While Alan Moore’s acclaimed Watchmen and its iconic characters were left untouched for several years after its release, in 2016, Geoff Johns decided to bring them to the mainstream DC universe. Following the Rebirth Issue, which significantly improved upon New 52‘s shortcomings, it was revealed that the strongest character from Moore’s work was responsible for its creation.
Doctor Manhattan, who decides to leave his galaxy at the end of the graphic novel, implying that he might create new life somewhere, was revealed to be the creator behind DC’s New 52.
Watchmen‘s Doctor Manhattan Created New 52 to Weaken the DC Universe
The story follows upon the ending of the original graphic novel, which witnesses Doctor Manhattan mentioning the possibility of creating new life somewhere far from the galaxy after he kills Rorschach. In the Rebirth Issue, which is merely a continuation of the New 52 instead of a full reboot, the returned Wally West explained that the New 52 and the pre-Flashpoint universe are still the same. He further revealed that Dr Manhattan physically removed 10 years of DC’s history, which resulted in some major changes, including lost relationships and de-aged characters.
Wally explained that Dr Manhattan was striving to make the DC universe weak by taking away joy and hope from the characters’ lives, however, this explanation didn’t sit well with everyone.
Using Doctor Manhattan as a Vessel to Shift DC’s Continuity Betrays His Character
Considering how things ended in Alan Moore‘s influential Watchmen, which changed the comic book landscape forever, many found Dr Manhattan’s actions in the Rebirth issue out of character. While bringing back the iconic character to the mainstream DC universe does make sense from a commercial standpoint, turning him into a villain completely goes against Moore’s works. And while the Rebirth Issue improved on a lot of things from the New 52 timeline, which failed to live up to its potential, turning Dr Manhattan the cause behind DC’s shifting continuity wasn’t its best aspect.
However, things haven’t always been doom and gloom for Watchmen in recent years, as Damon Lindelof was successful in crafting a worthy adaptation of Moore’s work. And even though Lindelof used Alan Moore’s iconic work as a launchpad to do his own thing, the series remained true to Watchmen‘s essence, becoming a huge hit among fans and critics.