Doomsday Clock #10 Discussion

So issue #10 of Doomsday Clock is finally on DC Universe! Having reread it I still think this is THE best issue in the series or one of the best issues in the series. I think the concept of a “metaverse” has so much potential for the DCU and hope it gets used down the line.

Showcasing the different retools that Superman has had to deal with as well was great to see and a fantastic in universe explanation for WHY the DCU keeps changing. It was also great to see Wally in the event though I know some feel he may have been short changed with what he did in the actual story.

What are your thoughts on this issue of the series? Do you like the idea of a metaverse? Thoughts on the description of the New 52 here & N52 Superman?

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I’m going to start with the question about New 52 Superman. Here’s one thing I don’t completely get: Dr. Manhattan says, “Without his parents or the Legion, Clark grows more distant from humanity.” It’s true that N52 Superman’s parents died in a car accident on his prom night. However, N52 Superman HAD the Legion of Superheroes. Their first meeting was chronicled in Action Comics Vol. 2 #6. I don’t think the Legion fully disappeared from the timeline until Rebirth.

So… was this about N52 Superman or Rebirth Superman?

If it was about N52 Superman, I disagree with Dr. Manhattan’s characterization. N52 Superman was less concerned with fitting in than PC Superman. He also thought of himself more as Superman than he did as Clark Kent. He was lonelier, sure. But… more distant from humanity?
I disagree.

I really enjoyed N52 Superman. I’ve never agreed with the assessment that he was darker, more distant, or more violent. He wasn’t shopping for a family home or going to Pa Kent for good old fashioned middle America wisdom every week, but he definitely still cared. He definitely understood human suffering and wanted to ease it.

When it comes to the New 52 DCU as a whole, the company line has been it lacked legacy. And, sure, I can see that. I think I prefer having the JSA in the same world/timeline as the mainstream DCU. I like the idea of superhero legacies and how they change with the generations. New 52 lacked that for, for the most part.

I also enjoyed the Metaverse concept. Definitely a very “meta” way to describe the changes to the DCU timeline. It has potential for stories to be told down the line, and some stories being told now. Anyone else get the connection to Doomsday Clock #10 at the end of Action Comics #1006?

We’ll definitely see more on the Metaverse down the line.

I remember that from Morrison’s AC but somewhere before Forever Evil (I think) they just disappeared. For the most part the Legion was basically gone from the universe and Superman’s life, so while that wasn’t always the case it became it.

Given the story of DDC, that Superman is a mix of the two where some things stuck and some things didn’t. To most people N52 never had the LOSH and never had his parents. The parts of him embracing more Superman than Clark is what drew people away from him and certainly by the end no one really wanted him around. I would even say him embracing his Kryptonian side more than his adoptive is also a fair assessment from Manhattan on him. How Morrison wrote him he was not that but by the end he became something completely different. I do agree though he wasn’t always bad but most writers definitely wrote him as jumping in head first before thinking about the situation.

Their lack of legacy is what started to wain on the New 52 and their last year before Rebirth really felt like they did not have any sense of direction. They both lacked it and tried have it as well with the Bat Family but none of the other characters. They wanted something new but wanted to keep the old as well and by the end not a lot of people were happy with the work.

That’s what I keep thinking and it showed up again in the most recent issue of AC as well. Bendis is playing around a lot with the idea of what is in continuity and I can’t say I’m looking forward to what is going to be coming up by the end of it.

There are a lot of things that I want to say in response. However, I’ve argued many of these things for a long time. The first being that Superman only really embraced Clark Kent as his true identity starting with the Post-Crisis timeline and the John Byrne reboot. Also, his parents were only alive and constantly available to him in Post-Crisis as well. In almost every other iteration of the character, Ma and Pa Kent (or at the very least Pa) pass away before he leaves Smallville for Metropolis. The Post-Crisis timeline only lasted for 26 of Superman’s 82 years of publication. Which means Superman books worked and were successful for over 50 years without him embracing the Clark Kent identity as his own and without him needing his parents around for advice.

That being said, I understand how beloved the Post-Crisis version of the character. It’s so beloved and so protected that half of the fan base revolts if any changes are made to this version of the character and his history. I imagine it’s frustrating when those changes happen if the Post-Crisis version is your favorite version of the character.

However, the Post-Crisis Superman never really worked for me. I never really related to him. I’ve tried. Really, I have. I’ve read a lot of Post-Crisis Superman and have probably forgotten more about him than most people will ever know. It just doesn’t take. Maybe that makes me Dr. Manhattan in this metaphor. I say this as away of explaining that it’s equally as frustrating when changes I like are made to the character and then get taken away to bring back Post-Crisis Superman again.

I really loved Morrison’s Action Comics reboot. It brought the character to a place where I could relate to him again. And, yeah, there were certainly editorial misfires in the New 52. However, in my estimation, Greg Pak, Gene Luen Yang, and Geoff Johns managed to have solid runs with the New 52 Superman. I read every issue of New 52 Superman. I didn’t want him to go away and I know that I wasn’t alone.

I’m not saying all this to start an argument. Again, I’ve had this argument before… many times. I’m saying this because I love Superman. He’s my favorite character. I want to be able to relate to him. But also, I get it, a considerable amount of the fanbase wants to keep the Post-Crisis character and history intact.

I’m hoping the answer- the way of obtaining both these things- comes with the Metaverse. It seems that, with the Metaverse, everything is in continuity. It all counts. If that’s the case, maybe there’s a way we all can get what we want.

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I agree he really hasn’t had his parents in his life for the majority of his creation but the way I have always looked at it is for those 26 years, it left an impact on the character in the same vein as Wally becoming the Flash. Now the Kents weren’t around all the time but for me I always liked that they were simply because he had them compared to most other Superheroes who did not. Going forward I don’t think they need to show up as often though, I remember plenty of Post-Crisis stories where they wen’t even mentioned at all. As long as writers don’t fall into the troupe of Clark needing to go to them for advice they’re fine where they are.

I understand your frustration there with Post-Crisis not connecting because it was how I felt when reading New 52 Superman and I jumped into comics well after the New 52 started. Other than Unchained none of his stories resonated with me and going back and reading the Post-Crisis stuff I liked that more so I unfortunately was one of those people who was definitely in favor of him coming back. I think it was the sudden change of character that people did not latch on to when it came to Superman in the New 52. I will say I am glad that basically that that Earth has a home now and maybe down the line people will actually use it.

All those creators you mentioned, especially Morrison all had solid runs on the character but I don’t think it was almost enough to sway people to like him. I was certainly invested in him when they were involved! However, like Post-Crisis Superman, right before Rebirth the whole “Truth” storyline was very similar to “Grounded” and it really turned people off of the character as a whole for both eras. I do think that with the metaverse we will see him again down the line in some shape or form.

If I may and you don’t mind, I think I relate to Post-Crisis Superman more from the 2000s to the New 52. I enjoyed reading the Byrne stuff but he really took the “Super” out of Superman to make him more relatable, wasn’t a fan especially after reading the Johns/Buisek era first. That era is what I love because he had his life together and was married to Lois while still having struggles as Superman and dealing with new & old threats. I think it was those stories that stuck with me that had a major impact from LOSH dealing with racism & defamation, Brainiac being a personal story for both Kara & Clark, I even like New Krypton but just hate how it ended. With New 52 I think it was the mix of creatives on the character that started to sour me on the character and I would say their indecision to decide what was and was not in the characters history made it very frustrating for some to get attached. Sorry that went on longer than I had intended it to lol.

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Hey, I don’t mind! Ultimately, you like what you like and you know the reasons why. You are totally within your boundaries to disagree with me.

I enjoyed the Johns and Busiek material from Post Crisis. I definitely think Johns had the last really solid run on a Superman title before New 52, and Camelot Falls by Busiek is a great story.

I’m also not anti-Ma and Pa Kent. But, there was a lot of emphasis on them in the late 80’s/90’s stories. When they’re that involved there tends to be a trumpeting of mid-western values that can get tiring at best/kinda off-putting at worst.

I summed up my issues with Post Crisis Superman really well in another discussion board on the Comicvine website a while back. I’ll summarize my comments here, but I’m editing them a bit to update and clarify:

To start, I see Silver Age, Golden Age, and N52 Supes (at least under Morrison) as being, at heart, the same guy. They all have their differences, sure. GA Supes is the smug strongman, SA Supes is the brilliantly weird alien, and N52 is a brash, bullish young man. Yet, they all share one thing in common: They seem to love being Superman. Being Superman makes them different than other people. They are exceptional outsiders who don’t quite and will never exactly fit in with everyone else on Earth, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. They enjoy the hell out of who they are and what they do and you can tell. They are exceptional outsiders who love themselves for who they are.

Post-Crisis Supes is different. He is totally at odds with the things that make him different and seems to have an obsessive need to make himself fit in. It’s not only that he feels like a regular human on the inside, he needs to prove it and everything that makes him unique or exceptional makes him feel guilty. I’m going to go back to his earliest stories to show you why I see him this way:

And, yeah, we’ll start with talking about John Byrne. Byrne made the decision to make Clark Kent Superman’s true identity. Byrne saw Superman as identifying as Clark on the inside, and Byrne’s Clark didn’t know that he was an alien until he was an adult. This Clark got to grow up a popular football player in Smallville whereas the other Clarks had to avoid sports and close connections with people. In other words, he didn’t grow up an outsider. He was a normal, high school jock. Byrne also made sure to establish the fact that he was uncomfortable with being an alien, with being different. Byrne’s Clark would downplay these differences every opportunity he got by making sure to tell the reader: “But inside, I’m just like everyone else.” In fact this phrase or one like it pops up so many times in Post-Crisis Superman comics that you could create a drinking game around it. He always needed to reassure everyone, and himself, that he was really just like them.

Byrne also made considerable changes to Krypton in his World of Krypton mini-series. This was the start of the whole “Kryptonians don’t mate they clone their children” thing that Snyder kind of aped in Man of Steel. SA Krypton was an advanced and benevolent culture. Byrne’s Krytpon was cold, emotionless and sort of sinister. Anytime something or someone else from Krypton popped up (be it The Eradicator, Zod, or anything else) it was evil and destructive towards humanity. For awhile, this made Post-Crisis Superman stories follow a pretty simple formula of alien=bad, human=good. Or, if you’re reading like I am, different=bad.

The inevitable effect of all of this is that Clark perpetually struggled with being Superman. In Adventures of Superman, Marv Wolfman had him forcibly disarm Quarac. He then went into fits worrying about whether it was the right thing to do for months after. He killed Zod and his fellow evil Kryptonians in the Pocket Universe, and then spent months beating himself up for it. This got so bad, in fact, that he suffered a mental break where he began moonlighting as a human vigilante known as Gangbuster because subconsciously he want to fight crime as a normal human would. To just drive that point home, when Jose Delgado took over the Gangbuster identity, Superman would continually praise Jose as being “the real hero” because he did what he did without powers. After the mental break, he decided he was too dangerous (too different) to be trusted on Earth anymore so he exiled himself into space abandoning his responsibilities to Earth. Basically, more often than not, if he did something as Superman then he either second guessed it or downright regretted it which made you wonder why he was even Superman in the first place.

His favorite thing to do when he was second guessing himself was to run back to Ma and Pa to get advice. It’s like he needed Ma and Pa to reassure him that he was still normal. To me, that’s what it really means when people say the Kents kept him “grounded.” He needed his parents to tell him that he was still being a good human, that he was still just like everyone else (when he really wasn’t).

Then there’s his relationship with Lois… Byrne had Clark pursue Lois from issue #1 on. Like before they had even known each other for that long, Clark was smitten. He also made sure to let you know that he had to win her as Clark and not as Superman (because, remember, Superman=different=bad). He was also the driving force behind their marriage. Lois had a lot of second thoughts, Clark never did. It was like he NEEDED to marry her because marriage is something normal people do and Clark is a normal guy… right? RIGHT???

The two personality traits I see clear as day in Clark from these early Post-Crisis stories is his continual need to fit in and his visceral discomfort about everything that made him different. This was probably not the intention. This was probably all just done to make Superman more “relatable” and they were just driving it home in really ham-fisted, comic book way. However, just based on what I’ve read, this is how I see him, and, ironically, this made him less relatable to me. As a generally weird outsider, I could never get behind Post-Crisis Superman growing up. He seemed too mainstream, too yuppie. It was only later when I was exposed to SA Superman and modernized versions of him (All-Star Superman, Alan Moore’s Supreme) that I really got it. Here was a guy who was different, weird, and celebrated it. In comparison, Post-Crisis Superman sort of hated himself for it.

Some of you might say to me, “This was in the past, though, Post-Crisis Superman has progressed since then.” To which I would say: not really. In Convergence and Rebirth, he picked up right where he left off. He has his wife and kid and tries to settle them down into a “normal family life.” Plus, the Post-Crisis Superman has been the standard for thirty years now, so the changes Byrne made in his personality just kind of stuck. Take Our Worlds at War where Superman touched cosmic level power but then went on to just be the same old Clark. In The World of New Krypton he was more concerned with human lives than the fact that Lex Luthor and General Lane went on to make sure Kryptonians were nearly extinct again. Even in the New 52, after I saw Morrison work so hard to change it, I got to read Fabian Nicieza pull out the old “I’m just like everyone else” catch phrase in Superman Annual #1. Whenever I read Post-Crisis Supes or a writer who obviously only knows Post-Crisis Supes, I can still see that same guy who desperately needs to fit in, who can’t rock the boat, who can’t be interesting or god forbid- different. Even Busiek does it a bit in Camelot Falls.

When it comes to Bendis, so far… he’s done an alright job of trying to find a middle ground between the two characterizations. He’s obviously still continuing the story of Post-Crisis Supes and you can still see PC Supes in their. Yet, he’s been a bit less brooding over being Superman and a tad less obsessed with fitting in.

I’m interested to see where the giving up his secret identity piece goes anyway… So… I think Bendis is trying to find the best of both worlds- the middle ground. Maybe the Metaverse will help him do that.

Sorry for the length… I always feel I need to fully explain this.


I have to agree with you there, I think that era of Johns/Busiek was solid all the way through from “Up, Up and Away” to Last Son, Camelot Falls, and Brainiac. Ever since then no one has had a run that has been one solid issue after the other, as much as I like the Rebirth era it has some major problems in my opinion.

A lot of the grievances you brought up with Post-Crisis Superman are very similar issues that I have as well lol. I don’t like that Byrne took the “super” out of Superman to make him more “relatable” and then later on they ended up adding those elements in again lol. While I enjoyed the Byrne era and the runs that followed they really were stuck in that rut of him being afraid to be Superman. I never thought of it that way but now that you said it that way it’s definitely there and very obvious. One thing that did annoy me were the Kents showing up a lot but some of those I liked and others just felt unnecessary.

I think it was evident that from Infinite Crisis onward they wanted to start to merge that aspect of Clark actually liking being Superman. My favorite origin for Superman is “Secret Origin” (for the art & moments with the story) and to me that one is the start where he does actually enjoy being Superman & helping people. I love that part where he saves Lana and comes back to tell Ma & Pa how excited he was

It’s an origin to me that does both the “Super” and the "Man part of the character from him being a young adult all the way till he gets to Metropolis. As campy as that line sort of is, I love when Lois asks him at the end if he’s “man or alien?” and Supes response being “I’m Superman” just fits so well with it.

I keep going back and forth for Bendis Superman because I feel like he has some great ideas but the execution is usually never to my taste. The ID reveals feels like a step in the direction of merging the Post-Crisis to the GA/SA version that likes being Superman but I’m not going to hold my breathe for it to happen.

I think for me, I need a mix of both GA/SA and Psot-Crisis Superman for them to proceed in a better way for the character. I like him getting married and starting a family but they should be more “super” events in his life rather than feeling mundane. Time will tell though and hopefully whoever takes over after Bendis will be able to carry that middle ground for both fans without being too alienating. Enjoyed reading your responses, very well thought out!

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Thanks! I have spent too much of the last decade thinking about these things…

There was a lot that I enjoyed about Secret Origin and what Johns was trying to do with Superman, in general, at the end of the Post-Crisis era. Specifically, I liked the (sort of) return of Superboy (Superman when he was a boy), the Legion of Superheroes, and Lex growing up in Smallville with Clark. Those were all classic Silver Age elements. It felt like Johns was working toward integrating a lot of the Silver Age with Post Crisis Superman before New 52 hit the reset button.

I believe that Rebirth had actually made Secret Origin the official origin story for Superman again. The New World story arc in Action Comics #977-978 contained a lot of visual references to Secret Origin suggesting that it was cannon again. I wrote more about that and everything else the New World brought back in a blog post.

Of course, “New World” came out prior to the end of Doomsday Clock and the metaverse concept, so I’m not sure if that’s changed anything. I also expect some significant continuity changes/streamlining to come from the Generation 5 (or 5G) soft reboot, so a lot of this is probably a “wait and see” thing.

My guess is that Secret Origin will stay the current version of Superman’s cannon origin story, though.

Also, in all fairness, I harp on John Byrne a lot, but I do enjoy significant parts of his run. I like what he did with Lex Luthor and Lexcorp. I think that made the Superman/Lex rivalry really personal. That also brought back the social crusader Superman angle from the Golden Age. I also think his version of Lois Lane was stronger than every version of Lois that came before her.

I just don’t like how Byrne changed Superman.

I also wish Morrison’s Action Comics stayed cannon because I’m a big Grant Morrison fan and I like what he does with the character. In my head cannon, that remains Superman’s origin.

I’ve liked Bendis’ run enough to stick with it. Generally, I think what he’s doing in Action Comics is stronger than the Superman title. I also like Jon Sam Kent alright. I guess we’ll see what the future holds.

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As far as I’ve been able to tell, Secret Origin is the current main origin for Superman following the Reborn crossover and the Doomsday Clock new timeline. I do like that Secret Origin included the LOSH as well and that still seems to be the case but who knows now with whatever is happening in the Bendis Legion.

Those were some of the things that I did like about the Byrne era and in the beginning the mistakes that he made. One that sticks out is when he tried to help Cat Grant with her martial problems, like in AC #1 when he was handling a domestic abuse situation, and it ended up being a much more complicated situation than he had anticipated. His corporate Lex and Lois were also a highlight for sure, one of the best changes was what happened with Lois I think. But yeah making Superman “too cool” was something that did not age well.

I would like it if they took a Morrison approach going forward and made “everything” canon which seems like what they are doing. When Supes starts his career keep some of the Morrison and other Golden Age adventures he had for a few years, move to the silver age, and then the bronze/modern age can be a bit of a mix. Going forward should be learning from all that came before and doing something new with it all.

That’s funny that you say that because I felt that Action started off as the stronger title but once the Leviathan stuff happened the Superman title took over being a “better” book. Future looks interesting though that’s for sure with a lot of the horizon for DC, hopefully they can get it together on the whole.

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