The most surprising thing in the final issue of DC’s Doomsday Clock didn’t have to do with Watchmen at all. The final issue of the 12-part comic miniseries by writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank, which featured characters from the original Watchmen comic encountering mainstream DC superheroes like Batman, hit stands on Wednesday after a long delay (the first issue landed more than two years ago now). Among other things, it seemed to imply that a new Marvel/DC comic crossover might be on the way in the next few years!

Now that HBO’s Watchmen show has aired, we should all be familiar with the way Doctor Manhattan (a.k.a. Jon Osterman) perceives time. The past, present, and future are all happening to this omnipotent superbeing at once. For the preceding 11 issues of Doomsday Clock, Jon found his awareness of the future obscured by some kind of darkness. The last thing he could foresee was Superman’s fist careening toward his face, leading Jon to believe that either Superman would kill him, or he would end the universe in self-defense. Instead, Superman saved Jon and inspired him to believe in “hope” again.

Doomsday Clock
Credit: DC Comics

The timeline reforms, and once again Jon can see moments in the future. One scene is of particular interest. Here’s the quote from Jon’s narration: “On July 10th, 2030, the ‘Secret Crisis’ begins, throwing Superman into a brawl across the universe with Thor himself…and a green behemoth stronger than even Doomsday, who dies protecting Superman from these invaders.” It doesn’t take a comics expert to guess what that means. If those character descriptions weren’t enough, the fact that almost every major DC crossover has “Crisis” in the title, and the biggest Marvel crossovers have “Secret” in the title, seems to imply an upcoming Marvel/DC rematch.

When reached for comment by EW, a representative for Marvel said there are currently “no plans” for such an event, but the promised 2030 date does give both publishers some time to figure out the logistics if they so choose. DC representatives did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.

DC and Marvel have come together before, of course. Most famously, 1996’s DC vs. Marvel miniseries pitted characters from each universe against each other: Batman vs. Captain America, Superman vs. Hulk, and so on. Some of the outcomes were determined by reader vote. More recently, George Perez’s 2003 miniseries JLA/Avengers combined the two publishers’ most prominent superhero teams for an epic story. All trilogies need a third installment, right…?

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