SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Doomsday Clock #3 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, on sale now.
The nuance and ethics of metahuman ability is something in the forefront of both Watchmen and its spiritual successor, Doomsday Clock -- and the event series' latest issue may have just complicated the issue in an unexpected way.
One of the tentpoles of the Watchmen universe has always been its dire look at just what a person who is granted the power of a being like Superman would actually entail. Dr. Manhattan is the cynical "real life" version of an all-powerful entity, a person who becomes so unmoored from humanity thanks to his essentially limitless abilities, that he retreats from Earth entirely. He is Watchmen's only proper metahuman character in a world populated by masked superheroes who are really just like Bruce Wayne or Vic Sage -- regular people who have some sort of combination of the money, the skill and the ambition to put on a costume and seek fame and fortune fighting crime.
The logistics of metahumans in the DC Universe have also been brought to the forefront with a concept explained in Doomsday Clock dubbed "The Supermen Theory," which alleges that metahuman populations in the United States are, in fact, the result of shady government conspiracy and experimentation.
Thematically, it's not hard to see the direct links in subject matter -- but there is a potential wrench in the works. Two new characters from the Watchmen universe -- The Mime and The Marionette -- were finally allowed to truly showcase their respective abilities in Issue #3, and in doing so, raised a whole slew of questions.