Rebirth Year Eighteen (Part 1)

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(January 2020 to June 2020)
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–Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #9-10 (“A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN”)
As seen in the giant continuity error that is the Batman-less epilogue to Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #8 (which actually goes right here despite all appearances within the comic itself), Ra’s al Ghul orders one of his men to violently murder Tina McClintock, a teacher that works at Jefferson’s school in Metropolis. Ra’s al Ghul also has the school bombed. Batman immediately investigates and then visits Jefferson to offer him half-hearted condolences. Understandably, neither Batman nor Katana are able to calm the storm raging within Jefferson. However, Meanwhile, Jefferson and Tatsu meet up later and form a tighter bond, vowing to support each other as best they can. Later, Batman takes Orphan and Signal on a field test, watching them patrol in Metropolis. Afterward, Cassie and Duke finally tell Bruce that Shiva is back, and he scolds them for keeping it a secret. Superman shows up to chat with Bruce, offering condolences about Alfred and warning him to slow his roll in regard to how he handles the Outsiders and the Ra’s al Ghul situation at hand. Bruce scoffs at Superman’s advice, chastising the Man of Steel for having revealed his secret ID to the world. While Bruce and Superman argue, Cassie and Duke vow to support each other as best they can. Later, Shiva approaches Jefferson saying that, together, they can and should kill Ra’s al Ghul. A day later, back in Gotham, Batman meets with Sophia. Then, as Bruce, he meets with Elfa, learning more about Kaliber’s connection to the Markovian Black Market, specifically to arms dealer Martina Dimentieva. Elfa tells Bruce that Dimentieva has an alien doomsday weapon. Bruce knows that Ra’s al Ghul now has the weapon. In Cambodia, Black Lightning and Shiva chase after Dimentieva in an effort to get to Ra’s al Ghul. But before the can get Dimentieva to speak, she is executed by Kaliber, Kharma, and the newest Reaper. (This is the 7th incarnation of the Reaper!) Having trailed Black Lightning, the rest of the Outsiders (Katana, Orphan, and Signal) arrive to better the odds.

–DC’s Crimes of Passion #1 Part 7
The notorious thief known as Nightjar (Colleen Cavill) has returned to Gotham to go on a stealing spree, including a daring robbery of the Penguin. Batman tracks Nightjar, but ultimately turns to the thief’s longtime rival/lover Slam Bradley. Bradley tells Batman that he’ll bring her in once and for all. Bradley meets with Nightjar at a club, but Penguin’s men interrupt their reunion. The duo kicks ass, after which Bradley lets Nightjar go free.

–Detective Comics #1017 Epilogue
February. Two months have passed since the main action of Detective Comics #1017. Bruce, Damian, and Lucius Fox attend the grand opening of the new Miguel Flores Wing at the Martha Wayne Orphanage.

–Batman Vol. 3 #86-88 (“THEIR DARK DESIGNS”)
February. The Bat-computer flags an alert on the deep web about a big assassin hit happening in Gotham in five days’ time. Batman soon discovers that Deathstroke, Cheshire, Merlyn, Gunsmith, and Mr. Teeth are the assassins that have been hired for the score. As Batman preps to fight them, he makes several visits to a Wayne Enterprises hospital construction site. On the night of the big hit, the new Wayne Enterprises Tricorner Yards Campus opens for business. As does the secret Hibernaculum bunker deep beneath it. Batman gives Lucius Fox designs for a new hybrid super-vehicle called the Nightclimber, which Lucius immediately begins running through their autonomous tech-building factory. Later that night, Bruce and Selina attend the grand opening of the new campus, which also functions as an investment fundraiser gala. In attendance are Mayor Dunch and his wife Deborah Dunch. Bruce ditches in order to patrol and re-visit the hospital site. Meanwhile, the assassins enter Gotham, but Batman gets the jump on them, busting all five. In the Tricorner Yards Campus vault, Catwoman prevents a man from swapping out new blueprints with the current Tricorner Yards blueprints. The man then succumbs to a violent and poisonous death before the new villain who hired the five assassins, known as The Designer, speaks through him, telling Catwoman he and his pals have big plans for the city. Meanwhile, Joker continues top secret plans of his own, ordering the execution of henchmen that know about his scheme. Upon hearing about the arrest of the five assassins, Riddler and Penguin both freak out, knowing the Designer is in town. An unhinged Riddler, who has been tweaking on meth for three months (ever since Luthor visited him in Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1), panics while Penguin violently stabs his entire inner circle to death before gearing up for war. Batman debriefs with Catwoman before heading to the Black Block. There, he discovers that Cheshire is still on the loose, having been swapped out with a clay body double. Batman puts a poison-proof protective coating on his costume and then rockets himself out of the Nightclimber in the Bat-Shot, testing the dangerous vehicle on the fly. While the Dark Knight takes down Cheshire, Penguin infiltrates police HQ and opens the cell doors in the Black Block. So much for state-of-the-art security. Sheesh. Penguin kidnaps the prisoners. Meanwhile, Catwoman radios Riddler, reminding him that he, she, Penguin, and Joker made a deal with the mysterious Designer years ago, and now the latter has come to collect. In Gotham’s Potter’s Field, Catwoman digs up a grave and opens a casket revealing a corpse dressed up to look like Joker. Across town, Batman uses a brand new Lucius Fox-designed tech called The Echo, which can turn any car with a Wayne Enterprises engine into a temporary Batmobile. Guided by Lucius, Batman finds Penguin and the captive assassins. Freed, the assassins attack Batman and make their escape by slitting Penguin’s throat. Batman is able to stabilize Penguin, who tells him that the Designer is going after Bruce Wayne, putting into motion a plan that he, Riddler, Joker, and Catwoman initiated years ago. In the graveyard, Catwoman is attacked by several undertakers that are mind-controlled by the Designer. Harley Quinn shows up and rescues Catwoman.

–Batman Vol. 3 #89 (“THEIR DARK DESIGNS”)
At Gotham’s Potter’s Field, Catwoman and Harley Quinn rough up the Designer’s undertaker henchmen. Harley tells Catwoman that the dead Joker corpse is an old Joker henchman, and Joker had left him there as part a lead-in for a big scheme he’s been planning against Batman. Merlyn and Cheshire attack next, keeping Harley and Catwoman on their toes. From a distance, Joker’s new girlfriend Punchline watches with keen interest. After busting Gunsmith and Mr. Teeth, Batman infiltrates Riddler’s not-so-secret lair and finds security footage of the new Big Bad—the Designer. Batman tells Lucius to activate the BatSpawn drones. Lucius does so, sending them after Deathstroke. Catwoman and Harley then show up at Riddler’s lair, meeting up with Batman. Catwoman tells Batman about the deal she and the other Bat-rogues made with the Designer years ago. Meanwhile, Joker and Punchline forge ahead with their own scheme, prepping for engagements with the civilian alter-egos of each primary Bat-Family member.

–Detective Comics #1020
Two-Face has gotten even more unhinged since we last saw him in “City of Bane.” Suffering blackouts and switching randomly switching back-and-forth between his good side and his evil side, Two-Face has started a new cult called The Church of the Two and permanently acid-scarred the entire left side of his body to match his face. After Two-Face brutally murders the notorious DeMarco Brothers, Batman visits the scene of the homicide to gather evidence, instantly recognizing the famous gangsters from his vast criminal databases. An injured Two-Face gets fixed up at an urgent care center, but then kills his doctor. This prompts his cult followers to torch the place. Batman shows up mid-arson and kicks their asses, but they all commit suicide rather than tell the Dark Knight what Two-Face is up to.

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***UNDER CONSTRUCTION! CHANGES PENDING!***

–NOTE: The following Doomsday Clock portion of the site is under construction! Depending on the overall trajectory of DC’s line-wide über-narrative, things may get altered. A lot of the shaky-ground here relates around the fact that Doomsday Clock faced horrible publication delays. It was originally announced to run from November 2017 through January 2019, but postponements led to the final issue being released in December 2019, eleven months after the original plan and over two years after the first issue’s release. Because Doomsday Clock was plagued with these massive delays, many of the other main line DC stories that were supposed to lead up to it seemed to pass it by. It was hard for other DC writers to keep their internal continuities intact in a way that wouldn’t violate Doomsday Clock‘s narrative. In fact, in October 2019, two months before Doomsday Clock‘s final issue was released, senior DC Comics sources told Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston that “if Doomsday Clock had begun publication now, it would most definitely have been a Black Label comic book. And, as a result, out of continuity.”

So, is Doomsday Clock canon or not? In spite of itself, yes it is canon. Muckraker Johnston himself expressed this belief wholeheartedly in January 2020. Furthermore, DC Senior VP Dan DiDio confirmed a “canonicity of errors” in a January 2020 Newsarama interview, stating: “The [delayed release] schedule on Doomsday Clock made it very difficult to align [the rest of the DCU with it]. You’ll see a reflection of Doomsday Clock on the [post-Doomsday Clock rebooted] timeline. A lot of what’s on the [post-Doomsday Clock] timeline has been driven by story beats that came out [before] Doomsday Clock. It is truly affecting the line in that fashion. It doesn’t line up completely, but the sensibility, the purpose, the introduction of the JSA, the introduction of the Legion of Super-Heroes; those are key aspects of what the [new post-Doomsday Clock] timeline is. Once you’ll see it on paper, it’ll all make sense.” Trust me when I tell you, it won’t actually make any sense. But, hey, at least DiDio flatly tells us that Doomsday Clock is canon while admitting the top brass fucked up with the extreme delays.

Scott Snyder, in his “finale” to “Justice/Doom War” in Justice League Vol. 4 #39, heavily implies that Doomsday Clock occurs prior to “Justice/Doom War” (and even prior to Event Leviathan and “City of Bane”), but adds that some higher power (presumably Perpetua) blocked or rewound the effects of Dr. Manhattan’s reboot at the end of Doomsday Clock, simultaneously erasing everyone’s memories of the entire event. With this whopper, we might have to move all of Doomsday Clock back to Year Seventeen.[1]

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #2 and Doomsday Clock #5. Geneticist Dr. Helga Jace and a team of international scientists publicly release preliminary findings as part of an ongoing study into what they call the “Supermen Theory.” Jace and company have reason to believe that the concentration of worldwide metahumans existing primarily in the United States isn’t aleatory. Jace also releases findings that show that the proliferation of superhuman activity over the past ten to fifteen years—especially in America—has been the direct result of a secret US Government program. Jace claims further that many US superheroes and super-villains alike are actually government agents, playing out predetermined roles, or lab experiments designed to be living weapons of mass destruction. Troubled by this possibility, Bruce begins putting a profusion of money into metagene research at Wayne Enterprises. He also purchases Dayton Labs from its owner, Steve Dayton (aka Mento). Likewise, Lex Luthor also begins pouring money into metagene research and the acquisition of new science-and-tech companies. (NOTE: Based upon supplemental material in Doomsday Clock #2, this item occurs about six months prior to Metamorpho and Dr. Kirk Langstrom getting outed as government agents and the start of Lex Luthor ramping up his anti-metahuman campaign. We can and should take this six months as gospel. However, the dates attached to the supplemental material in Doomsday Clock #2, which hint at June 2017, must be ignored. Brian Michael Bendis’ meta opening splash page from Action Comics #1002, which occurs in summer 2018 and references the Superman Theory, must also be ignored.)

. . .

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #5. (This item occurs three months prior to the main action of Doomsday Clock.) Jack Ryder (aka the Creeper), while on assignment for his news agency in Kahndaq, is abducted and held captive by King Kobra.

. . .

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #5 and Doomsday Clock #8. (This item occurs one month prior to the main action of Doomsday Clock.) With the threat of King Kobra growing within Kahndaq, Black Adam meets with the world’s most powerful leaders, signing a global pact that grants him authority to execute Kahndaqi law (a very brutal and oppressive type of jurisprudence) as long as he does not cross international borders. Black Adam is more than happy to be publicly legitimized as a world leader in any way, shape, or form. Now with reluctant international backing, Black Adam immediately begins a “war on terror,” violently striking out against King Kobra.

. . .

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #2 and Doomsday Clock #5. (This item occurs a few weeks prior to the main action of Doomsday Clock. Six months have passed since Dr. Helga Jace first published her Supermen Theory findings.) A tax fraud investigation into Simon Stagg stirs up evidence seemingly proving Dr. Helga Jace’s conspiracy in regard to Metamorpho. The Stagg investigation leads to the public release of Department of Metahuman Affairs classified documents, which confirm Metamorpho’s false provenance and creation by the US Government. The documents show that Metamorpho was (and has been) secretly working with his “arch-rival” Stagg and all of his other rogues, playing out a false hero-villain narrative for years, in order to mask their connections to the government. The public goes into an uproar. Batman is deeply troubled by this news, especially since he has worked closely with Metamorpho. Not long after, Jace’s Supermen Theory immediately gains even more traction (and is basically ubiquitously validated by the global public) when Dr. Kirk Langstrom publicly admits that his Man-Bat experimentation has always been secretly sponsored by the Department of Metahuman Affairs. Yet another of Batman’s allies has been working for the government on the down-low. Following his admission, Langstrom goes missing. Public trust in the metahuman community instantly drops to zero. Meanwhile, LexCorp, in its ongoing effort to upgrade its metagene research, finalizes purchases of Kord Industries, Genetech, and the Sunderland Corporation. President Trump denies that the Supermen Theory is true. (NOTE: The early December 2017 dates attached to this reference—taken from supplemental material in Doomsday Clock #2—must be ignored.)

. . .

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #2. In the wake of the latest “Supermen Theory” revelations (which happened about a week-and-a-half ago), Russia forms a military alliance with Markovia. (NOTE: The December 11, 2017 date attached to this reference—taken from supplemental material in Doomsday Clock #2—is incorrect.)

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #2 and Doomsday Clock #5. Sparked by the latest “Supermen Theory” revelations and the Russian-Markovian Alliance (which formed just over a week ago), Lex Luthor unleashes a highly-funded all-out anti-metahuman campaign. He demands that all superheroes and super-villains unmask, to which Superman publicly rebukes. Metamorpho’s longtime girlfriend Sapphire Stagg publicly turns on both Metamorpho and her father, Simon Stagg. Metamorpho and Stagg immediately go off-the-radar and into hiding. The next day, as Bruce attends a Martha Wayne Mental Health fundraiser, Luthor funds an act of industrial espionage aimed at stealing metagene research information from Wayne Enterprises. This failed thievery leads to the arrest of four Wayne Enterprises employees. Bruce speaks with the media about the situation and also reveals that Wayne Enterprises is purchasing Stagg Industries. Luthor, as he is so good at doing, denies involvement and distances himself from the crime completely. Undeterred by his inability to pilfer the metagene research, Luthor tries another means—corporate takeover. Luthor counters Bruce’s announcement by announcing his own interest in a LexCorp buyout of Wayne Enterprises, appealing directly to the Wayne Enterprises Board of Directors. (NOTE: The December 19-20, 2017 dates attached to this reference—taken from supplemental material in Doomsday Clock #2—are incorrect.)

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #5-6. The original Killer Frost (Louise Lincoln) admits to being a Department of Metahuman Affairs agent. She also publicly accuses Firestorm, Firehawk, Captain Atom, Moonbow, and Typhoon of being secret DMA agents as well. Pozhar backs Louise Lincoln’s claims. Firestorm vehemently denies the accusation. President Trump continues public denials. (Moonbow and Typhoon are indeed actually DMA secret agents.) The author of the Superman Theory, Dr. Helga Jace, tells the news media that Geo-Force once secretly worked with Batman (as part of the clandestine Outsiders team). Geo-Force publicly denies having ever worked with Batman. Meanwhile, various nations—Russia, Markovia, France, Israel, the UK, India, China, Kahndaq, Iran, Australia, and Japan—begin assembling official government-sponsored super-teams in response to the ever-growing Supermen Theory conspiracy. (NOTE: It is unknown whether the late May or late July dates attached to this reference—taken from supplemental material in Doomsday Clock #5-6—are correct.)

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #5-6. Several nations’ superhero teams go public. Russia’s People’s Heroes roster features Pozhar (ex-Red Shadows and Rocket Red Brigade), Black Eagle, Firebird (Pozhar’s neice and ex-Soyuz), Lady Flash (ex-Blue Trinity), Morozko (ex-Soyuz), Negative Woman (ex-Checkmate, Agency, and Doom Patrol), Perun (ex-Soyuz), Red Star (ex-Teen Titan), Rusalka (ex-Soyuz), Snow Owl, Steel Wolf (ex-Red Shadows and Suicide Squad), Tundra (ex-Global Guardians), Vikhor (ex-Soyuz), and Vostok-X III. Markovia’s Outsiders lineup, which consists of ex-Outsiders or folks related to the Outsiders, features Geo-Force, the Eradicator (possibly merged with Dr. David Connor again), Baroness Bedlam (likely a relative of Baron Bedlam), Charlie Wylde, Terra IV, and Knightfall (someone that wears a version of Jean-Paul Valley’s old Az-Bat costume, likely related to ex-Outsiders Atomic Knight and Windfall). The UK’s Knights Inc consists of Knight (ex-Club of Heroes, Ultramarine Corps, and Batman Inc), Beaumont, Canterbury Cricket, Crusader, Godiva (ex-JLI), Golden Pharaoh, the Hood (ex-Batman Inc, Spyral, and THEY), Jack O’Lantern (ex-Global Guardians, Leymen, and Ultramarine Corps), Looking Glass (ex-Blasters), Lionheart (ex-JLI), Mrs. Hyde, Ridge (ex-Ravagers), a new Silent Knight, a new Squire, and Templar (ex-Conglomerate). The new French-run Justice League Europe features Crimson Fox (ex-JL, JLI, Université Notre Dame des Ombres, and Global Guardians), Fleur-de-Lis (ex Département Gamma, Global Guardians, and Ultramarine Corps), The Hunchback, Musketeer (ex-Club of Heroes and Global Guardians), Nightrunner (ex-Batman Inc), and Thief of Arts. Israel unveils a new Hayoth: Seraph (ex-Global Guardians), Dybbuk (ex-Hayoth), Golem (ex-Hayoth and Leymen), Judith (ex-Hayoth), Pteradon, and Ramban (ex-Hayoth). India’s The Doomed features Celsius (ex-Doom Patrol and Black Lantern Corps), Aalok of the Komeriah, Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man (ex-Front Men), Aruna Shende, Beast Girl, Maya (ex-JLE and JLI), Solstice (ex-Teen Titans), and Son of Kalki (Celsius’ sister). China expands its Great Ten into the Great Twenty, consisting of Super-Man (ex-JLC and Ministry of Self-Reliance), Accomplished Perfect Physician (ex-Great Ten), Bat-Man (ex-JLC and Ministry of Self-Reliance), August General in Iron (ex-Great Ten, JLI, and Checkmate), Celestial Archer (ex-Great Ten), Dao (ex-Zhuguan), Flash Avery Ho (ex-JLC, China White Triad, and Ministry of Self-Reliance), Ghost Fox Killer (ex-Great Ten), Gloss (ex-New Guardians and Global Guardians), Guanxi (ex-Zhuguan), Immortal Man in Darkness (ex-Great Ten), Mother of Champions (ex-Great Ten), Night-Dragon, Ri (ex-Zhuguan), Seven Deadly Brothers (ex-Great Ten), Shaolin Robot (ex-Great Ten), Socialist Red Guardsman (ex-Great Ten), Striker Z (ex-Power Company), Thundermind (ex-Great Ten), and Wonder-Woman (ex-JLC and Ministry of Self-Reliance). Japan alters its Big Science Action into Big Monster Action, consisting of Rising Sun (ex-Global Guardians and Big Science Action), Goraiko (ex-Ultramarine Corps and Big Science Action), Hammersuit Zero-X (ex-Big Science Action), Judomaster (ex-Birds of Prey), Naiad (ex-Parliament of Waves), Ram (ex-New Guardians and Global Guardians), Samurai, Nazo Baluda, and several unnamed domesticated kaiju. Iran’s Elite Basu (aka Elite Basij) features Sayeh the Seer (ex-Others), The Blacksmith of Tehran (likely Amunet Black, meaning ex-Rogues), Manticore (likely Saied, meaning ex-Jihad, Injustice League, and Leviathan), The Patient One, Sirocco, and Super-Shayk. Australia’s team is called The Sleeping Soldiers, comprising Dreamer (ex-New Guardians), The Argonaut, Dark Ranger (ex-Batman Inc), Miss Midnight, the Tasmanian Devil (ex-Global Guardians, Ultramarine Corps, and JLI), and Umbaluru. Black Adam doesn’t go public with his Kahndaqi team’s lineup, which numbers in the dozens, but the DMA is aware that Syrian metahuman and former Global Guardian Sandstorm has joined him. (NOTE: It is unknown whether the late May or late July dates attached to this reference—taken from supplemental material in Doomsday Clock #5-6—are correct.)

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #3. Batman retires his costume and tailors a new model with a raised yellow-oval chest symbol. He begins wearing this new costume.

–Doomsday Clock #2-4
On Earth-Watchmen the year is 1992, and chaos reigns supreme as the world has finally discovered the truth about Ozymandias‘ “alien attack” from years prior (as seen in the pages of Watchmen). With nuclear holocaust set to destroy all life on the planet, Ozymandias gathers a new Rorschach and husband-and-wife-criminal duo Marionette and The Mime to assist him on a quest to find Dr. Manhattan and convince him to save their world. (Ozymandias has traced Dr. Manhattan’s energy signature to Earth-0.) After Ozymandias shows Rorschach old security footage of Dr. Manhattan busting the couple but showing non-lethal mercy, the foursome (along with Ozymandias’ new pet lynx Bubastis II) travel through the Bleed via Nite Owl‘s rigged-up Owlship just as Earth-Watchmen goes kablooey. On Earth-0, Bruce undergoes his annual psych exam, lying about what he sees in rorschach pictures as he does every year in order to pass. Afterward, Lucius Fox scolds him, telling him to take LexCorp’s recent industrial espionage more seriously. They also discuss the fact that Lex Luthor wants to purchase Wayne Enterprises in order to obtain their research on the metagene. With the espionage case linked to the “Supermen Theory” revelations, along with flames of paranoia being stoked by Russia and Markovia, anti-Batman protesters march throughout Gotham. Meanwhile, the Watchmen Universe characters arrive on Earth-0. Ozymandias handcuffs Marionette and the Mime to the inside of the Owlship before departing with Rorschach. After some research at the public library, Rorscach heads toward Wayne Manor while Ozymandias goes to LexCorp. Bruce ignores Lucius and suits up as Batman to bust an escaped Mad Hatter, Tweedledee, and Tweedledum. Rorschach, after a nap and breakfast in Wayne Manor, discovers the Batcave and trips the alarm. Batman returns home to confront him. Meanwhile, Marionette and the Mime escape (as part of Ozymandias’ plan). Concurrently, Luthor, fires (i.e. disappears) more failed scientists from his company. An unbidden Ozymandias shows up and basically tells Lex the whole story of Watchmen. Out of nowhere, The Comedian (Edward Blake) returns! (At the time of his death, the Comedian was saved by Dr. Manhattan, whose cosmic spacetime rejiggering caused the Comedian’s fatal fall to land him safely in Earth-0’s Metropolis Harbor instead of splat on the sidewalk. However, since the events of the original Watchmen series remain unaltered, with the Comedian’s death still having seemingly occurred, we must assume one of the following scenarios. Option one: Dr. Manhattan created a duplicate Comedian, who we see now. Option two: This is the original Comedian, and Dr. Manhattan saved and stole him away but created another Comedian body to act as a physical replacement on the unaltered Watchmen timeline. Option Three: This is the original Comedian and he will return to complete his cycle of death.) The Comedian accidentally shoots Luthor while aiming for Ozymandias, who jumps through a window and crash lands, winding up unconscious and in the custody of the Metropolis PD. Meanwhile, Rorschach gives Batman the original Rorschach’s journal. While Batman reads, Alfred sets Rorschach up with dinner, a shower, and a place to sleep in Wayne Manor. (Note that Alfred’s appearance here might be a bad continuity error, as he was killed off in “City of Bane.” So, either we must ignore all Alfred’s appearances in Doomsday Clock or acknowledge that he was recently resurrected. This sucks, but we’ve already had to ignore Alfred in other comics prior to this thanks to the editorially-created continuity clusterfuck surrounding Alfred’s untimely demise.) Meanwhile, at an assisted living home, a troubled 102-year-old Johnny Thunder ponders his life as the other geriatrics fight over the TV, switching between a Nathaniel Dusk movie from the 50s and news—featuring stories about an explosion in Germany linked to The Wild Huntsman, anti-metahuman dissidence, the ongoing global metahuman arms race, and Luthor’s latest metagene detector invention. The Mime and Marionette brutally kill everyone inside a Joker-run bar. (Joker has recently amassed a few properties and a small army of henchmen, each of whom are inked with Joker tattoos, courtesy of Shakey.) Twenty four hours later, having read the old Rorschach’s journal, Batman decides the current Rorschach is dangerous or crazy or both. With the backing of Arkham Asylum officials, the Dark Knight tricks Rorschach into accompanying him to Arkham, where he locks the latter in a cell. The next day, Batman—in disguise as a psychiatrist—interviews the troubled Rorschach. A day later, Batman debriefs Alfred in the Batcave. Concurrently, Saturn Girl opens Rorschach’s cell in Arkham. Having telepathically scanned his mind, she’s learned all about the history of Earth-Watchmen and that Rorschach is Reggie Long, mentally-scarred son of Malcolm Long, the original Rorschach’s psychiatrist. Reggie trained under elder vigilante Mothman (Byron Lewis) in a mental institution before becoming the second Rorschach, at which point he attempted to kill Ozymandias, but wound up reluctantly joining him instead. While Saturn Girl and Reggie escape, Dr. Manhattan watches everything unfold. He zaps a mosquito, which puffs into a smoke ring that resembles his signature hydrogen atom symbol. A photograph of Jon Osterman (his former self) and Janey Slater (his ex-girlfriend) floats down the hallway. (NOTE: Doomsday Clock #2 and Doomsday Clock #5-6 tell us that Doomsday Clock‘s narrative paradoxically occurs in December 2017 and/or either late May or late July 2019. Obviously, it cannot take place at all three time periods at once. In fact, it’s more likely that it’s none of these dates. See above footnote for details.)

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #11. Batman finds the photo of Jon Osterman and Janey Slater in Arkham Asylum, bringing it into police evidence. This photo is collected by Lex Luthor’s science team.

–Doomsday Clock #5-7
Ozymandias easily escapes from his police-guarded hospital room and reclaims Bubastis. Meanwhile, delayed news comes in from Chechnya. Hawk and Dove have been arrested by the Rocket Red Brigade after aiding Chechen rebels against Russian armored police. The same news report says that, in direct response to Hawk and Dove’s actions, Red Star is coming out of retirement to work for the Russian Government. (TroubleAlert Magazine already reported about Red Star joining the People’s Heroes, so this is old news.) In St. Petersburg, Pozhar goes on live TV to trash Firestorm and announce that Russia’s borders are closing. Within hours, President Vladimir Putin holds a press conference with some of the People’s Heroes, citing that they will work hand-in-hand with Markovian Armed Forces and the Outsiders. At the old folks home, Johnny Thunder reads about a mysterious green flame that has been spotted in a steel mill in Pittsburgh. Knowing that it’s the the lantern-shaped Starheart (the fiery emerald—and sentient—power source for a Green Lantern that never existed on this timeline, but yet one he paradoxically has memories of), Johnny breaks out and heads toward the Iron City via bus. As the Comedian carves his way through Gotham, Marionette and the Mime do the same, learning that Joker and his gang are joining the anti-Bat protests at GCPD HQ. Meanwhile, Batman locates the Owlship in Joker’s old abandoned circus yard and waits patiently for Ozymandias to arrive. Just as they greet each other, a news bulletin goes out telling that the city government has caved to the pressure and put out a warrant for Batman’s arrest. As Batman and Ozymandias fly over the city and argue with each other, more news from abroad reaches the States. Black Adam violated international law, crossing into Syria to rescue Jack Ryder from King Kobra, after which declaring Kahndaq as a refuge for any metahumans seeking asylum. Simultaneously, the US Government decides to pull all of its troops out of the Middle East. With Superman listening outside the window, Lois Lane visits Lex Luthor in the hospital, accusing him of being responsible for the Supermen Theory and subsequent world turmoil. He denies being involved, but says that his sources believe the secret head of the Department of Metahuman Affairs is an ex-Justice Leaguer. (Luthor could be playing down what he knows—he might already know the full truth, being an ex-POTUS.) In Gotham, GCPD HQ is overrun, the Batsignal is smashed, and Commissioner Gordon is knocked unconscious. (Jim Gordon has been reinstated as Commissioner at this juncture.) Ozymandias dumps Batman out of the Owlship into the arms of the angry protestors, who swarm the Dark Knight. A battered and beaten Batman is approached by Joker, Marionette, and the Mime. Concurrently, at the All American Steel Mill in Pittsburgh, Johnny Thunder finds the emerald lantern and is rescued from some junkie attackers by Rorschach and Saturn Girl, who has her Legion ring. In Gotham, Joker collects the badly beaten and unconscious Batman and straps him into a wheelchair. He, along with Marionette, Mime, and his henchmen, attend an underground meeting of Riddler’s brand new team: The League of Villainy. In attendance are: Mr. Freeze, Mr. Freeze’s henchmen, Sonar, Dr. Poison, Hector Hammond, Dr. Psycho, Giganta, The Judge of Owls, a bunch of Court of Owls members, Captain Cold, Mirror Master, The Top, Heat Wave, Captain Boomerang, Black Mask, Dr. Sivana, Moonbow, Typhoon, Black Bison, Two-Face, Scarecrow, Penguin, Professor Pyg, Prankster, Toyman, Mad Hatter, Tweedledum, Tweedledee, Nocturna, Tattooed Man, and four others that are obscured and hard to correctly identify.[2] Via the villains’ discussion, we learn that Bane has been busted by the feds, the Suicide Squad has gone MIA in Kahndaq, many of the other villains have fled into hiding, and Wonder Woman has been supposedly kidnapped back to Themyscira by her own people. The assemblage argues on whether or not to flee to Kahndaq or remain in the States. When Joker arrives, the bad guys don’t believe he’s got the real Batman strapped in the chair. Before they can investigate further, the Comedian blows Typhoon’s head off and starts spraying bullets into the crowd. At least one Court of Owls member drops dead and Riddler gets capped in the knee. The Comedian detonates a grenade and the villains all scatter. Later, Marionette and Mime regroup and have sex at a hotel only to be interrupted by the Comedian, who has tracked them. Joker, having followed the Comedian (and still wheeling around Batman), zaps him into unconsciousness and takes his smiley face button-pin. Meanwhile, Moonbow reports back to the secret head of the Department of Metahuman Affairs, asking that her partner Typhoon get the hero’s treatment he deserves as a fallen undercover government agent. The DMA director denies her request, citing that Typhoon’s manufactured history as a villain must remain intact for ongoing security reasons. In Pittsburg, Ozymandias picks up Saturn Girl, Rorschach, and Johnny Thunder. Onboard the Owl Ship, they watch the most recent TV news roundup on CNN, which includes stories about the ongoing metahuman arms race: the People’s Heroes shaking hands with the Outsiders; Big Monster Action’s kaiju (fire trolls) raging out of control in Japan; the Doomed helping children in Calcutta only for their own team member Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man to eat said children; Hayoth’s Dybbuk shutting down Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence computer network; the Sleeping Soldiers entering Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s mind while he sleeps; more paparazzi hounding Firestorm; Superman saving kids in Benghazi, which earns the Man of Steel approval from most international governments, including Libya; and security cam footage of the Comedian. At Joker’s lair, Mime and Marionette torture the Comedian, who says that Dr. Manhattan tasked him with killing Bubastis. (Bubastis has been cloned from the original pet lynx, which had fused with Dr. Manhattan’s DNA at the end of the original Watchmen series. Thus, the new Bubastis is a literal compass that leads to and can summon Dr. Manhattan.) Batman rises out of his chair—(he’s either made a quick recovery or he’s been playing possum for a bit in order to get information)—and begins kicking asses. Ozymandias, with the lantern and Bubastis in his arms, arrives to interrupt the fight. He summons Dr. Manhattan, who appears! Batman says he knows who Dr. Manhattan is—but does the Dark Knight mean he knows about him because he read Rorschach’s journal or does he mean something else? Dr. Manhattan then teleports all the Earth-Watchmen characters to a faraway jungle. Dr. Manhattan tells them he won’t help them, also revealing that he spared the life of Marionette all those years ago because of who her son would grow up to be. He also tells Marionette she is pregnant again and outs Ozymandias, revealing that he doesn’t actually have cancer. Ozymandias was merely faking illness in order to get Rorschach on his side. Dr. Manhattan then drops the biggest bombshell—that he can no longer see the future beyond one month from now. Dr. Manhattan then takes his crew to Washington DC where full scale rioting has begun. After a brief moment there, Dr. Manhattan takes the crew to a repertory theater in Hollywood, which is screening The Adjournment as part of a Nathaniel Dusk movie marathon. Dr. Manhattan says how he was present for the murder of actor Carver Colman (who played Nathaniel Dusk) in 1954.[3] Dr. Manhattan then disappears and sends everyone back to Joker’s lair where the fighting picks up where it left off. Rorshach wails on Ozymandias and bludgeons Joker before shedding his mask and fleeing the scene. While Batman collects a badly-beaten Joker (and Rorschach’s mask), Ozymandias sneaks back onto the Owl Ship and knocks-out Saturn Girl and Johnny Thunder. As live news reports show Black Adam and the Creeper invading Jerusalem, Ozymandias says to himself “I have a plan.” When Ozymandias has a plan, you can be rest assured that things are gonna get nuts. Elsewhere, Lex Luthor mails a package to Lois Lane. On Mars, Dr. Manhattan looks as far ahead into the future as he can, seeing exactly one month to the day an image of what appears to be an angry Superman punching him in the face. (Superman isn’t actually punching him—he’s punching a bad guy behind Dr. Manhattan.) In any case, Dr. Manhattan wonders what will become of the universe. (NOTE: Doomsday Clock #2 and Doomsday Clock #5-6 tell us that Doomsday Clock‘s narrative paradoxically occurs in December 2017 and/or either late May or late July 2019. Obviously, it cannot take place at all three time periods at once. But none of these actually really make any sense. Plus, there’s nothing to adduce that supports any concrete timeframe. See above footnote for additional details.)

–Doomsday Clock #8-9
Nearly three weeks have passed since Doomsday Clock #7. Ozymandias breaks into the Oval Office at the White House and peeps some top secret files, setting into motion a devious plan. A day later, at the Daily Planet offices, Lois complains that someone has rifled through her locked desk. The entire Daily Planet staff watches on live TV as an angry Firestorm confronts the People’s Heroes in front of the Kremlin. The conflict turns ugly when Firestorm accidentally goes kablooey turning a bunch of civilians (including women and children) into seemingly lifeless silverly glass statues. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev immediately denounces Firestorm’s actions as an American terrorist attack. Firestorm disappears and immediate rumors follow that he’s fled to Kahndaq. Superman flies directly to Kahndaq. There, he sees that Giganta has joined Black Adam’s forces. Superman then meets with Black Adam, who welcomes the Man of Steel to his country. Superman meets Sandstorm, learning that he’s only young boy, who escaped the horrors of war-torn Syria. After a brief but tense chat with Black Adam, Superman, satisfied that Firestorm isn’t in Kahndaq, departs for Russia. Back in Metropolis, Lois finds the package that was mailed to her by Luthor. She pops in a flash-drive from the package and watches a video of WWII newsreel footage depicting the Justice Society of America in action. How did Luthor get his hands on footage that’s been erased from history?! Lois doesn’t know what to make of it. Hours later, in Russia, Superman finds Firestorm frantically trying to fix one of the children he’s changed into a statue. With Superman’s stolid presence, Firestorm is able to fix the poor kid, who is thrilled to meet the Man of Steel. In Moscow, Vladimir Putin holds a live news conference at the scene of the Firestorm incident. With the People’s Heroes at his side, Putin declares that the United States has essentially waged war against Russia via the actions of Firestorm. Superman greets Putin and takes the stage. Speaking before the entire world, Superman defends Firestorm’s integrity and says that he can redress the damage he’s done. Superman tells the world that the Supermen Theory is a baseless conspiracy theory with no merit. He denounces the demonization of any group, whether they are metahuman or not. Batman, who had taken off for Russia in the Bat-plane the second the Firestorm incident occurred, nears Russian airspace. Via high-frequency radio, the Dark Knight contacts Superman mid-speech, telling him to shut up and not take a side. Putin interrupts Superman, telling him that he and Pozhar have proof that the Supermen Theory is true. Firestorm returns, hoping to turn all his victims back to normal, but he instills fear in the gathered masses. Russian military shoots at Firestorm and chaos erupts. Several of the statue people are shattered and the People’s Heroes attack Superman and Firestorm. The world watches in stunned silence as Superman battles against Russian military tanks on live TV. As Batman flies over Moscow, he realizes something is off with Firestorm. In a panic, Batman radios to Superman that Firestorm is not in control of his own actions. But it’s too late. Firestorm explodes in a nuclear blast that seems to wipe out most of Red Square. This explosion creates a tachyon cloud that disrupts Dr. Manhattan’s ability to see through time. From a secret location, Ozymandias smiles. Superman, Batman, and Firestorm go into comas. They are rescued by Hal Jordan and Hawkman. Batman goes into Alfred’s care in the Batcave while Superman and Firestorm go into a medical bay at the Hall of Justice. (Batman will remain in a coma for the next five days.) (And don’t forget that Alfred’s appearances in Doomsday Clock might need to be regarded as big-time continuity errors, as he was killed off in “City of Bane.” Either we must ignore all Alfred’s appearances or acknowledge that he’s been resurrected.) With the two main heroes out of commission and unable to defend themselves against slander, Superman is charged with a litany of crimes. As the global court of opinion fully turns against the heroes, protestors picket all over Washington DC. Hoping to distance himself from the debacle, President Trump tweets anti-Superman propaganda. Meanwhile, the Justice League determines that whoever caused Firestorm to go kaboom is currently on Mars. A large contingency of superheroes gathers into an armada of spaceships and departs for the red planet. Among the heroes are: the Justice League, Justice League Dark, the LAW, a few Green Lanterns, the Doom Patrol, the Metal Men, Black Alice (dressed up as a female Blue Devil), the Shazam Family, Alpha Centurion, Stargirl (Courtney Whitmore), Robby Reed (having turned into “Human Starfish” via the power of an H-Dial), and just about everyone else you can imagine.[4] Interestingly, those present aboard the Bat-Family rocket are: Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, Batwoman, Black Lightning, Metamorpho, Katana, Halo, Atomic Knight, and Atomic Knight’s giant dalmatianHaving been out cold for the past five days, Batman finally wakes up from his coma. Upon hearing that everyone has taken off to Mars, Batman realizes that they’ve all been played. He immediately transmits a warning message to Mars, but the message fails to send. In the Hall of Justice, Lois watches over her still-comatose husband. Lex Luthor arrives, telling Lois that he sent her the Justice Society video. On Mars, the superhero army confronts and fights a confused Dr. Manhattan. As he battles them, Dr. Manhattan shows Ronnie Raymond (now awake from his coma) the truth behind his origin. Ronnie not only learns that Professor Martin Stein is the secret director of the DMA, but also that Stein purposefully caused the accident that merged them together to become Firestorm seven years ago. Dr. Manhattan shrugs-off every depredation, defeating all the heroes. Back on Earth, Black Adam, Giganta, and the Creeper attack the UN Building where Wonder Woman is currently giving a peace speech. (NOTE: Doomsday Clock #8 picks-up nearly three weeks after issue #7. In the Russia scenes, there are no leaves on trees and everyone is wearing cold-weather gear. While the seasonal period reads as autumn or winter, this belies the supplemental material of Doomsday Clock #8, which very specifically places the Red Square Firestorm incident on June 5, 2019. Summer does seem to jibe with previous issues. In fact, June corresponds to the prior issue, which was mentioned as possibly happening in late May. HOWEVER, Doomsday Clock #9, which occurs a mere five days after Doomsday Clock #8, shows Washington DC with leafless trees, hinting at wintertime as well! So, maybe we are not in summer, but actually in winter? In any case, the 2019 date must be ignored.)

–Doomsday Clock #11-12
A few days have passed since Doomsday Clock #9-10. Alfred, on Batman’s orders, reads Rorschach’s  journal and heads out in search of Reggie. (Don’t forget that Alfred appearing in Doomsday Clock might need to be regarded as a big-time continuity error, as he was killed off in “City of Bane.” Either we must ignore all Alfred’s appearances or acknowledge that he’s been resurrected.) With the looming threat of Russian retaliation combined with Black Adam’s attack on the UN Building, President Trump seemingly orders a nuclear strike. (This nuclear threat might be phony—actually manufactured by Ozymandias merely to set-up Batman to become outlawed by the government.) Sure enough, Batman responds by breaking into a Strategic Air Command (SAC) facility to physically stop military troops from launching the warheads, an act that supposedly cripples the entire North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) nuclear grid. After doing so, Batman is ambushed by US National Guard troops, but defeats them and escapes. Sure enough, President Trump outlaws Batman, charging him with treason and officially tasking the National Guard with arresting him. General Sam Lane meets with the President and tries to reason with him to no avail. (Note that Sam Lane’s cameo here in Doomsday Clock, like all of Alfred’s appearances, should likely be regarded as a continuity error since he died earlier this year in Event Leviathan. An obvious but ugly fanwank would be that he was recently resurrected. Or maybe the Idiot-in-Chief is calling a random general “Lane” because he doesn’t know his name?) Following his conversation with the general, the President also officially outlaws Superman. At LexCorp, Lex Luthor shows Lois Lane a series of identical photographs his team has found in recent months. Each photo comes from a different time period, but is otherwise identical—the photo of Jon Osterman and Janey Slater. Doctor Manhattan has unknowingly been replicating this cherished item throughout time, leaving it as “chronal debris.” Luthor also shows a “chronal debris” photo of Flash (Barry Allen) teaming up with Flash (Jay Garrick), citing that it was discovered with the JSA film. Luthor, who has long known about the existence of the multiverse, now knows about the Metaverse, citing these images as proof that reality has been rebooted multiple times. His inner hope is to finally find a way to close the “endless loop” that is his war against the Man of Steel. In Gotham, the Mime, the Marionette, and the Comedian wage war against Joker and his henchmen. At Ozymandias’ secret lair, the master villain addresses Saturn Girl, telling her about his master plan to save both Earths—how he manipulated Firestorm, caused the Russian explosions using Bubastis II, and chose the Mime and Marionette to accompany him because their child was adopted by Dan Dreiberg (ex Nite Owl) and Laurie Juspeczyk (ex Silk Spectre). Ozymandias also tells Saturn Girl that she’s a chronal anomaly, existing only because of her metapower. Just like Back to the Future, she disappears into the ether, wiped from reality. (Ozymandias is correct. Dr. Manhattan prevented the original version of the Legion—one which guided and shaped a young Kal-El—from ever forming. This Saturn Girl is not the Rebirth Era Saturn Girl—instead she’s a leftover from a prior continuity and only her incredible cosmic power had been keeping her in existence.) In New York, the Amazons, worried about Wonder Woman, remove her from her battle against Black Adam’s forces, stealing her away to Themyscira. Black Adam and his crew—Giganta, the Creeper, Man-Bat (Kirk Langstrom), Sandstorm, Killer Frost (Louise Lincoln), Lady Clayface, Stingaree, Doc Dread, Moonbow, and Manhunter (possibly Leviathan leader Mark Shaw?)—crash their way onto the White House lawn. Superman wakes up fully healed only to be accosted by US Army soldiers. He ignores them and immediately flies to confront Black Adam. After a brief altercation with Black Adam, Superman soon finds himself face-to-face with Dr. Manhattan. Before they can really confront one another, the Man of Steel is attacked by the Markovian Outsiders, the People’s Heroes, the Elite Basij, and Black Adam’s crew. On the steps of the US Capitol, Knights Inc, Justice League Europe, Hayoth, the Doomed, Big Monster Action, the Great Twenty, and the Sleeping Soldiers join the fray, helping Superman. In Gotham, Reggie is attacked by a racist asshole wearing a thinly-veiled MAGA cap. Alfred saves Reggie after which they are joined by Batman, who apologizes to Reggie and encourages him to put the Rorshach mask back on as a superhero. As Superman begins to succumb to superior numbers, he begs Dr. Manhattan to take action, reminding him that he was once human. Dr. Manhattan, thinking of his long lost love Janey Slater, decides to act. He reboots the entire DCU—and that’s all she wrote for the Rebirth Era! Dr. Manhattan’s reboot undoes the deaths of Ma and Pa Kent, restores the primary version of the Justice Society of America to the Earth-0 timeline, and restores the full history of the Legion, including the team’s interactions with teenage Clark (Superboy). Dr. Manhattan then becomes able to see far into the future of the new metaverse, seeing many things: a warp in the timeline in 2020, another Crisis event in July 2025, a reboot in January 2026 that brings us Earth 5-G, an event involving Bruce’s son and daughter in June 2026, a Marvel/DC Crisis Crossover in July 2030, another reboot in 2038, another reboot not long afterward, then yet another reboot in 2965 (telling us that DC will be rebooting for the next thousand years, so get used to it). Just like Grant Morrison’s ouroboros message at the end of the Modern Age, Johns is telling us here, at the apogee of the Rebirth Era, that we better get used to the rinse-repeat MO of superhero stories, for better or worse. Dr. Manhattan also sees (or possibly creates) an existing timeline that resembles a version of the old Modern Age timeline (Earth-1985) and an existing timeline that resembles a version of the old New 52 timeline (Earth-52).[5] Coming back to the present reality, some narrative threads are tied-off (the superhero war ends) and the final remaining paradox loops are neatly closed as Dr. Manhattan meets with all the Earth-Watchmen characters and Lex Luthor. The latter sends the Comedian back to his death plummet from his penthouse in the original Watchmen. Batman puts Rorschach’s journal into his Batcave Hall of Trophies. The Watchmen characters return home to a saved planet (except Mime and Marionette, who stay on Earth-0). On the saved Earth-Watchmen, in 1993, Ozymandias goes to jail and his young daughter Cleopatra Pak obsesses over him. The Mime and Marionette’s son, Clark, who has been gifted superpowers (by Dr. Manhattan in his apparent final act), goes to live with Dan Dreiberg, Laurie Juspeczyk, and their daughter Sally.

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Beyond dotty continuity resulting from publication delays, Doomsday Clock utilizes a deliberately screwy internal timeline of its own, one that doesn’t make much sense in the normal linear sense of things. And this this is true despite the fact that Doomsday Clock is a mostly continuous and uninterrupted story, meaning, while there are some ellipses, its narrative usually flows from one issue to the next, picking up where each prior issue leaves off. I will break down these time discrepancies issue by issue and try to explain them—and also try to explain how I am handling them in regard to my chronology. We’ll deal with non-deliberate continuity errors (the ones related to the delayed publication schedule) as they arise, but, for now, let’s solely examine the purposefully unsound stuff.

    Doomsday Clock #1: Original solicitation date November 2017. Released November 22, 2017. Cover date January 2018. (Take note of the odd difference between the release date and cover date—and this is even before the title’s horrible delays that stretched things out for two full years. It’s especially ironic that the cover to issue #1 is emblazoned with “THE END IS HERE.” The end is nowhere in sight. Sigh.) On Earth-Watchmen, we are told it is November 22, 1992 or November 23, 1992 in the very first line. And in the very fist line, writer Geoff Johns begins what will seemingly be a recurring leitmotif in this series: dates are not to be trusted. Supplemental material shows newspapers from a couple weeks earlier, dated November 5, 1992. Thus, the November 22 date seems merely to correlate with the release date of this issue.

    Doomsday Clock #2: Original solicitation date December 2017. Released December 27, 2017. Cover date February 2018. The “dates can’t be trusted” theme continues with a flashback security video sequence in which Marionette says “Happy Monday” and the banker says, “It’s Wednesday.” Marionette replies, “Whatever.” Supplemental material shows internet articles dated December 7, 2017, December 10, 2017, December 11, 2017, and December 20, 2017. This seems to place the main action of Doomsday Clock in mid to late December or early January. Despite it being November in the previous issue, we can chalk this up to the fact that issue #2 brought us to a new Earth. The December 7, 2017 article in the supplemental material says that Helga Jace’s Supermen Theory first went public six months prior, which would mean June 2017. The December 2017 date seems merely to correlate with the release date of the issue.

    Doomsday Clock #3: Original solicitation date January 2018. Released January 24, 2018. Cover date March 2018. The “dates can’t be trusted” theme continues with Batman’s dialogue, “I ran a search for temporal anomalies.” Johnny Thunder says it’s the first Monday of the month. While the senile fella is far from a reliable timekeeper, we can use this to place us on the calendar. As per the last issue, we have to be either in mid to late December or early January. Thus, if we take Johnny’s line as gospel, then we must be (and must have been) in January this whole time. The January date also correlates with the release date, so take that for what it’s worth.

    Doomsday Clock #4: Original solicitation date March 2018. Released March 28, 2018. Cover date May 2018. The “dates can’t be trusted” theme continues with Mothman’s dialogue: “It’s warm for December. They say the dimensional rift that opened altered our seasonal clock. It’s going to snow in June. Isn’t that funny?” March is not referenced in the issue.

    Doomsday Clock #5: Original solicitation date May. (Things switch to an every-two-month release schedule instead of monthly.) Released May 30, 2018. Cover date July 2018. Clark mentions that it’s “ten years too late” to ask someone else to be Jon’s godfather. The dialogic intent of this line is to let us know that Jon was born roughly ten years ago, placing us in 2017/2018. However, specific mention is made of Johnny Thunder being 102-years-old. Johns’ “The Button” told us specifically Johnny was born in 1917, which would put us in 2019. This seems very deliberate, as if Johns is course correcting, placing us nearer to where we need to be by story’s end (i.e. 2019, when Doomsday Clock ends it publication run). While Doomsday Clock did eke out its final release in December 2019, the lateness of its final issue seems to place our story in 2020, making Johns’ course correcting still incorrect. Supplemental material gives the date May 30, 2019. This correlates with the release date.

    Doomsday Clock #6: Original solicitation date July 2018. Released July 25, 2018. No cover date. This issue picks up immediately where issue #5 leaves off. Supplemental material places the primary action of issue #6 on Wednesday July 25, correlating exactly with the release date of the comic. No specific year is attached.

    Doomsday Clock #7: Original solicitation date September 2018. Released September 26, 2018. Cover date November 2018. This issue picks up immediately where issue #6 leaves off. We get a myriad of date references as Dr. Manhattan scans through his memories, viewing time as occurring all at once, but none of the dates are important to the continuity of present-day narrative, so there are no problems or contradictions. Likewise, the supplemental material isn’t about ongoing narrative, so it doesn’t contain any continuity problems or contradictions either. While the “dates can’t be trusted” theme seems to be formally abandoned within the narrative here (i.e. no errors), we still get a very blunt message to “not believe what you perceive to be true.” While there might not be any continuity errors in Doomsday Clock #7, the omnipotent Dr. Manhattan speaks about time extensively and talks about how he can no longer see the future. He has a blind spot in regard to time. Dr. Manhattan says that his fight against Superman, of which we see brief flashes, will occur in one month’s time. Johns even ends Doomsday Clock #7 with an R Buckminster Fuller quote: “Seeing-is-believing is a blind spot in man’s vision.”

    Doomsday Clock #8: Original solicitation date November 2018. Released December 5, 2018. (Release schedule begins to slip behind and will only worsen for the rest of the series.) Cover date February 2019. This issue picks up three weeks after issue #7 leaves off. There aren’t really any time references, although the scenes in Moscow look like it is Autumn or Winter—there are no leaves on trees and everyone is wearing cold-weather gear. Before this, I’m not entirely certain there had been any true indicator of season. If it is indeed meant to be Fall or Winter, this is contradicted by the supplemental material of Doomsday Clock #8, which features several newspaper articles responding to the narrative action of this very issue. The articles place the narrative action on June 5, 2019.

    Doomsday Clock #9: Original solicitation date January 2019. Released March 6, 2019. Cover date May 2019. This issue, which occurs a mere five days after Doomsday Clock #8, shows Washington DC with leafless trees, hinting at wintertime (just as the Russia scenes implied in the previous issue)! So, maybe we are in winter? This issue also is chock-full of time references and callbacks to Dr. Manhattan’s cosmic ability to view all time at once (although his vision is blocked by tachyons, just like it was in the original Watchmen). The issue starts with Manhattan talking stochastically about future dates in quick succession. Even the omnipotent Dr. Manhattan is blind to the “truth” of this inconsistent timeline.

    Doomsday Clock #10: Original solicitation date March 2019. Released May 29, 2019. No cover date. Hooo-daisy, this one’s the kicker! Doc Manhattan recalls all the previous DC continuities and reboots in the same way we (the readers) have perceived them over the years, realizing that the multiverse is actually a “metaverse”—an über-narrative that has changed throughout history, with each change coinciding with a publication release date for a continuity-altering comic book issue. Did Manhattan have a direct hand in affecting previous continuities? Or, would current continuity have originally resembled the Golden Age, Silver Age, and several other continuities if not for Manhattan’s meddling? The only chronologies we know 100% for certain that he messed with are the New 52 and Rebirth Era timelines (which are more or less the same for the purposes of this story). While I’m not quite sure about anything that happens in this issue, I am sure that the “dates can’t be trusted” theme has exploded all over every page. Doomsday Clock #10 is about how time is constantly literally being rewritten in the DCU—and how it has been rebooted numerous times in the past eighty years. Beyond this conceit, there are a bunch of glaring chronal inconsistencies (even within the internal narrative of this issue) worth pointing out. First, while technically not an error per se, I’m personally quite miffed that Doc Manhattan’s vision of the Silver Age Superman’s debut is set in 1956, which means that it doesn’t take into account Sliding-Time. C’mon! Sliding-Time moved Superman’s debut to 1966! But I get it, I get it. Manhattan also tells us that Carver Colman left Philly on December 25, 1928 and arrived in Hollywood on December 31. However, on January 19, 1929, Manhattan tells us that Colman has been already been working at Paramount for eight months—an impossibility based upon the timeline he himself gives. There are also a few contradictions regarding the release dates of the Nathaniel Dusk films within this issue. Furthermore, we are shown Colman holding his Best Actor Oscar trophy on April 18, 1952, but Doomsday Clock #3 tells us specifically that he won the award on March 18, 1953, which is nearly a year later. There are also some Los Angeles historical inaccuracies in Doomsday Clock #10, but we can chalk those up to the DCU’s LA being different than our real world LA. Last but not least, Manhattan makes reference to the events of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 as happening “one year ago,” but they actually happened three years ago. This one seems less deliberate than the rest, so we unfortunately should likely chalk this up to the abject publication delays. Sigh.

    Doomsday Clock #11: Original solicitation date May 2019. Released September 4, 2019. Cover date November 2019. This item takes place a couple days after Doomsday Clock #10. While Doomsday Clock #10 mistakenly told us that DC Universe: Rebirth #1 happened “one year ago,” curiously, in this issue, Lex Luthor hints at DC Universe: Rebirth #1 as happening the correct two years ago! Like the last issue, we get a lot of trippy stuff about alternate realities and alternate timelines, including “chronal debris” and Back to the Future style erasures. Admittedly, this issue’s time material is much messier than in prior issues. Time is wonky, as per the theme.

    Doomsday Clock #12: Original solicitation date unknown. Released December 18, 2019. Cover date February 2020. This item continues right from where Doomsday Clock #10 leaves off. Same themes and same deal here, right up to the very end. Superman, quite meta-cheekily, utters the line “Better late than never.” What more can we say?

    CONCLUSION: Clearly, the dates are deliberately disordered and should not be exactly relied upon. Johns, in late 2017, said in interviews that the story would wind up being one year ahead of other ongoing DC stories. Since Doomsday Clock ended publication in late December 2019, we must assume that 2019 (or even 2020) is when Doomsday Clock takes place narratively. Most of the dates, especially in supplemental material, are therefore irrelevant, merely referencing the release dates of the issues. Nevertheless, I will use the dates as best I can to place things accordingly, when I am able to do so. For example, there seems to clearly be about six months from the Supermen Theory going public to the current events of Doomsday Clock, but, as to exact dates, I cannot say for sure. Johns is obviously doing this deliberately in order to keep in step with the theme of Dr. Manhattan’s chronal-manipulation.

  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: Note that the second Tattooed Man, Mark Richards, is shown here, and he insinuates that the first Tattooed Man, Abel Tarrant, died during the Sanctuary massacre. This could be a big-time continuity error that happened due to a miscommunication between creators and editors. It was actually Mark that died during the Sanctuary massacre, which means the Tattooed Man in Doomsday Clock #6 should instead be Abel. And, furthermore, Abel should be saying that his counterpart (Mark) died at Sanctuary. See? They seemingly got it all twisted around. However, another fanwanky perspective is that this is Mark, having somehow come back from the dead (or having miraculously survived the Sanctuary massacre), and, since he is with the villains again, he doesn’t want anyone to know that he had been part of a hero-sponsored rehab venture. Thus, the still-alive Mark is deflecting by falsely claiming that it was the other Tattooed Man at Sanctuary instead of himself. But who really knows.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: Doomsday Clock #7 tells us that Dr. Manhattan caused the death of Alan Scott in 1940, which ensured that he never became a superhero, thus further ensuring that the JSA never formed. The supplemental material from Doomsday Clock #3 tells us that Carver Colman was acquaintances with Frank Farr (Rita Farr’s father), John Law, Sgt. Frank Rock, Jackie Johnson, Randy Booth, Ted Grant, Libby Lawrence, and others, all of whom were originally either members of the JSA or connected to the JSA. Thus, if killing Alan Scott in 1940 ensured the erasure of the Golden Age of superheroes, the 1954 murder of Colman may have been a lynchpin in regard to ensuring the erasure of the Silver Age of superheroes. However, this is still an unknown since we only know Dr. Manhattan was present for the murder of Colman—we don’t know if he was involved in his murder or even if he wanted Colman to die. Also note, as per Flash Vol. 5 #21 (“The Button”), we know Dr. Manhattan prevented several other things from occurring on the Rebirth Era timeline: the original Appellaxian affair that formed the JLA; the Identity Crisis affair, which involved lots of terrible things, including the rape of Sue Dibny and mind-wiping of several heroes and villains; and Barry Allen’s death during the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. As per Action Comics #987, we also know Dr. Manhattan saved Jor-El from dying when Krypton exploded.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: Recently, an H-Dial wound up in the ownership of a teenager named Miguel Montez—as seen in Brian Michael Bendis’ Dial H for Hero series. Robby also co-stars in this series and is the “Operator of the Heroverse” (i.e. master of the H-Dial’s mystic power). Thus, it makes sense that Robby is present here, H-Dialed-up to the max.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: Geoff Johns labels these Earths (1985 and 52) in order to distinguish that they are attached to new timelines—not the original timelines. Since Earth-52 bears the designation of number 52, we’re still operating within the confines of the Local Multiverse map of Earths 0 through 52. (There’s already a pre-existing Earth-52, created by Scott Snyder in Metal. It is home to the Primate Legion, so it would seem that Dr. Manhattan has merged the ape world’s history with a version of the defunct primary New 52 timeline). Earth-1985, on the other hand, with it’s designation number of 1985 (obviously a cute nod to the original Crisis), seems to be way out in the fringes of the greater omniverse. To be clear, Universe-52 and Universe-1985 cannot be the original New 52 or the original Modern Age, respectively. Those timelines are defunct, so these new ones are merely copies. And, the nice thing here (as opposed to the mess created from Convergence when that story tried something similar) is that Johns is deliberately vague as a means of implying that these are definitely not the originals. In fact, if we go by how Johns has handled similar things in his own writing before (Infinite Crisis, for example), then we can even make a further assumption that these new Earths are not the originals, but merely reflections of the originals.

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