The spotlight that Doomsday Clock has been putting on Alan Scott’s Green Lantern has a lot more meaning than anyone expected.
In March 6's Doomsday Clock #9, not only do readers finally get to see Dr. Manhattan directly battle the DCU heroes (and wow, does that end poorly), but it’s revealed that Alan Scott was apparently the key to Manhattan’s manipulation of DC continuity.
In the post-Crisis DCU, the Lantern had saved Alan’s life after a train wreck. But as Dr. Manhattan explains in #9, all he had to do was move the Green Lantern a few inches away from Alan Scott’s grasp.
Now, Alan simply died. And that apparently meant the Justice Society of America never formed. And it’s implied that this one action also began a ripple effect throughout DC’s history that caused the "New 52" reboot.
Doomsday Clock #9 is the latest issue in the 12-issue seires by writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank. The series, which is bringing Watchmen characters into the DCU, has finally hit the moment when Dr. Manhattan’s manipulation of the DCU is being explained.
So how did the Lantern moment get revealed? And what happened when DC’s heroes fought against the super-powerful Dr. Manhattan?
Let’s take a look at spoilers from Doomsday Clock #9 to find out.
The issue begins with Dr. Manhattan standing on Mars, talking about the year 3019, when a boy “sacrificed his life to save Earth’s sun.”
A Legion of Super-Heroes ring is floating in space, which means Dr. Manhattan is probably telling the story of Ferro Lad, who had one of the more legendary deaths in Legion of Super-Heroes lore (and saved the Earth’s sun from destruction).
Dr. Manhattan is holding the dead boy’s Legion ring in his hand, but a couple panels later, the ring is gone.
“It’s July 16th, 1940,” he says. “I move the Lantern six inches out of Alan Scott’s reach. There is no ring in my hand. There never was a ring.”
Now Dr. Manhattan says that in 3019, there is nothing but darkness. In fact, there’s nothing but darkness in 2430, and 2192, and 2030. “Nothing.”
Dr. Manhattan can’t seem to see anything in the future past one week from now. At that point, he can see Superman in a rage, his cape torn and his hands stained with blood.
“Does Superman destroy me?” Manhattan asks. “Or do I destroy everything?”
And readers see two pages of panels that feature a slew of heroes in spaceships, with the tagline, “Crisis.”
Back in the Now
In the present, just after #8’s violence in Red Square, Hawkman and Green Lantern find Superman and Batman unconscious among other bodies that are strewn about there.
The public isn’t happy about what they saw Superman doing in Red Square live on TV, and a “March Against Metahumans” has descended upon the area in front of the Justice League of America’s headquarters in DC. The world condemns Superman’s actions and the president denounces them on Twitter.
Reggie Long (the new Rorschach) is sitting on a street with a sign that says, “You see what you want to see,” as people riot around him in the street.
And the news reports reveal that superheroes are leaving Earth in spaceships - describing it as a “mass exodus of American metahumans.”
Superman, Batman and Firestorm
Inside the Hall of Justice, Superman is in a coma with Lois at his side, when Lex Luthor shows up.
Lex reveals that he was the person that sent Lois the footage of the Justice Society of America. He says it’s proof that “there is a force out there undermining not only Superman but all of creation.”
Lex says his evidence points toward Wally West.
Somewhere else, Ronnie and Professor Stein wake up on a spaceship. They’ve been brought into space with the other heroes, who believe Firestorm is innocent.
Bruce Wayne wakes up in Wayne Manor, and Alfred explains that a team of heroes investigated Firestorm’s detonation. They discovered that it wasn’t Firestorm who caused it, but they traced its source to Mars.
The heroes actually left Earth on a mission to go find the entity who attacked Superman.
Batman realizes he should have listened to Rorschach. He tries to get a message to Mars about the danger they may be facing, but it’s going to be too late. The message takes 12 minutes to reach that far into space, and the heroes’ spaceships have already arrived at Mars.
Meanwhile, on Mars
The Green Lanterns arrive first on the surface of Mars. They find a checkerboard-type circle and a worn picture of a man and woman (which appears to be a photo of Jon Osterman with Janey, his lover in the Watchmen universe from before he was turned into Dr. Manhattan).
The other heroes join them, after the Lanterns make a shield around the atmosphere and Firestorm fills it with breathable air.
There are now dozens and dozens of heroes on Mars. Most of the non-Trinity heavy-hitters are there, like Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, and the Marvel family (er…Shazam fam). There are also some fun cameos, like Stargirl, Ralph Dibny, and Robby Reed in the shape of a human starfish.
The heroes find Manhattan, who says he can’t see the future because the detonation on Earth created a tachyon fog that obscures the immediate past and future. So he doesn’t know what’s going to happen during this confrontation.
Martian Manhunter reads Manhattan’s mind and sees his vision of Superman that indicates that either Superman kills him, or the universe dies.
Guy Gardner explains to Manhattan (whom he calls “blue man group”) how the heroes of the DCU have fought the worst villains in the - and they’ve won time and again.
Guy punches Manhattan in the face and knocks him down. But Manhattan is suddenly standing beside Guy and grabbing his ring, destroying it in his fingertips.
An attack by Zatanna, Etrigan, Deadman and other magic heroes doesn’t work either.
And with a wave of his hand, Manhattan causes an explosion that knocks all the DC heroes off their feet. He continues to send energy from his fingertips that disables hero after hero.
Ronnie And Jon
Ronnie attacks, but with a blue flash, Manhattan transports Ronnie and himself to the past, just before the nuclear accident that turned Ronnie and Professor Stein into Firestorm.
In this scene, Ronnie sees Professor Stein collaborating with Rex Mason, telling him that he plans to create Firestorm with Ronnie.
“No!” Ronnie says. “This is all a lie! Get out of my head!’
Manhattan says he’s showing Ronnie this scene to prove his point: “Even hope decays.”
Ronnie turns into Firestorm and hits Manhattan with a blast of energy. “Interesting,” he says, as he falls to one knee.
The two of them are suddenly back on Mars, and Ronnie’s success encourages the other heroes, who all begin to attack Manhattan.
Finally, Captain Atom shows up. His blast begins to rip Manhattan apart.
The heroes believe they’ve won. But Manhattan simply re-forms himself. And he releases a flash of blue energy that appears to kill the heroes in one blast.
Keep Hope Alive
Back on Earth, Wonder Woman has emerged from her retreat to Themyscira to address the United Nations, encouraging the world’s leaders to work toward peace.
But Wonder Woman is interrupted when Giganta busts through the U.N. Assembly’s roof. She’s accompanied by Black Adam, who has taken advantage of the absence of heroes to attack the U.N., bringing villains with him.
On the final panel, Manhattan stands on Mars, with the bodies of DC heroes surrounding him.
And the issue ends with the tagline, “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for crisis. - Seneca.” And a secret file is revealed at the end of the issue implying that Professor Stein really did plan to become a metahuman with Ronnie Raymond and was perhaps even part of the program that’s imagined by the Supermen Theory.
The story continues with Doomsday Clock #10, which is currently scheduled for release April 10.