Alan Moore’s Watchmen features two of the smartest comic book characters ever created. The anti-villain genius Adrian Veidt, known better as Ozymandias, and the omniscient god-like being, Dr. Manhattan, formerly a scientist known by the name of Jonathan Osterman. These two are undoubtedly geniuses and in today’s article, we are going to tell you which one of them is smarter, so keep reading to find out!
Due to his omniscience, Dr. Manhattan is certainly smarter and more knowledgeable than Ozymandias, but since Manhattan is focused on thousands of things at once, Ozymandias, being the smartest human, has a better practical application of his knowledge.
DC Comics, for those of you that are not familiar with the story behind the comics, is a major American comic book publisher founded back in 1934. Along with Marcel Comics, it is the most popular comic book publisher in the United States. DC Comics is a major player in the comic book business and is the “home” of many famous comic book characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and many others.
Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.
Who is Dr. Manhattan?
Dr. Manhattan is the pseudonym of Jonathan “Jon” Osterman, a fictional character from the DC Comics fictional universe. He debuted in Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel, Watchmen (1986), and has played an enormous role in shaping the DC Multiverse, even bigger than The Presence.
The creation of Dr. Manhattan was actually an unfortunate incident that happened to physicist Jon Osterman, as he returned to get a watch from his lab coat. The lab coat was left in a test chamber, so Osterman went inside, but the door closed. The other researchers are unable to open the door or override the countdown to the next activation, and Jon’s body is torn to pieces from the force of the generator. In the months that followed, Osterman managed to rebuild himself gradually, until he finally reappeared as a tall, hairless, naked and blue-skinned man, glowing with a “flare of ultraviolet.”
Becoming an actual superhero, Osterman became known as Doctor Manhattan — in honour of the Manhattan Project — and became a pawn of the U.S. Government and the leader of the Watchmen. At one point, he realised the banality of his situation and disappeared off to Mars, abandoning both the Watchmen, and the Earth.
Still, at one point he became disillusioned with his role on Earth and teleported himself to Mars, where he spent most of the time, pondering complex metaphysical questions and discovering the secrets of life and creation. He played a prominent role in enabling Ozymandias’ plot to prevent World War III, even destroying Rorschach in the process.
Later on, he played a pivotal role in the creation of the Flashpoint and New 52 timelines, and was the centre of the mystery explored by Batman and The Flash during “The Button” storyline. He played another major role in Doomsday Clock, where he – once again – became a true superhero, ultimately wiping himself out of existence.
Dr. Manhattan was portrayed by Billy Crudup in Zack Snyder’s 2009 movie, and by Darrell Snedeger (true form) and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (as Cal Abar) in the 2019 TV show.
Who is Ozymandias?
Ozymandias is the superhero alter ego of one Adrian Alexander Veidt, a fictional character that first appeared in Alan Moore’s Watchmen, a story set within the DC Comics Universe. Along with Moore, Dave Gibbons is credited as Ozymandias’ co-creator.
Adrian Veidt was born in 1939 as the son of wealthy German-American immigrants. He excelled in school, receiving high grades from the very start and being noted for his brilliant mind. After his parents’ deaths, Veidt have all of his inheritance to charity and wanted to make something out of himself. He initially idolised Alexander the Great, but after a psychedelic experience concluded that Alexander was just a pale copy of Ramesses II. He then decided to become a superhero, taking the name Ozymandias, which is the Greek name for Ramesses II.
Veidt began training himself to achieve peak physical condition, becoming a world-class gymnast in the process. Ready to fight crime, he initially became a vigilante, but was soon invited to become a full-fledged superhero.
Veidt soon gave up superheroism and became a wealthy humanitarian. Still, in the shadows, he worked on a secret scheme of creating a catastrophic event to deceive the world into uniting against a common enemy and thus avert nuclear war. Upon completion of his project, Veidt planned to murder all of his (unwitting) accomplices and arrange the psychological deterioration and self-exile of the presumably invincible Doctor Manhattan. When the Comedian discovered this, Ozymandias personally killed him, setting off the events of Watchmen.
Ironically, Veidt’s plan worked and the world – despite Veidt’s scheming – became peaceful. Veidt also unsuccessfully tried to kill Dr. Manhattan, who realised that killing and exposing Veidt would destroy the newborn peace Veidt achieved. Dr. Manhattan then decided to spare Veidt and let him return to Earth. Veidt once again activated himself during the Doomsday Clock storyline, eventually revealing that he planned the clash between Superman and Dr. Manhattan, knowing that the former was the only one who could change Dr. Manhattan’s mind. He was ultimately prosecuted for his crimes after being sent back to his original, Watchmen universe.
Ozymandias was played by Matthew Goode in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen movie. An older version of the character was played by Jeremy Irons in the Watchmen TV series.
Is Dr. Manhattan smarter than Ozymandias?
This question shouldn’t really cause that many problems, since Dr. Manhattan, as an omniscient god-like being, would definitely be smarter than Ozymandias who, albeit a genius, is still just a mere human being with all the limits a human being has. Still, Ozymandias’ scheming nature makes people wonder whether he is smarter than Doctor Manhattan and that is why we are going to be answering that in more detail in today’s article.
When it comes to Dr. Manhattan, he is omniscient. He knows everything. There is no possibility, no reality, no question, no fact that Dr. Manhattan doesn’t know. Due to his powers, he is able to simultaneously be in the past, present and future, thereby knowing every possible outcome to every situation. The issue with this approach is that Manhattan is rarely focused on just one thing, i.e., he tends to stretch his mind to thousands of problems at the same point. This is why some things pass under his radar – they are observed, but he doesn’t really pay much attention to them; this seems to be a decision of Manhattan, rather than an error in his functioning, meaning that he can, but chooses not to.
Ozymandias, on the other hand, is a genius and quite possibly the smartest human in the history of the comic books. And while he truly is a genius and an excellent psychologist, Ozymandias is no match for Dr. Manhattan’s omniscience. He is limited by the fact that he is just a human, while Dr. Manhattan has evolved beyond that. So, if Ozymandias is no match for Dr. Manhattan’s intellect, how did he manage to outsmart him (in the comic books, the movie and the TV show) on several occasions?
This is quite possibly why some people think that Ozymandias could outwit Manhattan, but that is not really true. Namely, due to Manhattan’s inherent lack of focus on just one issue, he tends to not react to certain things. Knowing Manhattan’s psychology quite well and being an excellent manipulator, Ozymandias just exploited that “flaw” in Manhattan’s functioning to scheme and put his plans into action. Sure, Manhattan didn’t know much about Ozymandias’ doings, but it was because he chose not to investigate these things further, although there is no doubt that he could’ve done it and that he could’ve stopped Veidt’s every plan, no matter how elaborate it was.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!