Bleeding Cool has run a number of articles looking at the relationship of Doomsday Clock to the rest of the DC Universe – and now The Three Jokers too. Seeing that what once was clearly intended to be the tightest of structured continuity, fall apart as a result of delays, personnel changes and internal political clashes. But that DC Comics PR believes that continuity is important to fans and is plastering a fake veneer over the front while desperately trying to cobble something together in the hope that it will fit.
But not everyone sees it that way. Reddit user Earthmine52 has been posting a series of takes, written in part in answer to Bleeding Cool's take, that show how everything at DC Comics is connected, that there is a plan and everyone is sticking to it. And has graciously allowed Bleeding Cool to quote it into one big essay…
I found it a fascinating read. I think much of it is coincidental. But if DC are, indeed, scrambling around for something that fits, they could do well to read the following…and steal it.
And it begins with Tom King's Batman. He writes,
Tom King's Batman
King's run has gone downhill as of late for many reasons. One is that it feels disconnected from continuity. Another being how he doesn't really explain how things happen which just happens.
How is Flashpoint Thomas in the current timeline? Why is he doing all this? Where did Gotham and Gotham Girl get their powers? What's the significance of Psycho Pirate? Most importantly: Why hasn't King addressed any of this nearly 80 issues in? Now it's easy to say King is just being very lazy. Or that King just forgot.
Another answer is, he can't answer those questions. Not yet. Not until DDC is over. Leading him to having to buy time, resulting in the mess we have now. Of course it's not just the delays' fault. King still could've written better stories or written the current ones in a better way, but that's not what this post is about. Let's go over these unanswered mysteries and see how they show a clear connection to the larger Doomsday Clock narrative.
(BTW if you still think Doomsday Clock isn't canon anymore, or it got rewritten due to contradictions, or it's no longer going to have an impact, I'm planning to make a post against this too, but I'm sure there are plenty of others could argue against it too. Oh and as for Alfred, the arc hasn't been finished yet, I can almost guarantee you that he's not actually dead and once again, Snyder, Bendis, Didio and King all confirm that they know about and have not contradicted Doomsday Clock, in fact they exploited it but once again that's also for another post. This one is about how connected King's run actually is)
The Button Returns
I started making this post a while back but just recently u/NormieTsak has posted a screenshot of King's Instagram revealing a follow up to Button, which only supports this post and the idea that his run is more connected to DDC than it seems. (and also that Alfred will obviously come back).
The answer to this is simple: Dr. Manhattan. He is the most likely, most obvious, and really the best answer.
And I can prove it through analysis of events and logical deduction.
First we need to look back where Thomas first reappeared: The Button.
Psycho Pirate's Medusa Mask being in contact with the Button caused a strange reaction that lead to Bruce seeing him for the first time then calling in Barry. The event also attracted Eobard's attention which lead to his death at the hands of Dr. Manhattan.
We know from Doomsday Clock 11 that the Button is Chronal Debris. Breadcrumbs accidentally left behind by Manhattan. These debris may or may not necessarily be the original objects. Luthor reveals in the same issue that Manhattan leaves the same photo of himself as Jon and Janey Slater all over the timeline. Each identical, differing only in age. This explains how the Button could be in the DC Universe still stained with blood when the Button was buried and how the Comedian is alive again. They're Duplicates.
Back to Thomas:
It is in the Button that Bruce and Barry arrives in the preserved Flashpoint timeline. Considering the story this is in and how they got there, it is then likely that Manhattan deliberately preserved the timeline for the meeting to occur and then let the timeline be erased afterwards. Or he simply knew when the timeline would shift and placed Bruce and Barry with precise timing.
Either way, it is Manhattan that deliberately orchestrated this meeting. As seen in Doomsday Clock 10, he can see through all timelines previously considered as main continuity all at once and even interact with them due to the nature of the DC Metaverse. In DDC 9, we see him doing something similar to Ronnie, showing him his new origin and Martin Stein's true self in order to prove that "Hope Decays".
All this evidence proves the obvious. Doctor Manhattan is how Bruce met Flashpoint Thomas in the first place and this was because Bruce was a threat for investigating him.
Could this then mean that Doctor Manhattan is also behind Thomas being in the current timeline? Could he be working with Bane, Psycho Pirate and Gotham Girl?
Let's look back at the conspiracy against Bruce so far.
The Plan (sequence of events) so far:
1. Thomas planted the idea into Bruce that he is not happy as Batman. Deliberately undermining his Batman persona and planting seeds of doubt that would break him.
That is partially true as being Batman does come with tragedy which wouldn't be there if he wasn't, but he can and has been happy as Batman. When he accepts both Bruce and Batman (Ed Brubaker), when he accepts and uses his family to drive him (Grant Morrison and Scott Snyder). Bruce Wayne is Batman. Batman is Bruce Wayne. His code is based on the respect for all life taught to him by his doctor father and his mission to make sure no other child ends up like him is based on the compassion taught to him by his philanthropist mother.
Being Batman itself is not what makes him unhappy. But hearing it from Thomas still hits him hard anyway.
Instead of giving up Batman however his conversation with Gotham Girl leads him to attempt to get married.
2. Bane only uses the marriage to his advantage with Holly Robinson under his command, he sabotages the Wedding and manages to darken Bruce further.
3. Understanding Bruce's relationship with Dick Grayson,
Tom KingBane has KGBeast take him out of the picture as KingBane knows that Dick lightens Bruce up and gives him hope and reassures him in doubt.
The previous two steps are what lead to Bruce being how he is right now. As dark as ever. Harmful to his friends and family.
3.5 Give Bruce Knightmares(?) for a really long pointless filler arc
4. Thomas finally makes his move and offers Bruce to resurrect his mother.
Bruce rejects this and reaffirms that he is Batman to give hope, remembering why he is Batman (took him long enough). This of course is an obvious rejection of the idea planted in him by Thomas.
5. Bane conquers the city blah blah "break you" "break your damn back"
So yeah this is where we are.
I've established already that Thomas has a clear connection to Manhattan in Button. Even Damian brings up the Button in his confrontation with Thomas. The Button also establishes a connection between Manhattan's chronal debris (from the Metaverse) and Psycho Pirate's mask. Psycho Pirate of course was once one of the few beings who remembered the original Multiverse.
As you can see here, the plan to get Bruce to be more alienating, to lose his humanity, before breaking his will to be Batman completely is in line with Osterman's general plan for the DC Universe. Once again he even did the same to Ronnie Raymond by showing him the new truth to Firestorm "Hope Decays". The plan is designed to decay Bruce's hope, to give it to him, only to take it away. To erode his happiness. But most of all. Ever since Button, Bruce hasn't cared one bit about Manhattan, previous timelines or whatever. Two birds, one button. Impressive tactics by Jon Osterman.
But that's not all.
What about the why?
Why would Thomas do this? Why follow Manhattan?
First, let's acknowledge something else. This? Isn't even the only time Manhattan's done this. I've brought this "coincidence" up countless times…but Jor-El is in a similar situation as he is now Oz thanks to Manhattan taking him from the past. As Oz he fractured Superman's family, with Jon's childhood time taken from Clark and Lois now apart from him too. The result is a more lonely Superman, once again.
Manhattan exposed Jor-El to the despair of the world. Leading him to condemn Earth and desire for his son and his family to abandon it as well because he believes Earth isn't worth saving. Manhattan likely exposed Thomas to the same thing so now he wishes Bruce to abandon Batman and his fight for Gotham because he believes his crusade is not worth fighting. Coincidence?
The clues, the parallels, the connections, they were all there for us to notice. There are just way too much of them.
But we're just getting started.
The mystery of the Button isn't the only one in King's run that originated from the DC Universe Rebirth one-shot. Gotham and Gotham Girl both appeared in that very comic. But of course, that alone does not guarantee a connection to DDC.
Gotham and Gotham Girl
So then, what is the connection?
First, let's look back at their origins. Or rather what's not in their origins. The specifics of their powers.
All that we know is that it involved their travels away from home, and needed quite a bit of money. Besides monetary price, the powers also costed them their life force. A special kind of venom can briefly revive them but not completely so. The powers themselves are almost Kryptonian in function but are parasitic in nature. As much as they're inspired by Batman, it is clear the costumes and powers are inspired by Superman.
Hmm. Gee I wonder if there's some sort of secret conspiracy involving making metahumans inspired by or rather in response to Superman's existence.
Enter the Supermen Theory.
So far the conspiracy's mostly been unmentioned in the DC Universe outside of Doomsday Clock……
……..except for a subtle hint by Metamorpho in HiC which is written by King.
Metamorpho's Confessional from HiC
Well. I guess Tom King's been referencing Doomsday Clock in other places too. I have another HiC-DDC theory involving Wally but that's for another post (again).
Back to G&GG.
Like Flashpoint Thomas' place in the timeline, their powers' origins are still unexplained. The former is because they needed to save it for the end of the run for Doomsday Clock. Could the same be said for them?
Of course, it's unlikely the US Government made them like Metamorpho or Firestorm. But clearly they are a product of metahuman production using artificial means inspired by Superman. Perhaps someone who worked for the Dept. of Metahuman Affairs? Someone who defected? Maybe another government? We'll see.
As I edited in early on in my post, Tom King is dealing with the Button once more. Once more directly confirming its place in DDC's continuity. Obviously this is because he realized that must be how Thomas returned. Not too different from Superman investigating Jor-El/Oz and with Booster's help saw the truth.
Question is, when is King doing this? What issue is this going to be?
Let's look at Doomsday Clock 12's release date: December 18, 2019.
That day's a pretty big day. DDC, Doom War conclusion, big reveal from Flash Forward, Hell Arisen, and….
Snyder told us connections to DDC will show later. Not just with his work. But with Bendis and King too. This day? This is when it all lines up. Will Alfred be revealed to be alive by then? Maybe? Will the Button be brought up by then? Likely.
Mark your calendars.
Heroes In Crisis, Flash Forward and Wally West
If you're reading this, it's likely you know what happened with Heroes in Crisis and what it did to Wally. I hate it as much as anyone, and it's made King even less favorable to fans like us. A crappy story and crappy way to handle Wally.
But did it contradict Geoff's plans from Rebirth-DDC? Was it meant to be the follow up to the latter? No. In fact, what happened in HiC actually explains a lot of things from Doomsday Clock and implies that the general idea of Wally being taken out was part of the overall plan.
Just like how his Batman run was planned from the beginning to lead into DDC (if you haven't yet please read my previous theory and King's own Instagram and Twitter confirming this).
Let's start from the beginning.
Wally in HiC #9
Almost a year before Heroes in Crisis, Doomsday Clock already started its slow run.
Early on, Wally is nowhere to be seen. This cannot be just because Geoff forgot about him. This was likely a deliberate decision. After all, Wally West is arguably the most important part of Geoff's larger story. He was the one who originally brought the era of Rebirth.
He was the one who revealed that the timeline was heavily altered by something. By someone. Someone watching. After that Wally spends a lot of the time trying to investigate his memories from Pre-Flashpoint, trying to get his family back and trying to look into how the timeline changed. This is a huge part of Titans Rebirth, Flash War and even now. Him NOT being in DDC does not make sense UNLESS of course, Geoff planned it on purpose.
Have you ever head of Wally West?
Flash forward (pun not intended) to DDC 9 which has Lex bring him up for the first time in the series.
In DDC 10 (which released the SAME day as HiC 9) the nature of the DC Metaverse is revealed. In short, Manhattan was able to see the Prime DC Universe and it's many timelines like someone reading a wiki article would. It's all one universe that just keeps changing, retconning and rebooting. With Superman and the idea of Superheroes being right in the center. A very meta perspective.
When Osterman made alterations of his own, Wally West appeared to him early on in the New 52 timeline telling him he knew what he did and proclaimed that he will be stopped. Jon noted this encounter as the Metaverse fighting back. Like an organism's self defense mechanism. We know that after this, he fought back even harder.
In short and in no particular order:
Killed Metron and Owlman
He tampered with the Book of Oa
Prevented the Blue Lantern Corps' Rebirth
Forced Kyle to be a GL again
As we know he's behind Oz and as I proved in my last post, Flashpoint Thomas too
There are tons more and I might make a complete list later on but you get the idea.
With all these interferences, wouldn't you think he'd take action against the biggest threat to his plans? The one with the most awareness of them? The one who actually threatened him (like Pandora)?
So why hasn't he? The answer he is: He did.
So let's look at the situation here again.
Wally "losing control"
Wally loses control of his emotions so he…explodes with Speed Force lightning? And the Lightning kills everyone around him? Sounds fishy to me. Not only do Speedsters NOT have a problem of controlling the lightning (it's their speed they have to worry about of course), Speed Force lightning itself usually does NOT have properties of ordinary electricity.
The Flashes constantly carry people and other objects while running and generating their speed force lightning. The people and things they carry are unaffected by their slip stream and when they are it's used to carry them along.
Absorbing Kinetic Energy
Projecting Kinetic Energy
Other times the lightning is used to share or steal speed and kinetic energy as well sharing speed and kinetic energy. This is similar to how the Speed Force grants their users with speed through lightning. Something that happened recently to a lot of people in a Speed Force storm.
Just recently in Rebirth, Wally has, several times, used the lightning to restore other people's memories of him from either the current or past timeline.
Lightning being used as a normal weapon like other electrokinetics is a new thing that I'm pretty sure started by the CW Flash. Wallace West II and Barry followed suit later in Rebirth. Not sure if Wally ever used it that way but if he does or not, the ability requires deliberate concentration and purpose. Not something he can ever do on accident or had to control.
Previously I pointed it out how Manhattan showing Ronnie Raymond's new true origin as Firestorm to prove that "hope decays" parallels what he did to distract Bruce and Barry in Button.
Now I'll bring up another parallel.
Firestorm losing control?
In DDC 8, someone sabotaged an event to have Firestorm overload and explode with energy. This was disguised as him losing control of his powers and emotions (hmmm) which Superman and other heroes (besides Batman) originally believed until they discovered Manhattan's energy signature.
DDC 11 reveals that it was Adrian using Bubastis (who now has abilities similar to Manhattan due to the events of Watchmen and Adrian's experiments) to overload Firestorm's energy.
This situation just parallels Wally's so much. It has to be deliberate on King's part. This wouldn't be the only Doomsday Clock connection in HiC either. As I brought up in my TK Batman post, Metamorpho's confessional confirms the Supermen Conspiracy in a subtle way.
It's then likely that Osterman really is behind Wally's "loss of control". He knew killing Wally wouldn't work like Pandora. People would look for him, investigate his death and discover him. So he did what he's been doing this whole time. Take away hope.
Now Wally is on his road to redemption as he goes through the Multiverse to help Tempus Fuginaut combat the Dark Multiverse Infection (more on that later).
In the issue, a Thanagarian discovered the Mobius Chair and attempted to sit on it but failed to take in its knowledge.
The Mobius Chair in Flash Forward #1
Why is this important? Think. When was the last time the Mobius Chair was seen.
The Mobius Chair in Darkseid War
That's right. Darkseid War, as a lead in to Rebirth. As I mentioned earlier, Owlman and Post-Flashpoint Metron (not sure if the original still exists on Earth 51 along with the rest of the OG New Gods) were both killed by Dr. Manhattan. Owlman, before his death, learned about Jon's existence and was even warning Metron of his coming before they died.
This means that the Chair knows about Osterman and his reality altering shenanigans.
Could Wally eventually find the chair and discover the truth about the timeline changes? Let's look at the solicits.
Flash Forward #4
Flash Forward #4.
On Wally West's journey into the depths of the Multiverse, he's run across vampires and hellhounds and his own ghosts from the past…but nothing has prepared him for this next stop on his journey. In this issue, the mysterious world that is causing the Dark Multiverse to bleed into our own will be revealed, and you will not believe what connection it has to the Fastest Man Alive…ON SALE 12.18.19
Judging from the solicit and cover, it seems Wally will discover more about this and may even discover the chair soon as a big reveal is coming.
As you see in that solicit, the issue is coming this December 18.
Hmm I wonder what else is coming on that day?
Justice League #38 and Hell Arisen #1? It seems the connections to the Dark Multiverse and Infected storylines may come to play in this issue.
Oh and DOOMSDAY CLOCK 12.
Both Snyder and Bendis have made statements about these connections being more apparent later on, that they respect Geoff and Gary, and that they did nothing to interfere:
"I can speak for other creators as well — I deeply apologize for being so vague and coy about Doomsday Clock. We're not being vague and coy about it behind the scenes. It will all line up at the end, alright? Just to make it very clear, my respect for Geoff [Johns] and Gary [Frank] goes back for decades, and this is a story they started telling before I walked in the door [at DC]. So this is not — there's not an ounce of my body that would do anything to counter or disrespect the path that they're on. "
-Bendis on his LoSH from: https://www.cbr.com/doomsday-clock-legion-of-super-heroes-relaunch-connection/
I will cover Snyder in my next (and hopefully last) post on this as there are a lot of stuff there too. Though I probably won't make until next week or later.
But now, for the theory and proofs themselves
Bendis' New LOSH Debut in Superman #14
As we all know, a week after Bendis' new Legion debuted and the same week Legion: Millennium 1 released, Doomsday Clock 11 did and it had Retroboot (classic Legion timeline) Saturn Girl fade from existence as her future no longer exists.
Retroboot Timeline Erased in DDC 11
This explains the existence of a new legion. However, some believe this was a rewrite to make way for Bendis' new Legion. I admit it is entirely possible and it may explain the delays, but it's far from the only possibility. In fact through Bendis' statements, and the rest of the proof in this post, I will argue that it is more likely that the alternative is the case.
The Future Erased in DDC 7
Ever since DDC 7 (released September last year just when Bendis arrived and long before his new Legion was being teased) Dr. Manhattan revealed he could not see the future past Superman's punch.
The Retroboot Legion Erased in DDC 9
In DDC 9 (released March earlier this year, just after Bendis started teasing his Legion), he observes that a Legion ring in his hand faded away from existence because of his changes. Showing that their timeline, and the true future (more on that later) of the Metaverse in general was non-existent.
This all implies that the Retroboot Legion being erased was part of the plan. Similar to how King exploited Button to make Thomas screw with Bruce in his run (read my first post on that topic), Bendis exploited this to make his new Legion. A legion from a possible future.
"What are you talking about Earthmine?"
Titans Tomorrow timeline co-exists with Batman Beyond
The last few years we've had a couple possible futures. We saw the future Timbats timeline which was essentially Titans of Tomorrow. We currently still have the new possible future Batman Beyond (which is confirmed from the last series to be part of the CURRENT timeline's future and not Futures End) which started way back in Rebirth. In the JL Rebirth run by Bryan Hitch, we had new possible future children. I could go on.
Let's fast forward to Snyder using Kamandi in his JL book:
We're all working in one big tapestry. What Geoff [Johns] is doing in Doomsday Clock is definitely going to inform what we're doing here. And think what Brian [Michael Bendis] is doing with Millennium is part of a big story that we're trying to coordinate with. We definitely want you to feel like, as you read these, that there are connections, and that they make sense, and that they tie together and all of that. If you're patient with us and just wait and see, some of those connections and some of those ties are going to come in later when we explain how things cross over from one neighborhood of the DCU to another.
For example, the version of Kamandi that we're using here is taken directly from his classic timeline, but what you might see in Brian's story is something that could happen after the events of our story are concluded and his narrative goes a different way. But at the time you're reading them both, you might see two different versions of Kamandi in existence.
So in that way, we're looking to make everything fit, everything part of one Uber-story. Same thing with JSA with Geoff. And there will be ways in which that's explained later — in 2020.
As you can see, the Kamandi in Snyder's book is taken directly from the classic timeline, before the current one with Bendis' version. I will relate this with the JL and the interview in my Snyder post.
Overall, there are just as many signs that this was part of the original plan (mostly). Why would Geoff erase the Retroboot timeline when he loved them so much and promised their return? Well I think it's entirely possible they would return and co-exist with Bendis' New Legion. Much like how there are many possible futures now, or even Legion of 3 Worlds.
Darkest before Dawn
The back cover of each DDC issue has a blood smear growing larger and larger….until it is revealed to be Superman's cape. This foreshadows what comes next. The light at the end of the tunnel. The JSA will return to the timeline properly (as seen in Snyder's JL and in my next post, they actually haven't), the Retroboot Legion will be restored and their future timeline will join the others, etc.
To support this, it's time to look at the MANY connections to the Rebirth/DDC storylines in his books.
To start this off, let's review perhaps the biggest and most obvious connection: Jor-EL/"Oz".
In my Tom King Batman post, I brought up the parallel between him and Flashpoint Thomas. Both are fathers not from the current time(line) brought to the present and turned against their sons by Dr. Manhattan (refer to: Button, Oz Effect)
Oz Effect had Jor try to convince Clark that Earth was a not a world worth saving. That it wasn't worth it to continue fighting as Superman. This is in parallel to Thomas doing the same by making Bruce believe that the pain and suffering from being Batman, that this whole crusade, is not worth fighting for.
Oz Separates Clark from his Family
Now for some reason, just because Bendis hasn't directly (more on this later) brought up Oz's connection to Manhattan, people think that he retconned it so he came to be for a new reason. Even ignoring the fact that it would contradict all previous stories Oz has been in, that's just not true. Even now Oz's actions parallel Thomas as he also separated his son from his family and made him more alone. Similarly, King hasn't brought up Manhattan recently, but it is clear from Button, and the fact that King said he will deal with how he came to the timeline AND the Button before his run ends that Manhattan is involved
Oh, and Bendis HAS put small clues implying Osterman's involvement.
From Superman #8
Here, Jon says in his narration that he was looking for Earth news but couldn't find ANYTHING not related to Superman.
Yet here he is watching an old black and white noir detective movie. Of all things Bendis could've put.
So what is this then? How did it get into Oz's ship? Take a look at this:
A perfect match to….
Nathaniel Dusk? Hmm. That's an obscure old character. He hasn't been used anywhere recently except…
DOOMSDAY CLOCK. Where Nathaniel Dusk is revealed to be a fictional character played by Osterman's first (and possibly) only "friend" in the DC Universe, Carver Coleman.
Carver Coleman in DDC 10
This is most definitely deliberate. Could it just be Ivan Reis wanting to put something in there under Bendis' nose? Unlikely considering Bendis and Editorial had to approve it. It also explains how Jor-El has such a massive ship. Dr. Manhattan could've easily made it using his powers (as he's done similarly in Watchmen) and for some reason, like the chronal debris, he subconsciously left behind film of his only friend in this universe.
Besides that big clue, there are more to prove that Bendis' run takes place before DDC despite what some might think.
The Offer in Superman 13
As seen here, Apex Lex gives his offer. Meaning this is set during the Year of the Villain which is around the same time as City of Bane (very roughly). And as King confirms, he will be dealing with the Button again after that, so this has to happen before DDC. Then there's the timeline of 3 weeks that Jon is gone, giving three weeks for Snyder's arc and Doomsday Clock to happen? Not possible.
People apparently thought this because Bendis messed up and had Clark say "Ma Kent says" instead of "Ma Kent said". Considering Bendis' usual penchant for bad dialogue (Bendis Speak), the fact that he's writing several books AND that he really can't say anything about the topic either way, OF COURSE he'll refer to Doomsday Clock. If the Kents are alive again in his run however, why didn't Clark visit them at any point? His wife and child were taken by his biological father, his father died again, etc. Clark would definitely visit them to talk. Normally he wouldn't even need something that makes him lonely. He just does it because he loves them.
Then there's the CSA being alive contradicting their deaths in Darkseid War, but remember, Oz said Jon traveled through (multiversal) space AND time before returning to three weeks after he originally left Clark. Later on in YJ, Earth 3 now exists again (likely due to Superman Reborn) BUT the CSA are missing.
Which leads me to the final part of this post:
Now this is the most connected to Rebirth/DDC Bendis book so far.
First things first, the anomalies: Conner and Bart. The former doesn't exist in the current timeline as per Superman: Reborn and the latter straight up doesn't exist.
Now we know Bart arrived here at the end of Flash War when Hypertime (temporarily?) collapsed. It's possible Conner is similarly from Hypertime. In his timeline, the Kents still live and he's been Superboy for quite a while. We'll see how that goes later on, but now, on to the connections.
"Who the Hell is Conner?"
In 'Tec, a huge arc involving the earlier mentioned Titans of Tomorrow timeline was used. Here Future Timbats notices that Tim does NOT remember Conner. Now this is strange for him since his timeline is mostly still unaffected by Flashpoint (as seen in Flash War, Hunter Zolomon was also unaffected by Flashpoint and remembers EVERYTHING because he was in the 25th century timeline at the time).
Later on Brother Eye (which future Timbats uses) reveals the Pre-Flashpoint versions of Stephanie and Cassie to them.
Bendis then plays off of this by having Zatanna check and here is what Tim sees:
The ORIGINAL PRE-Flashpoint Young Justice team. The roster and appearances all match.
Another Life? But NOT an Alternate Anything.
Now obviously Tim realizes this could not have happened in his current life, but he feels that these AREN'T alternate universes. Now where did we hear/see that before:
NOT Alternate Realities
Even in Flashpoint, the idea that the the Flashpoint timeline was NOT an alternate timeline/universe, but our own but changed was confirmed by Booster Gold. Hence why he and Barry couldn't just get out of there and return to the normal timeline. Barry had to fix it. Doomsday Clock explores this concept further by not only applying it to the current universe, but to ALL universes previously considered main continuity.
This isn't even exactly a new thing. Linda Danvers previously had a run in with Pre-Crisis Kara who the Spectre had to send back in the Metaverse timeline. IIRC Wally even previously attempted to fight the Anti-Monitor by travelling back to COIE. Then in Infinite Crisis, Power Girl, who has a new retroactive origin at the time, remembered the previous timeline.
But wait. Barry and Bruce saw the previous Metaverse timelines via Hypertime. Later on they even encounter Jay trapped in it. Could this mean that Conner really is from the previous timeline and survived because he was in Gemworld? Could Bart have been trapped in Hypertime like Jay and Wally, and deaged again like the latter? How does this relate to the JSA and (classic) Kamandi in JL as they were from Hypertime?
More on that, in the next (and last) post.
Funny enough, despite being the one who seems to be contradicting/ignoring Rebirth/DDC the most, Bendis arguably has the most connections thus far.
That being said, unlike the last two posts and my next one with Snyder, his stuff doesn't seem to converge on 12.18.19.
As for the big Secret ID reveal, I doubt it'll last or even happen like with Alfred's "death". I'm sure Bendis knows we've already been through this anyway. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Either way, as I've showed, he really does have MANY connections to the bigger picture and his books ARE still BEFORE DDC and does not contradict it. The only thing I thought he contradicted was the trunks returning since the variant for DDC 1 had the Reborn costume, but really one of the other variants had Bruce in his Rebirth suit, when he was wearing his yellow oval suit this whole time. All in all, Bendis has NOT done anything to invalidate continuity.
But I do think his Superman run is still a far cry compared to Tomasi-Jurgens/Rebirth era IMO.
Edit: Credit to u/FromZiraCameCaesar for pointing out that Bart does remember Pre-Flashpoint and confirms he was trapped in the Speed Force like Wally in Flash Annua; 2.
Also credit to u/ChipsMCcoyy for originally pointing out the Nathaniel Dusk movie Jon was watching in Superman. That was a huge lead.
Scott Snyder and Year Of The Villain
Scott finally starts the big Justice/Doom War his run's been leading up to in JL 30 and at the end of it:
The JSA "back"?
Barry and John travel through Hypertime to find themselves in the 1940s where the JSA arrives.
"How could this be? Aren't they not supposed to exist? Isn't Alan Scott supposed to be dead? This MUST mean DDC is non-canon or that JL is AFTER DDC!"
First, statements from Scott Snyder and James Tynion themselves:
Snyder: We're all working in one big tapestry. What Geoff [Johns] is doing in Doomsday Clock is definitely going to inform what we're doing here. And think what Brian [Michael Bendis] is doing with Millennium is part of a big story that we're trying to coordinate with.
We definitely want you to feel like, as you read these, that there are connections, and that they make sense, and that they tie together and all of that. If you're patient with us and just wait and see, some of those connections and some of those ties are going to come in later when we explain how things cross over from one neighborhood of the DCU to another.
For example, the version of Kamandi that we're using here is taken directly from his classic timeline, but what you might see in Brian's story is something that could happen after the events of our story are concluded and his narrative goes a different way. But at the time you're reading them both, you might see two different versions of Kamandi in existence.
So in that way, we're looking to make everything fit, everything part of one Uber-story. Same thing with JSA with Geoff. And there will be ways in which that's explained later — in 2020. For now, what we'd say is, enjoy it; be patient. We'll try to bring you the best explanations and connections and story continuity possible as we go.
Tynion: In Justice League #31, the second part of this story, we're going to see some of our characters ask these exact same questions that the readers might have about how the present and the past – how much the heroes in the present are aware of the Justice Society and the mysteries that are still present in these two timelines.
So you will see that there is this larger picture.
I've put a part of this interview in my previous post on Bendis concerning their two Kamandis, here I will use Tynion's statements about JL 31 as well.
Overall, Snyder has expressed nothing but respect for Geoff and his plan. Similar to Bendis. He more than backs it up in his JL. Tynion, like King, also has dealt with the Rebirth storyline directly in his 'Tec run. Williamson, who is currently writing Infected in Batman/Superman, also worked on Button with King and Tynion's Hell Arisen will collide the narrative's from both.
So how does this work?
First: Justice League 31
"She's NEVER mentioned a Superhero Team in the 1940s"
Just like Tynion promised, Barry and John themselves are asking similar questions.
They confirm that they are unaware of any 1940s superhero team ever existing in their history. They also bring up how strange it is that Kent Nelson (Doctor Fate) and Carter Hall (Hawkman) are on this team, yet have never brought it up or shown that they were ever part of it. Shiera Hall, Kendra's previous life, also exists here yet Barry confirms she too has never said anything about the JSA.
Barry however does confirm that he feels like had an old history with Jay.
This lead Fate to conclude that SOMEONE (cough Jon Osterman cough) has altered the timeline MANY times.
Altered, Perhaps Many Times
Take note that this issue was released at the same time as DDC 11 where this was in the back matter:
DDC 11 Back Matter
The Flash of 2 Worlds. Lex theorizing on his previous life. Huh, coincidence?
Now the JSA aren't the only ones who appear this issue. Kamandi does too:
Kamandi in JL
The same week JL 31 released, so did Bendis' Millenium which has its own different version of Kamandi and his timeline:
Kamandi in Bendis' book
So how does this all fit?
Like Snyder says in the interview excerpt I put, these versions of the characters are taken DIRECTLY from their classic timelines. Or at least Post-Crisis for the JSA as the roster indicates. This is because of one thing: Hypertime.
But why do they act like the JSA is from the same timeline? Well technically they are. It's not an "alternate" timeline. But a past version. A past version of the past.
Let's take a look at Button and Flash War.
Not Alternate Realities
Past timelines in Hypertime fom Flash War
As you can see in these scans, Hypertime has been used to see previous versions of the main timeline before. And these are NOT different universes but their own.
Tim has said the same about his memories.
"Entire Other Life" "Not Alternate Anything"
This all lines up with Dr. Manhattan's observations in DDC 10 that the DC Universe is a "Metaverse". A universe that constantly changes its history and creates new versions of itself with Superman and heroes in general at the center. Applying this to not just Pre and Post Flashpoint, but to ALL main continuities. Past, present and future.
Perhaps the most Metafictional, fourth wall breaking way of looking at the DC Universe.
So yes. THe JSA here are actually from the Pre-Flashpoint timeline. Like how Button got Bruce and Barry transported to Flashpoint, Doom War sent Barry and John to Pre-Flashpoint while the Trinity likely wound up Pre-Crisis since that's where The Great Disaster was last in continuity. Currently there are two kamandis. Bendis' possible future (refer to my Bendis post) and Earth 51's Kirbyverse Kamandi.
DDC is very much still in the future. The JSA still don't exist in the current timeline.
This part is mostly speculative but I am going to touch on a parallel that no one has brought up.
In the 6th Dimension arc in Snyder's JL, World Forger refers to Superman as "The Prime" (probably a reference to his future as "Prime" in DC One Million) and admits he may be able to do what no other Superman cannot. Meaning in the entire multiverse, there is something special about THIS particular Superman.
In DDC 10, like I said before, Osterman confirms that Superman is the center of the DC Metaverse. He will always be THE superhero in whatever present day is. He will always lead the rise in a new age of heroes. The world and Superman change together and are inherently linked.
Not much? Maybe. But there's more.
Variant Cover for DDC 12
Ever since DDC 7 and as reiterated in DDC 10, Manhattan could not see past Superman punching him. Leading him to conclude that either Superman destroys him, or the Metaverse is destroyed (either by him or Superman's punch). He checks multiple dates spanning a thousand years into the future. He sees nothing.
Shattering the 6th Dimension
A week after DDC 10, JL 25 has this epic moment where it's revealed that Bruce put his trust in Clark, allowing him to fly through countless suns and, driven by his father and son, punches the World Forger so hard he SHATTERS space time in Alpheus' forged Multiverse.
Hmm. Let's look at the framing of the two punches.
Jorge Jimenez is Awesome
Looks pretty similar. Was Snyder foreshadowing? Was this inspired by what he knew what was going on in DDC? Maybe. I don't think DDC will end with a physical fight. But more of a philosophical debate. A confrontation for the fate of the DC Metaverse. If JL is about Justice vs Doom, DDC is Hope vs Despair. It's a huge part of the story
"Hope Decays"-Jon Osterman.
Of course this is far from the only instance of a Superman breaking reality with a punch. Kal Kent did something similar by "punching" into the future". Earth Two Kal-L was able to break the extradimensional barrier.
But of course we all know the first thing that came to mind when you read the title of this part of the post.
The Infamous Prime Punch
Superboy-Prime. Which leads me to another separate part of this theory.
The last we've seen him he was on the Source Wall, which is broken now. Just around a year ago Snyder actually hinted that he might be seen in an AMA on this very sub:
u/Trafalgar277: Now that the Source Wall is broken, what are the chances of us seeing Superboy Prime? The last time we saw him, he was imprisoned there.
SCOTT: You very well might…
If he comes back that would more than explain how SBP is seen in DDC 9 when Guy recaps all the big bads they've been up against:
"Super Brats Out to Destroy Us"
Could SBP show up in JL? Only time will tell.
Now, pretend I haven't given all the proofs and connections I've shown in this, and my previous posts and just think about one person. Lex Luthor.
One of the biggest parts of Year of the Villain that people think cements DDC as either non-canon or now behind in continuity, is Apex Lex.
How is Lex going to be a normal human working Lexcorp again when he basically killed his human body and became a human-martian hybrid being with a Jazzercise redesign (props to Jarro) and is now worshipping some evil multiverse mother goddess?
However, with release of JL 32 and his Year of the Villain special, it is definitely confirmed that DDC IS in the same canon, AND is still ahead continuity wise.
As we know Lex in DDC has said he's been investigating the Chronal Debris and Manhattan case ever since Rebirth. He discovered things like the Jon-Janey photos, Flash of 2 Worlds, and even footage of the JSA. He's correctly deduced the true nature of their ever evolving universe and wishes to break the endless cycle of battle against Superman he has in every life time (as confirmed in that back matter scan I posted earlier).
Now, why hasn't this been hinted at? JL 32 and the Lex YOTV special just did.
The Legion of Doom, Sinestro specifically, has 0 recollection on the JSA and wonders how Lex and Perpetua could've possibly been aware of their existence. Lex promises answers later.
Ranting to E1 Lex
Here Lex spends an entire issue running around killing Multiversal Lexes. In one, he rants to his future Earth 1 counterpart who is happy sacrificing his own life just to bring Superman down. Lex argues that this mentality limits them, that they should transcend them.
In the Riddler YOTV special, he tells Ed he considers him a failure as well as himself. He tells Riddler to break out of the box and become something else.
It's obvious then that Lex's motivation is that he wants to break from the status quo. To finally go above this endless cycle of fighting and losing to Superman. Just as he says in the DDC 10 back matter.
"But Earthmine, this still doesn't explain how Lex becomes a human again."
In the very same YOTV special, Lex finds a young version of himself on Earth-38 (Byrne's generations). He teaches him to follow him and by the end of the story, Lex has him in stasis.
DNA Back Up
…as a DNA back up. Wonder what he'll need that for?
For the last part of this long post, I'll simply answer the question:
"How does Perpetua fit in all this"?
While Perpetua is the mother of the multiverse and the monitors, I think it's clear that it is only true for THIS timeline. Making her below Metafictional unlike the original Monitor.
First, please check out the Monitor/Anti-Monitor origins covered in this excellent post by a user who has unfortunately deleted his account: https://www.reddit.com/r/CharacterRant/comments/8acth1/a_comprehensive_look_at_the_antimonitor/
As he says, the Final Crisis origin is the most "true" with the original Proto-Monitor existing outside of the Multiverse (like Osterman) and discovering the stories of heroes vs villains of the DC Multiverse. Entering it made the monitor confused and the Multiverse/Metaverse retroactively integrated him into its story.
He split into two. Monitor and Anti-Monitor. Since then he's had plenty of origins and retcons. The most powerful a monitor has become is Mandrakk who was feeding on the bleed and the very story of the DC Multiverse.
Back to Perpetua. One thing for sure is that Perpetua could NOT have existed Pre or even Post-Crisis.
In the orignal COIE, it was the Hand of the Presence that created the UNIverse and it was Krona's viewing of the Dawn of Time that ACCIDENTALLY created a Multiverse that was NEVER supposed to exist.
That was a huge plot point in Crisis as the Dawn of Time was where the penultimate battle was as that was where AM wanted to reshape reality. The merging of the 5 Earths was also said by the Monitor to make it stronger. No evil multiverse making mother goddess in sight.
It is clear that the larger Rebirth story connects EVERYTHING together and that the plan, while adjuted due to delays, is still mostly intact.
Overall, Doomsday Clock will likely not have all these plotlines concluded in DDC 12. But it is clear that all roads lead to DDC, and DDC leads to whatever comes next: Crisis 2020.
Everything is working for the same end goal.
But before 2020, there is one day where all of this would intersect.
Batman #85, Flash Forward #4, Justice League #38, Hell Arisen #1 and Doomsday Clock #12 all release on this day.
I've brought this up pretty much in every post I've made. Clearly this is where the stories finally start to converge.