The Long Read: Doomsday Clock is Canon and In Continuity

Over 2017 and 2018, Bleeding Cool ran a number of articles looking at the relationship of Doomsday Clock to the rest of the DC Universe – and even The Three Jokers too. We saw what once was clearly intended to be the tightest of structured continuity, fall apart as a result of delays, personnel changes and internal political clashes. But that DC Comics PR believes that continuity is important to fans and is plastering a fake veneer over the front while desperately trying to cobble something together in the hope that it will fit.

But not everyone saw it that way. Reddit user Earthmine52 had been posting a series of takes, written in part in answer to Bleeding Cool's take, that showed how everything at DC Comics is connected, that there is a plan and everyone is sticking to it. And has graciously allowed Bleeding Cool to quote it into one big essay… Long Read: A Great Big Doomsday Clock/DC Comics Conspiracy Theory. I found it a fascinating read, but thought much of it was coincidental. And his suggestions for a big December 18th reveal came to nought. But that didn't stop him putting together another Long Read, tackling my own cynicism (but calling me Mr Johnston while doing so) and allowing Bleeding Cool to compile, and quote from it again, to share it all with Bleeding Cool readers… strap yourself in.

Part 1: Doomsday Clock is Canon and In Continuity

I. Conclusion to Rebirth

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DC Universe Rebirth

Let's start simple.

First off, Doomsday Clock is the conclusion of Rebirth. An initiative that's very important to main continuity. A lot of significant plot threads depend on Doomsday Clock.

Now of course, there are plenty of things in the Rebirth special that's been dropped or thrown away. But many are too big to do so, such as the mysteries of the older histories of the DC Universe, the forgotten stories, legacies and so much more. Furthermore, the connection between Rebirth and Doomsday Clock continues to effect the greater DC continuity even now. Most importantly the reveal on who is responsible for the current timeline is very much connected to Doomsday Clock and there has been nothing done to retcon it away.

Now, let's look at the connections of Doomsday Clock to various books right now.

II. Bendis' Superman

Perhaps the one writer people believe disregards continuity and Rebirth the most, is Bendis. I'll talk about LOSH in the next post and YJ just aftet this but for now let's look at Superman, which has 1 huge connection to Rebirth.

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Mr. Oz/ Jor-El

As you may know, Mr. Oz was a character created by Geoff Johns just before Rebirth and hinted at his identity which was later revealed by Jurgens in AC as none other than Jor-El who was saved from Krypton by Dr. Manhattan and placed in the present where he saw the darkness of Earth and grew to regret sending his son to it. Before his identity was revealed he even did things like capture many wildcards in Manhattan's plan (which we'll get into in more detail after this) and disappeared for a while after.

He's made a huge comeback in Bendis' run only to die with no closure. But the question is, did Bendis retcon away the connection to Rebirth? He made no direct mention of Dr. Manhattan's role. Some believed that he's retconned it because the characters in the book themselves believe Jor-El himself traveled through time, but obviously they would do that because no one, not the Circle, not even Superman, has a single clue to the truth.

There however is one big clue planted by Bendis or Ivan Reis in Superman #8:

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Guess who that is?

In this issue, Jon recounts his time and space and points out that while on the ship looking for Earth news, he couldn't find ANYTHING not related to Superman. Yet here he is watching a black and white detective movie. Gee that looks familiar. It almost looks like…

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Nathaniel Dusk

A perfect match (besides the image being mirrored since it's a holo screen viewed from behind).

As you may know, Nathaniel Dusk is detective character from two obscure mini-series from decades ago.

Why is he important? Well in Doomsday Clock, a major character in the book is Carver Colman known in the 40s-50s for his roles in various detective films. His character's name?

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Nathaniel Dusk in Doomsday Clock

Could this just be a random easter egg? Maybe. But neither Bendis nor Reis have reason to put it there especially when Jon's speech almost sorts of contradict it. Unless of course this isn't an alien transmission, but a film stored in the ship. It just seems to deliberately connected otherwise.

Like I said this is more of an intro/recap post with no spoilers as much as possible for Doomday Clock himself. But to go into more detail, let's just say the actor Carver Colman does have a significant connection to Manhattan. Is it a coincidence then that the only thing on the ship besides Superman, is Nathaniel Dusk? No. In fact I believe Manhattan may have had a hand in creating that huge spaceship, something Jor-El needs a lot of resources for.

But why does he leave this in there?

For those who have read DDC, minor spoilers: this may be because of Jon's new tendency to subconsciously leave behind chronal debris as well. In fact he even subconsciously transported himself and others to a screening of one Nathaniel Dusk film in the middle of issue 7.

In the end it lines up pretty well. Bendis himself states this when it comes to Doosmday Clock in a CBR interview:

"I can speak for other creators as well — I deeply apologize for being so vague and coy about Doomsday Clock. We're not being vague and coy about it behind the scenes. It will all line up at the end, alright? Just to make it very clear, my respect for Geoff [Johns] and Gary [Frank] goes back for decades, and this is a story they started telling before I walked in the door [at DC]. So this is not — there's not an ounce of my body that would do anything to counter or disrespect the path that they're on. "

Another with Den of Geek:

The elements of the story are not a coincidence. All of this is done in connection to each other. […] The truth is still there. All of the pieces of Doomsday Clock, all of the pieces of Superman, all of the pieces of Event Leviathan will all land to connect together in a beautiful way. This has all been planned.

(links and sources at the end).

I didn't get really into Leviathan but I have heard about who died and who Leviathan was. I'll deal with that and how it'll line up despite contradictions, in part 3.

And once again, I will deal with the Legion in part 2.

But enough about that. Let's look at another Bendis property:

III. Young Justice

Remember when I brought up Jor-El's prisoners? There are quite a few. Mr. Mxyzptlk is one, Doomsday was another, but there's also Tim Drake, and another Tim Drake of the Titans of Tomorrow timeline.

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Titans of Tomorrow

He comes from a possible future of the main timeline. The twist? It's a future of the Pre-Flashpoint timeline.

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"Who the Hell is Conner?'

It's been established in Williamsons Flash that alternate futures may not be affected by Flashpoint thanks to Hypertime. This plot thread of the Titans of Tomorrow Tim has been used in Tynion's Tec and Tomasi's Supersons.

At the end of Tynion's Tec run, Tim learns of the previous timeline Pre-Flashpoint. Connecting back to the Rebirth mystery. What does Young Justice do with it? It follows it up of course:

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Pre-Flashpoint Young Justice

A flashback in the series shows that Zatanna attempted to see if Tim's mind was tampered and this lead to him getting flashes of memories including that of a team that matches Pre-Flashpoint Young Justice (with Morrison era JLA in the back).

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Another Life? But NOT an Alternate Anything.

He emphasizes that this is not an alternate universe's, but HIS. How can this be? We see something similar in The Button as Barry traversed through Hypertime:

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NOT Alternate Realities

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"This isn't an alternate world or timeline. This is…ours."

Barry makes a point that the Pre-Crisis and even Flashpoint realities, are from their universe. It essentially was their previous lives. Like reincarnation. This is a pretty important plot point in Doomsday Clock and its introduction of the Metaverse which I will do my best to avoid spoilers on while I further discuss it later in this post.

Speaking of Flashes and Hypertime, in Flash War, Wally saw the Pre-Flashpoint timeline as well before collapsing the time steam. However, in its wake, came the return of Bart Allen.

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Bart's back. Where's all his friends and family?

Not only does he fully remember Pre-Flashpoint history, unlike Wally his memories are not being replaced, so he only remembers Pre-Flashpoint.

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The world isn't like the one I left behind

There's also of course Conner being back here, but the last YJ issue confirms he still has no place in the current timeline.

So clearly Bendis is not only aware of Rebirth and Doomsday Clock, he seems to be building off of it. Solicits imply the reveals relating to these mysteries are coming soon. We'll see if there are direct allusions to Doomsday Clock.

I will talk more about Wally in the next post, which requires spoilers for both Flash Forward and Doomsday Clock.

But for now let's look at the next and final part of this first post:

III. Gotham City Monsters

Well now, this probably seems like a pretty random book to include here, but there's a lot more to this.

First of all, this book is heavily connected to continuity, referencing and being driven by stories and events such as Night of the Monster Men, Suicide Squad, Event Leviathan and even the destruction of the Source Wall in Snyder and Tynion's Justice League.

Speaking of, the book's main villain's goal is to "save" the multiverse from this. His name is Melmoth, a villain from Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers, a book that lead up to Final Crisis. Speaking of that, one of the things Melmoth needs for his plan is the Crime Bible from Final Crisis revelations. Clearly this book is very connected to others and what might come in the next Crisis.

"So what's the connection to Doomsday Clock? What obscure tiny easter egg or thin connection is there now?"

You might ask.

Well, in issue 3, Melmoth reveals an important part of his plan and why he chose to enter Earth 0/Prime Earth:

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"A blue voice [said] that what happens here in the Metaverse is reflected out across the Multiverse."

Now, Melmoth "hearing" color is weird, but that's not the point. It's a clear indication on who says it. Another is that the Metaverse, a concept introduced in Doomsday Clock, is already being used by other writers. What is the Metaverse? I recommend reading Doomsday Clock to properly learn it but I will explain it in the next post.

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The Metaverse, The Heart of the Multiverse

As you can see, the Metaverse here isn't an Easter Egg, it isn't something they only hint at, but are using as an important plot point for the book's story. Prime Earth IS the Metaverse. Meaning Doomsday Clock IS Canon.

Conclusion (for now)

So as you can see, there are quite a lot of Rebirth and Doomsday Clock connections in current continuity. Clearly the book IS Canon. You likely have more questions. Such as those on the Legion and JSA. That's what part 2 will be for, where I'll also say where I believe that the book takes place and the impact it'll have.

Part 2: Doomsday Clock is ahead of, and will have impact on continuity.

This is the second part of my posts on Doomsday Clock in continuity. Read the previous post if you haven't yet. Unlike the last post this will contain spoilers for Doomsday Clock. Read the book if you haven't as well.

You have been warned.

SPOILERS AHEAD

The last post was all about how DDC is definitely in canon in main continuity and is mostly unchanged. This one will be much more in depth and will prove:

A) It's ahead of everything in current continuity
B) It will have impact on main continuity

That being said, major spoilers for the following are in this post:

Justice/Doom War, Bendis' Superman, YJ and LOSH, Hell Arisen and of course Doomsday Clock.

I know it's been a while since 12 released. Technically it's already a different decade. I needed to do some things for the Holidays but now I'm fully committed to doing this. And yes I know that the last post was mostly stuff we already knew or I already said in those 4 posts. I needed to make sure people were up to speed as much as possible, which is why I may reiterate some stuff here as well. And yes for those who only read the last post, I will discuss the JLA and Legion.

So without further a do…

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Better Late Than Never

I. The Justice Society of America

First things first. Let's talk about the JSA. Besides Doomsday Clock, one comic that featured them prominently recently is Scott Snyder and James Tynion's Justice League, appearing at the end of JL 30:

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The JSA "back"?

Sorry if this is a repeat but:

"How could this be? Aren't they not supposed to exist? Isn't Alan Scott supposed to be dead? This MUST mean DDC is non-canon or that JL is AFTER DDC!"

This isn't true, not only from what Scott and James say in their Newsrama interview.

I realized while making this that I'm mostly repeating things from my old post from last year. I don't want to copy and paste or explain it even worse, so if you want to see the interview I brought up as well as more details, please check it out here. Instead I'll make sure to focus more on new information relating to Doomsday Clock but first, quick summary:

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She's NEVER mentioned a superhero team in the 1940s!

In Justice League 30, the JSA don't come back. Barry and John found them travelling through Hypertime. In part 1 of this series I elaborated on how Hypertime can be used to see previous timelines, previous iterations of the Metaverse.

In Justice League 31, the duo confirm that they DON'T remember the JSA ever existing and no one in the present does. Including Kendra, whose past life exists here, Kent Nelson, who's alive right now, and Carter Hall, also alive right now.

So what gives?

Clearly someone (cough Jon Osterman cough) altered the timeline so they didn't exist in the current one as deduced by Doctor Fate.

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Altered Many Times

"Okay so Dr. Manhattan's antics are referenced. So they're canon I get it. So I guess this is after DDC and that's pretty much all the impact it'll have."

Nope.

As I said, the JSA do NOT exist in the current timeline. No one, not the League, not the villains, not even members in the team that appears, remembers them or are aware of their existence. This is a Hypertime timeline. Maybe Pre-Flashpoint judging from the roster.

You know who does remember?

Lex Luthor (and maybe Perpetua). But how? Perpetua is a supercelestial cosmic being but how could Lex know? Because he was already investigating the Rebirth mystery.

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Chronal Debris Footage of the JSA

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Heroes that Never Were

Lex was there during Wally's Rebirth.

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Rebirth

He's been tracking the Chronal Debris and theorizing on it ever since.

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Chronal Debris

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Lex's Theory in the Back Matter of DDC #11

This explains how Lex can know about their existence besides no one else knowing. It also explains his newfound desire to be something different and think outside the box as he told Riddler in the Year of the Villain Riddler special and in his own:

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Lex didn't want to spend another life fighting Superman like he always did.

"Okay, but how can this be BEFORE DDC? You still haven't proven that this can't be after it"

Which leads me to the next part. Final warning, Doomsday Clock #12 spoilers are in bound:

Impact of Doomsday Clock on the JSA

The reason why Doom War is most definitely before DDC is because the effects of it aren't there yet. They don't exist in the present and in the current timeline with no one remembering them.

As we see in 12, post DDC, they are fully back in the Metaverse history:

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Remembered by Pa

Their existence and the public being aware is important for Clark to be confident enough to be Superboy and inspire the Legion to take him in from the future.

As you see in the big double page spread in the first part of this post, Clark knows them as well, and their current day roster includes:

  • Power Girl (not N52 Earth 2 PG, classic PG, last seen in a void between worlds in a Deathstroke Annual)

  • Obsidian

  • Cyclone

  • Stargirl

  • Atom Smasher

  • Michael Holt Mister Terrific

  • Jade

  • Both Wildcats (inculding a non Earth 2 Yolanda Montez)

  • Rick Tyler Hourman

  • Damage

  • Jesse Chambers

  • Beth Chapel Dr. Midnight

  • Jakeem Thunder

As you can see the roster includes modern heroes from JSA past. Some still existed in New 52 but in different teams and some didn't at all.

And if there's any doubt, here's Alan Scott talking to the media who knows the team's history:

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Alan Scott

Speaking of history, look at what's new:

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New History

I'm sure many of you know about the leaked DC timeline Didio presented recently. It included an interesting detail: Diana as a member of the JSA during WW2. Obviously this can't be true right now since the new origin from Rebirth is still true and there is no indication Diana is now a JSA member, because the JSA does not exist yet.

So yes, Doomsday Clock is ahead of Doom War and Year of the Villain, it is what will launch the new timeline which will feature 5G and its effects will be felt. Just not yet.

II The Legion of Super-Heroes

"But what about the Legion?! Bendis already has them exist. And he probably altered the ending of the book too."

First off, once again, I don't want to repeat myself and I do believe my old post dealt with the Legion very well so if you wish, you can check this out: https://www.reddit.com/r/DCcomics/comments/d9yryc/theory_doomsday_clockrebirth_connections_in/

As I said, the Legion's been foreshadowed to being erased since early when Bendis arrived and it doesn't look like Geoff and Gary changed anything for Bendis other than the Legion's costumes.

But as for how they exist before DDC. Let's look closer.

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Bendis Legion

There are two ways to fix this:

  1. This Legion was made after Superman Reborn and although they exist, their history with Clark does not

From their first meeting with Superman in Bendis' book, to the recent issue, they assert that Jon is the first and only Superboy they meet and take in as a member as he is the only Superboy in the current timeline and the one who inspired them. The leader of the United Planets does kind of ask if Superboy is Clark, but she could just simply not know that there is only 1 Superboy in this timeline and mentioned all she knew. She didn't even mention Conner who should be back by now.

So essentially, what happens in DDC is that the remnant of the old timeline that shouldn't exist, merges or becomes the new version so old history is added back.

Huh that sounds familiar. Oh right, that's exactly what happened in Superman Reborn. Post-Crisis Superman is a remnant of the previous timeline created by Convergence, but he should be the same as New 52 thanks to Metaverse rules so they merge and in doing so history is added back.

This makes the effect of DDC a compromise from making the Legion exist, to bringing back their history with Clark. We see this in a panel in DDC.

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With Classic Legion Designs Too

Now this is an acceptable compromise. Remember that there also actually was a New 52 Legion that somehow coexisted with the Retroboot Legion (which wasn't wiped yet, likely another remnant). This Legion appeared in Morrison's New 52 AC run:

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New 52 Legion

Wait so how is DDC even possible if so?

One big difference with this Legion is that when they met young Clark, they were disappointed (because he's an ordinary kid with powers and not Superboy), only visited him for one day, didn't bring him into the future itself and wiped his memory every time they meet him:

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Gawky Caveman Kid? Ouch Imra

So in reality, DDC's change isn't a compromise. It technically always was just to restore Clark's history with them and as Superboy. Geoff just really simplified it in DDC itself.

2. The Timesteam Broken and Hypertime is whack

Alternatively however, from DDC we know the current New 52 timeline has no future. Jon couldn't see it.

"So?" you ask? Well that means any future timeline we see post Rebirth is in flux and is weirdly and loosely connected. It;s why the 25th century is unaffected by Flashpoint in Williamson's Flash and why Titans of Tomorrow is somehow not affected either until Future Tim realized time was now changeable. Why? Because these futures are not for the New 52.

This could explain why Thorn sees Pre-Flashpoint events in a museum in the future, even though she doesn't remember them as they didn't happen to her.

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"I don't remember that being a thing"

Basically, time is in flux and Hypertime is broken. Which we know is true in Flash War and Hell Arisen reminds us.

This is a simpler answer but also a less interesting one IMO.

III The Kents

Finally, we have the Kents.

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"It's good to see you."

There are two "problems" people bring up.

First is, for some reason some believed they might already be alive and that means DDC is past. Why?

  1. in Bendis' run because of the tense Clark used when bringing up Ma, and when asked Bendis brought up DDC.

  2. Conner says they're alive

Like I said before in the last post. Conner isn't from the current timeline and likely from Pre-Flashpoint. As for the first one, that's a very tiny detail in writing Bendis could've messed up and DDC was the only thing he could think of as an excuse. Why do I think that? It's the exact same thing he said on Twitter when asked why Barry had red hair in Superman (while admitting he's just lying and they just messed up in parentheses).

On the other hand, Clark's been through a lot lately. His biological dad coming to get his family, him dying, his child aged then leaving, him revealing his identity etc. Yet Clark never visits or thinks to even once.

So no. The Kents are still dead.

So what's the second?

People think that them being back will be quickly retconned and DDC will be meaningless as said by u/richjohnston in a bleeding cool article.

Well for the last time, DDC is set in the future just before the new timeline by Didio is made into canon, meaning until 5G,the Kents are still dead anyway.

Conclusion

Doomsday Clock is ahead of all books currently in continuity and it's impact will be met in full.

Part 3: How Continuity Will Line Up with Doomsday Clock

So by now, I've proven that Doomsday Clock is canon, that it's ahead of current continuity (just before the next timeline comes in), that it's impact will be felt. But what about the continuity errors?

For reference let's take a look at an article by u/richjohnston from Bleeding Cool for

"Five Struggles That The New DC Timeline Will Have Incorporating Doomsday Clock in 2020"

He lists down the errors as:

  1. There is no sign of the Superman Theory taking place or being propagated by Luthor – or anyone. Oh and Luthor is no longer a nine-foot Martian human apex predator hybrid. Though that latter aspect is probably the most malleable. But will Luthor really be able to go back to the way he was, as top manipulative businessman pushing the Superman Theory that the government is involved in the secret creation of all superheroes, even if it is a version of events that gets rewritten and pushed back into the Third or Second Generation of the DC Comics timeline?

  2. Alfred Pennyworth is dead in the Batman comics, killed by Bane, a state that seems to sticking for the foreseeable future. In Doomsday Clock, he is alive and well.

  3. Superman's secret identity is gone in the Superman comics, another state of events that is intended to the way things are for the foreseeable future, but in Doomsday Clock, no one but the usual suspects know that Superman and Clark Kent are one and the same.

  4. Dick Grayson is Nightwing again, and not Ric Grayson, Okay, this is one that looks like it will be reversed very soon. Probably shouldn't have included that one.

  5. Oh and yes, Superman's parents are alive again and present in the DC Universe in the present day. Matt Fraction has teased this may be tackled in Heroes and other Superman titles... but will it?

First let's start with the easy ones, 4 and 5.

Like he says, this is a non-problem. We've already got confirmation from Didio himself that he'll be back "soon".

What about the Kents? Mr. Johnston even claims in another article that they'll retcon this away so they'll be dead again.

Now if you read part 2 of my posts, in reality, this is another non-problem. If not, please read it but here's a short excerpt:

People think that them being back will be quickly retconned and DDC will be meaningless as said by u/richjohnston in a bleeding cool article.

Well for the last time, DDC is set in the future just before the new timeline by Didio is made into canon, meaning until 5G,the Kents are still dead anyway.

So if they wanted the Kents dead, good news is they still are and won't be back until just before the new timeline comes in (the one that you yourself talked about Mr. Johnston), because as I said in my post, post-DDC, Diana was a JSA member in WWII. Which isn't true yet for the current timeline.

Alright. Now for the real problems.

I. Apex Lex Luthor

This one is actually pretty easy.

Like I've proven before, Doomsday Clock is ahead of all current continuity books. Including Doom War and Hell Arisen. The latter is book that happens right after the former and has Apex Lex fight none other than The Batman Who Laughs.

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Hell Arisen. "H.A."

The first issue, solicits and interviews imply the obvious in this case.

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"Batman Wins!"

Solicits also imply the winner gets to be Perpetua's right hand man.

So if BWL wins, what about Apex Lex? My guess? He's killed so in old fasion Lex's style, he transfers his consciousness onto a clone body like always.

Evidence to why/how he'd do this? Well besides doing it in the 90s, he's also gotten something from the Multiverse in his YOTV special:

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DNA Back-Up? Wonder what he needs that for….

So yes, Lex loses, Lex becomes human again, Doomsday Clock happens first, and then he fights in Crisis. Or Death Metal isn't a Crisis and it happens before that. Either way, no problem.

As for him apparently investigating the DC Rebirth mystery, I've proven in Part 2 that JL and YOTV confirms that too.

But no he doesn't necessarily have to care about the Supermen Theory. Not yet anyway.

Speaking of…..

II. The Supermen Theory

So from DDC, we know that the government manufactured some of the metahumans in the country:

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Supermen Theory

The theory was made by none other than Dr. Helga Jace and confirmed Metas part of it include:

  • Metamorpho

  • Doc Dread

  • Element Girl

  • Stingaree

  • Lady Clayface

  • Man-Bat

  • Firestorm (without Ronnie knowing)

  • Killer Frost

  • Typhoon

Now, Mr. Johnston claims it's never been mentioned or foreshadowed. That isn't true as Tom King did so with Metamorpho in an HiC confessional:

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He Knows

Of course this is way before the theory is exposed and it hasn't been yet. As I mentioned in Part 1, Gotham City Monsters is very connected to continuity and DDC, yet Lady Clayface is right there with no one trying to ask her about her now shady origins. Same with Man-Bat in JLD.

Why?

Because for the last time. Doomsday Clock is ahead of continuity.

Besides all I've said in Parts 1-2, there's also the fact that there is no mention of the world nearly going into World War III thanks to the Metahuman arms race that erupted and the big battle in Washington.

Alright. Now the hard ones.

III. Alfred's Death

(Before we talk about Alfred, yes I'm aware that general Lane is dead as well in Leviathan. However Bendis has said this will connect to DDC. If ever the general in the book doesn't even have to be him but anyway he could have either faked his death, or he could come back like Alfred who I will now discuss)

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City of Bane? Sure about that?

So yes. Alfred in Tom King's Batman run died.

However there are rumors that Alfred wasn't supposed to die and King originally intended it to be a fake out but of course some genius at Editorial had the bright idea to milk the publicity of the death with some aftermath issues, annuals and one-shot specials.

King himself said that he didn't want him dead. In "Tec 1017, you can even tell they changed Alfred to Lucius at the last minute as pointed out by u/el_gran_galo .

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Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/DCcomics/comments/e9sa5j/comic_excerpt_looks_like_alfred_was_still_in_this/

So, worst case scenario, if they REALLY want Alfred to stay dead, they could pretend that Lucius is the one doing everything Alfred does in DDC.

Fortunately I don't see that happening. Alfred WILL be back.

Tynion has said his Batman run would have a lot of emotional moments and from his first issue, it seems to be rebuilding and strengthening him. What better way to do that then to resurrect Alfred, bring back Dick and give him a yellow oval?

But of course it wouldn't be easy. I bet Alfred will return NOT as himself initially, but as Outsider.

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Outsider of New 52 Earth 3

The most recent version of Outsider is Alfred of Earth 3, however the original Outsider was non other than Pre-Crisis Alfred who died and was temporarily replaced by Aunt Harriet.

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The ORIGINAL Outsider

As you can see this isn't even the first time Alfred's died and been temporarily replaced by another bat family member.

Now how will this happen, more on that later.

IV. Superman's Identity

This is probably the trickiest, but ironically the simplest.

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Truth 2.0

Did Bendis finally screw continuity up for real this time?

Maybe. However as I pointed out before Bendis has stated Clark will continue being Superman AND Clark Kent the reporter and says as such in Superman 18.

So if Bendis really wants this to stick, they'll just have to pretend that he could still work in the Planet and wear his usual guise while no one cares. Suspension of disbelief.

This could also tie in to how in DDC, now everyone trusts only Superman and not even Batman, who some are protesting to reveal his identity.

But, if ever they need to retcon that out, if they need a special excuse for Alfred (and General Lane) coming back to life, there is one perfect solution to all of this

THE SOLUTION: PRIME TIME

In my old post I've pointed out how Superboy Prime was brought up in Doomsday Clock

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Superbrats out to destroy us

and teased at by Scott Snyder in an AMA in this very subreddit.

https://www.reddit.com/r/DCcomics/comments/8l3e1j/im_scott_snyder_writer_of_dcmetal_dcnojustice_and/dzcn1yf/?context=3

u/Trafalgar277: Now that the Source Wall is broken, what are the chances of us seeing Superboy Prime? The last time we saw him, he was imprisoned there.

SCOTT: You very well might…

I've also pointed out how much they've been hinting at another Reality Punch:

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The Award Winning 3 gen Kent Punch. Awesome.

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Similar Framing?

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The Infamous Prime Punch

"Well too bad Earthmine. SBP isn't back and there's nothing that shows that he'll return any time soo-

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Guess who?

"Okay well that might still not happen. A reality punch bringing Alfred back to life as Outsider? Come on. That's like if the last punch brought Jason back to life as Red Hoo…oh"

So there you have it. Can't wait for Shazam #13

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From Doomsday Clock #12

Now, onto the theories.

I. CRISIS 2020

Whatever happens next, we know for sure that some sort of Crisis is coming. From every corner of the DC Universe. Gotham City Monsters, Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen, and of course Doomsday Clock.

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Mar Novu on the subject in HA #1

We know that Scott Snyder is planning to have a huge project with Greg Capullo soon. A sort of sequel to Metal and the true conclusion to everything from Metal.

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Big DC Project

He described it in interviews as

[….] the biggest cosmic showdown between everyone and that addresses a lot of the connectivity…

So it is safe to say that this is the Crisis and that it'll collide all the League stories, Flash Forward, Doomsday Clock etc.

Let's look at the big bads coming up planted since Metal:

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Upside Down Man from JLD

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Darkseid from JLO

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Barbatos and the Dark Multiverse from Metal

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Mandrakk The Dark Monitor from the Unexpected

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The Batman Who Laughs (who'll likely win H.A.)

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Mobius, the Anti-Monitor, with Alpheus' Hammer

and of course

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Perpetua

Quite a titanic showdown indeed. One recurring theme here is that the villains represent the "Dark Side" of the DC Universe. Whether it's literally Darkseid, Upside Down Man, Dark Multiverse stuff etc.

Now, is this the Crisis Doomsday Clock foreshadowed? Probably. Perpetua is kind of an Old God. She's arguably the first and she was trapped in the Source Wall too. Sure she's technically not but it is a general statement.

Snyder has confirmed this is the ultimate conclusion that brings everything together including Doomsday Clock which he confirms will be firmly placed in continuity by then.

So I think it's safe to say DDC is what changed the timeline into the one Didio showed (as I confirmed), and just after it is this Crisis that leads to the end of the current era and into 5G. It won't be the one to make the new timeline because DDC already did that with WW's new history with the JSA established, but it will be the one that'll close it all out and either

A. Age all the heroes

B. Lead to a time skip for the main books, shifting the Metaverse without changing the history and decompressing the super compressed timeline as an Anti-Reboot

I'm inclined to lean into the latter. Why? Let's talk about:

II. Three Jokers

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The Three Jokers

Now, there's a few misconceptions about the book I want to address. Jason Fabok has said the book will be in continuity and that the story itself will be done in a way that other books may or may not address it. Essentially, you could headcanon it. Unfortunately his words were twisted into clickbait a while back which even caught him off guard.

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"Yeesh"

Now, let's look at the character designs for the moment.

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Character Designs

As you can see, Bruce has the yellow oval back. It;s different from most of DDC as it's more inspired by Batman '89 with the shape of the bat insignia. Barbara is also back to a more classic look unlike in most of DDC or currently.

However we actually DO see these designs in the book, at the very end.

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Right in the first image

Note, the suit is different from the rest of DDC. At the end of it before this vision he does go back to the simple black bat, likely so he could use it in the Metal 2 Crisis. Clearly however Three Jokers is Post-Doomsday Clock.

But before we can talk more about Three Jokers, let's move on to the big topic.

III. 5G

There are a few ideas and rumors on the topic. From what I can gather, it is not necessarily a traditional reboot that throws away everything. In fact it will obviously incorporate the new DC timeline, which Doomsday Clock created.

What's got me and a lot of people worried, is of course that our heroes will be replaced by a 5th Generation. But by who? Let's look at that top scan again.

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From Doomsday Clock #12

There you could see Luke Fox in a new Batsuit, Nubia with in a Wonder Woman suit, Jackson Hyde, and a group of Gls, including Jessica Cruz. I believe these may be clues to the new 5G successors. Besides them there's also Jon Kent as Superman.

But there's more that we can take from this page which confirms how 5G will start and predicts how it ends. As you can see "Earth-5G" was made when the timeline was restored by January 2026 after the conclusion of "The Time Masters" Crisis that started in 2025.

We know that a new Earth is made to preserve the era that ends, meaning 5G theoretically ends there and starts after Crisis 2020.

"In its wake, Superman is revitalized and his greatest allies return".

Meaning of course that Superman will be made young and back center stage again and so will his colleagues.

Now again, people are worried about this and might drop DC soon after, thinking it'll throw everything again right however. However, while the Metaverse will have the new 5th Generation take center stage, I believe that the new timeline with all DC History will remain intact and we'll even have stories set in those eras to go along with the 5G material.

Didio has hinted at the exploration of Diana's new history and origin being a JSA member in World War II and of course u/richjohnston has said in his recent gossip article that it will treat everything as canon, the opposite of a reboot and even decompress the timeline so everything has enough time to occur.

So what's my point?

I believe the first such books set in the past of the 5G timeline is none other than Three Jokers.

Hence the Black Label and no sign of a release date yet.

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It's the Anti-Reboot Book

Jason Fabok has confirmed it will be the "Anti-Reboot" book which will treat all DC history as canon and essentially using 3 Jokers to explain the vastly different Joker iterations in DC's history which I've theorized more than a year ago:

https://comicvine.gamespot.com/joker/4005-1702/forums/my-theory-on-the-three-jokers-repost-fo-1993160/

This fits with 5G's way of treating history and the page from DDC foreshadows both 5G and 3 Jokers.

So at the very least the good news is that while 5G is on for the main titles, Black Label books and other sorts of mini-series' can make stories from the past of 5G.

So far they'll include:

  • Three Jokers

  • Wonder Woman and the JSA

  • Possibly a Snyder-Jimenez JSA book

And at the end of all this a Time Masters Crisis likely using the Metaverse and Hypertime plot elements will put Clark back on front.

Conclusion

Things might seem dark, but the more I think about it the future is brighter than it seems. 5G seems like it has some influence from Geoff's original Rebirth plans as well, we'll still have stories on our preferred heroes, all of DC history is now in 1 timeline, and we have a gigantic Crisis on our way.

I think we should give it a chance. There is still hope for DC comics' future, and its past.

 

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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