When DC Comics attempted to redirect their comic continuity after the launch of “The New 52”, Geoff Johns planted a seed in the “Rebirth” premiere issue with the iconic, blood-stained Watchmen pin in the Bat Cave. After nearly two years, we finally get the connection. The Doomsday Clock has been linked to the issues of Superman and Action Comics, which indicate that Doctor Manhattan has manipulated time in the DC Universe.
The first-issue of the twelve-issue series pays homage to the original 1985 series. Picking up in November of 1992, time has not been kind of that alternate reality. Rorschach’s journal has caused havoc in that world. Turning Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias, into the worlds most wanted man. The peace between the United States and Russia is at the worse level. Russia believes that the United States had sided with Veidt to bring on the fake alien attack, which cost the lives of 3 million people.
The entire opening narration comes from Rorschach. However, if you read the original series, you know that his character was killed at the end of that run. It indicates that this is not THAT Rorschach. President Redford has suspended all independent media and takes control of the information. A first strike has been launched and a massive evacuation and riot have begun.
The only one not running away is Rorschach, who is attempting a jailbreak. There are new characters that are introduced but the old characters are MIA. At least, in this issue. It would seem that Night Owl and Silk Spectre have vanished and rumors of their demise are stuff of legend.
The final pages of the issue jump cut to Clark Kent trying to sleep. He is having a flashback to when his parents died. Obviously, it is tied into the main narrative somehow. Clark is being dropped off at his senior prom by Ma and Pa Kent.
Johns’ story is a perfect homage to the original classic, plus taking us into the world post-Watchman. The parallels to the current political climate seem perfect for a continuation. While the original series was similar to the climate of the time in the mid-eighties. The Cold War was at its height but using Nixon as the president allowed the allegory to progress.
The current political climate makes the story topical and perfect for telling. Gary Frank’s art is a perfect companion to the original series. Shading and lines are reminiscent of the classic series. The artwork at the end of the book, revealing Clark, was more DC but the edging and shading linked it to the rest of the book nicely.
I found the book to be quite entertaining. It was an easy twenty-six pages read. While much of the text is Rorschach’s inner monologue, it was a great pick up from the last issue of the original series. Finding out what happened to society based on the journal is intriguing and just. However, the connection between both Watchman and the main DC Universe will be interesting in the coming issues. Something I will be picking up.