The year is only a few hours old and the first sign of the apocalypse has already been fired for 2017. In a tweet series at midnight, DC President/CCO and DC Films co-head, Geoff Johns announced a few things to look forward to:



Dr. Manhattan, the time shifting being from Watchmen, was semi-subtly hinted to be behind the brainwashing of the New 52, as revealed in the controversial final pages of Rebirth. While he wasn’t shown directly, it was pretty clear who they were talking about.

Since then, there have been some little hints dropped in various DC titles that give Watchmen-esque Easter eggs, however I was told Johns himself would be the one to pick up the threads when the time came, and that would have to wait until he had some spare time from his busy day job at DC Films. Well, looks like he hopes to have a little timey wimey on his hands.

Many comics observers will find this distasteful, given Watchmen creator Alan Moore’s ongoing battles with DC. Others will say, whatever, we live in a dumpster fire, and it’s all going to burn anyway so give me some new Watchmen stories.

I’m sure Johns will treat these stories with great respect on his part. I doubt that will be enough. The controversial Before Watchmen comics, by some of the best people in the industry, came and went without setting the world on fire with their great stories. There is only one Alan Moore, and he’s busy with other things.

But it’s coming.

So yep! We’re off to a raging start!


  1. Can I ask something that has been on my mind for a long time, what exactly is it that everyone loves some much about Watchmen? Now before people get on my case, I am not insulting or downplaying Watchmen, I am curious what is it that makes this series so well regarded to people.

    Now this is just me but honestly the characters and the plot aren’t what make the book. For me it how the series was structured, from how all the little details flesh out the world to use of the panels themselves. I feel the reason that for so long a Watchmen film was considered impossible was because what made the comic so great was that it used the medium to it’s advantage. So with that in mind why is this such big deal, the use of characters aren’t going to take away from the previous work. Hell if anything it will just make it shine brighter in contrast.

    Plus there is also the fact that none of the Watchmen characters are really that original. Honestly just regard Dr. Manhattan as an alternate Captain Atom and call it day. Frankly in that light this whole Rebirth affair could be seen as a weird Armageddon 2001 and Zero Hour mash-up…

  2. What upsets people is how shifty D.C. Was in retaining the rights to the book and characters after promising them to be given to Moore and Gibbons. That along with so much more mistreatment of Moore is why most fans would prefer it be left alone. Also it’s a great stand alone story that wasn’t meant to be anything more. It’s like if they started publishing Before Moby Dick books or had Ahab crossover with Huck Finn.

  3. I am not saying you can’t hate this idea or think it is distasteful. I am just curious as to the why. I get DC’s interaction with Moore has been rough, but if people opposed reading any property where the talent involved had been screwed over we would not have much to read from the major publishers. I just want to know why we, both personally and as a community, rally around this comic in particular.

    Also aren’t bizarre fictional character crossovers what Moore did with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and some of his other later works.

  4. As far as I know, there hasn’t been a prequel to Moby Dick.. But there was an unofficial sequel, just as there have been for many literary classics. Most of these are terrible and have no effect on the original, although Wide Sargasso Sea (unofficial prequel to Jane Eyre) has become a classic in its own right.

  5. Blue Saint, what Alan Moore did with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was to use characters that had become, over time, a part of our cultural landscape. That’s generally accepted as fair, although some objected to shocking way he made use of the characters in Lost Girls. But he did not manipulate the current work of living authors. For a good comparison, consider what has happened with Sherlock Holmes in recent decades – especially the versions presented by Robert Downing and Benedict Cumberbatch.

    It is appropriate for a character (or story, or concept) to pass into the public domain, but when that moment should happen is still a matter of controversy. It seems it should not happen when the creators are not only still alive, but have been more or less swindled out of their ownership.

    Some fans rally around Watchmen as an example of the abusiveness that is pervasive in the comics industry, but not everyone. There are other examples just as powerful (and righteous) related to Bill Finger, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Steve Gerber… and many, many more.

    You’re right that “people opposed reading any property where the talent involved had been screwed over we would not have much to read from the major publishers.” This is why some readers turn instead to independent comics that honor the ownership of creators.

    I struggle with this issue a lot. Sometimes I feel that I can’t read anything from DC or Marvel without a guilty twinge somewhere in the back of my mind. So I don’t. I have given up on them almost entirely. Almost. They are still able to draw my interest every once in a while, The only Big Two comic I read now is New Super-Man, a delightful work.

  6. Possibly to truly appreciate the importance of Watchmen, you had to be reading comics for quite a while before Watchmen and Dark Knight turned up the level of maturity in comic stories in the late 1980s.

    I’m reminded of a friend who finally read the Green Lantern/Green Arrow run, and was disappointed, expecting much more based on it’s reputation. Most of it’s themes are stories are commonplace now, but in 1970, they were groundbreaking.

  7. Even moreso than ushering in an age of a “grittier comics”, I think Watchmen’s best legacy is the unique narrative presentation that it mainstreamed. Shows like Lost pulled liberally from its flashback structure, for example. It’s an impressive text.

  8. The basic plot of Watchmen was lifted (perhaps unconsciously) from a 1963 “Outer Limits” episode. And, yes, most of the characters were based on Charlton’s superheroes from the ’60s. What made Watchmen a must read was its superb execution.

    Aside from its “gritty” influence, Watchmen didn’t use thought balloons, sound effects, or scene-setting captions. Other comics writers quickly learned they could do without those elements, too.

    “I’m reminded of a friend who finally read the Green Lantern/Green Arrow run, and was disappointed, expecting much more based on it’s reputation. Most of it’s themes are stories are commonplace now, but in 1970, they were groundbreaking.”

    That could be said of Marvel’s comics in the ’60s. If you were alive in those days, the difference between Marvel and DC (and the comics that came before) was like night and day.

  9. I would say ‘yay, more Watchmen!’, but the last batch just weren’t worth anyone’s time – and I bought them all. Will not be buying this, whatever form it takes.

  10. To add, from a narrative perspective, it doesn’t make much sense to bring back any of the characters of Watchmen. In that series, each of the major characters went through a developmental arc that had a clear beginning and end. Each of their arcs served to provide the reader with a deeper understanding of that individual and of the work as a whole. What purpose does starting a new arc for any of these characters in the DCU serve?

    While no person is ever truly “finished growing,” comic books have a tendency to conflate aimless meandering with character development. Yeah, you COULD have a whole series arc to provide a backstory about why Batman’s one face off with the Condiment King led him to hate ketchup, but what does that really teach us? Why bother?

    I like the characters of Watchmen, but I like them because I was invested in watching their worldviews develop in the context of the carefully defined universe Moore and Gibbons had laid out before them. In my mind, their stories are over, even though as Manhattan says, nothing ever really ends.

    Maybe something truly outstanding will be done with the Watchmen characters. Maybe I’ll eat my words. It’s totally possible and something I even hope for, as the eternal optimist. However, I find it hard to believe that there’s a lot of good material to mine out of characters who were originally built to critique the universe they are now in. Manhattan was interesting /because/ he was the only superman in a world not built to support that infrastructure. Ozymandias was the smartest man in a world that he could singularly shape to his vision. Strip that away and now they’re just more fish in an overcrowded bowl.

  11. Marvel & DC should do a big intercompany crossover that features Miracleman, Dr. Manhattan, Tom Strong and the dude from V for Vendetta and call it “Fresh Out of Ideas.”

  12. “I’m sure Johns will treat these stories with great respect on his part”. Really? The fact he’s tampering with the Watchmen at all, and not leaving them alone, shows he has no respect for those stories.

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