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DC has been exceptionally tight-lipped about its upcoming November story Doomsday Clock, which introduces the iconic characters of Watchmen into the main DC Universe for the first time. During a panel for the comic at New York Comic-Con, writer Geoff Johns lifted the veil and explained why the publisher has been secretive about the 12-issue miniseries.
Johns spoke with Lev Grossman--an expert on all things Watchmen and the author of The Magicians series--as to just why readers are being kept in the dark about the upcoming book. "We want you to experience it by reading it," explained Johns.
That comment is not without its merit. Many times, comic book publishers will unveil too much information about their upcoming series, even spoiling major moments--like deaths and rebirths--and full pages on the day of or even before the book's release. Many big events completely lose their allure and mystique through spoilers and story details released to the public, and interest in the series--as well as sales--suffer.
However, DC readers needed something to wet their whistle with Doomsday Clock, as the company has been teasing it for months now, with numerous promo images but not much else.
Johns revealed the first six-pages for the premiere issue of the comic and walked through it panel by panel, and you can see the lettered version of those pages below.
When the final page of this preview was revealed, the hall erupted in cheers and applause as Watchmen character Rorschach appeared on the screens on the sides of the stage. Johns insisted that Doomsday Clock is something anyone will be able to read, as long as they've read Watchmen, which many comic book fans consider to be required reading.
The seeds for this story reach back to the DC Rebirth one-shot comic from June 2016, where Dr. Manhattan was revealed on the final page--which marked the first time that character appeared in the main DC Universe. Since then, vague promo images and an event at this past year's San Diego Comic-Con continued to tease the book without any solid information.
While Johns discussed the creation of the comic and why he wanted to write it, he kept story details incredibly vague. However, he explained his passion for this project and that he wanted to put the heartbeat back into the DC Universe: "I wanted to get back to the essence of these characters," said Johns.
The writer also expressed his admiration for the original Watchmen series and that he and artist Gary Frank were following a rule book for this series. Frank was following a nine-panel grid, much like the original graphic novel, and Johns said that Frank has "a slight echo" to Watchman's artist Dave Gibbons. "He's the only artist to do the project," said Johns. "If Gary doesn't draw it, I can't write it."
During the final minutes of the panel, Johns explained this is a standalone story, not an event. There will be no crossovers or tie-ins into other series. Readers interested in Doomsday Clock will have to buy the 12-issue miniseries and nothing else.
Finally, according to Johns, Dr. Manhattan will be naked in this series. That, along with the swearing in the preview of the book, means that DC is keeping in tone with the original series, which is adult in nature. You can see the full comic and Mahattan's blue penis in Doomsday Clock, which hits stores on Wednesday, November 22.
Death isn't forever in comics. In 2003, Jean Grey died during an iconic run on New X-Men by acclaimed writer Grant Morrison. Since then, that version of Grey has been dead, but this December, Grey will return in the five-issue miniseries Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey.
The new story written by Matthew Rosenberg and drawn by Leinil Yu will follow--you guessed it--the resurrection of one of the original five X-Men: "Strange events are no surprise to the X-Men," reads the official synopsis from Marvel. "But when events start occurring that are more specific and stranger than usual, the group is forced to confront the truth: could Jean be alive after all? And how will this Jean Grey deal with a world that is now so different from the one she left years ago?"
The story is still a pretty big mystery at the moment, but the upcoming months in the current X-Men titles should shed some light on what's coming ahead. "This is very cool mystery building to a mind-warping climax," said senior editor Mark Paniccia. "And it has plenty of what you’d expect from an X-Men epic of this magnitude. Action, romance, sacrifice, lots of X-Men, and five great artists."
In addition to Yu, the series will feature five artists taking on the story. It has yet to be revealed how that is going to come into play, whether each issue will be an individual artist or all five will be featured in each issue.
Jean Grey does currently exist in the Marvel universe, as a version of her from the past has been living in the present for the past few years. However, the teenage Jean Grey doesn't have the experience, memories, or the connection to the Phoenix Force of her future counterpart.
It will be extremely interesting to see these two characters meet and find out how the adult Jean Grey reacts to her younger counterpart, the deaths of Cyclops and Wolverine, and an older Logan from a parallel world currently on the X-Men. Again, this mutant team is no stranger to the strange.
Phoenix Resurrection will hit stores on December 27, and interestingly enough, Phoenix will be returning to comics 11 months before the big screen adaptation of the legendary story The Dark Phoenix Saga. X-Men: Dark Phoenix is set to release on November 2, 2018.
New Artwork by Joe Giordano
New Artwork by Joe Giordano
Comics – Nerdist