SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Doomsday Clock #1 and #2, by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Brad Anderson and Rob Leigh.
Doomsday Clock has been billed as a sequel, a crossover, and a thematic follow-up to Alan Moore and David Gibbons’ Watchmen. Two issues in, and Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s have fit their story seamlessly into what came before, though the pair have added a few surprises of their own.
We have a new Rorschach, Ozymandias is now on the run, and apparently the Comedian has come back to life. It’s hard to keep track of every piece of information in between these key moments, so it’s forgivable if you also missed the final fate of an original Watchmen character.
Watchmen was memorable not only for the mains story’s deconstruction of the superhero genre, but also for the significant amount of back matter at the end of each individual issue. Of course, any continuation of that story would need to do the same, so Doomsday Clock is loaded with extra content. It’s here, in one clipped newspaper article from the back of the first issue, where we learn the final fate of one of the original Minutemen: Mothman.
Squeezed between an article on the Walter Kovacs’ journal and a diner menu is an obituary for a man named Byron Lewis. Only the sharpest of Watchmen fans, and those closest to the Internet, would realize that this is the civilian name of the superhero known as Mothman.
Lewis was a member of the 1940s superhero team known as The Minutemen, which ultimately served as the inspiration for The Crimebusters. This group — made up of Captain Metropolis, Silk Spectre, Night Owl, the Comedian, Hooded Justice, Silhouette, Dollar Bill, and Mothman — fought together for several years, before everything started to unravel. Silhouette and Dollar Bill were killed, Hooded Justice went missing, and the House of Un-American Activities Committee began to investigate the remaining members.
The stress proved to be too much for Mothman, and he became an alcoholic before ultimately suffering a mental breakdown. It was later revealed that Byron Lewis was forcibly brought to a mental health facility in New England where he was treated… and ultimately forgotten by the public. Doomsday Clock‘s obituary doesn’t even mention his crimefighting career.
Seven years after the events of Watchmen, where Doomsday Clock picks up, it’s 1992, and Lewis has died at the age of 80. Given the previous deaths of Captain Metropolis, Hollis Mason, and Eddie Blake, it is possible that Sally Jupiter remains the last living member of the Minutemen. Whether she will show up at some point in Doomsday Clock remains to be revealed.
The obituary shows that Lewis continued to do good work even after his career as a masked vigilante had ended. He was a prominent donor to the New York City Massacre Victims Fund, which was set up following the events of Watchmen, where Adrian Veidt was responsible for killing three million people. Lewis was also a noted mental health advocate, which is a good direction to take following time spent fighting crime in spandex.
The final fate of Mothman is certainly not something anyone was waiting to hear about, but it’s nice to see that someone from Watchmen celebrated some form of a happy ending. With Dan Dreiberg and Laurie Juspecyzk reportedly missing, we don’t know what their final fates were—yet.
The obituary does leave us with one final mystery, though. Donations can be made to the Fitzgerald Mental Home, which was apparently damaged in some kind of gas explosion. Will this small detail come into play down the road, or was it added there to simply fill out the universe Johns and Frank are building? We’ll have to wait and see. Remember that the smallest bits of information proved to be crucial to the end of Watchmen, so you can’t dismiss anything.