'Doomsday Clock' #8 Variant Cover Teases Doctor Manhattan's Return

"We're all puppets," Doomsday Clock artist Gary Frank teased on Twitter. The attached piece features two marionettes — Superman and Doctor Manhattan. Above are a set of fingers, on each wrist metallic bracers that look like they could belong to Adrian Veidt, a.k.a Ozymandias. Superman appears taken aback by Doctor Manhattan, who aggressively points a finger. This is the variant cover for Doomsday Clock #8, which won't arrive for months. The main is a picture of Veidt's cat, Bubastis 2.0. The genetically-modified lynx looks incredibly terrified … not a good sign.

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'Doomsday Clock' #8 variant cover. Gary Frank with Brad Anderson / DC Comics

Doomsday Clock readers haven't seen much of Veidt since the Owlship arrived in the DC Universe. An encounter with The Comedian (in Lex Luthor's office) landed him in the hospital. It seems odd the man who orchestrated the plan to travel to the DC Universe hasn't kept in touch with the folks he brought over—Rorschach, Mime and Marionette. If there's one thing we know for sure, it's that Vedit hasn't revealed his true plan. Perhaps that's what's in store for Doomsday Clock #8.

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The cover of 'Doomsday Clock' #8. Gary Frank with Brad Anderson / DC

But first, the solicitation for Doomsday Clock #7 is suspicious to say the least. "In this chapter, the truth behind Dr. Manhattan's curiosity with the DC Universe is revealed as the planet teeters on the edge of the Super-War," it reads. Even before Doomsday Clock arrived, DC Comics fans have questioned whether Doctor Manhattan has been manipulating the present universe. Batman and The Flash even discovered a missing decade. Finding a bloody button belonging to The Comedian during their investigation, it feels like a given Doctor Manhattan is involved.

According to series writer Geoff Johns, readers should expect the unexpected when it comes to the omnipotent Watchmen character. "We are ramping up and then issue 7 will totally change what people think the series is about and where it's going," Johns told ComicBook, "specifically with Doctor Manhattan."

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The Comedian is alive in the DC Universe, thanks to Doctor Manhattan? DC Comics

In the latest issue, Doomsday Clock #6, The Comedian seeks answers to the same questions we are asking. The issue finds him tracking down Vedit, but The Joker knocks him out in the last page. Mime and Marionette are also looking for Doctor Manhattan. They believe he can help them find their son. "I bet The Comedian knows where Doctor Manhattan is," Mime tells The Joker, who responds, "I could use a good dentist." Elsewhere in the world, Black Adam has offered asylum to all metahumans. However, during a meeting between dozens of DC Universe villains, someone raises the possibility Black Adam could have an ulterior motive in mind.

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Ozymandias in 'Doomsday Clock.' DC comics

As for Doctor Manhattan's agenda and whereabouts, the series has offered very few hints, mostly early on. Doctor Manhattan showed intersted in creating life, and refrained from hurting Marionette when he saw she was pregnant. There's also Superman's suspicious nightmare in the first issue. Martha Kent mentions she wishes she had more children, and Jonathan Kent says, "Me too, but this is God's plan" right before the two are killed in a car crash. Superman has never had a nightmare before this, which could hint at a strange connection between Doctor Manhattan and Superman.

Doomsday Clock #7 cover
'Doomsday Clock' #7 cover. DC

The Superman Theory has already put Superman at the center of all the drama in Doomsday Clock. Everyone believes heroes and villains were created by the government, and given false narratives to cover up a growing metahuman arms race. At this point, the only person the world trusts is Superman. "It's really important the Superman Theory is named after Superman," Johns told Newsweek, "and Lois points out that's why she suspects Lex would paint Superman's name with this."

Doomsday Clock #7 variant cover
'Doomsday Clock' #7 variant. DC

So who is really behind all this? The covers for #8 suggest it's Veidt, but we can't rule out Lex Luthor, Black Adam and Doctor Manhattan just yet. "It's all connected," Johns said. "Gary and I really want to surprise people with where it's going. And the JSA are part of it, [but] they aren't all of it. The book is about much more than the Justice Society. It's about the whole DC universe, but the idea of them plays a pretty significant role. As does Nathaniel Dusk and Carver Coleman, the man who played Nathaniel Dusk in those movies that we are watching, and what those movies are we will get into that more as the issues progress."

Any theories? Let us know in the comments. Doomsday Clock #7 arrives Sept. 26.

'Doomsday Clock' #8 Variant Cover Teases Doctor Manhattan's Return | Gaming