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DR. MANHATTAN

"If there's one thing in this cosmos that that man isn't capable of doing it's having a political bias. Believe me... you have to meet him to understand. I mean, which do you prefer, red ants or black ants?"--Ozymandias on Dr. Manhattan

Jon Osterman (b. 1929) is Dr. Manhattan, the superman, an invulnerable god-like being beyond comprehension and beyond limitation.

Osterman was the son of a watchmaker who pushed him into studying atomic physics instead of following in the family business. Osterman started Princeton in 1948 and finished his Ph.D. in atomic physics in 1958. In May 1959, he was involved in research at the Gila Flats under the direction of Professor Milton Glass. During this time, he had a love affair with colleague, Janey Slater. While retrieving the watch he fixed for her in August 1959, he accidentally became trapped in an intrinsic field separator. His atoms were smashed, but, eventually, methodically, he reconstructed himself and emerged as Dr. Manhattan, a blue-skinned superhuman who can do anything because he has a quantum consciousness that reveals time, space, and matter as they truly are--in atomic detail.

Manhattan's unusual hyperconsciousness allows him to perceive time in multiple facets. He slides through time and has a keen sense of predestination. For him, all time is simultaneous; all things happen at once. Therefore, he knows what "will" happen in "the future" but is incapable of doing anything about it. An obviously complex, distant, otherworldly character, Manhattan is ageless and indestructible but poignantly paradoxical in his fatalistic yet omnipotent existence.

Because of his incredible abilities, Manhattan became a government agent along with the Comedian (Edward Blake). By himself, he ended the Vietnam War in about three months for a sweeping American victory. He became the United States' most strategic weapon in the Cold War and international relations, practically nullifying any threat of nuclear attack from the Soviets.

Manhattan eventually was abandoned by an aging Janey Slater when he began an affair with young Laurie Juspeczyk, the second Silk Spectre. Over time, however, his increasing distance from human concerns strains their relationship, so Laurie also leaves him. Soon after, he is accused of spreading cancer among all his closest friends, enemies, and colleagues. This accusation is engineered by Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt) and drives Manhattan to exile himself to Mars.

Through Laurie Juspeczyk's intervention, Manhattan briefly returns to Earth to help her, Nite Owl II (Dan Dreiberg), and Rorschach (Walter Kovacs) deal with Ozymandias' plan to "save the world." After this episode, he decides to leave the known universe and contemplates creating human beings of his own--given his renewed appreciation for humanity.

 

Dr. Manhattan

QUOTATION: "Things have their shape in time, not space alone. Some marble blocks have statues within them, embedded in their future"