How the Flash Will Track Down the Watchmen in DC's Rebirth

DC Comics

If you thought the Flash was problematic for the space-time continuity, you haven’t met the all-powerful Doctor Manhattan yet.

In Joshua Williamson’s The Flash #9, coming October 26, Barry Allen, aka the Flash, will team up with his sidekick Wally West — both of them are the Flash, which is a long story. The two will investigate the biggest mystery in DC Comics history: How Doctor Manhattan, from Alan Moore’s Watchmen, changed their fates forever in DC’s successful event reboot, Rebirth.

“This is a very big detective story,” Williamson told Inverse about the upcoming issue at New York Comic Con last Thursday. “It’s a big investigation. You’re only going to be getting little bits of clues that to lead you on the path and see where they’re going.”

The Flash #9, which pays homage to the iconic The Flash #123 cover from 1963, is only the beginning of DC’s inclusion of the Nixon-era vigilantes into its mainstream continuity. “People will see when they get to issue eight and issue nine, which is the ‘Kid Flash of Two Worlds,’ the stuff in there is going to tease a lot of the next year’s worth of Flash stories. You’ll see where we’re going.”

Cover of 'The Flash' #9, featuring both Wally West from before New 52 and Wally West from DC's Rebirth.

DC Comics

Williamson, who is also set to write Justice League vs. Suicide Squad beginning in January, admitted it’s hard wrangling something so huge in a single issue. “Thankfully, with [Chief Creative Officer] Geoff [Johns] and other creators we sit, we talk, and you get a lot of help. It’s really cool getting these great conversations with these characters. That helps a lot with trying to figure out this mystery and make sure it all adds up.”

At the end of Geoff Johns’s DC Universe: Rebirth #1, Batman finds a strange relic in the Batcave: a blood-stained smiley face, the recurring motif from Moore’s seminal graphic novel. Also at the center? Wally West, the former Kid Flash, who was erased when DC reset its continuity the last time in 2011. In Rebirth, Wally is resurrected in both memory and physical form, inspiring his mentor Barry to figure out why anyone would dare erase him at all.

In a previous interview with Inverse, Johns said the Flash is a figure of hope, while Moore’s Watchmen was the opposite. What happens when they clash? As Johns told Inverse: “I promise it’s not going to be Batman and company punching Doctor Manhattan a bunch of times. Thats not how you combat something like this.”

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