In the Watchmen graphic novel, Dr. Manhattan (a.k.a. Dr. Jon Osterman) is a superhero in immaculate ice-blue skin — he’s a kind of nudist — who’s considered to be emotionless and uninterested in human affairs. He does nothing to prevent the murder of President John F. Kennedy, even though he’s aware it’s going to happen when he meets JFK. And he becomes a pawn of the United States government who helps our side win not only the Cold War but the godforsaken Vietnam War, of all things.
I need to re-read Watchmen or something. I know Alan Moore‘s story is about an alternate-reality universe in which things haven’t turned out like they did in actuality (i.e., victory over Russia, the triumph of Richard Nixon). But I have to say that Dr. Manhattan, no offense, kind of sounds on the surface like a sociopath. Or, you know, kind of a dickhead.
Billy Crudup, who likes playing conflicted, misunderstood guys, will portray Osterman/Dr. Manhattan in the forthcoming film. A superhero who helps defeat the Viet Cong? I know it’s not what it sounds like on the surface and there other myriad levels to consider, but nonethless there’s a voice in me that’s asking “what kind of horseshit is this?”