SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Doomsday Clock #2 by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Brad Anderson and Rob Leigh, on sale now.
Whether you love it or hate it, one of the biggest questions revolving around Doomsday Clock has been, “Just how are they going to get these characters together?” Fro decades, the Watchmen cast has been closed off in its own world with no sign of the possibility of interacting with any other universes. Meanwhile, DC Comics' map of the known Multiverse doesn’t include the world of Watchmen.
However, this week’s issue of Doomsday Clock shows exactly how the Watchmen cross the bridge between worlds and arrive in the DC Universe. Of course, it still leaves some questions unanswered about the nature of the DC Multiverse and whether Doomsday Clock is going to reshuffle our understanding of its nature.
In this issue, we see that Ozymandias has retrofitted Archimedes, Nite-Owl’s owl-shaped aircraft — with the ability to withstand the journey between universes, but it seems he needs more than that to track Doctor Manhattan to the DC Universe. First, he explains that due to the accident which turned Jon Osterman into Doctor Manhattan — the removal of his intrinsic field — the omnipotent "hero" can actually be traced. Veidt explains that the blue appearance of Doctor Manhattan is a result of electrons leaking from his body, giving them something to track beyond universes.
However, when Ozymandias attempts to make the jump, the ship doesn’t respond. It’s only when the nuclear missile fired by the Russians — a response to American missiles being fired due to Russia’s invasion of Poland, which may or may not have actually happened, depending on if you believe the state sponsored news broadcast — that the ship is able to make the jump and cross over to the DC Universe. Through the extraordinary loss of life in Manhattan, echoing the damage caused by Adrian Veidt’s squid monster at the end of Watchmen — the ragtag team of Ozymandias, Rorschach, Marionette and The Mime are able to head to the DC Universe. There, they'll track down Doctor Manhattan in order to bring him home and prevent further loss of life.
Worlds Beyond Worlds
Since the end of Infinite Crisis, way back in 2007, DC has been pretty strict about its Multiverse, in that there are fifty-two worlds that make up the Prime DC Multiverse. We’ve seen in detail how this works, with the Orrery of Worlds and the Multiversal Map which was created for The Multiversity and recently featured heavily in Dark Nights: Metal. There’s even an entire world devoted to being a Watchmen analogue. Earth-4 — the home of Charlton characters like The Question, Captain Atom and Blue Beetle — was redesigned in Multiversity as an obvious Watchmen homage, with Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Nathan Fairbairn giving their own spin on the series with Pax Americana.
However, there remain a few loopholes that could explain where the world of Watchmen fits in with the larger DC Universe. The easiest one would be to slot the world of Watchmen into one of the six uncharted worlds on the Multiverse map. There are other ways around it, too; The Multiversity clearly established that there are multiple multiverses out there, and The Flash TV show established it had its own fifty-two world Multiverse. Plus, there are worlds like Injustice, Bombshells and Gotham City Garage, none of which exist on the Multiversal Map, so there’s no reason the Watchmen world isn’t somewhere out there.
Ultimately, the DC Multiverse is whatever the current writer wants it to be — Hypertime was gone for ten years until it came back because a few writers who grew up with it thought it fit well in their current stories, for example. So if someone like Geoff Johns says the Watchmen world is out there, somewhere, then it is.
Until ten years from now, of course, when someone says it isn’t. But that’s comics.