It is often said that Watchmen is the most influential comic ever to be released. That comics wouldn’t be where they are without it, for good and for ill. But how did we get here, exactly? More to the point, just what influence did Watchmen provide to the larger world of comics? What, ultimately, is the legacy of Watchmen? Who watched the Watchmen?
In the wake of Watchmen, there have been many stories influenced by its style. There have been stories that riffed on what it was doing and ones that reacted against it. There have even been prequels to the narrative spun by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. But there had never been a direct sequel to Watchmen, let alone one that pushed the ultimate button: crossing over Watchmen with the DC Universe.
There had been attempts in the past, certainly. A cameo from Rorschach here. A thematic test image where Rorschach fights Frank Miller’s Batman there. And maybe one or two riffs to make things look spicy. But never anything as concrete as a complete sequel to Watchmen. That was… until Doomsday Clock.
Written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank, Doomsday Clock is the big sequel to Watchmen. As part of the DC Rebirth initiative, a twelve issue miniseries was announced to pay off the big reveal at the end of the story: the DC Universe had been attacked by Dr. Manhattan.
A cursory glance at that sentence might make one… unsure. For all that the Before Watchmen comics weren’t uniformly good, there was a degree of draftsmanship to them. Not so much trying to one-up Watchmen as make a cheap cash-in without any sense of taste. But something like Doomsday Clock is… different.