The first six pages of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Doomsday Clock #1, DC’s upcoming DCU/Watchmen crossover, have been released to the public as a black & white ashcan exclusive to those in the New York Comic Con panel - and they contain the story’s first major surprise.
And luckily, Johns offered "director's cut" style commentary of the pages in that panel, which we're weaving in here - along with pages just released by DC.
Spoilers ahead for Doomsday Clock #1.
In the pages, readers learn that in the Watchmen universe it is now 1992. Several years have passed since Ozymandias’ fake alien attack, which killed millions.
Though his plan was successful, the discovery of Rorschach’s journal led to the plot being uncovered - and Earth's population in an uproar. Ozymandias is now the most wanted man in the world, being pursued for the murder of millions of people.
At the same time, the world’s political climate has degraded even further. Now, the United States and Russia sit on the brink of nuclear war. As Johns explains, the world is crumbling and there is no leader in sight.
Russian soldiers invade Ozymandias' base in Poland and find an X-Ray showing a tumor present in the skull.
With Russia invading Poland, the U.S. gives Russia four hours to retreat and cease their aggression, or the U.S. will launch a nuclear strike.
As national news networks sign off in anticipation of nuclear war, a warning goes out that all citizens should evacuate all “red zones,” high profile targets for a nuclear strike.
In the process, a prison is being evacuated. As guards and inmates struggle over a ring of keys, an off-panel presence stops the fight, and we see a gloved hand reach down and pick up the keys.
It’s Rorschach - somehow back from the dead.
A prison, who was trying to convince a guard to let him out is now confronted by Rorschach with those keys and he demurs from escaping.
"Ultimately, we'll begin the story and Rorschach needs to find Doctor Manhattan, and he's in a very familiar place if you're a DC fan," said Johns.
Those interested in Doomsday Clock only need to read Watchmen and have a general idea of who Batman and Superman are to understand this upcoming event book.
You can read the entire Doomsday Clock ashcan here.
Doomsday Clock #1 is scheduled to be released Tuesday, November 21 at 11:57pm in select stores, and November 22 everywhere else.