Welcome back, you’re currently on part 8 of my most tragic comic book characters. If you’re new here please go to my introduction. If you’re not new, then carry on reading. It’s time for another Watchmen character.
Doctor Manhattan is probably the grimmest take someone could have on the superman mythos. Superman is so powerful that many people don’t understand why he’s interested in humanity at all. Doctor Manhattan takes that to another level, creating a character who is essentially a God. He is the most powerful fictional character in existence. He is literally a god. With the power to control matter he can do whatever he wants, he is able to observe past, present and future all at once.
And it has ruined him.
The tragedy of Doctor Manhattan is that he is so powerful he has completely lost touch with his own species. He is not able to relate to, or understand, humans, caring only for his work and it’s not for the lack of trying., He is just plain not able to. Despite his attempts, he is not able to even so much as care for humans.
There is certain religious commentary with Doctor Manhattan- the God doing very little to help humanity despite them needing it. Doctor Manhattan eventually leaves to Mars to create life himself, to create his own world. It is a poignant moment in the comic and beautifully symbolises why Watchmen is so haunting.; The most powerful man in existence, the only one who could potentially save humanity after the events of the novel, is nowhere to be seen and the fate of the world is left very uncertain.
This is part of why I love the work of Alan Moore, because he is completely aware of the ramifications of creating the characters that he does. He grounds them so wonderfully and this brings them to life even more. We do not get an omnipotent, omniscient character and then never have it brought up; the fact that he is those things is what makes him who he is.
And unfortunately this is also what makes Watchmen so bleak.