How come they didnt repeat the Dr. Manhatten experiment

In the graphic novel Watchmen? Seems that if seperating Ostermann’s intrinsic field created a superman, why not create an army of supermen? Maybe it was attempted, but never mentioned. Even in the “journals” printed in the G.N. it makes no reference to a repeat attempt. Is there any chance that Ozymandius’ cat also survived?

IIRC, much was made in WATCHMEN about how everything is pre-ordained, even Jon Osterman’s responses when he became Dr. Manhattan. It is strongly implied that Dr. Manhattan’s creation was utterly unique. I believe the excerpt from the book-within-a-graphic-novel “Superpowers and superpowers” called the events leading to Osterman’s creation “certainly unrepeatable” which makes me think that, off-panel, something like this was tried by America’s enemies and failed.

This makes me think it extremely unlikely the event you spoiler-boxed occurred.

Nice UserName.

The spoilerboxed event is extra impossible becauseit is if not said outright then at least heavily implied that Osterman “willed” himself into being as Dr Manhattan using his sentience, which Bubastis, as lovely as she is, is sadly without. Think of her as the 500.001st victim of the plan that saved the world.
The bigger question here is, who would volunteer to enter the chamber and try to become the second Dr Manhattan? No-one had any idea how he managed to do what he did.

I haven’t read it in a few years, but IIRC the implication was that due to his watchmaker training and sensibilities he was able to conceive (and execute) the notion of re-assembling himself biologically step by step (like re-assembling a watch). He literally re-built himself a body and occupied it with his sentience.

Precisely. That pretty much rules out both the spoilerboxed event and the “army of supermen”.

“Really, it’s just a question of re-assembling the components in the correct order.”

I agree with ‘they did try. Nobody else came back.’. Due to certain qualities and knowledge, John was able to come back. The watchmaking gave him the ability to remember where each miniscule part went, exactly what it looked like, what its function was, how it connected to all the other parts. His studies of physics gave him umm an understanding of physics. The circumstances of his death (waiting in terror unable to do anything, seperated from the woman he loves, etc) combined with everything else to create unique conditions.

The government is willing to deploy Dr Manhattan in war in Viet Nam. The President has the Comedian kill his enmies and political rivals. The loss of human life wouldn’t even have been a consideration. They tried. Nobody else could reassemble themselves.

Re The Other Thing Nope. Bubastis had no knowledge of physics or watchmaking or anything equivalent. Rather than waiting in fear and loneliness to die, she was dematerialized instantly. Plus, she’s a lynx. She doesn’t have the levels of consciousness or inteligence necessary to reconstitute herself.

Aaaa-aaaa-wrrr! Oowaa-aaaaa-rrowr!

I’m guessing a whole lot of people. Well, certain people.

“Ok, you could become omnipotent. But we’re not realy sure how it works and their are considerable ri-”
"I’ll do it.’

People have certainly wagered their lives, minds, sanity, and general comitment to this temporal plane for much less.

There was the great scene in the final episode where Ozymandias thinks he’s kille Dr Manhattan who then reappears and says, “Did you really think disintergrating me would work? Rebuilding myself was the first thing I learned. Even Osterman knew how to do it.”

But would the government want to use them as guinea pigs? The problem with this scheme would be, it would take someone crazy and not brave. We are talking mental patient, not astronaut.

The kind of people the government would want to survive with godlike powers are not the type of people who volunteer for a suicide mission.

The only way it works is if you find a controllable and benign physicist who is dying of cancer.

Even then, maybe he isn’t so controllable after he becomes a demigod.

No. I’d argue that they never tried it again. I think they realized that one potential overlord was enough. I think Nixon focused on keeping the one they had under control and refused to add another wild card into the equation.

I think it is possible that with Manhatten gone, the government might begin to try at THAT point.

Well, especially if they believe they’re facingimminent extra-dimensional alien invasion

What I found odd was the theorized limitations on Manhattan’s abilities, i.e. he could destroy some 60% of incoming Soviet missiles. Why not all of them? Why couldn’t he preemptively split himself into thousands of seperate Manhattans and visit each Soviet silo, bomber and sub, transforming the rockets into dust? The limitation is necessary for tension, but not supported by the story.

I disagree with this. It might have been, from Manhattan’s point of view, but it’s because he had a unique perspective – he experienced all things at once, no matter when they happened. Time means nothing to him. However, he did not have the power to use his knowledge of a future event to change a past event. So it’s not that everything was preordained, but because of Manhattan’s unique perspective, his ability to act at any one time was limited.

One suspects that the projections of the Doctor’s ability to destroy incoming missiles were based on a gross underestimation of his abilities. Been a while since I read it, but as I recall even he didn’t know what the upper limits of his powers might be.
As for repeating the experiment, I agree with those who say that attempts were made and that they failed. What I’d like to know is why Ozzy, “The Smartest Man on the Cinder”, didn’t try it himself. We’re told over and over again how brilliant he is, and he certainly doesn’t lack drive or willpower or the necessary hardware. I can easily see him deciding that the only way to save us from ouselves is for him to become God. Then he spends a few years turning his marvelous intellect to the study of physics, watchmaking, biology and whatever else he deems necessary. Shortly thereafter, Earth has a 2nd (3rd?) God.

But right after Osterman first became Dr. Manhattan, the government didn’t really think they’d have such trouble controlling him. It was only after decades of living among humans that he began to distance himself from them. In the Cold War '50’s, the government would have loved to have a couple more gods on the payroll, especially some that were used to taking orders.


That’s because he still had ties to his previous life as Osterman, once his friends and lovers got sick, old and died, as Osterman should have; “they” lost the hold they had on him. Once he stopped trying to be Osterman, with the needs and weaknesses of Osterman; the government could no longer control him. That was what the government didn’t realize until too late, Dr. Manhattan was going to eventually grow up.

If you think you can control the one you have, and he is enough to be the leverage that allows YOU to go “adventuring” in Afghanistan, wouldn’t that be enough?

The only way I can see them going back for seconds is if a defense contractor bought the rights to the technology and then lobbied powerful congressmen to get the government to buy 100 Dr. Manhattens.

Of course, they would run over budget, not work as promised, and be horribly late.

holmes. The key loss was not more closely monitoring his relationship with Silk Spectre.

acsenray. I see your point.

Sure had they realized what was happening between him the Silk Spectre, they might have known he was changing, but they still couldn’t have stopped the change. His relationship with Silk Spectre was symbolic of his maturity as a “superior” being, not the cause of it. Even if they did somehow manage to control him with the Silk Spectre, sooner or later she was going to die, then what? How do mortals control the immortal, assuming they don’t have extra organs in their chest to absorb energy from structures or magic helmets, scrolls and such?

If I can switch to another issue from the book, how many of you think that the Comedian murdered the Hangman? It’s stated that several people suspect it, but I don’t recall there being any definite conclusion.

Another hero – I forget her name, but she was a lesbian – was also murdered. Was it implied that the Comedian might have been responsible for that one too?