Last month's issue of Doomsday Clock ended on a bizarre and fascinating cliffhanger: standing in Lex Luthor's office, Adrian Veidt found himself under fire -- from Edward Blake, the Comedian.
Of course, it was Blake's death which precipitated the events of Watchmen, to which Doomsday Clock is a direct sequel, so it was a bit surprising to see The Comedian back among the living.
Fan theories abounded: could he somehow be the DC Universe's version of Blake? Could he be a hallucination? Time-displaced? But as is often the case in these situations, the most obvious answer was the truth, revealed in today's issue:
Blake was saved, and brought to the DC Universe, by Jon Osterman (the being better known as Doctor Manhattan). In a flashback sequence, Blake sees himself falling to what would be his death in Watchmen, only to stop suddenly and find himself underwater. He rises out of it, just off the coast of Metropolis, and hears Doctor Manhattan's voice from behind him.
No obvious reason was given for Osterman's decision to save the costumed vigilante-turned-government operative. Besides being the biological father of his ex-girlfriend, he had little in common with Blake. While the mystery of who killed The Comedian is one that drove Watchmen, he was not himself a principal actor in the story.
This idea -- pulling characters from their "natural" deaths just an instant before they happened -- is something that Osterman is suggested to have done a couple of times before: a blow light indicated that he was responsible for saving Jor-El on Krypton as well as Tim Drake at the end of the first arc of Detective Comics.
Ironically, the Manhattan salvation is something that fans had figured might be applied to Rorschach, rather than The Comedian. At New York Comic Con, Geoff Johns shared the first half-dozen pages of Doomsday Clock #1, including the first appearance of the new Rorschach. At the time, while in costume, it was impossible for fans to know that Rorschach was not a revived version of Walter Kovacs.
Given that Doctor Manhattan has the ability to manipulate space and time -- and obviously did so, at least to some extent, in order to find himself in the current-day DC Universe -- some fans immediately guessed that this is how the original Rorschach, killed by Osterman himself at the end of Watchmen, would return.
Whether Edward Blake will get to survive this story and not end up a bloody smear on a 1985 pavement is anybody's guess. Certainly it seems reasonable to assume that he is living on borrowed time and destined to eventually be returned to the moment before he died.
Doomsday Clock #3 is on sale now. You can get it at your local comic shop or buy a digital copy on ComiXology.