Spoilers ahead for Doomsday Clock #2.
Doomsday Clock #2 brings the characters of Watchmen to the DCU as promised, but with one character's surprise return from the dead.
The issue ends with the surprise appearance of the Comedian, the character whose death kicked off the story of Watchmen when it was published more than 30 years ago.
Readers of Doomsday Clock #2, also discover more about Marionette and Mime's history, see the already-teased meeting between Ozymandias and Lex Luthor, and learn more about the state of the DCU 12 months from now.
Let's dive in and see what happens when Watchmen characters walk into the DCU.
Knock-offs Knocked Up
The story picks up with Marionette - remember her from issue #1? She's the villain that the new, different Rorschach broke her out of prison (along with her husband, Mime), under the orders of his partner, Ozymandias/Adrian Veidt.
As issue #2 begins, Adrian is giving both Mime and Marionette their old costumes back, hoping it will inspire them to cooperate with his plan to find Dr. Manhattan.
Marionette re-tells the story of Adrian's downfall, as Rorschach says that he's keeping an eye on Adrian - and now he'll keep an eye on Mime and Marionette too.
Juxtaposed with this scene is a flashback to the bank robbery where Mime and Marionette were captured (before being put into jail). In the midst of a killing spree that left 37 people dead, the pair were clearly deranged, in a dark comedy sort of way, and the bank's crowd was frightened by their reputation.
The hero who thwarted their bank robbery was Dr. Manhattan/Jon Osterman. And an important moment is shared - as Jon was about to kill Mime, Marionette jumped in front of her husband. The sight of the woman stopped Jon, and it appeared at first that Jon was checking out the woman's curves. However, a caption reveals that Jon didn't kill her because he could tell she was pregnant.
(Thus the child that was taken from Marionette and Mime was born in prison, and - as we found out in the first issue - they're only cooperating with Adrian to find out where their child is.)
Adrian thinks it's important that Jon didn't want to hurt Marionette's unborn child. He tells Rorschach that Marionette "represents a moment in Jon's past … one that I can use to remind him of who he was."
A glimmer of hope within Jon's mind, perhaps?
The scene backs up to reveal that the flashback to the bank is actually being watched by Adrian and Rorschach on a screen in Nite Owl's Owlship.
Adrian has rebuilt the ship to "withstand quantum tunneling," because he's using it to travel to an alternate universe.
End of the World
Doomsday Clock #1 also told readers that the world of Watchmen is on the brink of nuclear war. So Adrian is bugging out just before the first bombs drop, and he's taking Rorschach, Mime and Marionette with him.
As Adrian flies the Owlship over the demonstrating crowds below, he speaks of the intrinsic fields that hold together the components of human bodies. He explains that Jon's intrinsic field was removed twice - first in his initial accident and second by Adrian himself.
Adrian says Dr. Manhattan's blue appearance is the result of electrons leaking from his body (hmmm… that sure sounds familiar).
And those electrons have left a trail that they can follow to find Jon.
The ship makes the jump just before the surface before is obliterated by a nuclear bomb, and the story also jumps to the DCU.
Meanwhile, in Gotham
Bruce Wayne is in the midst of a psychological test, something he has to endure every year because the board of Wayne Enterprises ordered so.
And he's taking a Rorschach test.
All the ink blot patterns remind Bruce of boats, he impatiently tells the psychologist, because he's late for a meeting at the harbor.
As he leaves, he meets with Lucius Fox, telling him that the Mad Hatter and the twins are loose. But Lucius wants Bruce to focus on the fact that LexCorp is about to take over Wayne Enterprises, an action that could expose what Fox has been doing for Batman.
Lucius also points out that Gotham City doesn't want Batman around anymore, and the next scene shows a demonstration in the streets, people angry about the "fascist" Batman and his "vigilante terror." Lucius says the trouble "started with Rex Mason and Kirk Langstrom," but now the mob is after Batman.
Bruce claims that the public's fear of Batman is "temporary paranoia, perpetuated by Russia and Markovia." But he is adamant that Batman must live on, because Gotham needs him.
The Owlship arrives in the night sky over Gotham (cleverly bursting through a cloud where the bat-signal is projected). It crash lands in what appears to be the dilapidated Amusement Mile.
The people inside are knocked out, with Adrian waking first. He walks over to a fallen Rorschach to awaken him, but the groggy suddenly Rorschach freaks out and says he'll kill Adrian.
"No, no, we made an arrangement, remember?" Adrian says. "Reggie…"
Rorschach calms down and realizes where he is. As Mime and Marionette are still unconscious, Adrian puts handcuffs on them and chains them to the wall of the ship. Marionette wakes up and spews insults and cuss words at Adrian, but Adrian explains that they'll be left behind until Jon is located.
Then Adrian's lynx Bubastis appears, and Adrian reveals that the creature is more than just a pet - she's the compass. (Eagle-eyed Watchmen readers will remember, however, that Veidt killed Bubastis in that series.)
After Rorschach and Adrian leave, Marionette whines that it's hot and she needs a drink. She may get one soon, because Mime reveals with a smile that he has a lockpick.
Later in the issue, a panel shows that the two have indeed escaped into the DCU.
Ozymandias and Rorschach walk through the streets of Gotham, ending up at the Gotham City Public Library to do research.
Adrian remarks that some of the heroes in this earth are fictional characters in the world of Watchmen, and Rorschach wonders if maybe Jon created them. Adrian adds that maybe Jon even is one of them, perhaps wanting a second chance to save the world.
And Adrian is still having headaches (apparently from the brain tumor revealed in issue #1).
As Adrian surfs the internet at the library, he locates the two smartest people in the world, whom he believes can help them locate Jon.
One is Lex Luthor. The other is Bruce Wayne.
Rorschach suggests they split up. Adrian says he'll take the smarter one - Lex Luthor - and they'll meet back at the ship in 24 hours. And he warns Rorschach not to touch anything nor interact with anyone else.
After arriving at Wayne Manor and coming through a window, Rorschach discovers a plate of pancakes with the note: "Good morning Bruce - A."
He apparently eats them, and after exploring the dark, quiet house a bit, the master detective figures out that the clock has a secret passageway behind it. He begins to descend into the Batcave.
Batman is there, and a juxtaposition of images shows that Batman has just captured the Mad Hatter and the twins (and also that the Rorschach ink blots reminded Bruce of his parents' deaths).
As Rorschach enters the Batcave, he sets off an alarm, alerting Batman to his presence. As Rorschach sees the Batcave, he says "Hurm."
He checks out Batman's trophy cases, filled with costumes and gadgets, and Rorshach assumes he's a monster.
Batman confronts Rorschach, standing in front of the giant penny in the Batcave and says, "You ate my breakfast."
"Yeah," Rorschach replies. "I did."
Lex is apparently a super-evil villain again by the time this story takes place (12 months in the future of the current DCU), as he's shown eliminating some of his staff (both firing them and killing them).
As he walks into his office, he finds Ozymandias there. He goes to call security, but Adrian tells him the story of his world = complete with his own mistaken plan to unite the world.
Lex doesn't seem impressed, but Adrian says that he needs Lex's help, and if he provides it, Adrian can "help him achieve everything" he wants.
Suddenly, a bullet zips past Adrian's head, hitting Lex.
"Last time you came at me, I was confused. Drunk," the shooter says.
Adrian turns to see who fired a gun at him and reacts by saying, "Impossible."
It's the Comedian, complete with smiley-face button, and he says, "This time, I'm ready for you."
The story continues in Doomsday Clock #3, which is scheduled for release January 24.