WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Heroes In Crisis #9 by Tom King, Clay Mann, Tomeu Morey and Clayton Cowles, in stores now.
At the outset of DC Rebirth in 2016, comic book fans were left shocked when the relaunch's one-shot special ended by teasing the arrival of the Watchmen characters. In that first year, many comics included hints about how the Watchmen might factor in, as well as the event series it was all building towards: Doomsday Clock.
When the Geoff Johns and Gary Frank comic debuted, it was said to be set one year in the DC Universe's future. With a planned 12 issues, the maxiseries was projected to last a full year, at the end of which the rest of the DC books would catch up to the events of Doomsday Clock #1. However, unfortunate delays have led to a scheduling change for the Watchmen crossover series. While the series was meant to conclude in November 2018, it still has a couple of issues to go yet. But the end is, as they say, nigh, and there are signs proving it.
As delays struck, the rest of DC's books slowed their buildup to the start of the event. However, the release of Doomsday Clock #10 has finally come. With the end finally in sight for the series, it appears that the rest of DC's books may be catching up chronologically. After all, on the same day that brought us Doomsday Clock #10, Heroes In Crisis #9 has also been released. The issue may be the conclusion to Tom King and Clay Mann's event, but it also brings a subtle reference to the events of Doomsday Clock.
The Truth is Out There
At the center of Doomsday Clock, there's been a conspiracy fueling worldwide unrest: the Supermen Theory. This theory examines the high number of metahumans based in the United States and posits that, while they claim to have received their powers by accident, most of them were secretly created by the United States government to build a metahuman army. Of course, longtime readers know that this conspiracy is a lie... well, mostly. As it happens, Doomsday Clock #2 revealed that there was some truth to it.
In that issue, we learned that Outsider and Justice League member Rex Mason, Metamorpho, did not actually get his powers from a mystical artifact, but rather thanks to the scientific efforts of Simon Stagg. The retcon came as a shock to fans, but it was something that, ultimately, made sense.
Now, in Heroes In Crisis #9, which takes place before the events of Doomsday Clock #1, we see Metamorpho partly acknowledge that his presumed origin story is actually false. Throughout the murder mystery series, we have seen plenty of pages featuring talking heads, which are meant to be various superheroes' therapy videos from Sanctuary.
In Metamorpho's panel featured in Issue #9, the Element Man says: "There's something about my... Something about where I'm from. How I got this way. I know it ain't right." It's subtle, but it's clear Rex is talking about how he became a metahuman. Knowing what we now know about Metamorpho's origin and involvement in the Supermen Theory, the panel becomes a precursor to Doomsday Clock. Even more than that, it shows that Rex knows that it isn't right, that his lie is misleading and potentially dangerous.
For the time being, it's unclear if Metamorpho will return to play a role in Doomsday Clock's final two issues. However, the reference in Heroes In Crisis is no accident. The Metamorpho revelation is one of the first that will be used to give the Supermen Theory its first sliver of credibility, which means that the rest of the DC Universe is finally close to lining up with the events of Doomsday Clock.