In Doomsday Clock #11, Lex Luthor and Ozymandias proved that they really are that intelligent, and readers learned the post-Watchmen fate of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre.
And at the end of the issue, Superman and Dr. Manhattan stood face-to-face, ready for the showdown between hope and despair that will take place in the series’ final issue #12.
Written by Geoff Johns with illustrations by Gary Frank, Doomsday Clock #11 revealed some surprises, including:
- Nite Owl and Silk Spectre are alive and well in the Watchmen universe (or at least they were before Ozymandias left). Dan Dreiberg and Laurie Juspeczyk started a new life after the events of Watchmen and they adopted a little boy — Marionette’s son. (That’s why Dr. Manhattan didn’t kill Marionette when she was pregnant: He saw her boy’s future as a source of joy for Laurie, about whom he cared.)
- Saturn Girl’s version of the DCU future no longer exists. Within the story of Doomsday Clock #11, she disintegrated into nothingness, although her Legion ring remains.
- Lex Luthor witnessed the return of Wally West (the event from DC Universe: Rebirth when Barry Allen remembered his former Kid Flash). At the site of Wally’s return, Lex Luthor found items proving the existence of an alternate timeline that included the Justice Society of America.
- The photograph of Jon Osterman and Janey Slater has been left behind in multiple locations and eras of the DCU, a sort of breadcrumb trail that traces Dr. Manhattan’s travel through time. Lex Luthor has discovered these photos and shared them with Lois Lane, along with information about the JSA.
- Ozymandias orchestrated a plan that would discredit Superman. The blue energy that detonated at the Moscow fight involving Firestorm and Superman was caused by Ozymandias (via Bubastis), not Dr. Manhattan. It was all part of Ozy’s plan to take away hope from the DCU.
- After waking from his coma, Superman is back in costume and has found Dr. Manhattan.
Doomsday Clock #11 is the latest chapter in the event series that launched in 2017, promising to explain the shocking revelation (from 2016’s DC Universe: Rebirth #1) that Dr. Manhattan from the Watchmen universe created DC’s New 52 continuity.
The story of Doomsday Clock is in continuity, but it takes place in the future of the DCU. Other DC books are reportedly going to eventually reach the point where Doomsday Clock began.
Last issue, readers learned that Dr. Manhattan was “drawn to Superman’s world” and learned that the DCU is actually a “Metaverse,” with Superman at its center. At the end of the issue, Superman was waking up from a coma, but had not yet found Dr. Manhattan for their promised battle.
In former issues, Manhattan has revealed that he cannot see his future beyond Superman’s punch. He believes that either he dies at that moment, or the DCU does.
Let’s take a look at spoilers from Doomsday Clock #11 to learn more about new revelations concerning Lex Luthor, Ozymandias and Nite Owl, and how Superman found Dr. Manhattan to set up next issue’s showdown.
First, a review. In Doomsday Clock #10, Dr. Manhattan had easily defeated most of DC’s heroes in a very brief battle on Mars. Readers learned Manhattan’s reasons for creating the New 52 universe, and the issue ended with Manhattan walking on Earth toward Superman, who had just woken up from his coma.
But in Doomsday Clock #11, there are a few loose ends that need tied up before Superman and Dr. Manhattan can end the whole thing with a massive fight.
First, readers are shown the state of the world.
It ain’t good.
The bulletin of atomic scientists has moved the Doomsday Clock to one minute to midnight.
There are tanks on the streets of Germany, gang wars and looting are breaking out in Gotham, and the U.S. is gearing up to use atomic bombs to defend itself from attacks (although Batman succeeds in forcibly stopping them).
Rorschach and Ozymandias
The violence is juxtaposed with Alfred sitting in Wayne Manor, reading Rorschach’s journal — the original Rorscach’s journal from the Watchmen universe.
The new Rorschach, Reggie Long, was last seen without his mask, sitting on the streets of Gotham. After finding out the truth about his parents, he mailed something, then sat on the sidewalk holding a sign stating, “You See What You Want to See.” He was surrounded by rioting looters.
But Reggie is no longer there. His street sign is now in the gutter.
After Alfred finishes reading the journal, he goes searching for Reggie and finds him asleep in an alley. He offers Reggie some pancakes and tells him that Alfred and Batman believe him now. But the young man is in a daze from his dreams of the Watchmen universe, and he runs away.
We also catch up with Ozymandias/Adrian Veidt, who is watching TV screens on a wall (like he often did in Watchmen, although these are flatscreens that have been haphazardly hung onto a concrete wall). Adrian is holding Bubastis.
(To review: The last time readers saw Ozy, he had taken Saturn Girl and Johnny Thunder prisoner on the Owl Ship, and he was making some sort of plan to save his own world and the world of the DCU. It involved paperwork he found in the Oval Office.)
In Doomsday Clock #11, it’s clear that Ozymandias has set up a headquarters in an abandoned storage area, where he is watching world events. He has Imra and Johnny locked up.
Language of War
Through Adrian’s TV screens, readers are reminded that there’s a growing worldwide anger toward Superman (for his actions in Moscow) and Batman (for his attack against U.S. nuclear defenses).
In New York, Wonder Woman is battling Black Adam and his metahuman army from Kahndaq, who just attacked the United Nations.
Black Adam uses language similar to today’s American political dialogue. The villain tells Wonder Woman that he is fighting for the “oppressed.” As he charges up his lightning strike in order to subdue (and kill?) Wonder Woman, he calls his opponents in the United States “privileged” and says they “enslaved” Wonder Woman’s people in the past.
Black Adam is preparing for war against the U.S. because he and others in Kahndaq believe the “Supermen Theory.” (In fact, the Kahndaq group is so powerful that, while conducting a “military exercise,” it caused an earthquake that destroyed the Giza Pyramids.)
The president of the United States admits privately to General Lane that he’s depending on Wonder Woman to defend the U.S. (since Superman is missing and the U.S. is unable to use the country’s nuclear weapons because of Batman’s attack).
The president (who sounds a bit like current President Trump) and General Lane discuss possible scenarios, hoping the Amazons will join Wonder Woman’s side and defend the U.S.
But the Amazons have no wish to fight. They storm the United Nations and bring Wonder Woman home, leaving “man’s world” to its own devices.
Meanwhile, Lex Luthor is recounting his recent experiences to Lois Lane, whom he approached a few issues ago. Lex tells her about Ozymandias coming to his office, and how Lex was shot when the Comedian showed up. He then relays the story Adrian told him about the Watchmen Earth.
Lex takes Lois to his secret vault. He reveals that he was present when Wally West broke through to the DCU with Barry Allen’s help. He was led there because he was tracking “abnormal chronal energy spikes.”
After the scene from Rebirth, Lex found “chronal debris” in the area of Wally’s return, including the Justice Society film he sent to Lois. (So that explains how he got the film.)
But the most interesting piece of evidence he found at the scene was the picture of Jon and Janey Slater.
Why interesting? Well, Lex had another version of that photo — he had purchased it from Carver Colman’s estate. According to Lex, Carver found the photo of Jon and Janey on April 18, 1938 (a scene readers already saw last issue — Jon dropped the photo the first time he met Carver in the diner).
But Lex opens another door and reveals dozens of other copies of that photo, all damaged in the exact same spots. Lex has discovered them in various places, and each one is absolutely identical in every way. Lex believes the photos are a “trail of breadcrumbs” left by someone who is traveling through time — someone Lex believes is “more powerful than any other being I’ve encountered.”
At the Ozymandias HQ, Adrian is talking to Imra, who warns him through her cell window that he will never destroy Superman.
“Oh, I’m counting on him surviving whatever comes his way,” Ozymandias says with an evil smile.
He explains his plan to Imra:
1) Ozymandias reveals that Nite Owl and Silk Spectre adopted the son that was taken from Marionette when she went to prison. That’s why Dr. Manhattan didn’t kill Marionette — he saw the future of her child. As Adrian explained, he once cared about Silk Spectre, so he didn’t want to take away the child that gave her joy.
2) The file that Ozymandias found in the Oval Office (in Doomsday Clock #8) was about Firestorm. After reading about Ronnie’s history and short temper, Adrian manipulated the hero (through the media and the Russian hero Pozhar) to actually cause the Moscow showdown that discredited Superman. Adrian’s goal was to destroy their belief in Superman.
3) The blue energy that caused the explosion in Moscow was not from Dr. Manhattan. The detonation was actually from Bubastis. Ozymandias wanted the heroes of Earth to trace the energy back to Dr. Manhattan on Mars, resulting in a battle that would remove all of Superman’s allies.
So far, Adrian’s plan appears to be working just as he hoped.
All of the action in Doomsday Clock #11 is interspersed with panels from the Nathaniel Dusk film, The Adjournment, starring Carver Colman. The black-and-white movie is playing on one of the screens on Adrian’s wall of TVs.
At the same time the film ends, the U.S. Army breaks into the Hall of Justice to bring Superman to the president. But Superman, who is now wearing his full costume, says that he’ll go directly to the president himself. He flies away.
At the White House, Superman finds Black Adam and his metahuman allies on the White House lawn, announcing that the “revolution is now” and preparing to attack.
Superman tells Black Adam to stop.
Long … Live …
Back at Adrian’s lair, Saturn Girl insists that his plan will not work. She’s seen the future, and it exists because of Superman. “Yes, well, if Superman is so important to you, to your existence,” Adrian replies, “let me ask you one thing, Saturn Girl. Does Superman remember you?”
The answer is no, and the usually confident Imra seems concerned.
With this realization, Saturn Girl’s fingers begin to disintegrate.
“I would theorize that you’re no longer part of this timeline,” Adrian says. “You just didn’t realize it.”
Saturn Girl begins to fade away, with two final words: “Long … live … “
Her Legion ring drops to the floor.
(So…Geoff Johns/New 52 Legion is no more. But the ring’s continued existence means the Legion still exists in some form, right? Just not this version of Saturn Girl? Hmm…)
After Saturn Girl disappears, Ozymandias pets Bubastis, admitting that this world will “become my tomb.” But he believes “that tomb will be a monument.”
He walks away, passing Johnny Thunder’s cell.
“Oh, quit crying, old man,” Adrian says to Johnny. “You’re from the past. And the past won’t be erased.”
Johnny sits curled up in the corner of his cell.
The Green Lantern he found sits beside him.
Stage is Set
Suddenly, Superman is flying through the streets. He arrives at the location in Washington D.C. where Dr. Manhattan is standing, waiting for him.
“It is now,” Dr. Manhattan’s narration says. “It is Superman. It is me. It is us. It is the world. It is time.”
A close-up of the Doomsday Clock is shown, waiting at one minute before midnight/destruction.
Another close-up focuses on the eye-shaped symbol on the Ozymandias’ costume. “It’s time,” he says.
The issue ends with a quote from James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: “I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake and perhaps as long as eternity too.”
The back-up pages detail the many Jon and Janey photographs discovered by Lex Luthor. They read like a trip through time to points important to the story, as well as the JSA and Superman. They include:
- One found at the home of Carver Colman, believed to have been in his possession since April 18, 1938, which is the day of Golden Age Superman’s original debut (and the day when Dr. Manhattan arrived on the DCU Earth).
- One from Carver Colman’s dressing room after the Academy Awards.
- One from a train wreck outside Gotham in July 1940. This was presumably dropped by Dr. Manhattan when he moved Alan Scott’s Green Lantern and caused the Justice Society of America to never exist.
- One from 1955, found in the booth at the diner where Dr. Manhattan sat each year with Carver Colman. In 1955, Carver would have been dead, so this is the year Dr. Manhattan sat alone at the booth and realized Carver was going to die.
- One found in November 1940 at a Brownstone formerly owned by Wesley Dodds, the alter ego of the JSA hero The Sandman. The photo was given to Dodds, who apparently never became The Sandman, but dreamed about the man in the photo and named him Dr. Manhattan.
- One found in a cemetery in Smallville, Kansas, in 1956, the year of Superman’s Silver Age debut.
- One found in a field in Smallville in 1986, the year that the post-Crisis version of Superman debuted.
- One found in Arkham Asylum, and it sounds like it was discovered in Reggie Long’s cell.
- One very recently found in the Congo Basin. This discovery was mentioned by Lex Luthor to Lois Lane during the issue.
- One found in a cinema showing a Nathaniel Dusk movie marathon.
- One found in the Joker’s safe house, where he encountered Ozymandias, Marionette, Comedian and Mime in a former issue of Doomsday Clock.
The final photograph is not Jon and Janey. It is a photograph of Jay Garrick Flash working alongside Barry Allen Flash. It was found when Wally West first appeared in DC Universe: Rebirth. Lex Luthor says of the photograph that he believes “Jon” to be the cause of “our revisionist reality, or at least to have knowledge of that cause.”
“I believe our universe is ever-evolving,” Lex writes on the copy accompanying the final photograph, “that I have lived past lives — alongside Superman — and am locked in an endless battle with him that I might never win, nor will he. My goal is simple: find ‘Jon’ and learn what I can about this endless loop between Superman and myself, and close it.”