Spoilers ahead for this week's Doomsday Clock #1.
Doomsday Clock #1 revisits the characters from Watchmen, picking up the story sometime later and plunging that world toward the brink of nuclear war.
And although the promised confrontation between Watchmen and the DCU doesn't even start yet in the first issue, there are a few revelations about the status of these characters as the 12-issue event begins.
- The person wearing Roschach's mask is not the Rorschach from Watchmen.
- Ozymandias is hiding from authorities, and he has a brain tumor.
- The new Rorschach and Ozymandias are working together. Their mission is to find Dr. Manhattan.
- Two new-ish characters are introduced: The Marionette and Mime. They're based on Punch and Jewelee from th DCU, and they're apparently going to help Ozymandias find Dr. Manhattan.
This issue is also filled with humor, and its style pays homage to the original Watchmen. Written by Geoff Johns (DC's Chief Creative Officer and one of its presidents) and drawn by Gary Frank (who frequently collaborate with Johns), Doomsday Clock serves as a sequel-of-sorts to Watchmen and promises to cross the characters over into the DCU.
How does it play out in issue #1?
It's November 22, 1992, and the world is going to crap. Showing various TV news reports - a very Watchmen-like tactic - Doomsday Clock #1 makes it clear that, as bad as the Watchmen world was before, it appears to be even worse now.
Russia is about to invade Poland, and North Korea has missiles that can reach all the way to Texas. The Vice President of the United States just killed the Attorney General, and he took the Israeli Prime Minister hostage. And people are flooding out of the U.S. into Mexico.
Basically, things are bad. And with the writer using words like "collusion" and "political unrest" to describe the environment, Doomsday Clock #1 echoes the absolute worst of current affairs.
By the third page, readers get their first hint of Adrian Veidt, Watchmen's Ozymandias. The news reports announce that the character is wanted for crimes against humanity - specifically, we assume, his actions within the original Watchmen, which a newspaper headline calls "The Great Lie."
But the broadcast news reports don't last long. The government is apparently shutting them down, and an official National News Network representative takes over.
He announces that the invasion of Poland has happened. Nuclear weapons are being launched to retaliate, and major U.S. cities are being evacuated.
Sure feels like the end of the world.
Concurrently, readers are shown that within Veidt's corporation, a medical facility still has an X-ray on display. It shows a brain tumor. Adrian, perhaps?
Next comes what is perhaps the biggest mystery of the issue - a scene involving someone wearing Rorschach's mask. It's implied that the person is not Rorschach, but it's instead someone identifiable by the palm of his hand.
The revelation about his identity (and his hand) comes as he's trying to get a woman out of jail - a villain called the Marionette who is afraid of the real Rorschach.
The character wearing the mask sure reads like Rorschach, his mumble taking readers through a series of jumbled memories and observations.
But when Marionette says she won't go with Rorschach because he threatened her in the past, he replies that it wasn't him.
"Not same guy," he says. "Different."
She tells him to prove that he's a different person. This new Rorschach takes off his glove and holds his palm toward the woman, and she's surprised.
"You're out of your mind dressing like that," she says, apparently convinced now that he's not the real Rorschach.
The new Rorschach says that if Marionette goes with him and does one job, she'll get to see her son again. He claims that he doesn't know where the boy is, but his "partner" does. And if she helps them "find God," they'll tell her how to find her son.
Hmmm….who's Rorschach's partner?
Off to See the Wizard
Marionette agrees to go with Rorschach - but only if he breaks her husband out of prison too. So he does. And hubby's name is Mime - he doesn't talk and has pretend weapons. Yep, he's really a mime.
A really creepy mime.
After Marionette tells Mime that this isn't the real Rorschach (even though he says "I am Rorschach"), the three break out of prison and leave in Rorschach's smelly brown car.
The arrive at Nite Owl's lair, complete with docked Owlship. But Nite Owl isn't there - it's Adrian Veidt.
He's Roschach's partner.
Through conversation, it's implied that this Rorschach is much more unpredictable and potentially violent than the original.
It's also revealed that Adrian is the one with cancer. The X-ray was apparently his.
He tells Marionette that she has been summoned to help with their mission - to find Dr. Manhattan.
Readers are shown Dr. Manhattan's last words: "I'm leaving this galaxy for one less complicated."
Then Adrian says, "We need to find Jon..."
The scene changes to the Metropolis skyline as Adrian's final words are spoken: "…wherever he's retreated to."
The scene shifts to the bedroom of Clark and Lois Kent in DCU where the two are asleep.
Just a Dream
The scene shifts to a teenaged Clark sitting in a car with his mom and dad. They're talking to him before he gets out of the car to attend a high school dance.
As he enters the building, Ma and Pa Kent discuss Clark's future. They wish they had given their son a brother or sister.
"Me too, Martha," Pa Kent says, "but this is God's plan."
Right then, an auto comes flying toward the Kents' car and crashes into it. Their vehicle runs into a tree.
Clark wakes up, startled. Lois tells him the whole room shook when he yelled in his sleep.
It was a dream, Clark says, about the night his parents died. Lois says she can't remember the last time Clark had a nightmare.
"Lois," Superman says. 'I don't think I've ever had one."
The story continues with Doomsday Clock #2, scheduled for release December 27.