Moments ago, DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns shared a first look at the covers to November's Doomsday Clock #1, and fans are already doing the quick mental math required to guess that Rorschach, the beloved antihero killed in the final issue of Watchmen, will play a part in the story.
Doomsday Clock pits the hope and optimism embodied by Superman against the cynicism and darkness of Watchmen. The Watchmen antagonists, Doctor Manhattan and Ozymandias, are both expected to appear in the comic -- but beyond that, fans have had little idea as to what the story might be, or how the remaining characters from Watchmen fit into it.
The standard cover by Gary Frank, though -- which features an angry mob and a man carrying a sign reading "The End is Here," evokes more Rorschach, the series' fan-favorite antihero, than Manhattan or Ozymandias.
Series artist Frank also recently shared a video of himself sketching Rorschach for his son's YouTube channel (seen below).
None of this is exactly conclusive evidence, and certainly the popularity of Rorschach as a character eclipses any other individual Watchmen hero to such an extent that using him in marketing materials for the series certainly makes sense. That said, Johns has promises in the past that it will be more than "just" Doctor Manhattan showing up in Doomsday Clock.
"It goes beyond Doctor Manhattan for anybody who's wondering because this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing and we're going to go for the best story we can tell, and that's what this story calls for," Johns promised fans at Comic Con last month.
When solicitation information is released for DC's November titles -- likely later today -- it's possible (though probably unlikely) that the teaser text for Doomsday Clock #1 might give fans a sense for just what is happening. For now, though, all we have is handful of cryptic messages, mostly managed by Johns and Frank themselves.
"I was talking to Gary on the way down here this morning," Johns said. "We talked about a layout he's doing right now in issue #2, and I love it, I have to say. He loves it. Every minute I spend on Doomsday Clock…I love comics. That's my heartbeat and my first love forever, and I will never, ever stop loving comics no matter what happens. This has been a joy to work on, a privilege and an honor to work on. I know it's risky and I know it's a challenge and I know there's people out there who think Watchmen shouldn't be touched — but I have a story to tell, I believe in the story and so does Gary. Gary has a story to tell and we're going to tell the best damn story we can."
Doomsday Clock #1 hits the stands on November 22.