern. Gradually, we start to see the impact that moment had not only on Alan Scott, but on the burgeoning superhero community of the era. Then, Doctor Manhattan's narration tells us of a small moment, an almost imperceptible change he makes to the timeline. As a result, Alan Scott dies in the very train accident that once elevated him to the status of global hero.
First appearing in All-American Comics #16 from 1940, Alan Scott was created by Bill Finger and Martin Nodell as the very first hero to bear the name Green Lantern. Unlike his sci-fi space cop successor Hal Jordan, Scott more closely resembles a mythical, magical hero that is granted superpowers from a lantern.
There are familiar elements that you would recognize in modern Green Lantern comics, like the powerful emerald ring that Alan wears, although the power set is somewhat different. The origins of both Alan Scott and the lantern itself are fairly faithfully retold on the first page Doomsday Clock #7. That is, until Doctor Manhattan gets involved.
The story of the Golden Age Green Lantern starts with a mystical flame that falls to Earth in ancient China. A local lampmaker hears a voice from the green metal within the fallen meteor that tells of three times it will flame green: once to bring death, once to bring life and the final time to bring power. As the man crafts the metal into a green lamp, he is killed for his sacrilege, fulfilling the first prophecy.