The Other Other Comic Book God Among Men

(Part 3 of the mini-series on gods and their myths)
Superman is infamous for being too powerful to be relatable. But there’s a comic book character who is actually worse, and not even one of those obscure, comedic parodies. It’s Dr. Manhattan, the atomic powerhouse of “Watchmen.”

In an alternate universe where masked vigilantes are an integral part of American history, Dr. Manhattan is the only superhero with actual superpowers. The Manhattan project accidentally turned a human into a quasi-deity with total control of matter. He teleports and incinerates things and people, sees the future, and creates things out of almost nothing. I’d say he’s even more powerful than Superman.
The graphic novel and movie don’t even try to make Dr. Manhattan relatable in a human way. They focus on his nigh-godhood and how hard it is for him to protect humanity when he feels so separate from them. In that respect, he’s a better character. The thing that messes him up is everyone else’s reactions to his existence.
The actual line is “There is a god. And he is American.” The entire country loves Dr. Manhattan simply because he was an American citizen before his nuclear ascension. Many experts believe that the Cold War is a non-issue because Dr. Manhattan can stop a nuclear war before it starts. No one seems to realize that he could also be a one-man nuclear war, end the entire world in a few seconds, and probably restart the human race with his power. He nearly does that at one point.
In DC, some people, evil and otherwise, don’t trust Superman. In Watchmen, only one person in the entire world figures out that Dr. Manhattan might be a threat, and he’s *Incoming Spoiler* literally “the smartest man in the world” and the villain. His master plan is to make everyone afraid of the atomic god, not even to hurt him.
Then again, “Watchmen” is described as “post-modern.” Maybe the point was exaggerating hero worship to the point of widespread stupidity to suggest people shouldn’t put so much trust in heroes like Superman either. “Watchmen” was trying to warn us about stories like “Injustice” before they happen.
I’ve said it before: altruism isn’t all that realistic, and superpowers are more likely to super-corrupt. God-like superheroes don’t have the love and benevolence of the real God. So be extra careful who you admire as a super role model.
Do you know of any other gods among men we could talk about? Let’s Connect!
Twitter: @noahspud and @CorrelationBlog

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