FANDOM


Quote1 In the end? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends. Quote2
Doctor Manhattan src
Doctor Jonathan 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.

Early Years

Jonathan Osterman was born in 1929 to a watchmaker. As a child, he planned to follow in his father's footsteps and practiced diligently on one of his father's watches. He was sixteen when the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Confronted with the undeniable facts of the theory of relativity, his father declared his profession outdated and threw the parts of the watch that Jon was working on out the window. He urged his son to instead pursue a career studying nuclear physics.

Osterman attended Princeton University from 1948 to 1958 and graduated with a Ph.D. in atomic physics. In early 1959, he moved to a research base at Gila Flats, where experiments were being performed concerning the 'intrinsic fields" of physical objects which, if tampered with, resulted in their disintegration. There he met Janey Slater, a fellow researcher, and they eventually became lovers.

Manhattan Project

In August 1959, shortly after his thirtieth birthday, Jon planned to give Janey her repaired watch, only to discover he had left it in his lab coat. He remembered that he had left the coat inside the test chamber where they conducted the intrinsic field experiments. While he was inside the chamber retrieving it, the door closed, automatically locking as a safety feature. Unable to open the door or override the countdown, his colleagues—save for Janey, who could not bear to see his last moments—could only watch in horror as Jon had his 'intrinsic field' removed. Bathed in the radiant light, he was torn to pieces by the force of the generator. Instantly he was vaporized and was officially declared dead.

Over the following months, Jon's consciousness began to progressively attempt to retake material form. This progression took the form of partial bodily reappearances, first as a disembodied nervous system, including the brain and eyes, then as a circulatory system, and later as a partially muscled skeleton. Each time the appearance only lasted for a few seconds. Finally, he fully reappeared on November 22 as a tall, hairless, naked, blue-skinned man.

After his transformation, Jon began to experience time in a non-linear, "quantum" fashion and was aware of and experiencing all the moments of his life simultaneously. He was not omniscient, as he remained reliant on his intellect and sensory experiences to reach conclusions, but his range of sensory data had been abruptly extended. This was in proportion to a lessening of his emotional capacities. This often led him to arrive at conclusions greatly different from those available to normal humans. He had increasing difficulty acting in, what those around him considered, the present moment, leading to many accusations and even the public perception that he was emotionless and uninterested in human affairs. He did nothing to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, even though he was aware it was going to happen when he met the president. His lack of sentiment was more a matter of radically altered priorities, owing to a colossal, unbridgeable gap of perception between him and the rest of humanity.

He gradually became a pawn of the United States government. He was given the code name "Doctor Manhattan", a reference to the Manhattan Project, the wartime research project that had developed the atomic bomb. He begrudgingly accepted the costume, a one-piece bodysuit and skullcap, that they provided. But he refused to use the symbol they put on the skullcap as his emblem, instead choosing a representation of a hydrogen atom. Discarding the headpiece and etching the mark on his forehead, he declared that the simplicity of an atomic nucleus with a single electron in orbit was something that kindled his respect. As the years passed, he slowly reduced the size of the bodysuit until, by the end of the 1970s, he refused to wear anything at all, except for mandatory public appearances.

However, his presence still succeeded in tipping the balance of the Cold War in the West's favor, and the United States consequently became more aggressive and adventurous. His abilities also radically altered the world economy, as he could, for example, synthesize the massive amounts of lithium required for all motor vehicles to become electric. At the request of President Richard Nixon, he brought America victory in the Vietnam War within three months. This victory distorted the American political process, as the 22nd Amendment was repealed and Nixon was repeatedly re-elected.

Crimebusters

During the first meeting of the Crimebusters, Laurie Juspeczyk, the second Silk Spectre, caught his eye. His relationship with Janey Slater ended acrimoniously shortly thereafter, and he then began dating Laurie.

During the execution of Adrian Veidt's plot to save the world, Jon was accused of having given cancer to those who were exposed to him over long periods of time. It emerged that this was untrue and that it was actually a careful fabrication of Veidt's to cause Doctor Manhattan to exile himself to Mars. Eventually, he brought Laurie there, where they argued over the fate of the human race.

As they traveled above Mars in his floating glass fortress, he explained his belief that life was an overrated phenomenon, citing the barren planet as an example of natural, undisturbed beauty. Laurie tried to convince him otherwise, but he was not persuaded. Angered at his indifference to Earth's well-being, she demanded he send her home to die with the others. He told her that, while she always asks him to see things through the human viewpoint, she had never attempted to see things through his eyes. While attempting this as he allowed her to perceive her entire life all at one time, she realized her father was Edward Blake.

As she wept over this epiphany, Jon explained that he had spent his time trying to define what could be considered a miracle, but neglected to see anything of the sort in human coupling. The odds against two people like her mother and the Comedian coming together to create a child like her, he believed, was the same as turning air into gold. With this revelation, his interest in humanity was restored and he returned them to Earth to stop Veidt's plan.

They arrived too late, however, as Manhattan had already been destroyed by the psychic shock-wave from the "squid monster" that Veidt teleported to the city. His perception of the future was being blocked by tachyon particles, but he was able to locate the source, Veidt's Antarctic lair. Teleporting there, he began to feel more distorted as he drew closer to the tachyon generators' source. He confronted Veidt, who tried to run from him. Stalling him with Bubastis, Veidt threw the switch on an intrinsic field disrupter, blowing both his pet and Jon apart.

Veidt's victory seemed certain, but Jon materialized outside as a giant, asking Veidt if he actually expected something that could not kill Jon Osterman could kill Doctor Manhattan. Before he could kill Veidt, however, Veidt turned on his wall of televisions in order to show Jon that all the countries in the world, including the United States and Soviet Union, had ceased conflict. They were doing this in order to try and understand the "alien attack" on New York. Seeing that his plan had brought about genuine world peace, Jon agreed with the others, aside from Rorschach, that going public with Veidt's plan was counterproductive.

Jon confronted the defiant Rorschach, warning him that he could not let him reveal the truth. In tears, Rorschach removed his mask, screaming at Jon to do what must be done. He obliged by killing Rorschach. Returning to Karnak, he saw Dan Dreiberg and Laurie together, happy that they had found each other. He appeared before Veidt, informing him that he was leaving for another galaxy.

Rebirth

Jon observed the Flash as he attempted to restore his own universe and undo the temporal distortion caused by Flashpoint. Jon interfered with this by erasing ten years of the restored universe's timeline and in effect creating a new reality. This left the residents of the Flash's reality ten years younger and caused them to lose much of their past.[1] Jon also rescued Jor-El from the destruction of Krypton, setting him up as Mister Oz to watch his son's life on Earth. Jon's intent was for Jor-El to second-guess his decision to send Kal-El to Earth.

Manhattan picks up the button.

Manhattan picks up the button.

The Button

The Comedian's button appeared in the Batcave after Wally West returned to the timeline. While Batman was analyzing it, the Reverse-Flash attacked him in the cave and took the button. Using it as a beacon, the Reverse-Flash set out through the timestream to find its owner, whom he referred to as "God". He returned to the cave with half his body reduced to burnt muscle and bone, dying on arrival. Jon then retrieved the button from the ground where it had fallen.[2]

Doomsday Clock

Within years after Jon's departure from his world, it had become pure chaos. Veidt became desperate and attempted to find Jon, believing only he could bring order back to the world.[3] To this end, Veidt used quantum tunneling to follow Jon into the Flash's universe.[4] After arriving, he discovered that Jon had teleported Eddie Blake to this universe just before he had died at Veidt's hand in their home reality.[5] Jon is summoned by Veidt. He reveals the reason he spared Mime and Marionette was because their second child does something to impress him. He also reveals Veidt was lying about having cancer, before leaving for Mars. It is then revealed the reason he came to Prime Earth is because he saw an enraged Superman punch him and saw nothing happen afterwards. He believes Superman kills him or he destroys everything.[6]

The energy that caused Firestorm's explosion in Moscow matched that of Dr. Manhattan which the Justice League traced to Mars. When multiple heroes from Earth, along with Firestorm arrive, he has Martian Manhunter broadcast his vision of the future where he destroys Superman or is destroyed himself. The heroes attack him but he doesn't see them as a threat, instead inquiring about the unusual properties of their universe such as the Lanterns' rings and magic. To undermine Firestorm, Jon shows Ronnie that Professor Stein meaningfully fused them together in that explosion. Captain Atom attempts to destroy Jon by unleashing his full power, but Jon rebuilds himself and completely knocks out every hero.[7]

It was later revealed that Jon had been on Earth Prime far longer than anyone suspected. He watched as the world seemingly adjusted, changing everything around him and all of it seemingly centered around Superman. Out of curiosity, Jon messed with history, preventing Alan Scott from obtaining his Green Lantern Battery and allowing him to die. This created a timeline where superheroes came to existence much later, as the Justice Society of America never existed, and turned Superman into a more alien figure. However, he became haunted by visions of his fated encounter with Superman.[8]

As Superman went to confront Black Adam and his entourage at the White House, Jon waited for Superman to arrive, watching as Superman crashed in front of him. Veidt reveals to Saturn Girl that Jon had revealed to him the real reason he didn't kill Mime and Marionette - because he knew that their son will grow up to be bring joy to a woman who was very important to him in the past. This was the reason Veidt had the two broken out of prison again. He realized that Jon had come to their universe to be with those similar to him: the super-heroes of whom there were many in this universe. He asked Jon for help but he refused as he thought either Superman will destroy him or he will destroy the universe. As a result, Veidt made a new plan to save both universes by making sure the League was incapicated and Jon would confront Superman alone.[9]

Osterman warned Superman that either he will destroy him or he will destroy everything. The potential showdown however was interrupted by a fight between metahumans from various countries. Meanwhile, Superman's wife, Lois Lane, was shown, by Lex Luthor, the exact same picture of Dr. Manhattan with Janey Slater that had been left throughout various time periods, telling her to expose it to the world that someone had altered their timeline in the past. Meanwhile, when Superman questions Jon why he isn't helping, he states he's seen the future where he won't. Questioned again, he reveals how his own world was destroyed after an opportunity at peace.[10]

Jon reveals to Superman that he altered the past, causing his parents to die and erasing people he once knew merely out of curiosity. He then tells him to make a choice between destroying him or being destroyed, telling him that he can't see the future beyond it. Superman however chooses to protect him from Pozhar's attack. When questioned by him, Clark responds that there is a third choice. Seeing so many pictures of him and Janey he had created, Clark realizes she must have been important to him.[10]

Superman then tells Jon that maybe he can't see the future because he might have to give everything up to save his world and he can choose it. Inspired by his words, Jon decides to undo his alterations by moving the Green Lantern back into Alan Scott's reach. This restored the JSA, the JSA in turn inspires a young Clark to become Superboy, which also inspired the Legion of Super-Heroes and ensured the survival of his parents. Jon also finds that every time the metaverse is altered, the Multiverse is expanded to preserve every world where Superman lived. He also sees the future and the forthcoming crisises as well as alterations to the timeline, realizing in the end that Superman will always guide mankind. Manhattan then summons Veidt, the Comedian, Mime and Marionette to himself. He leaves Mime and Marionette on Prime Earth, assuring they'll see their son again before leaving for 1954 where he encourages Carver Colman to come out as gay.[10]

Jon's actions resulted in the JSA and Legion of Super-Heroes coming to Superman's rescue while also stopping the metahuman battle. Lois meanwhile is able to expose the truth of Firestorm's explosion because of Veidt. He then travels back to his world, to 1992, where Veidt's plan had been exposed and had led to a nuclear holocaust. He then travels back in time to stop the missiles, making all nuclear weapons on Earth disappear before taking away Mime and Marionette's son, realizing that he himself was the reason why he couldn't figure out the child's future completely. He raises him as his own and names him "Clark" in honor of Superman.[10]

After Clark grows up into a young kid, Jon shifts his consciousness to look to a timeline where Janey convinced him to continue enjoying lunch and not bother to retrieve her watch. As a result, he is never transformed and he and Janey marry six months later and start a family. Smiling, Jon remarks it was a nice daydream to exist in. He tells Clark to find Daniel and Laurie Dreiberg, the former Nite Owl and Silk Spectre respectively, so he would be loved and will give it back. Now that Superman had inspired him, he regretted that he couldn't be the hero people needed, transferring what remains of his powers to Clark so he would become a true hero for their Earth before he himself ceased to exist.[10]

Powers

  • Nigh-Omnipotence: Jon'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. Mister Mxyzptlk, a near-omnipotent being in his own right, has stated that Manhattan's power far exceeds his own.[11]
    • Nigh-Omniscience: Jon 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, Jon 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, Jon 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, Jon 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, Jon 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: Jon 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, Jon can bring his sentient copies back into his body without any adverse side effects.
    • Cosmic Awareness: Jon possesses an understanding of the workings of the universe on a cosmic scale, and has the ability to oversee other universes as he wishes.[1]
    • Dimensional Travel: Jonathan is able to travel to other realities at will. He was capable of travelling from his universe to Prime Earth.[4]
    • Electrokinesis: Jon can generate sparks of electrical energy from his body, as well as from the objects he telekinetically levitates.[4] He was also able to cause the Shazam Family's lightning to backfire against them.[7]
    • Elemental Control: Jon 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.[16]
    • Enhanced Intellect: Jon'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.[12]
    • Enhanced Senses: Jon'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.[4]
    • Energy Construct Creation: Jon 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. Jon 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.[17]
    • Energy Projection: Jon is able to manipulate multiple forms of energy with precision. He is able to cause massive explosions at will.[18] His control over energy is so great that he was able to pull all of the energy out of Guy Gardner's Green Lantern Ring and manipulate it, although he stated he found it difficult to affect.[7]
    • Flight: Manhattan is not restrained by basic physical laws and can levitate and fly at will.
    • Force Field: Jon is capable of projecting powerful force-fields.[16]
    • Immortality: Never seeming to age, Jon 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 Jon; 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: Jon is capable of phasing his body through solid matter.[19]
    • Invulnerability: Jon possesses incredible durability and is practically invulnerable to any physical harm. His durability has allowed him to walk across the sun unharmed.[12]
    • Magic: When attacked by Etrigan and Zatanna, Jon analyzed their magical energies and quickly learned to replicate their spells, creating a powerful magic sigil that projected a massive energy blast.[7]
    • Molecular Reconstruction: Jon was able to restructure himself after the removal of his intrinsic field.[18] Manhattan 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.[18] He was also able to instantly transform water into milk.[16]
      • Disintegration: Jon is capable of using his power to completely disintegrate human beings.[12]
      • Regeneration: Jon 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.[7]
    • Photokinesis: Jon 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: Jon was capable of transferring his power to Clark Dreiberg.[10]
    • Radiation Production: Jon's body emits some level of ultraviolet radiation.[18]
      • Thermokinesis: When Jon restructured his body, he produced great amounts of heat from his body's ultraviolet radiation. It was great enough to give nearby people sunburns.[18]
    • Reality Alteration: Jon can create new universes with even the most casual act, as well as destroy them.[17] He was able to merge multiple timelines that he had created into one.[14] After the events of Flashpoint, when Barry Allen attempted to revert his universe back to normal, Jon interfered with this process by erasing ten years from that would-be, reverted universe, creating Prime Earth as a side-effect.[1]
    • Self-Sustenance: Jon doesn't require food, sleep, or oxygen to survive.[20]
    • Size Alteration: Able to grow or shrink incredibly fast without a seeming limit. He displayed great abilities and focus while at these sizes without a loss of control in any fashion.[19]
    • 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.[12]
    • Telekinesis: Jon 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.[18]
    • Teleportation: By warping space around him, Jon can teleport himself and others at will. Jon had teleported huge and small objects, people and animals alike.[17][19]

Abilities

Weaknesses

  • Mental Illness: Without being able to truly feel or embrace things in a virgin perception, Doctor Manhattan had begun to lose his sight of humanity and his sense of humor. He grew bored of the Earth and its inhabitants multiple times. He finally chose to leave Earth after he stated he understood humanity again; signifying his final departure from humanity. His inability to understand emotions lead to him creating utter chaos on Prime Earth, all just for the sake of sating his curiosity about that reality.
  • Doctor Manhattan was based upon Charlton Comics' Captain Atom, who in writer Alan Moore's original proposal was surrounded by the shadow of nuclear threat. However, the writer found he could do more with Manhattan as a "kind of a quantum super-hero" than he ever could have with Captain Atom. Moore sought to delve into nuclear physics and quantum physics in constructing the character of Doctor Manhattan. The writer believed that a character living in a quantum universe would not perceive time with a linear perspective, which would influence the character's perception of human affairs. Moore also wanted to avoid creating an emotionless character like Spock from Star Trek, so he sought for Doctor Manhattan to retain "human habits" and to grow away from them and humanity in general. Artist Dave Gibbons had created the blue character Rogue Trooper, and explained he reused the blue skin motif for Doctor Manhattan as it resembles skin tonally, but has a different hue. Moore incorporated the color into the story, and Gibbons noted the rest of the comic's color scheme made Manhattan unique.[citation needed]
  • Moore recalled that he was unsure if DC would allow the creators to depict the character as fully nude, which partially influenced how they portrayed the character. Gibbons wanted to tastefully depict Manhattan's nudity, selecting carefully when full frontal shots would occur and giving him "understated" genitals—like a classical sculpture—so the reader would not initially notice it.[citation needed]
  • In Sam Hamm's unproduced 1989 screenplay for the movie, Adrian Veidt had studied alternate timelines using tachyons, and noted that the human race survived in some of them because Doctor Manhattan never existed (as his creation was a flashpoint in history). And so, he plotted to assassinate Jon in the past before he got killed by the intrinsic field disruptor. To do this, he creates a tachyon bubble showing the day of the experiment, then gets ready to shoot a rifle at Jon through a small opening in the bubble. However, Doctor Manhattan arrives in time to thwart the plot and kill Veidt. Manhattan then decides to enter the past and save his past self from the experiment instead. He enlarges the opening of the tachyon bubble and steps through, then fuses with Jon and becomes a protective husk surrounding him. The experiment destroys Manhattan, and Jon leaves the chamber intact, returning Janey's repaired watch to her. With Doctor Manhattan no longer in existence, the present transforms into a reality closer to ours, with Rorschach, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre existing as anomalies.[citation needed]
  • In Before Watchmen: Doctor Manhattan, Doctor Manhattan tries to directly observe the events leading to his creation. This results in Doctor Manhattan confronting the fact that time is not linear as he had believed but a series of ever-branching realities. Among these other realities is one where the Comedian's actions cause the Cuban missile crisis to escalate into nuclear war. However, Doctor Manhattan believes via the concept of Schrodinger's cat that he has somehow broken time and has created these alternative realities and proceeds to wipe them out to where there is just one quantum reality. How this relates to hypertime, which seems to exclude the possibility of this happening or the 52, new 52, and reborn Pre-Crisis multiverses is unclear.
  • Allen Adam, the "Quantum Superman" of Earth-4, is in part based on Doctor Manhattan.

Related

External Links

Footnotes


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