For the other versions of Jon, see Doctor Manhattan.

"Thermodynamic miracles... events with odds against so astronomical they're effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing. And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter... Until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged. To distill such a specific form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold... that is the crowning of unlikelihood. The thermodynamic miracle."

—Doctor Manhattan


Doctor Jonathan "Jon" Osterman was a nuclear physicist who was caught in a radioactive particle test, which transformed him into a god-like being known as Doctor Manhattan. Initially a government controlled superhero who won the United States of America the Vietnam War, he eventually lost interest in the world and humanity, abandoning it for Mars. He returned to stop Adrian Veidt from causing his alien monster hoax that would kill three million people to stop the Cold War, but he failed and retreated to the stars.

After years of living on Europa with his created species, Phillips and Crookshanks, Jon traveled back to Earth to meet and marry his destined sweetheart, Angela Abar. After spending ten years with her under the alias Cal Abar, he was destroyed by Lady Trieu in another bid to save the world.

Biography

Early Life

Watchmaker's Son

Young Jon Osterman and father

Jonathan Osterman was born on August 14, 1929 in Heidelberg, Germany, where he was raised. His father, Hans, was a Jewish watchmaker who left Germany with his son in 1936 after Jon's mother abandoned them for an SS officer. Fearing for his family's well-being, Hans took Jon to Gwynedd, Wales and stayed at Cartwithen Castle.

While there, Jon saw a young couple about to have sex while peeking from a wardrobe. They spotted him, and while he ran away, the couple caught up with him later. They explained they were creating a life because their son died young, and handed Jon a bible, asking him in return to make something beautiful when he got older. He agreed, and left the manor sometime later for America.

Pursuing Nuclear Physics

Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

Young Jon Osterman

When the United States drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Jon was just sixteen and living with his father in Brooklyn. The summer morning after the event he was studying the pocket watch belonging to his father in their kitchen, presumably in training to follow into his profession. His father, confronted with the undeniable facts of the theory of relativity and the advance of military science, declares his profession outdated and throws the clocks out the windows, urging him to instead pursue a career studying atomic science.[1] The incident represents the turning point in Jon's potential future and foreshadows Doctor Manhattan's 'exterior' perception of time as predetermined and all things within it as so determined, including Doctor Manhattan's own reactions and emotions.

Princeton University

Osterman attended Princeton University from 1948-58 where he watched Albert Einstein in a lecture.[1] Always fascinated with clocks, he had the reputation among his fellow students that he was too stuffy and narrow and casually ignored him in their activities. Nonetheless, an attractive girl was interested in him and once she attempted to invite him to hike down the lake with the others, hoping to offer him a chance to be surprised by life. Jon, however, preferred to finish his job. Despite his stuffiness, however, he forms friendships with several students from New Jersey.

As a PhD student, Osterman chose to do his dissertation on the neutrino theory of light involving C waves. Once completed, he submitted his doctoral dissertation to Dr. Michael Florence, the chairman of Princeton University's Department of Physics. On May 6, 1958, Osterman is informed by Florence that his dissertation was accepted by the department. Osterman graduates and is awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy in Nuclear Physics.

Career at Gila Flats

Upon graduating he is invited by Dr. Milton Glass, who read his doctoral thesis at Princeton, to visit New Mexico's Gila Flats Test Base. Glass hired Osterman to replace the late Hank Meadows to come work at Gila Flats as a project researcher in the facility's Weapons Testing Center, where experiments were being performed concerning the intrinsic fields of physical objects which, if tampered with, result in their disintegration. Here he befriended Wally Weaver and met Janey Slater, a fellow researcher, who buys him a beer.[1]

Jon and Janey Slater

During a trip to New Jersey to see his friends in July 1959, Janey accompanies him to see her mother. She doesn't answer the phone so they spent time in the Palisades Amusement Park. Thinking they are a couple, a photographer calls them over and takes a souvenir picture. Near the shooting gallery, Janey's watchband breaks, and the watch is damaged when a fat man[2] steps on it. That night Janey's mother still doesn't answer so they spend the evening in Jon's hotel. They sit in the bed examining the broken watch promising he can fix it. Then they make love.[1]

One month later, on August 20, 1959, shortly after his thirtieth birthday, Jon plans to give Janey the repaired watch, only to discover he has left it in his lab coat which is inside the intrinsic field experiment test chamber. While Jon is inside the test chamber retrieving his coat the door closes, automatically locking as a safety feature in preparation to disintegrate test block 15. Unable to open the door or override the countdown, Osterman's colleagues - save for Janey, who cannot bear to see the last moment and flees the room - can only watch, horrified, as the countdown for the current experiment shortly reaches zero, and Jon has his 'intrinsic field' removed. Bathed in the radiant light, he is torn to pieces from the force of the generator, instantly vaporized and officially declared dead. A token funeral is made in his honor and Janey put their photo behind the glass of the Bestiary.[3][1]

Transformation

Jon's original form is destroyed

The following months see a series of strange events and apparitions at the research base, leading residents to speculate the area is now haunted. It becomes plain that Jon's consciousness has survived as an electromagnetic pattern and learned to control the particles and used them to reform himself as if he reassembled a watch.[4][1] This progression being indicated by a series of partial bodily reappearances: first as a disembodied nervous system, including the brain and eyes; then as a circulatory system (November 10); then a screaming partially muscled skeleton (November 14). Each time, the appearance only lasts for a few seconds.[1]

Jon fully reappears on November 22, 1959[5] in the Gila Flats cafeteria; a whistling sound is heard, cutlery is sparkling and he appears as a tall, hairless, naked, blue-skinned figure in an ultraviolet light that caused sunburn to those present.[1]

His relationship with Janey proceeded although she felt that everything changed around them. The following Christmas she bought him a golden ring and Jon admired its molecular structure. Janey expressed her concerns and that she was scared. Jon quieted her promising that he will always love her, although he knew it would change.[1]

The next year the government entered the process in making him a Costumed adventurer and prepared a suit and hat for him as well as a name reminiscent of the Manhattan Project for their enemies. Dr. Manhattan didn't like the association with the atomic symbol and rather chose to mark his forehead with the symbol of the hydrogen atom.

Government Career

Becoming a Government Operative

A new symbol

Jon gradually becomes a pawn of the United States government, though the means by which his loyalty is secured are never revealed; he is given the code name 'Doctor Manhattan', a reference to the Manhattan Project that, it is hoped, will defeat America's enemies. He is also provided with a costume that he grudgingly accepts, though he refuses to accept the icon design which is provided for him (this being a stylized orbital model of the atom). Instead, Jon chooses as his emblem a representation of a hydrogen atom, whose simplicity he declares to be something that kindles his respect; accordingly, he painlessly burns the mark into his forehead.

He was filmed dismantling a rifle, destroying a Patton tank and announced in public. He was considered the "Dawn of super-hero".[6][1]

In 1960, Manhattan attended a fundraising event with other former costumed adventurers.[3] There he met aging Hollis Mason (aka Nite Owl) and Ozymandias, the smartest person on Earth, and the only person he found interesting.[1]

Later that year, the Pentagon sent him to fight Moloch to justify his name as a "crimefighter". He entered Dante's, Moloch's vice den, and made the head of a gangster explode.[1]

Accompanied by Milton Glass, he met President John F. Kennedy in '61, who asked him how it is like to be a super-hero. Jon jokingly answered that JFK should know already. JFK had problems with Cuba but didn't ask for his help.[1]

The next year he attended a banquet in honor of Hollis Mason who decided to retire from being Nite Owl. In a private dialogue, he shares with Jon his plans to become an auto mechanic. From that he got the idea to synthesize the massive amounts of lithium required for polyacetylene batteries, allowing all motor vehicles to become electric. His actions radically altered the world economy and technology and his presence tips the balance of the Cold War in the West's favor, and the United States consequently becomes more aggressive and adventurist during this period.[1]

He predicts but "fails" to prevent the murder of John F. Kennedy. Around that time his relationship with Slater becomes strained and they begin arguing.[7] While arguing he predicts that they will make love; moments later she receives the golden earrings Jon made for her, shaped like a hydrogen atom, quieting her anger.[1]

In 1964 he decided to change his attire and informed the Pentagon.[1][8]

Meeting Laurie Juspeczyk

Crimebusters Meeting

Doctor Manhattan was summoned by Captain Metropolis for the first meeting of the Crimebusters superhero group and Slater came with him. Laurie Juspeczyk, the second Silk Spectre, catches his eye, something that was noticed by Janey.[9][1] Metropolis pulled lots to assign them to pairs, which further enraged Janey, blaming him for altering the result to team-up with her, although Jon claimed that he would always love her. This didn't stop him from patrolling with her and soon they came close. Learning this, Janey left him bitterly.[1]

Going Public

A few years later his father Hans died and Manhattan decided to publish his birth name. Soon after he moved with Laurie to Washington, following the closure of Gila Flats.[1]

Effects of the Cold War

Ending the Vietnam War

In 1971, Doctor Manhattan is requested by President Richard Nixon to bring America to victory in the Vietnam War. Manhattan travels to Vietnam and he meets up with the Comedian. Within three months, America is victorious in the Vietnam War; many Viet Cong surrendered personally to him in superstitious awe.[1] On the victory celebrations and the day Nixon arrives to Vietnam, he witnesses the Comedian kill a Vietnamese woman he had impregnated. The Comedian noted that the Manhattan is losing touch with humanity.[9]

International Tension

This victory in Vietnam shapes the American political process, as the 22nd Amendment is repealed and Richard Nixon is then repeatedly reelected (by 1985, he serves his fifth term). Critics, however, suggest that, far from solving the problems underlying the international tension, Doctor Manhattan's presence, in fact, exacerbates them while stifling their expression, which inevitably builds towards disaster, as Milton Glass wrote in Dr. Manhattan: Super-Powers and the Superpowers.

In 1973 he accompanied Laurie at a banquet to honor the Comedian. There she assaulted him for attempting to rape her mother. He became angry at her behavior and he teleported her home.[10]

The Keene Act

During the 1970s, there are riots against the costumed adventurers, Manhattan with Laurie attempt to quiet the unrest in Washington.[9] Laurie attempted to hold ringleaders from the crowd outside the White House. This seemed to go on too long and Manhattan teleported everyone to their homes; 2 of them died of a heart attack, although Manhattan believed that more would die during the riots. Eventually, the Keene Act passed outlawing the superheroes, but as the country's defense rested in Manhattan's hands, he continued working for the government.[1]

In 1981 he moved to Rockefeller Military Research Center where he performed research and construction of new technology.[1] Laurie was assigned with him, who (in her mother's words) "has to get the H-bomb laid every once in a while".[9]

In the summer of 1985, he and Laurie walked to Grand Central Station and bought a Time issue celebrating Hiroshima week; the cover had a frozen wristwatch, whose arms had stopped at the same position as Janey's when her own was broken.[1]

During the execution of Adrian Veidt's plot to save the world, he fabricates evidence to make Manhattan wrongly accused of giving cancer to those exposed to him over long periods of time.

Events of Watchmen

Death of the Comedian

Rorschach meets a gigantic Doctor Manhattan

When the Comedian was killed, Doctor Manhattan was informed by the CIA.[1] Rorschach came to warn him and Laurie that the Comedian was dead, and all former costumed adventurers should watch out. His attitude disturbed Laurie and Jon dismissed Rorschach by teleporting him out. As he was busy locating a gluino, he allowed Laurie to go out with Dan.[11]

The Comedian's funeral

Jon attended the Comedian's funeral and reflected on their association in the Vietnam War.[9] He sensed Moloch's presence but he was not sure that he knew him once.[1]

Exiled to Mars

He appeared in Benny Anger's show where he would be interviewed. Agent Forbes briefed him on the politics of the Cold War that he might be asked upon. However, it was not what Manhattan was there for. The magazine Nova Express made an investigation about whether Dr. Manhattan caused cancer to his associates, and Doug Roth (who had previously interviewed Janey Slater) made these allegations in public; a fray erupted and the journalists came towards him asking for details concerning his relationship to Slater. Forbes attempted to guide Manhattan outside and hold off the journalists. Eventually, Manhattan teleported everyone away.[7]

Reflecting on Mars

He leaves his place for the abandoned Gila Flats and recovers the photograph with Slater. He then teleports to Mars.[7]

However, this was a frame arranged by Veidt to induce Osterman to leave, to remove his interference in his scheme to save the world. During his absence, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, bringing the world closer to a nuclear war than ever.[7][12]

Eventually, he briefly returns one hour before November 1 to bring Laurie (who, in the meantime, has taken Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II as a new lover) to Mars, where they argue over the fate of the human race.[13] Discussing why he should do anything to aid humanity, Laurie inadvertently wins the argument when she goes through her life and realizes to her shock that her father is the Comedian, a man whom she despised for sexually assaulting her mother. From that revelation, Doctor Manhattan is amazed by the improbable chances that occurred to result in the birth of Laurie, which he sees as a stunning "thermodynamic miracle." By extension, this miracle can apply to any living thing on Earth, and so Doctor Manhattan decides to return to Earth to protect humanity rather than disregarding it as insignificant.

Confronting Adrian Veidt

Although they return too late to stop Veidt's plan, they teleport to Karnak, Antarctica to confront him. Veidt hinders Doctor Manhattan with a tachyon generator that interferes with Doctor Manhattan's ability to see the future and then disintegrates him by subtracting his intrinsic field. To Veidt's surprise, Doctor Manhattan restores himself much more quickly this time, but when Veidt reveals that his scheme, in which he used his alien monster to kill half of New York City, appears to have averted the looming nuclear war by frightening the world's governments into cooperation, Doctor Manhattan realizes that to expose the scheme would be too dangerous for all life on Earth. Doctor Manhattan and the other superheroes except for Rorschach agree to keep quiet to preserve Veidt's results. Rorschach leaves on his own and is murdered by Doctor Manhattan to prevent him from ever telling the truth. Manhattan does so reluctantly, at Rorschach's own insistence, who asserts that his death is the only thing that will ensure his silence. Doctor Manhattan does not mention Rorschach's death when talking to Veidt not long after, instead of telling Veidt he "does not think Rorschach will reach civilization".

Leaving Earth

At the end of Watchmen, Doctor Manhattan decides to depart Earth again, but he might return one day. Veidt is surprised by his decision, pointing out the apparent contradiction with Doctor Manhattan's renewed interest in human life, to which Doctor Manhattan suggests that he may "create some [human life]" in another galaxy. When Veidt asks if his plan worked out in the end, Jon Osterman smiles and enigmatically replies that "nothing ever ends."

Relationship with Angela and Death

In the Watchmen TV series, he is portrayed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. For much of the series, he is solely known by the name Cal Abar, the husband of series protagonist Angela Abar. In 2009, Doctor Manhattan approaches Angela Abar at a bar in Saigon and they begin a ten year relationship. Two weeks after this initial meeting, Manhattan assumes the appearance of Cal Abar at the suggestion of Angela Abar. Manhattan installed a device given to him by Adrian Veidt into his forehead that suppressed his superpowers and his omniscient sense of time, allowing him to pursue a comfortable relationship with Angela, though this did remove his memory prior to 2009. Manhattan is also revealed to have been the person who transported Adrian Veidt on Europa.

Late in the series, in 2019, Angela discovers a plot by the white supremacist ring the Seventh Kavalry to destroy Manhattan and harness his powers; Angela subsequently forcibly removed the device from his forehead, causing him to regain his abilities and appearance, though immediately afterward he is captured by the Kavalry. As Senator Joe Keene, the Kavalry's leader, prepares to destroy Manhattan (ultimately killing Keene in the process), Lady Trieu intervenes, kills the rest of the Kavalry, and continues the demonstration in attempt to take his powers for herself. Trieu is successful in killing Manhattan, and he shares a final moment with Angela before he dies, though Trieu's plans are ultimately upended by Veidt and she is killed by another of his attacks. At the end of the series, Manhattan is revealed to have possibly transferred his powers to Angela.

Personality

While a superpowered being, it is ironic that Osterman/Manhattan's life was directed by others; his career was forced on him by his father, his relationship with Slater began with her initiative, his actions were mostly obeying the government and the Pentagon, as if Dr. Manhattan didn't care about what he was doing. As he saw past-present-future simultaneously, he did things just because they should be.

After his transformation, Jon begins to experience time in a non-linear, "quantum" fashion, and it is implied that he is aware of and experiencing all the moments of his life simultaneously. Jon is not omniscient; he remains reliant on his intellect and sensory experience to reach conclusions, but his range of sensory data has been abruptly extended, in proportion to the lessening of his emotional capacities. This often leads him to arrive at conclusions greatly different from those available to normal humans. However, during the course of Watchmen, he displays powerful emotion several times. His apparent lack of sentiment is more a matter of radically altered priorities, owing to a colossal, unbridgeable gap of perception between Jon and the rest of humanity.

He subscribes to a deterministic view of events. During the period in which Doctor Manhattan is a crime-fighter (at the behest of the government), he states that the morality of such activities escapes him. From his radically altered perspective, almost all human concerns appear pointless and without obvious merit.

Manhattan appears to have a personality disorder, in his case, schizoid personality disorder which is characterized by reclusiveness and voluntary withdrawal from socializing to the detriment of personal relationships, though this can be countered by the fact that he's basically a god and, therefore, the way he experiences and reacts to the human environment and even reality itself cannot, in any way, be compared or encased inside the human condition and psychology.

Powers and abilities

Jon Osterman is presented to be the only being on the planet with actual superpowers. He is shown to be absolutely powerful and invulnerable to all harm; even when his body is disintegrated, he can reconstruct it in a matter of seconds, which is the very first "trick" he learned.[4] Osterman has complete awareness of and control over atomic and subatomic particles and can see even neutrinos.[13] He is also an omnikinetic. He does not need air, water, food or sleep and is immortal. He can teleport himself and others over limitless distances, an ability which Dan Dreiberg had nicknamed Manhattan Transfer.[13] Due to his perception of time, he sees the past, present, and future simultaneously. He can see events so tiny and so fast, that they can be said to have never occurred at all.

Although Adrian Veidt is obviously the second-most dangerous person, as Osterman himself observes, "...the world's smartest man poses no more of a threat to me than does its smartest termite." In addition to these powers, Osterman is able to phase any part of his body through solid objects without damaging them, produce multiple copies of himself which function independently of each other, alter his size, project destructive energy, disintegrate people, create force fields, transmute, create and destroy matter, move objects without physically touching them (telekinesis), reverse entropy, and, he suggests, create life and has walked on the surface of the sun. At one point it is stated that, in the event of a nuclear war, he would be capable of destroying Soviet nuclear missiles while at the same time 'destroying' large areas of Russia. As a result of these capabilities, Jon becomes central to the United States' Cold War strategy of deterrence.

Osterman's limitation appears to be apathy. In some sense, unlimited power has come at the cost of the total absence of responsibility, and his phenomenal omnipotence is juxtaposed with his growing detachment. Although he doesn't age in the biological sense, his character has changed over time with gradual detachment from humanity.

He subscribes to a deterministic view of events and exerts an effort of choice; his actions often seemed governed by a rigidly utilitarian code of ethics in which the correct course of action must be the one that benefits the most. From his radically altered perspective, almost all human concerns appear pointless and without obvious merit. For instance, he does nothing to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (even though he could see the future) or the murder of the Vietnamese woman, even though she was pregnant.

Due to his presence and manipulation of time and reality while in the DC Universe, Osterman's very essence was bound to the dimensional atomic fabric of the Multiverse. As such, despite his departure back to his own dimension, his essence remained within the DC Universe's makeup of matter, produced namely with the Mobius Chair. This would allow several beings to gain power very similar to his, namely being Wally West, Bathattan, and the Darkest Knight, surpassing even that of Perpetua, the mother of the Super Celestials and the effective creator of the Multiverse.

Powers

  • Connective Energy: Due to being exposed to Connective Energy, Osterman's "intrinsic field" was removed due to an accident that sent his atoms flying, leaving him with barely enough control over his DNA structure. Over time, he was able to re-evaluate his physiology and become Doctor Manhattan, a quantum being of nearly unlimited power.
    • Nigh-Omniscience: Osterman perceives time in a non-linear fashion. This means that he sees the past, present, and the future simultaneously. Likewise, he can grant others with this "atemporal" vision. While originally limited to only his perception of time, Osterman later learned to view the timelines of others, as well as possible timelines that never happened. He was able to see the entire timeline of the metaverse when reconstructing the changes he made to it.[10] However, this power can be blocked by tachyons, restricting him to only the present as the only facet of time that he can see and actively experience, blocking his atemporal vision from probing far enough to perceive the future.[12]
      • Precognition: Due to his ability to see the past, present, and future simultaneously, Osterman is able to look into the future of his own timeline, or any timeline he wishes.[10]
      • Retrocognition: Due to his ability to see the past, present, and future simultaneously, Osterman can see past timelines that were erased or altered.[10]
      • Time-Travel: Due to his ability to view the timestream from a third person perspective, Osterman is capable of traveling throughout the timeline at will.[13] He can also pull others through time along with him.[7] By altering the outcomes of certain events while travelling throughout time, Jon can create new timelines that splinter reality in both past and future.[14]
    • Bio-Fission: Osterman is able to split and replicate himself. He is capable of dividing his quantum consciousness among other separate physical forms resembling his physical appearance.
      • Bio-Fusion: Likewise with his Bio-Fission ability, Osterman can bring his sentient copies back into his body without any adverse side effects.
    • Cosmic Awareness: Osterman possesses an understanding of the workings of the universe on a cosmic scale, and has the ability to oversee other universes as he wishes.
    • Dimensional Travel: Osterman is able to travel to other realities at will.
    • Electrokinesis: Osterman can generate sparks of electrical energy from his body, as well as from the objects he telekinetically levitates.
    • Elemental Control: Osterman is capable of manipulating elements at will. He was capable of creating an oxygen aura around Laurie Juspeczyk when he brought her to Mars.[15] He was also able to instantly create water.
    • Enhanced Intellect: Osterman's mind is far more enhanced than that of a normal human. He has perceived events so tiny and so fast they can hardly be said to have occurred at all.
    • Enhanced Senses: Osterman's senses are far acuter than any normal human. He has been able to sense the heartbeat of a child inside of an unnoticeably pregnant woman.
      • Enhanced Hearing:
      • Enhanced Vision: Osterman states he is able to read atoms.
    • Energy Construct Creation: Osterman can create and manipulate various energies in a manner that creates matter from virtually nothing. It is unknown whether some of the creations he made were the manipulation of matter, molecules, or entirely quantum energy constructs. Osterman is also seemingly able to create life with his own power, as displayed when he used his energy to accelerate evolution on an uninhabited planet as an experiment.
    • Energy Projection: Osterman is able to manipulate multiple forms of energy with precision. He is able to cause massive explosions at will.
    • Flight: Manhattan is not restrained by basic physical laws and can levitate and fly at will.
    • Force Field: Osterman is capable of projecting powerful force-fields.
    • Immortality: Never seeming to age, Osterman never appears any older both physically and mentally after his accident. He stated that the world grew older around him.
    • Intangibility: Bullets and blows travel through Osterman ; as such, he can allow all objects to pass through him without so much as a reaction. He can extend this ability to other people and objects. His intangibility coincides with his ability to phase through matter, allowing him to pass through solid substances without any considerable difficulty or loss of control. His intangibility has no specific emphasized drawbacks.
      • Phasing: Osterman is capable of phasing his body through solid matter.
    • Invulnerability: Osterman possesses incredible durability and is practically invulnerable to any physical harm. His durability has allowed him to walk across the sun unharmed.
    • Molecular Reconstruction: Osterman was able to restructure himself after the removal of his intrinsic field. Osterman is not limited to using this reconstruction power only on himself. He has taken apart most inanimate objects and even taken apart human beings as well as reconstructing Martian sand into large glass structures. He was also able to instantly transform water into milk.
      • Disintegration: Osterman is capable of using his power to completely disintegrate human beings,
      • Regeneration: Osterman can regenerate his entire body from total disintegration (down to the sub-atomic level), endlessly, as long as his consciousness survives.[18] He was also able to instantly recover from a snapped neck.
    • Photokinesis: Osterman can shift the color frequencies of the light around him in order to hide his true appearance and make himself appear as he wishes others to see him.[8]
    • Power Distribution: Osterman was capable of transferring his power to Cal Abar.
    • Radiation Production: Osterman's body emits some level of ultraviolet radiation.
      • Thermokinesis: When Osterman restructured his body, he produced great amounts of heat from his body's ultraviolet radiation. It was great enough to give nearby people sunburns.
    • Reality Alteration: Osterman can create new universes with even the most casual act, as well as destroy them.
    • Self-Sustenance: Osterman doesn't require food, sleep, or oxygen to survive.
    • Size Alteration: Able to grow or shrink incredibly fast without a seeming limit, Osterman displayed great abilities and focus while at these sizes without a loss of control in any fashion.
    • Superhuman Strength: While in microscopic size, superhuman heights or in a seemingly normal form, he displayed great physical strength such as hurling tanks, lifting planetary structures, and heaving delicate technological equipment about.
    • Telekinesis: Osterman is capable of manipulating the movement of objects with his mind.[20] He could also use this ability to cause a person's head to forcefully explode.
    • Teleportation: By warping space around him, Osterman can teleport himself and others at will. Osterman had teleported huge and small objects, people and animals alike.

Weaknesses

Veidt correctly assumed tachyons; a large burst of them can slow his ability to see the future to a moderate extent, but still, his telekinetic powers were unaffected. (Note: tachyons exist only in theoretical physics)

Although it was not seen in practice, Dr. Manhattan surmised that an EM pulse would cause such "static" that obscures the future, hinting at another possible weakness.[10]

Inspiration

Dr. Manhattan was created by Watchmen writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons but, like many main characters of the series, he is a modified version of a Charlton Comics character, in this case, Captain Atom, created by Joe Gill and Steve Ditko.

The choice of the name Osterman for a crime fighter may be a deliberate joke, as Osterman is the original name of the Prince of Gangsters, "Monk" Eastman, a notorious Jewish gang leader from the Lower East Side.

In Watchmen: The Film Companion, Dr. Manhattan is described as an American patriot who willingly enters the service of his country to protect it. However, the narrative of the comic and the film doesn't mention anything about his motives or beliefs concerning politics or the nation.

In other media

Film

  • Billy Crudup portrays the character in the film. He provided motion capture and plays Osterman as a human in the flashback scenes. Keanu Reeves was at one point rumored for the role but backed out over contractual issues. When the project involved producer Joel Silver, Silver wanted to cast Arnold Schwarzenegger in the part. In the film, his father was more supportive of him rather than opposing when working with watches.

Video Game

  • In Watchmen The End is Nigh Doctor Manhattan makes cameo along with Silk Spectre II in cutscene made as Watchmen motion comic. Although Rorschach and Nite Owl II have their respective actors from Zack Snyder's film providing voice for their roles, Doctor Manhattan is voiced by Crispin Freeman.

Other

  • In Countdown: Arena #4, a white-skinned lookalike of Doctor Manhattan was one of the alternate versions of Monarch summoned to the multiverse arena. Like all the others, this version was killed and his power added to Monarch.
  • In Final Crisis #2, the exiled monitor Nix Uotan sketches a character resembling Doctor Manhattan. Grant Morrison stated in an interview that the Final Crisis two-part series Superman Beyond will feature "Captain Atom from Earth 4, which is kind of a weird amalgam of the original Charlton universe and this kind of Watchmen parallel world."
  • In Watchmen videos, Andrew Sheroke portrays Manhattan.

Trivia

  • The symbol Doctor Manhattan inscribes on his forehead depicts the Bohr model of a hydrogen atom: one proton (the central dot) orbited by one electron (the upper dot). Hydrogen is the most common and fundamental element in the universe. In the original story, a promotions official tried to give Manhattan a helmet with a six-electron symbol on it. Manhattan refused saying he would have a icon he could "respect" and then burned the hydrogen symbol into his head.
  • Doctor Manhattan, after his accident, creates the perfect human form to replace his old body. In the 2009 film, to achieve Manhattan's ultra-ripped muscled look, his physique was modeled on that of actor and model Greg Plitt.
  • In the HBO series, Jon Osterman and his Jewish father left Germany after Jon's mother abandoned them and ran off with an SS officer.  While staying at Cartwithen Castle, Jon saw two people about to have sex while peeking from a wardrobe.  They handed Jon a bible and asked him in return to make something beautiful when he got older.  While terraforming Europa, a moon of Jupiter, he created the first humans of his paradise in their image.

Gallery

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 Chapter IV: Watchmaker
  2. Moore admitted in Comics Interview #65 that this was deliberate; note that it parallels his father's destroying the watch in the aftermath of Hiroshima!
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named man1
  4. 4.0 4.1 Chapter XII
  5. Exactly 4 years before JFK's assassination.
  6. Under the Hood: Chapter V
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Chapter III
  8. This marks Jon's declining humanity, which is progressively mirrored by his gradual shedding of the uniform - by the end of the 1970s, he refuses to wear anything at all except for mandatory public appearances.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Chapter II
  10. 10.0 10.1 Chapter IX
  11. Chapter I
  12. Chapter V
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Chapter VIII
  • The Art of Brian Bolland (326 pages, Image Comics, November 2006, ISBN 1582406030)
  • David Anthony Kraft's Comics Interview #65, 1988, interview with Moore and Gibbons (by Chris Sharrett)

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ve Watchmen characters
Costumed adventurers
Minutemen Captain MetropolisHooded JusticeNite Owl IThe ComedianSilk Spectre IDollar BillMothmanSilhouette
Crimebusters Captain MetropolisDoctor ManhattanRorschachThe ComedianOzymandiasNite Owl IISilk Spectre II
Tulsa PD masks Sister NightLooking GlassPandaPirate JennyRed Scare
Other vigilantes Reggie Long
Criminals & villains
Costumed villains Captain AxisCaptain CarnageClaude BokeMoloch the MysticErika MansonJimmy the GimmickKing MobKing of SkinLiquidatorMarco MaezScreaming SkullSpacemanTwilight Lady
Knot Tops AlineLawrenceRoxi
Seventh Kalvary CarmichaelThe SuspectRenee
Cyclops Judd CrawfordJane CrawfordJoe KeeneJohn David Keene
Criminals Big FigureDerfGeorge PatersonGerald Anthony GriceHarvey Charles FurnissMichaelOtisRolf MüllerRoy Victor ChessUnderboss
Government & law enforcement
Politicians Alexander HaigJane CrawfordJoe KeeneJohn David Keene
New York PD CapaldiFrancis GiancarloGreavesHollis MasonJoe BourquinSamuel J. BattleShawSteven FineWillis
Tulsa PD Charlie SuttonJudd Crawford
FBI Dale PeteyKaufaxLaurie JuspeczykLuxem
Military ForbesGregHoldenJ. SandersonPetermanPiercePitch
Other Anthony RandolphMulhearneyWilliam Parker
Partners & family of masked adventurers

Adrian Veidt: Ingrid Renata Veidt
Angela Abar: Calvin AbarEmma AbarTopher AbarMarcus AbarRuth RobesonO.B. Williams
Eddie Blake: Vietnamese woman
Hollis Mason: Hollis Wordsworth MasonLiantha Mason
Jon Osterman: Inge Osterman
Laurie Juspeczyk/Sally Jupiter: BellaLaurence Schexnayder
Nelson Gardner: Norbert Veldon
Reggie Long: Gloria LongMalcolm Long
Ursula Zandt: BlancheGretchen
Walter Kovacs: Peter Joseph KovacsSylvia Kovacs

Civilians
Notable others BernardBernieLady TrieuWill ReevesBianMs. CrookshanksMr. Phillips
Journalists Alan MorganAlain GuillonAlan MorganDoug RothHector GodfreyJim WeissMike GreenvilleSeymour DavidTed KoppelTed PhilipsTina PriceWilliam F. Buckley Jr.Zelda
Scientists Ed CoreyWhittaker FurnesseJaney SlaterJon OstermanMilton GlassTungrenWally Weaver
Artists Hira ManishJoe OrlandoLinette PaleyMax SheaNorman LeithVargaWalt Feinberg
Writers DeniseHal EisnerJames Trafford March
Celebrities Edmund TaylorIrwinJanet SmithJeremy MillerRed D'Eath
Others Abie, Howe, Cheatem and DeweyAngela NeubergBellaBlair RocheCarol-AnneChuckDavidDexter RedbackDolores ShairpFantasticoGordian Knot manHappy HarryJacobJimmyJoeyLeo WinstonMarieMarlaMoe VernonMrs. HirschMrs. MusanteMusanteOscar HuberRandyRichardsonRobert DeschainesRosaSheilaSteveTinoTino Musante Jr.Watch seller
Based on real world persons
Politicians Dwight D. EisenhowerRobert RedfordFranklin D. RooseveltGerald R. FordHarry S. TrumanHenry KissingerJ. Edgar HooverJohn F. KennedyLyndon B. JohnsonRichard M. NixonRobert F. Kennedy
Others Eleanor CliftG. Gordon LiddyJackie KennedyKitty GenoveseSam GiancanaLee IacoccaPat BuchananRamses II
Celebrities Cassius ClayJohn McLaughlin
Animals & creatures
Alien MonsterBubastisFred and BarneyPhantom
DC Rebirth crossover characters
BatmanJohnny ThunderSuperman
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