The first six pages of the upcoming DOOMSDAY CLOCK title from DC Comics were released at the recent New York Comic Con. This isn’t just the smash-up to end all smash-ups, though, with the heroes of the DC Universe meeting the characters from the WATCHMEN Universe. This is going to be in fact the official sequel to WATCHMEN. Some fans are way excited and some think it’s a terrible idea, that the classics should be left well enough alone and that, as Alan Moore is not involved in the project, it is somehow “dishonest.” While having Alan onboard would have been awesome, he has no interest in revisiting this property or of playing in the DC sandbox again. And the project has less of the feel of a simple stunt. Geoff Johns has been waiting, letting the story gestate, waiting until it was ready to be told.

It is ALSO a savvy stunt, guaranteed to garner publicity. At a time when Marvel’s stock has dropped–and I’m speaking of the comics, here; ironically the Marvel Cinematic universe has soared, its unprecedented success in direct proportion to the slump in sales of the comic books that inspired it–the time is perfect for DC to knock one out of the park. This may well be the big one that DC needs to put it back at the top of the sales chart.

…not where its DC properties are concerned, it doesn’t. Jared Leto and Leonardo Dicaprio are BOTH supposed to play the Joker? Say what, now? And they’ve made the announcement that future DC movies won’t be tied into the “shared” continuity of JUSTICE LEAGUE, basing that decision on the standalone success of WONDER WOMAN. Wait. WONDER WOMAN is an integral part of that shared cinematic universe. So the upcoming Batman movie may star Ben Affleck, who plays Batman in the shared JUSTICE LEAGUE universe, but may not be a part of that universe? And the WONDER WOMAN sequel won’t be a part if it? What the ever-lovin’ hell?! Maybe they mean they just won’t connect the films together too tightly, that they’ll all exist in the same universe but the characters won’t interact as much. That would be okay. But if they go and try to create a DC cinematic MULTI-verse, that ain’t gonna fly. I mean, technically they’ve already got one. The Christopher Reeve Superman movies don’t take place in the JUSTICE LEAGUE universe, nor do Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight flicks. But nobody tried to keep those different franchises afloat at the SAME TIME.

On a side note, Joss Whedon’s retooling of the JUSTICE LEAGUE film is said to have been more significant than we were previously led to believe. He cut Lex Luthor, Deathstroke, and even Darkseid from the film completely, if rumors are to be believed. All these moves, excepting Darkseid, make sense. Does the removal of the secret, primary villain from the film mean that WB is planning on ending the current continuity rather than continuing it? Does having no major villain waiting in the wings equal no plans for a sequel? If so, how the hell are they gonna explain WONDER WOMAN?

This article takes a rather grim position, yet it does speak truth. Marvel is in a sales slump. There are various reasons why this is so. There’s no one thing you can put your finger on. We can say with accuracy that Big M has been mismanaged these last couple’a few years. Revising the universe every month or three, relaunching titles ad nauseam. On a personal level, I can testify to the practice that has driven me away: the forced diversity initiative. Removing established characters and replacing them with new politically correct ones, just for the sake of having more female characters, gay characters, minority characters, yadda yadda yadda. Marvel, in trying to attract new readers, has alienated many of its old ones. And, like I said, that’s just ONE thing the company is doing wrong.

Over at DC, meanwhile, things are certainly, um, interesting. Whether you like the current storyline or you don’t, you can’t say it isn’t interesting. A whole slew of Bat-men. All evil. Why? Why not! Which one is your favorite? The Doomsday Batman is awful dang cool, I say. But the Joker Batman has my heart. And we’re getting ready to see Superman throw down with Dr. Manhattan from WATCHMEN. Yeah, right now DC is the one drawing my attention. Marvel should–and no doubt, will–take a lesson from it.