DC Comics Doomsday Clock: Watchmen, Rebirth & Everything You Need To Know

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Doomsday Clock #1 arrives Nov. 22. Here's everything you need to know about Watchmen and the DC Universe. DC

November 22 marks the biggest comic book event of the year. DC Comics’ Doomsday Clock connects Watchmen to the DC Universe. The story has been brewing for more than a year, and we’ll finally get an explanation about why The Flash and Batman believe someone’s been messing with the timeline.

From the creative team of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, Doomsday Clock #1 arrives Wednesday, the same date the 12-issue series begins. For those who haven’t read, or need a refresher on, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's iconic series, Watchmen, as well as Geoff Johns’ massive DC event Rebirth, we’ve got you covered. Of course, spoilers for the last 20 years ahead. Watch the video or read the text below. 

Watchmen depicts a world where Russia and the United States are on the verge of nuclear war. Tensions are at an all time high, but the main conflict of the series comes from the murder of The Comedian, a not-so-nice former hero. Rorschach, a masked vigilante, starts to see threads between The Comedian’s death and something bigger. What follows is a journey for the truth as Rorschach recruits former heroes to join his cause.

This brief synopsis can’t do the story justice, but the shortest version is that Ozymandias, another former hero, was the mastermind behind the Comedian’s murder. The Comedian discovered Ozymandias’ plan to stop the two nuclear powers from destroying the world by fabricating an alien attack. Despite Rorschach, Silk Spectre, Doctor Manhattan and Nite Owl’s best efforts, Ozymandias unleashes a mutant squid-alien-thing upon New York City. The scheme kills millions.

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Time Magazine named Watchmen one of the best books of all time. Photo: DC

Ozymandias, considered the smartest man in the world, knew Russia and the United States would put aside their differences and work together to bring peace to the world in the wake of the impending alien threat. It ultimately worked, but Rorschach does not agree to keep Ozymandias’ secret. Before Rorschach can inform the world of what Ozymandias did, Doctor Manhattan kills him and leaves Earth. Unbeknownst to them Rorschach kept a journal that detailed everything. .

So how does Watchmen, a story that began in 1986, tie into the present day DC Universe? It all starts in 2011. DC Comics launched the Flashpoint event that saw Barry Allen, a.k.a. The Flash, travel back in time to stop his mother from being murdered. This set off a chain of events that would change the world forever.

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Barry Allen might not be the only one messing with the DC timeline. Photo: DC

In this new timeline a war between the Amazons and the Atlanteans threatens to destroy the Earth, so Barry travels back in time again to set things right. However, in the process, he causes the creation of the New 52 Universe, basically a reset continuity that sets heroes back to square one. Characters who once had a history together, didn’t. It was an initiative to bring in new readers without decades of continuity to lean on.

Five years later came the Rebirth initiative, a massive event that melded the New 52 and the pre-New 52 together. Geoff Johns recently confirmed that Doctor Manhattan, the almost omnipotent powerhouse from Watchmen , was the mysterious being behind the creation of New 52 and the one who has taken years from our heroes lives.

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The Button released April 19. Photo: DC Comics

At the end of Rebirth, Batman and The Flash have been trying to figure out why they feel a whole 10 years has been taken from them. But so far, as seen in a four-part crossover series called The Button, their investigation delivers no answers beyond a button once belonging to The Comedian.

Doomsday Clock should tells us what has been going on in the DC Universe, but it will inevitably raise more questions than answers. What is Doctor Manhattan’s plan? Where does the DCU fit into all of this? How the hell is Rorschach back from the dead? We’ll just have to wait until Doomsday Clock #1 arrives Nov. 22.

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