Has it been a year already? 2017 has reached its end, but before we dive into 2018, we’d like to take a moment and look back. For DC fans, 2017 was a remarkable year in comics, film and TV. Our characters reached new milestones and audiences, our writers and artists achieved remarkable new heights and our universe continued to grow in surprising new ways. And yet, within it all, several moments stood out for their importance and relevance. Some of them were groundbreaking, others were a welcome return. All of them are worthy of acknowledgement and celebration. In a year in which fans had much to talk about, these are the moments we’ll continue to talk about well beyond the new year. These are DCComics.com’s “Ten Moments that Mattered in 2017.”
When DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 landed in May of 2016, its final page sparked some major questions when the looming, nuclear blue shadow of Dr. Manhattan was cast across the planet.
It's all been leading to this. Each moment of Rebirth and beyond, culminating into the epic collision between the unstoppable force of the DC Universe and the immovable object that is the world of WATCHMEN as told by two masters of the medium: Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.
The announcement of DOOMSDAY CLOCK rocked the comics world to its core. Not only was it a return to comics writing for Johns, but it represented the next step in the story he had kicked off over a year ago. Finally, we’d have a potential solution—or at least, a new set of clues—to the strange riddle laying at the heart of Rebirth as a whole. Not to mention the fact that it would be the first time ever that Watchmen's cast of heroes and villains would be officially brought into contact with the main DC Universe.
Just in case you might need a refresher about the events of DC Universe: Rebirth #1, we learned that someone—or something—had tampered with time and the memories of the entire universe, removing pieces and leaving gaps large enough to swallow up entire heroes whole. Heroes like Wally West, who had been lost in the Speed Force without a way to anchor himself to the world for years. We still don't know exactly how, or why, forces from outside the DC Universe were tampering with time, but we did learn that Dr. Manhattan was here. We knew he had some role.
Since then, echoes of Manhattan have cropped up here and there across Rebirth, but nothing has solidified until now, with the release of Doomsday Clock #1 in November, the first of twelve issues that will continue through 2018 and pave the way for the future, and possibly the past, of the DCU as we know it. But it's not going to be easy, and it's certainly not something Johns and Frank are taking lightly. Aside from the narrative threads Doomsday Clock has to pick up, it's also stepping directly into the shadow of arguably the most beloved and critically revered graphic novel of all time. Watchmen is a monolith that has stood for over twenty years as an iconic piece of—and commentary on—superhero fiction.
However, it also was a commentary on the nonfictional world. For those of us who didn’t live through it, or who were too young to remember, the world of 1986 was very different from the world of 2017. Decades of international turmoil and mutually assured destruction had seemingly placed the entire world on edge. The United States had embraced a charismatic leader espousing a new breed of conservatism that unapologetically embraced American strength and patriotism, and was bolstered by a booming economy that showed no sign of slowing down. However, not everyone benefitted from it, and the discrepancy between the wealthy and the poor grew ever wider, both domestically and internationally. All of this led to a divided world polarized around two nuclear superpowers with drastically different worldviews and neither seemingly willing to give an inch.
On second thought, perhaps 1986 wasn’t all that different than 2017. In fact, perhaps it wasn’t different at all.
While DC’s revisited the world of Watchmen prior to now, most notably in the 2012 BEFORE WATCHMEN comic book event, this is the first time characters like Rorschach, Ozymandias and Dr. Manhattan have entered the DCU, and the timing has never been more adept.
There's no doubt that it's a big job. But if the first issue is any indication, uneasy Watchmen fans have little to worry about. Doomsday Clock continues a core theme set forth in Rebirth—learning from the past to create something new moving forward. And "new" is the name of the game. From the shocking reveal in issue #1 of a familiar mantle being taken up by an unfamiliar face, to the introduction of brand new characters to the Watchmen universe, this story is all about turning what you think you know on its ear.
If the end really is here, it’s a hell of a way to go out.
Be sure to check DCComics.com again tomorrow for another Moment that Mattered in 2017.