Random Thoughts On DOOMSDAY CLOCK

DC’s December solicitations came out over the last few days and, with little fanfare, they included the write up for the final issue of DOOMSDAY CLOCK, the Geoff Johns and Gary Frank follow up to WATCHMEN which, by and large, has been greeted favourably.

As we probably all know by now, DOOMSDAY CLOCK launched in November 2017 and was meant to take a year to be released. Early promotional interviews revealed it was set a year into the future of the DCU so that, by the time it finished, the rest of the DCU would be at the same point as DOOMSDAY CLOCK‘s finale.

Scheduling problems mean that it’s now two years since the start of the series and, during that time, so many things have come in to play that I can’t help thinking that once finished, DOOMSDAY CLOCK will have next to no impact on the main DCU.

One of the threads running through the story is the Superman Theory – a conspiracy theory that says the American government is responsible for the creation (and thus controls) the superheroes. As a consequence, the public distrust them and superpowered beings are heading to Khandaq, the last refuge for them.

In recent issues, Superman has been blamed for the deaths of dozens of Russian soldiers and Firestorm appears to have exploded in the same confrontation. American citizens are rioting in multiple cities, demanding the fall of Superman and other heroes.

None of the above is being mentioned in any other DCU series – everyone’s either ignoring the deaths of multiple characters in the horrible HEROES IN CRISIS; running around trying to work out who Leviathan is; fighting with characters from the Dark Multiverse; or are too busy dealing with the ramifications of UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED Year of the Villain where Neron Lex Luthor is offering the bad guys new powers.

And speaking of Luthor, he plays a small but important part in DOOMSDAY CLOCK which gives lie to the original idea that the rest of the DCU would connect to it. Here’s how the character appears in DOOMSDAY CLOCK and current issues of JUSTICE LEAGUE:

As the Justice League storyline of Justice/Doom War is only just getting underway and is due to run well in to next year, there’s no way Lex is suddenly going to transform from the “apex predator” version of himself on the right to the standard Lex we all love to hate on the left.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK looked to be set to return the Justice Society of America to the DCU, a team that’s been missing since the New 52 was instigated in 2011; it was also bringing back the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Both teams have now been reintroduced in other titles – the JSA in JUSTICE LEAGUE and the Legion in their own, forthcoming title, making the reveal and tease of them in DOOMSDAY CLOCK now redundant.

I can’t help but wonder if some of the publishing problems the series has had is down to DC editorial saying to Johns and Frank – “You know those plans you had bring back the Legion and the JSA? Bendis and Snyder want to play with them, so can you alter your story?” – forcing them to re-jig some elements. It would sort of explain why Saturn Girl, teased as an important player in the story, is basically taken off the board in an almost throwaway moment:

There’s no way the DCU is going to reflect the DCU shown in the pages of DOOMSDAY CLOCK; there’s been no hint that any other title is going to tie in to this world – it’s basically being ignored.

Sad to say, as good as DOOMSDAY CLOCK is (and it is good) I can see it being consigned to a self-contained story, perhaps shunted off to one of the unknown Earths from Grant Morrison’s MULTIVERSITY, a way of saying “Wasn’t that a great story? Now, on with the rest of the DCU…”

While Geoff Johns was once the golden boy at DC, in the time he was away dealing with film and TV, Brian Michael Bendis has come in and taken over the Superman line; Scott Snyder is running the Justice League; and REBIRTH has been quietly moved to one side, and the DCU has become a lot darker since.

In an interview before the series began, Johns said:

[DOOMSDAY CLOCK] will have an impact on the entire DC Universe. It will affect everything moving forward and everything that has come before.

I really doubt that’s going to come to pass now.