Some have argued that the film ending to Watchmen was superior to the comic because

Dozens of major cities around the world were attacked, instead of just one, making it clear that Dr. Manhattan was against all nations, and that he was not acting under the authority of the Americans or any other nation.

However in the graphic novel

“The Squid” was sent to New York City only, and other cities were untouched.

I’m going to assume that in the graphic novel, attacking more than one city was logistically impossible and/or deemed counter-productive to the ultimate goal. If that’s the case, why was New York attacked and not Moscow or some other city?

Was it just a matter of the perpetrator’s personal preference? Or is there some reason that Moscow would not have been a viable target?

  • 1
    A free press, probably
    – Valorum
    Oct 22, 2017 at 19:53
  • 9
    Some would argue that the comic ending is superior because the squid is an alien threat, while Dr. Manhattan is very much American. Oct 22, 2017 at 20:08
  • 13
    New York knows what it did.
    – Politank-Z
    Oct 23, 2017 at 1:06

4 Answers 4


The existence of Doctor Manhattan has made the Unites States totally dominant over the other countries of the world. While there are other nuclear powers (principally the Soviet Union) capable of doing huge damage to human civilization through a nuclear strike, the U.S. has had a clearly overpowering position since Doctor Manhattan's intervention in the Vietnam War. Therefore, it would make sense for alien invaders to target a major U.S. city. This makes the attack being on the New York, the most populous U.S. metropolis, seem like a reasonable step that alien invaders might start with.

Of course, it might seem even more logical for the alien invaders to wipe out Washington, D.C. However, wiping out the U.S. government would not serve Veidt's real purpose of uniting humanity against a common perceived enemy. Killing President(-for-Life) Nixon would sow too much chaos and inhibit the new regime of international cooperation than Ozymandias is trying to build.

There is also a more personal reason why Veidt might choose to wipe out New York City. He recognizes that he is perpetrating a terrible atrocity, but he justifies it to himself as being necessary for the greater good and the ultimate survival of humankind. As part of his self justification, he ensures that he is not benefiting personally from the events he sets in motion. Since his company is headquartered in New York, his own organization suffers obliteration along with the city. (He also destroys his own facility in Antarctica as part of this.)

  • 2
    Destroying his own headquarters also gives Veidt plausible deniability if someone does come forward accusing him of the attack. “That’s absurd, why would I destroy my own headquarters” and all that.
    – Torisuda
    Oct 23, 2017 at 13:25

If the attack had been on Moscow, the immediate assumption is that the Americans, through Dr. Manhattan, are somehow responsible, and the nukes fly. When you've already got a character who is essentially a god, how do you not know he was responsible for the "alien"? Further, given Soviet control of the media news might not get out for some time.

Making the attack on the US hits one of the centers of global media so everyone is going to know about it, and Dr. Manhattan wouldn't be the first to be suspected of being responsible.


There are two reasons one from within the comic and one based on Veidt having a sense of self-preservation. The first is that the experimental power plant is in New York which makes it both the most logically acceptable target to the public and the centre of tachyon interference so Dr Manhattan can't see the plot and shut it down. Secondly New York is where Rorschach lives (and the other semi-active heroes but that's a side point), I'd want him dead if I was pulling this particular stunt, more than anyone else he will not stop and will not swerve, if he'd lived and been unaware of the plot he would have dug and dug and dug until he found the truth and he would have found a way to kill Veidt when he learned the truth. Veidt thought he had Dr Manhattan handled so he wanted to survive to see in his new world he couldn't do that with Rorschach around and prison was never going to hold that guy for long. Logically while Veidt anticipated the other heroes learning the truth he also had to plan on getting them "at home" if he could keep things under wraps that far.


Just supposition but could it be poetic justice.

"The Squid" is attacking 'Manhatten' in one form or another.


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