Doomsday Clock's Backmatter Hints at the Return of the Justice Society

Doomsday Clock was set up way back in DC Universe Rebirth #1 18 months ago, but that wasn’t the only mystery established in DC Comics' oversized one-shot. A brief vignette featuring classic Golden Age hero Johnny Thunder revealed the existence of the Justice Society of America at some point in the history of the DC Universe, and Johnny was the reason why they were missing and forgotten. Since then, the mystery of the JSA has been on the back-burner somewhat — aside from a brief but unsuccessful return of Jay Garrick — but some innocuous items in the backmatter of this week’s Doomsday Clock #2 suggest that the JSA’s return may be coming back quite soon, possibly as part of the event itself.

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The majority of the issue's backmatter -- presented as an excerpt from The Bulletin newspaper and released by DC online one day before the issue's on-sale date -- revolves around The Supermen Theory conspiracy and the attempted hostile takeover of Wayne Enterprises by LexCorp, but the stuff in the inset isn’t just filler, it’s just as important. The two items that we’re particularly interested in right now are the clipping featuring a mystery fire in a steel factory and an advert for anxiety medicine. The news about the fire appears first, but we’re going to get to it in a second after we talk about the medicine.

The medicine “Travodart” is said to be “For unstable nerves in an unstable world” and the imagery is undoubtedly a reference to the nuclear shadow graffiti from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen, which also appeared in Nite-Owl’s end of the world nightmare. However, the more interesting tidbit is the name of the company that manufactures the medicine: Bannermain Chemical Co, the manufacturers of Miraclo, the drug which gives Hourman his time-limited superpowers. The side effects disclaimer even mentions that if they persist longer than an hour, a doctor should be consulted, an obvious reference to Hourman’s power-set.

So now that we’re thinking about the Justice Society and its members, the mysterious green fire at the steel factory instantly brings to mind the imagery associated with the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott. Unlike members of the Green Lantern Corps, Alan Scott derives his powers the “Starheart,” which manifests as a green flame. The fire originated in the All-American Steel factory and Alan Scott debuted in the pages of All-American Comics #16, another connection that is impossible to be a coincidence.

The last time we saw a member of the JSA was when Jay Garrick helped Batman and The Flash return to the DC Universe after they were nearly lost in Hypertime thanks to The Comedian’s smiley face button. Gary Frank, artist of Doomsday Clock, event drew the Johnny Thunder segment of DC Universe Rebirth #1, a direct link between the return of the JSA and Doomsday Clock.

Geoff Johns has said that he sees Doomsday Clock not as a sequel to Watchmen, but as a response; a way for superhero comics to answer the criticisms leveled at the genre decades ago. If so, what better way to respond than by bringing back the original superheroes that kickstarted the DC Universe? Johns has a history with the team too, writing them for nearly a decade in a run that helped launched his career into superstardom. What better way to thank the team that launched his career than to bring them back on the biggest stage of all?

Doomsday Clock #2 is available this Wednesday, Dec. 27.

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