In this video we see Dr Manhattan

kill two mobsters, causing their gory remains to get stuck to the ceiling (and their girls).

Additionally, when he

kills Rorschach, he turns into a bloody splatter on the ground.

Yet, according to The Comedian, Dr Manhattan can turn a

gun into steam, the bullets into mercury and the bottle into goddamn snowflakes

So is The Comedian lying? Or is there a practical reason why Dr Manhattan prefers to explode people?

  • 6
    Haven't seen it but particularly graphic killings send a message more so than just making someone disappear. And of course out of universe it just looks so much cooler.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 10:40
  • 5
    I took those scenes to represent how little effort he needed, or how little he cared. The doctor could have put in more effort to making the killings cleaner, but couldn't be bothered. Not exactly an answer; it's been a while since I saw the movie.
    – user107907
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 12:00
  • The answer is right in the second video. As the Comedian says, "You [Dr Manhattan] really don't give a damn about human beings." Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 12:46
  • @MarkBeadles What Comedian thinks and reality are quite different things.
    – Mithoron
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


I tried to find a source to back up my answer, but I failed to do so.

What I'll try to do here is to put myself in Dr. Manhattan's shoes.

So, we all know that Dr. Manhattan has a large apathy towards human values, his level of consciousness makes him have a very particular look at concepts like death, life, good, bad, and so on.

He definitely has some behaviors that us, mere humans, have as well, but when compared to the average human being, Manhattan displays a much higher level of detachment to "standard" human values.

That being said, for Manhattan, it doesn't matter if someone dies of cancer, flu, shot in the head, or exploded.

A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally, there's no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts. Why should I be concerned?

That's a line from Dr. Manhattan himself.

What I think Dr. Manhattan is actually doing when he kills the mobsters in that particular scene (and also in the scenes where he kills Vietcongs) is severing the bonds between the molecules that constitute their bodies. For us, it looks like as they are exploding, but this is what might be actually happening.

Manipulating the bonding between molecules is the first thing he learns after his accident as Jon Osterman. Remember the sequence where he fails a couple of times before being able to fully reconstruct his body?

It looks like that for Manhattan, it's easier to sever the bonding between molecules than making that person turn into water or any other type of inorganic material.

I think that also it would take more effort from him to cause, let's say, a rupture in a few brain blood vessels from his victims. A much "cleaner" death, but from Manhattan's point of view, it achieves the same result as "exploding" them.

  • "Remember the sequence where he fails a couple of times before being able to fully reconstruct his body?". True, but he also said it's the "first thing he learned to do", implying he can learn things and therefore get better at it. Additionally, he's capable of moving the universe around himself and others, so I'm not convinced that he would have much more trouble going for a cleaner solution. Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 8:53

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