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About Doctor Manhattan

By Chad Derdowski     -
Source: The Annotated Watchmen


Dr. Manhattan inhabits the world of "Watchmen," a story by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons which reflects contemporary anxieties and critiques the superhero concept. Manhattan is the sole super-powered being in this real-world setting and is essentially able to do anything, making him a godlike figure.

Signature Quote

"A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally, there's no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts. Why should I be concerned?"


Scientist Jon Osterman was the son of a watchmaker who pushed him into studying physics. After being caught in an "intrinsic field subtractor" in 1959, he subsequently restructured his body from the ground up.


Along with the Comedian, Dr. Manhattan is a government operative and a major player in the game of human chess that is the Cold War. Obviously, he is the deciding factor that gives the United States its edge over the Soviets. Dr. Manhattan is also involved romantically with Laurie Juspeczyk, aka, the second Silk Spectre.


Possessing a quantum consciousness, Dr. Manhattan doesn't view time in a linear fashion and he is the only character in the series with any sort of superpowers. And it isn't just that he can fly or see through walls; Manhattan can see time, space and matter on a subatomic level. For him, all time is simultaneous, an intricately structured jewel that humans insist on seeing one edge at a time, when in reality, the whole design is visible in every facet. Or to boil it down to layman's terms: he can pretty much do anything. He's kind of like a god, or like a cross between Mr. Spock and Neo from the Matrix, only he's blue and he walks around naked all the time.

Charlton Analogue

The characters in Watchmen are all based on characters who formerly appeared in comic books published by Charlton Comics. Dr. Manhattan's analogue is Captain Atom, an Air Force pilot whose body was "atomized" and restructured, giving him superpowers.
copyright DC Comics


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