For many years now, fans have clamored and debated over the ending to the pivotal Watchmen comic. Watchmen was a landmark in Comic Book History, and as such people have wondered about the end, in which the journal of Rorshach was about to be viewed by a newspaper and determined whether or not it was newsworthy. It left fans on a cliffhanger, forcing them to wonder whether or not Ozymandias’ secret was exposes to the world, only to never get that answer.
For those unaware, the controversy behind DC’s requisition of the rights to Watchmen rather than writer Alan Moore get the rights reverted to him as agreed upon before it began it’s release. Originally, Moore was to use the Charleston comic character that DC had acquired years before, which consisted of Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, The Question, Nightshade, Peacemaker, and Peter Thunderbolt. But the nature of Moore’s story would’ve left the character out of being used in any further stories, so he decided to create characters based on those and fill them with real humanity, or in Dr Manhattans M’s case, not much. Since he used original characters, Moore was under the presumption and confirmed by agreement, that once Watchmen had finished printing it’s issues, the rights would go to him fully.
DC, however, saw how successful the comic was and they saw a loophole that could keep the rights to them, as long as they kept Watchmen printing. At the time, people bought their comics and that was it. DC sought to create a new form of stories to help give reason to reprinting a comic and it was then that the Graphic Novel was created. Binding all 12 issues together and advertising it as a book length comic helped people acquire the entire story without having to buy individual issue and store them safely.
So with that, the legacy of Watchmen continued and Alan Moore was becoming disillusioned with the big companies and started to pull himself away from them, knowing full well how much their greed can turn his Industry changing story into another commodity to be reprinted over and over again to keep it in circulation. But, the legacy of such a pivotal story has remained strong, to this day it’s still regarded as not only the greatest comic book of all time, but one of the greatest pieces of Western literature ever. So eventually of course, DC wanted to create some new material based on it that wasn’t a reprint. First, came the Before Watchmen series which was a set of different titles that focused on different characters from that universe but it didn’t do as well as DC might’ve hoped. Then the film by Zack Snyder released and introduced the Watchmen to a new audience who hasn’t heard of the story before. That film was acclaimed by some, and hated by others. DC knew there was a market for a sequel, which Moore had alluded to decades earlier had the rights reverted to him.
But it would be Geoff John’s who would take the reins and create a sequel, one that would crossover into the DC Universe, something that many fans didn’t like as Watchmen was supposed to be a self contained story, separate from any comic universe. But as Geoff crafted his sequel, by setting it up as the cause of the New 52 timeline, another was crafting his own version of a sequel. Damon Lindelof was creating a show to debut on HBO that would take the Watchmen universe in a totally different direction than the comic sequel, Doomsday Clock. It boils down to one of two choices that a person can make when it comes to which sequel they would want to see: Does the world find out about Ozy’s plan, or does it remain a secret? We’ll take a look at the difference between the two, the pros and cons and what both have in common.
DOOMSDAY CLOCK: The truth is revealed
In Doomsday Clock, we see it pick up seven years after Watchmen in the midst of global chaos. Ozymandias has been outed as the culprit behind the false alien invader. Riots have broken out across the United States, as Russia takes advantage of the European Union collapse and begins to stage an invasion. People are angry, they’ve been tricked into world peace and it cost the lives of three million and thousands of others who went insane from the psychic blast. A world bounty is placed on Ozymandias and the American govt has issued a arrest warrant for him. As it all falls apart, a new Rorshach has emerged and is working with Ozymandias to bring back Dr Manhattan, who left the Earth for one “less complicated”.
Where he went was Earth-0, the Metaverse, is what he calls it as he discovers that everything in this world is centered around Superman and how every moment sends off a ripple effect across the Multiverse. Everything comes from the Metaverse and is in this that Manhattan begins to tamper with the timeline and cause the New 52 to form, albeit a much darker, cynical place due to Manhattans own disconnect from Humanity. As the group of Watchmen characters, old and new come to search for Dr Manhattan, they discover that this “strange” world is experiencing its own global upheaval. The Super-Men Theory has caused rifts between the United States and it’s allies.
As countries begin to amass Metahuman’s like nuclear missiles, this all begins to feel similar to how Watchmen was portrayed: as a world on the brink of annihilation. Amidst the chaos, the Watchmen characters come across several DC characters and we get wonderful scenes of them interacting, something people thought would never happen like: Batman meeting Rorshach, Ozymandias and Lex Luthor talking and The Comedian launching an all out assault against some of the world’s most dangerous villains. We even see one of the greatest moments ever, Superman being confronted by Dr Manhattan which will be a memorable scene for years to come. By the end, the world of Watchmen and the DCU are forever changed for the better, with Hope places back at the center of DC with Superman as it’s avatar.
Stick around for a part two to this opinion piece about the Watchmen sequels and their relevance to our society.