Spoilers for this week's Doomsday Clock #8.
In this week’s Doomsday Clock #8, Dr. Manhattan just took the first shot in the war between himself and the DCU. And his attack was specifically directed at Superman and Firestorm.
The story also moved one step closer to the return of the Justice Society of America, with Lois Lane now involved.
Doomsday Clock #8 is the latest chapter in the event series by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, a story that takes place in the future of the DCU — a point in time that other DC books are presumably going to reach in summer 2019.
Besides crossing over characters from the Watchmen universe with the DCU, the series also promises to resolve how Dr. Manhattan created the "New 52" universe (back in 2011) and erased 10 years from the DC timeline.
In this latest chapter, the tense situation between the United States and other nations came to a head, with Russia even declaring war on the U.S. after an accident involving Firestorm.
And although Superman tried to stop the war, his interference appears to have made things worse.
By the time the issue ended, Superman and Firestorm are both missing after a flash of blue energy was directed at them from Dr. Manhattan.
Where are they? How is Ozymandias and the Oval Office involved? And how did Lois Lane discover the Justice Society of America? Let’s take a look at spoilers for the issue and get some answers.
Calm Before the Storm
As Doomsday Clock #8 opens, Ozymandias is in the Oval Office. He finds paperwork of some kind and says, “Yes, yes, this one will do nicely.”
At The Daily Planet, someone has gone through the desk of Lois Lane. It’s a mystery, because there’s no sign that the locks have been broken and Clark can’t see any fingerprints.
In Lois’ mail, readers are shown that the package from Reggie Long (the new Rorscach who has since abandoned that hero identity) has arrived at her desk and is waiting to be opened.
But Lois is interrupted from reading her mail by a TV news broadcast about a new Russian law that requires the testing of newborns for metahuman genes, as the world is still gripped in fear because of the Supermen Theory and its allegations against metahumans.
The news report also shows Firestorm angrily attacking the Russian hero Pozhar. The news report alleges that Firestorm is attacking Russian heroes after allegations that he was created by the American government.
(But as Clark points out, he wasn’t. Firestorm was created when Ronnie Raymond and Professor Martin Stein were fused in a nuclear accident.)
Readers are shown the dialogue that isn’t shown on the TV. Firestorm thinks Pozhar and his “Russian goons” are trying to destroy his life. Pozhar tries to calm Ronnie down.
But the fight goes wrong and Firestorm falls directly into a crowd that has gathered in Red Square. Ronnie panics as people in the crowd begin to attack him, and his nuclear powers start to lose stability.
Ronnie releases a fiery explosion, turning everyone around him into inanimate, glass statues. Dozens of people are dead and turned into statues.
And it was all broadcast live on TV.
The Russian government blames the attack on the U.S. government.
And here we go folks…
Job for Superman
After seeing the report, Clark disappears from the newsroom and immediately dons his costume and flies to Kahndaq to see Black Adam. In Kahdaq, there are metahumans and humans living side-by-side in peace. “All are welcome,” Teth-Adam says.
Superman believes Firestorm went to Kahndaq, but Black Adam says he’s not there. He also says the “Supermen Theory” about the U.S. government creating meathumans is true: “There are metahumans throughout Kahndaq who were a part of it.”
Superman warns Black Adam to stay in his own country (because in past issues, he didn’t).
And Black Adam tells Superman that when he finds Firestorm, he should tell him to come to Kahndaq, where he will be “safe from the governments and their puppets.”
Clark calls Lois for a chat about where Ronnie could be. They’re thinking he’s still in Russia.
After she and Clark hang up, Lois finally goes through her mail. She opens the envelope from Reggie and there’s a thumb drive inside.
She plugs it into her computer and it contains a news report from 1941.
It’s about the Justice Society of America.
“The what?” Lois says. “Who the hell are the Justice Society of America?”
Somewhere in Russia, Superman finds Firestorm, who has the statue-body of one of the children he killed. He explains to Superman that when he exploded, he turned the crowd of people into glass, and he’s trying to undo it.
But he’s not succeeding.
Superman tells Ronnie that he believes in him. He tells him to try again.
The pep talk works. Ronnie turns the boy of glass back into a human being.
This Means War
At the site of the massacre in Red Square, with the glass-statue-people still surrounding them (except the little boy that Ronnie took with him, of course), the Russian government is assembling its superheroes and weaponry because of what the Russian president calls Firestorm’s and the U.S. government’s “terrorist attack.”
The president (who looks a lot like current Russian president Vladimir Putin, by the way) declares war on the United States.
But just then, Superman shows up. The president seems to be glad to see him, asking if he’s there to help? “Superman speaks not for America,” the president says, “but for all people on this planet.”
Superman begins a speech that is broadcast around the world. He announces that the people of the Earth need to stop fighting. He explains that Firestorm’s explosion was an accident that can be undone.
He tells the world that the Supermen Theory is causing unjustified fear and anger of metahumans.
In the midst of the speech, Batman, who is flying in his Batwing, hears Superman’s voice over his radio. He opens a communication channel with Superman. “Clark, it’s Bruce,” he says. “You need to stop talking. Keep your mouth shut. Don’t pick a side.”
The Road to Hell is Paved…
Superman hears his friend’s warning and pauses, but he decides to continue.
“The demonization of metahumans is wrong,” he says.
The crowd isn’t happy. The Russian president says he has proof that Firestorm is an American agent. He questions Supermam’s loyalty.
And then Firestorm shows up with the boy he saved in his arms. Ronnie announces that he’s ready to save all the glass bodies around them.
The Russian soldiers begin firing their weapons at Firestorm. Although Superman stops their bullets from hurting the boy, the bullets hit one of the people who were turned to glass, shattering her into pieces.
Firestorm stops the soldiers from firing their weapons, but then that attack makes the Russian superheroes react, and then things really get ugly.
You can guess what happens next - tanks start rolling toward the fight, shattering even more of the glass people, and Superman forcibly stops the tanks.
The TV newscast makes it seem like Superman is going to war with Russia as the glass people are destroyed one-by-one.
Firestorm becomes unstable.
Batman tells Clark to leave the scene. He says the energy readings are unstable in that area.
But Clark doesn’t leave. He walks up to Ronnie, puts his hand on his shoulder, and calms Firestorm down.
But Batman says:
“It’s not Firestorm!!”
Suddenly, there’s an explosion of blue light on the spot where Firestorm and Superman stand.
TV screens around the world go blank.
Ozymandias says, “Yes. It begins.”
In the back-up material, the front pages of several Metropolis newspapers are shared. Most of the papers blame Superman and Firestorm for the trouble. But The Daily Planet points out that Superman’s role is unclear.
But one thing is made clear by the newspaper: Superman and Firestorm are missing.
The story continues in Doomsday Clock #9, which is scheduled for release January 23, 2019.