As the new mini-series Doomsday Clock by Gary Frank and Geoff Johns was announced on Syfy's Blastr, which seems to tie together Watchmen, Superman Reborn, Mr Oz and the DC Universe, all sorts of things started to emerge.
With the DC Rebirth, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank put a Watchmen-related mystery into the heart of the DC Universe, with a mysterious force believed to be Dr Manhattan removing time from the DC Universe and creating Flashpoint and The New 52. With a character called Mr Oz believed to be Ozymandias observing and controlling Superman from multiple screens, splitting his identity and trying to keep him down, which simultaneously capturing Mr Mxyzptlk, Doomsday, Prophecy and Red Robin for… some reason. While a local character to Superman's new town Hamilton, Cobb, is part of another conspiracy, resembling the Comedian. Batman and Flash are investigating the origin of a smiley button that appeared on the wall of the Batcave with ties to all this continuity changes. The final, issue of The Button, Flash #22, is out this week.
Here's 12 things to notice. And yes, there are spoilers for this week's DC Comics along the way.
1. 2017 is the 30th anniversary of the finished publication of Watchmen.
2. There have been rumours of an animated TV version of Watchmen. Could that be on Syfy, who have just got a new black and yellow logo? Or on the new DC streaming digital service?
3. The final issue of Doomsday Clock would coincide with Action Comics #1000.
4. The first issue alongside the Justice League movie.
5. Jason Fabok, in the first episode of The Button, tried to make it even more Watchmenny.
The opening 2 pages were originally different. I had drawn up 2 really interesting pages that tied right in with the original Watchmen story, but it as changed at the last minute and I had to redraw pages 1 and 2. These first two pages were also 9 panel grid pages. I don't know if I'll ever be able to share the original 2 pages. Maybe one day.
6. The final page of last week's Detective Comics was amended as Flash #22 was running late. The published version sees Batman talking about planning to deal, encounter and learn from magic. The original version was set after The Button and had Batman talking about how he was going to rescue Tim Drake, knowing that he was alive.
7. Tim Drake appears on the lenticular cover of The Flash #22 – look under the thumb.
8. The timing of the news announcement of Doomsday Clock was to precede this week's Flash #22, with some copies getting into some retailers hands later today. But Blastr chooses to spoil it anyway, saying "the final page of The Flash #22, which shows a battered Superman shield."
9. The specifically-requested editor Brian Cunningham for the comic used to work under Pat McCallum at Wizard Magazine, who is now in charge of the DC Universe titles. They are the kind of continuity/history buffs like Geoff Johns that he would trust to deal with the current Rebirth titles, as Johns moved away from comics and more into the films.
10. This week in the DC titles, a number of books reflect that the DCU is no longer based on a five-year timeline, including Green Arrow and Batman.
11. Gary Frank reiterates that "DClock" as he calls it is not Watchmen 2, and that only Moore and Gibbons could do that (which they won't.) That DClock isn't intended as Watchmen canon. And that this is the layout of the first page.
12. They can't be doing another reboot. Not so soon after their rejig in Rebirth and Superman Reborn. But could Superman Reborn be a dry run to rewriting all the character's histories to take account of the new elongated timeline of the DC Universe? This does feel a lot like Geoff Johns' announcement of Flashpoint and what that would become, well in advance, back in 2011. San Diego Comic-Con could well be the shock and awe of the DC Universe, just as it was in 2011.