A No Spoilers Look At Why “Doomsday Clock” Really Is Worth Reading…

Today’s article first takes us back to 1986, when DC Comics began the publication of arguably one of the best comic books ever written – Watchmen. Alan Moore wrote this, with Dave Gibbons illustrating it, and the two of them created a piece of history. But I’m not going to talk about Watchmen today, instead I’m going to talk about a Watchmen-related story that appeared a good 30 years later; today I’m going to cover the pseudo-sequel to Moore’s famous book; Watchmen – Doomsday Clock

Doomsday Clock, as a sequel to Watchmen, is definitely worth reading as it is one of the best crossover stories in DC’s recent history and a very important piece of comic book narration that explained some major events in DC’s recent storylines. 

In today’s article you are going to find out what it was about and how it ties into the original Watchmen comic book, but also why I think it’s really any good and is it worth reading. In the end, I am going to give you a preferred reading order, so you know how to approach the material. Let’s begin!

What is Doomsday Clock about?

Doomsday Clock had its first issue published in November 2017, 30 years after Moore’s Watchmen story was completed. The whole story ran until December 2019 with several hiatuses in between that prolonged the whole series. 

DC Comics described its storyline and the series in the following manner:

“Dr. Manhattan, a near-omnipotent being from the Watchmen universe, has been using his powers to rewrite the DC Universe–reshaping some heroes’ histories, erasing other heroes altogether, and playing with the fates of the good and evil alike. But why? What does a godlike being from another world stand to gain from the DC Universe? The mystery remains, but now that our heroes know they’re being toyed with, what can they do to stop it? The clock is ticking…”

This synopsis doesn’t really reveal much and I don’t really want to spoil things for you, because you should definitely read it for yourselves, but I can state that the events of Doomsday Clock don’t really relate directly to the story of Watchmen, so that comic book is not a necessary read if you want to follow Doomsday Clock. There are, of course, references as it is, still, a sequel, but it’s not a direct one. 

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Since I’m on the topic of Doomsday Clock being a sequel or not, DC’s co-publisher Dan DiDio initially confirmed that it was a sequel to Moore’s Watchmen comic book, while the author, Geoff Johns, stated that it was more of a standalone story. When asked about it, Johns stated as follows:

“It is something else. It is Watchmen colliding with the DC Universe. It is the most personal and most epic, utterly mind-bending project I have ever worked on in my career. With Rebirth, I opened the door to Manhattan. 

Part of that was I loved the real-world influence Watchmen has. I put Manhattan out there, and always thought there was a Manhattan/Superman story to be told, but then … it grew. And grew. It took my heart and soul over. 

Still, at the core of it, there’s a being who has lost his humanity, and distanced himself from it, and an alien who embodies humanity more than most humans. I love the idea that Watchmen influenced DC, but what would that look like in reverse? And it goes well beyond that.

We’re not going to do a story like this unless we one-thousand percent believe in it. It is all about the story; it is only about the story. There are no crossovers. 

No watered-down one-shots or watered-down on top of this one. This is a standalone story. There is only Doomsday Clock. We had no interest in doing a crossover with this. We didn’t want to see Doctor Manhattan facing off against Superman in Action Comics, with all due respect. 

That is not what this is about. It is about something different … It will have an impact on the entire DC Universe. It will affect everything moving forward and everything that has come before. It will touch the thematic and literal essence of DC.” (Source)

Personally, I am inclined to still consider it a sequel, despite what Johns stated back then, but – as stated – not a direct one – hence why I called it a pseudo-sequel in the beginning of this article. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. 

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What you do need to know before reading Doomsday Clock is the development of DC’s Rebirth imprint, which succeeded its controversial, yet – in my opinion – interesting New 52 line of comic books and stories. DC Rebirth began with the 2016 one-shot DC Universe: Rebirth Special and continued with 2017’s crossover one-shot “The Button”, which united the Flash and Batman and foreshadowed Dr. Manhattan’s involvement. 

These two one-shots are direct prequels to Doomsday Clock and they are something you definitely need to read beforehand if you want to fully understand the plot of Doomsday Clock

Credit DC Comics

Is Doomsday Clock a good comic?

A lot of DC’s post-Flashpoint stories have polarized critics and fans. Doomsday Clock is not among them, but there have been some criticisms directed towards its reinterpretation of Moore’s comic book and his characters. Still, most people agree that Doomsday Clock is a really good story and I can only agree. 

After having read the complete story, including the prequels, I can only confirm that Doomsday Clock is a truly thrilling and intriguing story that you’ll enjoy with every panel. It is also quite important for the development of DC’s universe and for understanding how both the New 52 and Rebirth imprints came to exist and how they functioned. 

I am absolutely certain that you’ll enjoy Doomsday Clock and that our recommendation won’t be in vain, as the comic book has both an intrinsic quality to it, as well as some overall importance for the universe in question. 

How many issues does Doomsday Clock have?

Doomsday Clock is a pretty straightforward comic book when it comes to reading, as it is a self-contained narrative with two indirectly related prequels (see above). The main story has a total of 12 issues which are collected in one single volume and also as two volumes, each one with six issues. There are no additional stories or issues – it’s quite simple, as you can see!