Late last year, DC Comics rolled out its latest miniseries, Doomsday Clock, involving some of the characters that trio created, but incorporating them into its mainline DC Universe.
Starting with The Watchmen, who would have guessed that the characters Moore and company created would have become such a critical success that Time magazine would recognize the single volume edition as one of its 100 best novels published in the English language since 1923.
I have come to appreciate the introspection that Moore brought to the world of superheroes, asking the larger questions about what role do they really play in a society and how do they really benefit people, if they do at all. His characters are multi-dimensional, their flaws are highlighted for all to see, but they are given qualities that people can identify with and question who really is in the right.
Ozymandias is considered the world's smartest man and seeks to prove how brilliant his ideas are to save the human race. Rorschach is a skeptic of human nature and see no issues with going to great lengths to ensure the guilty are punished. Nite Owl longs for the days when superheroes were accepted in society. Dr. Manhattan questions whether or not life is really worth living. Silk Spectre must answer questions about her upbringing. And The Comedian is cynical yet more than happy to advance whatever cause the federal government backs.
Watchmen works in large part because it's never clear as to who is really right or wrong as events unfold. It utilizes an interesting technique, with a "story within a story" that features a youth in New York City reading the fictional comic "Tales of the Black Freighter." The fictional comic serves as a parallel to the story of Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias, and his plans for saving the world from the threat of nuclear war.
The popularity of The Watchmen was a blessing and a curse for Moore, because language was added into Moore's contract with DC that the rights to the characters would revert to him after a period of time. But as The Watchmen increased in popularity, DC continued to release bound volumes of the series, thus claiming the right to the characters as long as the series remained in print.
That has made the decision to utilize several of The Watchmen characters in the limited series Doomsday Clock a controversial move for some of Moore's biggest fans. That series has had three issues released thus far and has been interesting to see how events unfolded. There is already much evidence that Dr. Manhattan has been messing with the timeline in the main DC Universe (it's been alluded to ever since DC launched its Rebirth effort) and it appears Dr. Manhattan and Superman are due for a confrontation. The series has already presented the first meeting between Ozymandias and Lex Luthor and Batman meeting up with the second person to take up the Rorschach mantle.
Whether or not Doomsday Clock can live up to Watchmen remains to be seen, but given the way the plot is unfolding, it appears we may have yet another critical examination of what superheroes are really all about.