Jon is the son of a watchmaker, who pushed him to study nuclear physics in the light of the theory of relativity and the atomic bomb. He works as a research scientist until 1959, when an experiment with the separation of intrinsic fields gone awry vaporizes his body, apparently ending his life. After several months, he manages to reconstruct himself as a super-human being with blue skin, no hair, and the ability to essentially manipulate time and space at will. Throughout the course of Watchmen, he seems to experience time in a unique "quantum" sense, allowing him to accurately predict the future. This aspect of the character is largely ignored in WatchmeX, however.
In his new form Osterman is dubbed "Dr. Manhattan", and comes to serve under the US government as a pawn in the Cold War. At Nixon's request he fights alongside The Comedian in the Vietnam War, winning it in a matter of months. It soon becomes apparent that Manhattan is detached from humanity, and he becomes immersed in research once more. Dr. Manhattan has two long-term relationships during this period, one with ex-co-worker Janey Slater and another with Silk Spectre II, Laurie Juspeczyk.
During the events of Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan is exposed by the media as a carcinogen, although it is later discovered that he was framed by Ozymandias. He goes on a self-imposed trip to Mars, planning to leave Earth to tend to its own affairs.
Silk Spectre II convinces Manhattan to return to Earth for the final showdown with Ozymandias, who distracts him with Tachyon particles and subjects him (along with Bubastis) to another intrinsic field separation, from which he rebuilds himself yet again. He ultimately decides to let Veidt get away with his scheme, and departs for space yet again, announcing his intention to create life in another galaxy.
Before leaving he kills Rorschach, at the latter's insistence. Manhattan's involvement in Rorschach's death helps to explain his resurrection as a similarly super-powered being in WatchmeX.
Creator of the SquidsEdit
Manhattan makes good on his promise to create life in the first issue of WatchmeX. The newly super-powered Rorschach finds him on the planet Xexius, where he has finished creating the Evil Squid Empire. He battles Rorscach, resulting in the planet's destruction and what seems to be Manhattan's death.
Return to EarthEdit
Dr. Manhattan is not seen again until early in Volume 3, in the controversial storyline Junkie Blues. Here Manhattan is depicted struggling with a heroin addiction he developed while depressed over his previous defeat. He is helped through rehab by Inkblot, but not before creating the Manhattan Bullets as a safeguard in case he lost control and threatened the universe.
The three DoctorsEdit
In volume 5 it is revealed that in his absence from earth, Dr. Manhattan created three alternate versions of himself. Each one was a separate being, and thus each had their own personalities and skills. Osterman gave each of them a new name too. Dr. Tokyo, Dr. London and Dr. Paris. It has yet to be revealed how these three copies will affect the WatchmeX universe.