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Tear Jerker / Doomsday Clock

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"What do you see?!...."

  • The whole state of the Watchmen world: Ozymandias and his plan to bring world peace failed horribly. Thanks in part to Rorschach's journal, the truth about the massacre in New York was dug up and the global situation has completely fell apart in the aftermath. Russia is basically going to war with the whole world, Europe is collapsing in flames, the US isn't much better off, Ozymandias is dying of brain cancer while on the run for his crimes, the new Rorschach is so desperate that he's willing to work with villains, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre are nowhere to be seen, and the world seems to be worse off than it ever was before. All that suffering and death in the original Watchmen was completely pointless. All that any of it accomplished was making things worse in the long run. Ozymandias believes that finding Dr. Manhattan is the only hope of salvaging things and it's easy to agree with him.
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  • A young Clark Kent at senior prom, sadly sitting alone in the corner as he watches Lana Lang and Pete Ross happily dance. What stings even further is Jonathan assuring Martha that Clark can't get hurt. Doubly so since this is moments away from the fatal car crash that would take the Kents' lives.
  • Issue #3 cuts back and forth to Johnny Thunder, who is looking out the window, sadly, waiting for his children to take him out and he just stands there as the other people in the retirement center argue over the metahuman problem and watch a movie.
  • Pretty much all of Byron Lewis's character arc in Issue #4. Heck, even the comic cover depicts a stack of pancakes with syrup making it look like Rorscach's face is crying.
    • Even his backstory revealed at the end of the issue as revealed in his letters. He spent decades in the asylum where he was effectively treated as an Unperson by his family, including his sister. While he spent years writing letters to his sister, he never received any back, nor had any contact. After the New York Massacre, he sent out a letter begging her to let her know that she and her children were alright; and upon getting some flowers and a note in her name, Byron wept with joy. But that was the last he'd ever heard from her or anyone from his family. His final letter, before his suicide, was a short message say that he wouldn't be writing any more, but that he will always love her and that his parents have finally forgiven him and that he would be joining them.
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    • At least he found out that his letters were being read.
  • The Reveal of Rorshach II’s identity and backstory: he’s Reggie Long, the son of the original Rorschach’s psychiatrist. His life was going to hell, yet he hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps (unaware that Rorshach was breaking him and causing his marriage to disintegrate). When Ozymandias dropped his psychic squid in New York, Reggie watched his parents and thousands of others die horrible deaths, while the squid’s psychic attack drove him insane. He ended up in the same run-down mental hospital Byron Lewis was committed to, where he regularly fought with the orderlies and was abused by them. Eventually he got ahold of Malcolm’s psych evaluation of Walter Kovacs (though only the parts where Malcolm believed he was healing Kovacs, before he Took a Level in Cynic) and, taking inspiration from Byron, decided to become the new Rorschach and bring Ozymandias to justice. He tracked Veidt down... and found him a miserable, guilt-ridden mess desperately trying to make things right. Reluctantly, he agreed to work with Veidt to find Doctor Manhattan, leading to the events of the comic.
    • The sheer horrible fact that Reggie is carrying on the memory and identity of the man who indirectly ruined his life, given that Walter’s disturbing and hostile conversations with Malcolm are a big part of what destroyed Malcolm’s marriage. But the worst part of it? Reggie was completely unaware that Kovacs was a mentally disturbed psychopath to the end, not the mentally healed friend of his father he believed him to be.
    • Mothman staring silently into the raging inferno of the asylum before quietly walking into it, like a moth to a flame.
      Reggie: Byron?
      Byron: It's been calling to me. I see it.
      Reggie: See what? Byron?! What do you see?!...
      Rorschach II: (narrating) ...didn't understand.
  • His first meeting with Veidt becomes a different kind of tearjerker in hindsight when you realize that Veidt had played him like a damn fiddle from the start.
  • Marionette's backstory: Her father was a toymaker who was regularly shaken down for protection money by the police on behalf of an anonymous gangster. After the officers threatened to take her to visit their boss, he committed suicide, leaving her an orphan — she's the first person to find his body. To top it off, Marcos' mother was Killed Offscreen for standing up to said cops when they tried to shake down his father, rendering Cute Mute Marcos permanently psychologically scarred.
  • Issue #7 reveals that Dr. Manhattan erased Alan Scott from history by moving the lantern that would have saved his life a few inches out of reach. And it's hinted he did this to the rest of the Society.
  • Also in issue #7 Reggie breaks down after being hit with reveals that both Ozymandias faked having cancer to gain his pity and sympathy and that his parents died divided, their marriage having fell apart and Kovacs, a man he modeled himself after, was to blame.
  • The final pages of issue #8 show virtually all of Metropolis' newspapers save for the Daily Planet having turned their backs on Superman after his attempted defense of Firestorm.
  • With issue #9, we learn that there is at least some truth to the Superman Theory; Martin Stein was part of a government program to deliberately create a metahuman. With Dr. Manhattan showing him the truth, Ronnie Raymond had to face the truth that the man who he considered a second father had been lying and using him for years. And the only reason that he was chosen was because Stein thought he'd be a good subject, with the bonus of being like Stein's deceased son.
  • Issue #10: Everything about Carver Colman's life and what eventually lead his death at the hands of his mother. All while Manhattan did absolutely nothing to stop it. Despite the fact he was the one that told Carver his life would improve in eight months. And to add insult the injury, the reason Carver's mother killed him? Because her letter to him reveals that while he lied to the press about a few times, he lied over the fact his mother kicked him out for being gay.
    • There's something borderline depressing, if sickening that Dr. Manhattan was the one responsible for the deaths of Ma and Pa Kent and Alan Scott and the Unpersoning of the Justice Society (based on Jay Garrick's being trapped in the Speed Force), simply to sate his curiosity and create a Superman that he felt he could relate to: a brooding loner. And that the closest emotion he showed after this was discovering the main DCU is a Metaverse that was trying to fight him.
    • The ending of Issue 10 reveals Manhattan finally realizes something of what he is in the DC Universe...and arguably due to his Lack of Empathy, he doesn't seem to care or see it, becoming a failed Heel Realization.
    Dr. Manhattan: In this universe of hope... I have become the villain.
  • Issue #11: Saturn Girl disintegrating Infinity War style after she realizes that Superman doesn't recognize her, while Johnny Thunder can only listen helplessly.
    • Especially so since DC decided to reboot the Legion of Superheroes behind the scenes, which may have been one of the reasons why the series suffered so many delays. Seeing the Preboot Saturn Girl, the last vestige of the original Legion, the original continuity, dissolving into aether because she's been rendered apocryphal... It's hard to look at Brian Bendis' new Legion of Superheroes and not think of them as yet another casualty of Dr. Manhattan... or rather what Manhattan represents.
  • Superman in issue #12 noting that every step Dr. Manhattan leaves is a photograph of Janey.
  • Doctor Manhattan in issue #12 using every bit of his power to Retcon the metaverse and saving the DC universe along with his own, but disappears from existence when he passes his powers to Erika Manson's son..
    Doctor Manhattan: A final thought as I give the last of my power to this world and this child. So that this planet has a protector who will receive love, and return it.
    • Also Doctor Manhattan helping Carver Coleman avert his death and come out of his sexuality, and despite being villified by the mass media, he later became a LGBTQ+ icon and lived a long happy life with his partner until his death.
  • In the end, Doctor Manhattan restores Alan Scott and the Justice Society, which led to Clark having the courage to be Superboy and save his parents, and thus lead to the restoration of the Legion of Superheroes... except that the Legion who comes to save Superman is the fourth iteration of the team made by Brian Bendis. In the end, Imra and her team, the original Preboot Legion, couldn't be saved and remain erased forever, worse than the Justice Society ever was... Despite the fact that the story clearly was originally written to have the Preboot Legion, but was obviously forced to be rewritten to have the "new hotness" that is Bendis' Legion.

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