Doctor Jonathan Osterman (born August 14, 1929), a.k.a. Doctor Manhattan is a central character in Watchmen.

Due to an accident involving a nuclear physics experiment, Dr. Osterman was taken outside the physical realm and returned with god-like powers, including telekinetic control over matter down to a subatomic level, the ability to teleport himself or others over planetary, and interplanetary distances, and superhuman physical prowess that he can consciously augment further, to the point of gaining superhuman strength and invulnerability. Furthermore, he possesses near-total clairvoyance, allowing him to perceive the past, present, and future as happening simultaneously, but at least believes that he cannot act on that knowledge since his own actions and reactions to chronological events are apparently predetermined.

While his military backers market him as a superhero, he grows increasingly disinterested in human affairs, despite his importance in the Cold War, and is unable to connect with others (especially his love interest Laurie, the second Silk Spectre). Like most characters in Watchmen, 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.

Biography (TV Version)

Jon Osterman

Young Jon Osterman

Doctor Manhattan was born Jonathan Osterman in 1929 in Germany. His father was a watchmaker. Unlike in the comic, Jon and his Jewish father left Germany after Jon's mother abandoned them and ran off with an SS officer. While staying at a mansion, Jon saw two people having 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.

In 2009, Dr. Manhattan approaches Angela Abar at a bar and they begin a ten year relationship. Two weeks after this initial meeting, Dr. Manhattan assumes the appearance of Cal Abar at the suggestion of Angela Abar.

Dr. Manhattan is also revealed to have been the person who imprisoned Adrian Veidt on Europa.

Biography (Comic Version)

Jon Osterman

Young Jon Osterman

Doctor Manhattan was born Jonathan Osterman in 1929 in Germany. His father was a watchmaker, and Jon planned to follow in his footsteps. One of his first memories was when he was 9 years old and his father gave him a complicated clock as a birthday present in order to teach him that time has weight and power.[1]

In 1939 his family decided to secretly leave Germany before they apprehended his Jewish mother. Jon was hidden inside a box for market goods, but before their wagon reached the border, they were stopped by Nazis. Jon's mother ran away in order to distract the soldiers from searching the wagon, giving ample time for his father to kill both of them, but she was killed in the process. They reached New York and Josef worked for a watchmaker.[2]

When the US drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Jon is sixteen and lives 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 take 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.[3] 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.

Jon Osterman attends Princeton University from 1948-58 where he watched Albert Einstein in a lecture.[3] 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.[1]

He graduated with a Ph.D. in atomic physics and in early 1959, moves to a research base at Gila Flats, 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; they eventually become lovers.[3]

Janey pic

Jon and Janey

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[4] 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.[3]

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.[3]

Soon after the accident, Dr. Milton Glass attempted to reverse the intrinsic field generators in an attempt to recreate him but this failed. He then announced the news to his father. A token funeral is made in his honor and Janey put their photo behind the glass of the Bestiary.[1][3]


Doctor Transformation

Jon's appearance during his transformation

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.[5][3] 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.[3]

Jon fully reappears on November 22, 1959[6] 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.[3]

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.[3]

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.

Effect on the Cold War

Watchmen Comic Page

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".[7][3]

Manhattan on the moon

Dr Manhattan photographs Neil Armstrong on the occasion of the Apollo moon landings, July 20th 1969.

In 1960 he offered Indian president Rajendra Prasad to fix the famine problem in his country by altering the nitrogen content of India's topsoil, resulting in more fertile land, but he couldn't understand. Instead, Dr. Manhattan attended a fundraising event with other former costumed adventurers.[1] There he met aging Hollis Mason (aka Nite Owl) and Ozymandias, the smartest person on earth, the only person he found interesting enough.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

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.[8] 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.[3]

In 1964 he decided to change his attire and informed the Pentagon.[3][9]

Dr. 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.[10][3] 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 in this quantum reality he was always to be paired with her.[1] This didn't stop him from patrolling with her and soon they came close. Learning this, Janey left him bitterly.[3]

A few years later his father Josef died and Manhattan decided to publish his birth name. Soon after he moved with Laurie to Washington, following the closure of Gila Flats.[3]

At President Richard Nixon's request, he brings America to victory in the Vietnam war within three months. There he meets the Comedian. Many Viet Cong surrendered personally to him in superstitious awe.[3] On the victory celebrations and the day Nixon arrives to Vietnam, he witnesses how the Comedian kills a Vietnamese woman he had impregnated. The Comedian noted that the Dr. is losing touch with humanity.[10]

This victory shapes the American political process, as the 22nd Amendment is repealed and 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 Super-powers.

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.[11]

During the 1970s there are riots against the costumed adventurers, Manhattan with Laurie attempt to quiet the unrest in Washington.[10] 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.[3]

In 1981 he moved to Rockefeller Military Research Center where he performed research and construction of new technology.[3] Laurie was assigned with him, who (in her mother's words) "has to get the H-bomb laid every once in a while".[10]

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.[3]

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.

At an unknown point prior to 1985, he intervened at a government bank being robbed by Marco Maez and Erika Manson, the costumed criminals' Mime and Marionette. Mime defied Manhattan in a wordless stand-off, but before Manhattan could eviscerate him, Marionette stepped in the way, declaring he'd have to kill her first. Seeing that Marionette would have a child who would one day become very important to Laurie, though unable to work out the fine details to a strange blind spot in his vision, Manhattan quietly dropped his hand and withdrew, allowing the two to be captured by the authorities.

Events of Watchmen

Doctor Manhattan Tall

Rorschach meets a gigantic Dr. Manhattan

When the Comedian was killed, Dr. Manhattan was informed by the CIA.[3] 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.[12]

The Comedian's funeral

At The Comedian's funeral

Jon attended the Comedian's funeral and reflected on their association in the Vietnam War.[10] He sensed Moloch's presence but he was not sure that he knew him once.[3]

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.[8]

Watchmen Comic Page 2

Reflecting on Mars

He leaves his place for the abandoned Gila Flats and recovers the photograph with Slater. He then teleports to Mars.[8]

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.[8][13]

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.[14] 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.

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".

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."

Doomsday Clock

After Jon departed his world, he discovered the Multiverse, and quickly found himself on an alternate Earth. Disoriented from his journey, he encountered a young struggling actor by the name of Carver Colman, whom he formed a symbiotic relationship with. Colman was used by Manhattan to anchor himself to his new surroundings, allowing him to regain full use of his abilities. He and Colman would meet once a year at the same diner, during which time Osterman would tell Colman his future. He arrived in time to hear of the emergence of Superman in Metropolis and went to investigate, perplexed by the sudden appearance of what was a fictional character on his world. He later witnessed the appearance of subsequent costumed superheroes and their formation of the Justice Society of America.

However, shortly thereafter, something very strange happened. Superman's arrival and subsequent first public appearance shifts forward in time, causing changes to history which only Manhattan is able to perceive that due to his abilities. These include the formation of a Justice Society of America under the leadership of Green Lantern Alan Scott and a young Superboy being befriended and taught by a group of superpowered beings from the far future known as the Legion of Super-Heroes, whose own heroics are inspired by his. Subsequent incarnations of the timeline maintain these changes in addition to new ones.

Watching this universe's timeline closely, he theorizes that he has arrived in the Metaverse, a singularly unique universe which spawns other universes when its flow of time is disrupted or changed, something he observes happening multiple times due to external forces, piquing his curiosity. Moreover, he becomes fixated on Superman, who appears directly linked to the Metaverse in a way that he does not understand. Finally after many years of passive observation, during which Carver Colman is killed due to Manhattan's inaction, Manhattan begins to experiment on the timeline himself in hopes of finding answers to satisfy him. During a major temporal distortion in 2011 caused by the Flash, he takes advantage of the chaos and alters the timeline himself, killing Alan Scott in 1940 and preventing the formation of the Justice Society of America.

This has a catastrophic domino effect, resulting in a badly warped timeline where Jon and Martha Kent were killed in a car accident, and the bright future of the Legion of Super-Heroes never comes to pass due to a corrupted present day. Superman becomes apathetic and lonesome, far from the inspiring symbol he is meant to be. Doctor Manhattan is at first satisfied with the results, as he is able to more clearly understand this version of Superman. However, he quickly discovers that his actions have not gone unnoticed and realizes that the changes are too drastic for the Metaverse to accept. It is, in a sense, a living organism and begins to fight back against what it perceives to be an infection. It sends Wally West back into the timeline, who manages to warn the world of Manhattan's interference, although he does fail to positively identify this new enemy. At the same time, Johnny Thunder of the JSA and Saturn Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes reappear in the present day despite the disappearance of their comrades and friends. Meanwhile, Manhattan's previously limitless view of the future suddenly comes to a sudden end which he cannot see past, with the final images he can see beforehand being Superman throwing a single punch. Unable to comprehend the meaning of this, he theorizes that there can be only two possible outcomes: either Superman destroys him or he destroys everything in self-defense.

Curious to find out which it is, Manhattan eliminates several individuals who have learned of his existence and could potentially affect the outcome, as well as recovering the Comedian's Badge, which was accidentally drawn into the timeline. Manhattan also warps Jor-El, Superman's biological father, into the being known as Mr. Oz in order to keep an eye on the Man of Steel. At the same time, evidence is found of cosmic tampering in the subatomic realm known as the Microverse, and the Green Lantern Corps discovers their absolute record of history is no longer trustworthy. The most damning pieces of evidence come from Manhattan himself, who has been unwittingly creating and leaving copies of the single photograph taken of Jon Osterman and Janey Slater at each of his appearances. These photographs are recovered by Lex Luthor, who seeks to understand how to break his eternal battle with Superman.

The world is wracked by international crisis ahead of Manhattan's long-awaited confrontation. However, he is caught unprepared when Ozymandias arrives seeking his aid, bringing along Mime, Marionette, and a second Rorschach. Adrian's plan has been exposed at home, and the group narrowly escaped a nuclear holocaust to seek him out. Discovering that Veidt has also brought a second Bubastis, capable of generating the same energy as himself in a bid to draw him out, Manhattan summons the Comedian from moments before his death, returns his badge to him, and instructs him to kill Bubastis in exchange for a second chance at life. Events, however, quickly move beyond Manhattan's control as the Comedian is thwarted and Veidt is able to corner him momentarily. However, Manhattan coldly refuses Veidt, and when Rorschach II attempts to plead with him, Manhattan instead destroys their partnership by revealing Veidt has been lying to him in order to obtain his service. This forces Adrian to reevaluate his plan and come up with a new strategy to coax Manhattan's aid, which begins with him using Bubastis to bomb Moscow. The metahumans of the world identify the energy signature as Manhattan's and trace him to his hideout on Mars, where after a brief struggle, he incapacitates them.

With no one left to stand in his way, he confronts Superman on Earth, where the Man of Steel is caught in the midst of the so-called Super War between the metahuman armies of the world. Manhattan observes and refuses to lend Superman his aid, despite him begging for assistance as he can't save everyone alone. Manhattan identifies himself and lays out his crimes in preparation for Superman's final judgement. He decides not to resists when Superman attacks, but is shocked when he discovers that Superman is actually defending him.

Manhattan's fixation on Superman blinded him to the context of the situation. Superman tells him that there is possibly a third explanation as to why Manhattan can't see the future: he must sacrifice all the power he has to make things right. Recognizing that Superman is correct, he resets the clock, undoing his earlier changes to history, and making one personal change to make sure that Carver Colman lives. The returning Justice Society and Legion stop the fighting, and Manhattan finally is able to uncover the purpose of the Metaverse. It exists as the means to preserve Superman in all his possible incarnations, so that his ideal might take root, and help humanity evolve. Finally understanding this, Doctor Manhattan is inspired for the first time since he became who he is now. This is revealed to be Adrian's doing: he knew that if he could not convince Manhattan, Superman would.

Using what remains of his power, Doctor Manhattan undoes the damage to his home dimension, making the collective nuclear arsenals of the world disappear. Veidt is arrested and imprisoned, Reggie Long begins to rehabilitate the public image of Rorschach into a proper hero, and a young girl named Cleopatra Pak will become the first in a new generation of costumed adventurers. He takes Mime and Marionette's child into his care, becoming the blind spot in his vision, and follows the example of Jon Kent to raise the child, finally reconnecting with his humanity in the process. He names the boy Clark in Superman's honor, and send him to Laurie and Dan so that he might become the hero the world needs. He gives what remains of his power to the planet, enjoying one final daydream of a world where Jon Osterman never became Doctor Manhattan, and lived a happy live with Janey. He smiles as he finally disappears.


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.

Powers and abilities

  • Telekinesis: Jon could mentally control objects with his mind.
  • Molecular Combustion: Jon was able to blast Walter Kovacs into bits with his mind.

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.[5] Jon has complete awareness of and control over atomic and subatomic particles and can see even neutrinos.[14] 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 Dreiberg had nicknamed Manhattan Transfer.[14] Due to his perception of time, he sees the past, present, and future simultaneously. Jon can see events so tiny and so fast, that they can be said to have never occurred at all.

Although Veidt is obviously the second-most dangerous person, as Jon 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, Jon 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.


Watchmen Portraits - Doctor Manhattan


""We're all puppets, Laurie. I'm just a puppet who can see the strings."

—Jon to Laurie

Jon'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.


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.[11]

List of Host


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

  • 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.


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.


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.

Character gallery

Doctor Manhattan's cameo in Watchmen The End is Nigh videogame cutscene. Voice by Crispin Freeman.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #01
  2. Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #03
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 Chapter IV
  4. 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!
  5. 5.0 5.1 Chapter XII
  6. Exactly 4 years before JFK's assassination.
  7. Under the Hood: Chapter V
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Chapter III
  9. 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.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Chapter II
  11. 11.0 11.1 Chapter IX
  12. Chapter I
  13. Chapter V
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 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)


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

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
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.