Doctor Manhattan made his first significant appearance in DC’s Watchmen sequel Doomsday Clock today, and in the process readers learned more about how he altered the timeline of the DC Universe.
Warning: this article contains spoilers for Doomsday Clock #7!
One of the central mysteries of Doomsday Clock involves the question of what Doctor Manhattan is trying to accomplish. Why did he alter the history of the DC Universe and remove a decade’s worth of time? Is he merely tinkering with time out of idle, scientific curiosity, or is there something more at play?
This issue suggests the latter. It opens with narration from Manhattan himself, who is still experiencing time out of linear order and reflecting back on his experiments in the DCU. Readers learn that one of Manhattan’s first actions was to travel to 1940 and interfere in the origin story of Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott. Manhattan caused Scott to die in the railroad accident that should have sparked his transformation into Green Lantern, robbing the DCU of one of its first and most important heroes.
Manhattan also resurfaces in the present day, with Ozymandias revealing that Scott’s Green Lantern battery and the cloned Bubastis kitten are the key to tracking Manhattan’s tachyon signature. Ozymandias is able to force Manhattan out of hiding and reveal himself for the first time.
Manhattan is unhappy about being interrupted, revealing that he’s still in the midst of carrying out his grand cosmic experiment. Before disappearing again, he reveals two important secrets to the gathered assembly of heroes and villains – Ozymandias was faking his brain cancer, and Marionette is pregnant again.
No sooner does Manhattan vanish again than Ozymandias’ ragtag team breaks apart. New Rorschach Reggie Long is distraught to learn about Ozymandias’ betrayal and the fact that he was manipulated into becoming Rorschach. Reggie abandons the Rorschach mask, but not before giving Joker a well-deserved beating.
This issue ends with Manhattan reflecting on these new events and his growing curiosity about the future of the DC Universe. Mirroring the original Watchmen, Manhattan notes that he can’t see farther than one month into the future. Manhattan fears that this is either a sign that the universe is about to end or that Superman is destined to kill him.
Will Superman actually kill Doctor Manhattan? Or, as in the original Watchmen, is there more to the future than meets the eye? Let us know what you think in the comments below.