Theory Time: Could The Flash Introduce the Watchmen?

Theory Time: Could The Flash Introduce the Watchmen?

BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME

IG@matt.tuck.writer

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It’s Theory Friday, and I’ve got an interesting one for you: could The Flash be a setup for a DCEU Doomsday Clock? 

The root of this theory comes from a teaser image released for The Flash. We don’t know a lot about the movie’s plot except that it involves Barry Allen zipping across the Multiverse. He’s going to run into Earth-1989, where he will meet Michael Keaton’s Caped Crusader and an all-new Supergirl played by Sasha Calle. Don’t forget the movie also includes Ben Affleck in what is reportedly his final appearance as Batman. Who knows? We could get some other surprise cameos along the way, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jason Momoa or Gal Gadot.

DC already established its onscreen Multiverse, and they even managed to beat Marvel to the punch. While the MCU gets all the Multiversal fanfare thanks to Spider-Man: No Way Home, the DCEU did it first when the two Flashes, Ezra Miller and Grant Gustin, came face to face on CW’s The Flash in 2020. 

Comic fans love the idea of the Multiverse connecting the previously independent movies and shows. In the CW’s Arrowverse adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the DCEU established practically all prior DC projects as official cinematic universe canon, including Tim Burton’s Gotham City from 1989. That paved the way for Keaton to dust off his Batsuit and join the cast of The Flash.

As exciting as it is to see Keaton return to DC, there could be more at work here. The latest teaser image features the classic ‘89 Bat-Signal besmirched with blood. What could this mean? Will The Flash be bloodier and more violent than we first imagined? Could it indicate the rise of evil Batmen from the Dark Multiverse? 

What grabbed my attention was how much it resembles the Watchmen logo. If you recall, the prevailing image from Alan Moore’s groundbreaking masterpiece was the Comedian’s smiley face button with blood dripping from the edge. The reason for this is the Comedian’s murder is the catalyst for the plot, and the blood-splattered button was a piece of evidence discovered by Rorschach. 

The Bat-Signal teaser making the internet rounds looks similar to the Comedian’s button with blood along the lower left edge. Is this a clue that the Watchmen universe is merging into the greater DCEU?

DOOMSDAY CLOCK

The Multiverse makes anything possible. In the comics, the two worlds merged in the pivotal 12-issue limited series, Doomsday Clock. It began when the Dark Knight found the Comedian’s button embedded in the Batcave’s wall at the end of DC Universe Rebirth #1 in 2016. However, we wouldn’t see the Watchmen characters enter DC’s Earth-One until 2017’s Doomsday Clock

The basic premise of the story was that a nuclear holocaust was only moments away in the Watchmen universe. Ozymandias, Rorschach, and two new characters, Mime and Marionette, escaped the destruction by crossing into the Multiverse. Once there, the new Rorschach visits Batman, Ozymandias attempts to manipulate Lex Luthor and draw Doctor Manhattan out of the shadows, while Mime and Marionette encounter the Joker. In the end, we learn that Ozymandias’ true scheme is to pit the Multiverse’s two most powerful beings against one another, namely Doctor Manhattan and Superman. We even get the Comedian’s return in the closing moments, which brought the story full circle.

After HBO Max expanded on the Watchmen universe with the 2019 series, it brought the comics back into the mainstream focus. The timing seemed odd, especially after Doomsday Clock only two years prior. Why would DC suddenly resurrect the Watchmen brand? The end result could be a connection to the larger DCEU. 

On that note, let’s explore some key issues that could be worth watching.

WATCHMEN #1

When collecting anything involving the Watchmen, it begins and ends with the first issue. To say this issue was a landmark achievement is an understatement. Alan Moore helped redefine what comics could be with one of the more literary entries in the pantheon. As the story goes, Moore originally wanted to use the Charlton Comics superheroes from the Golden Age, which DC had recently acquired at that time. When the editors nixed the idea, he created his own parodies of the classic characters. Arguably, Moore’s Minutemen have become more famous than the originals at this point. 

As far as collecting, this issue had plateaued in terms of fair market value for a time. Between the less-than-stellar reception for the Zack Snyder adaptation in 2009 and the HBO Max series premiere, prices generally stayed in the $100-$200 range. Doomsday Clock helped boost the FVMs into $300 territory. Then came the show that managed to continue Moore’s masterpiece while also finding its own distinct voice. It was an excellent series with tremendous performances from its stars. There’s rumblings of a second season, and that’s been enough to inspire higher prices, at least for the 9.8. In the past year, it consistently brings between $900-$1k.

THE QUESTION #17

Technically, the first time any of the Watchmen invaded the Earth-One DC universe was in 1988. Then again, it was a dream sequence, so does it really count? In a fourth-wall breaking moment, the Question finds a copy of Watchmen, and gives it a read. He begins to - appropriately enough - question how similar he is to Rorschach. The Question falls asleep and dreams that he meets the character from the comic. In my mind, that doesn’t actually count as Rorschach’s debut in the DC Universe. Still, this could be an interesting addition to your Watchmen collection. Since this isn’t a major seller, finding a copy is not difficult. Most raw copies sell for $30 or less.

 

BATMAN: REBIRTH #21

Like most of the comics on today’s, Batman #21 is a cheap buy with raw copies selling for $10 or less. The reason to want this issue is more about the history of the Watchmen and their inclusion into the larger DC Universe. After the dismal New 52 reboot, the DC Universe underwent a second reset, this time titled Rebirth. At the conclusion of Rebirth #1, Batman discovered the Comedian’s button. 

For a time, no one spoke about the button until Batman #21, when the Caped Crusader discovered that it was reacting to Psycho Pirate’s mask. The only thing that would suddenly make this a hot investment is if we see the button in The Flash. In that admittedly unlikely scenario, Rebirth #1 would get a boost, but the cover art for Batman #21 would make it the bigger seller.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #1

Again, it’s not likely that The Flash is setting up Doomsday Clock, but it is so much fun to think about. Obviously, Doomsday Clock #1 would be the first of the series to feel the collecting heat. What would really set this comic on fire would be if Mime and Marionette appeared in the DCEU. The thing is, they are an interesting pair who could make for good additions to the DCEU. Based on Charlton characters Punch and Jewelee, Mime and Marionette feel like they should have been Batman villains from the beginning. Operating as the DC’s Bonnie and Clyde, the couple works together to pull off crimes. They can create invisible weapons from thin air, so they’re never unarmed.

The other factor is the first appearance of Mime and Marionette’s son, Clark Dreiberg. Doctor Manhattan raised the couple’s son until he was a young boy. Before Manhattan faded out of existence, he transferred all his godly powers to Clark and left him to be raised by the former Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, hence the surname, Dreiberg. Clark is only seen in a photograph, but many collectors count this as his first appearance.

In the market for a copy? The standard cover sells for about $3 on eBay, and hardly any of the variants cross the $10 mark.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #12

The limited series culminated with the ultimate battle of DC powerhouses - Doctor Manhattan and Superman. From the beginning, Manhattan had seen this event was coming, but he could not see the outcome. When the inevitable matchup finally occurs, it helps the godlike doctor to realize the importance of Superman’s existence in every version of the DC Universe.

The real selling point for this issue is the first full appearance of the aforementioned Clark Dreiberg. Imbued with Dr. Manhattan’s powers, this alternate version of Superman has huge implications to the DC Universe when Clark and his biological parents, Mime and Marionette, return in Flashpoint Beyond #0. Depending on his role in that crossover, this could elevate prices for Doomsday Clock #12. At the moment, raw copies are selling for around $20, and a graded 9.8 sold for $70 on April 10.

Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.


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