DC Comics' entire Rebirth event hinges upon the Watchmen -- specifically Doctor Manhattan -- becoming aware of and meddling with the DC Universe. It was revealed in the pages of last summer's DC Universe: Rebirth one-shot that Manhattan has been rewriting history, erasing heroes and just generally crafting a version of the DCU that is both recognizable and yet somehow not quite right. Essentially, an in-canon description of how many longtime DC Comics readers viewed the publisher's New 52 reboot.
For over a year, DC's heroes, from Batman to Superman to the Titans and Flash and beyond, have been uncovering clues leading them to an inevitable showdown with Manhattan and whomever might be working alongside him for reasons as yet unrevealed. Now, as we head towards 2018, the answers fans have been debating, pundits have theorized over and everyone is waiting to learn are set to be revealed in the pages of Doomsday Clock, and event series written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank.
And it came this close to not happening.
While meeting with the press on the DC Entertainment yacht at Comic-Con International, Johns revealed that while he and Frank had been slated from the start of Rebirth to explain it, the initial storyline for Doomsday Clock never quite coalesced in a way that either creator felt worked.
"On the set of Wonder Woman, we talked a lot about it," Johns told the press. "At the end of the day, we thought, 'You know what? We're not going to do it."
Of course, answers to the mystery revolving around the final pages of the DC Universe: Rebirth one-shot that kicked the Watchmen mystery off had to come in one form or another. But as fate would have it, Johns didn't have to think too long about developing a new approach to dealing with the can of blue, nuclear-powered worms he'd opened after all. "And then the election happened. And then other things in the world happened, and it changed," Johns recalled." Suddenly, the whole story just jumped into my head, and I called Gary and said, 'I just have to pitch this to you, because I have this story, and the story is bigger than I thought it was, it's different than I thought it was, it's more risky than I thought it was.'"
"We're not trying to replicate and do what [Moore and Gibbons] did, we're doing our own thing," Johns said of the final concept he and Frank have settled into crafting, re-stating promises he's made several times since Doomsday Clock was announced. "The story we're telling is a very different story, but it's certainly a very personal story... It is a story about everything: Cynicism and opportunity and corruption, and lies and truth and love, and the lengths people will go for love, and hope. Optimism. Decay. Are our best days behind us, or ahead of us, you know? What is the truth? Do people give up, is it OK to give up, when do you give up, when don't you give up?"
DC Comics' Doomsday Clock, by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank and Brad anderson, begins ticking in November.
This story was supplemented with information from The Hollywood Reporter