This is a major point of the story for Dr. Manhattan. He is confronted with the news that he has caused cancer in previous co-workers and most importantly his former lover Janey Slater. At this point he really starts to renounce humanity and disintegrates everyone in the room. Yet the wiki entry on her says that Veidt gave her cancer.

I don't remember this actually being stated in the comic it's self, I think the movie alluded to it though. I may have just missed it.

My question is:
Did Dr. Manhattan actually give anyone cancer, was all of the cancer caused by Veidt, or was it from the research that was done at the facility where the Intrinsic Field Subtractor was located?

  • According to the dialogue on the following pages, Dr. Manhattan didn't disintegrate everyone but rather teleported them out of the room into a parking lot. Jan 4, 2018 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


Nope - the cancer was never from Dr. Manhattan; it was all set up by Adrian Veidt, quite intentionally, as a plot to get rid of Dr. Manhattan as too big of a threat to Adrian's plans. And, yes, it was actually in the comic, although it's easy to miss.

The Watchmen Wiki has this in the entry on Mars:

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in our Solar System. When Dr. Manhattan realizes, in late 1985, that he may have been inadvertently responsible for the cancer deaths of several friends, he leaves for the solitude of Mars. It is later revealed that he was framed for the deaths.

Then, from Dr. Manhattan's page:

During the execution of Adrian Veidt's plot to save the world, Manhattan is accused of giving cancer to those exposed to him over long periods of time. It emerges that this is untrue, for it is rather a careful fabrication of Veidt's, but this revelation is not quick enough to prevent Manhattan from exiling himself to Mars, where he spends much of the action of Watchmen.

and later, on the same page

He leaves Earth for Mars when he is accused of causing cancer in his close associates over the years. However, this was a frame arranged by Veidt to induce Osterman to leave, to remove his interference in his scheme to save the world

Then from Veidt's page:

To prevent Doctor Manhattan from interfering, he hired old associates of the superhero and secretly exposed them to radiation to induce terminal cancer in them, then engineered a rumor that Manhattan was responsible, causing Manhattan to exile himself to Mars.

And.. here's Veidt busily doing the whole 'Now that it's too late, let me tell you my evil plan' thing... Adrian ExplainingAdrian Explaining Two

  • 1
    Yes it was brought up in the movie also, spot on.
    – Stu Wilson
    May 18, 2012 at 21:13
  • Yes I do believe I remember it in the movie but I do not remember it in the comic it's self. Maybe Veidt said it in his speech to Owlman at the end. Would you be able to reference the comic or where this comes from other than a wiki page. It's not that I don't believe or trust wiki I just like more than one source. May 21, 2012 at 14:59
  • @KevinHowell - Sure -- images from the comic added.
    – K-H-W
    May 21, 2012 at 15:57
  • 1
    @KeithHWeston Great job! May 21, 2012 at 16:09
  • Perhaps the images from the comic should be the main part of the answer.
    – SQB
    Jun 20, 2018 at 14:01

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