The following is part of a series pitting the merits and abilities of similar characters against each other. We open with a disclosure of the personal bias of the author then outline some ground rules and end with an example of how a fight between the two might unfold.
Personal Bias: I read the Watchmen in anticipation for the movie, and as with most stories, the book was better. Dr. Manhattan wasn’t my favorite character in the Watchmen, but I don’t think that “favorite character” is what Alan Moore had in mind when he wrote Dr. Manhattan. Dr. Manhattan is unrelatable in his power and his thoughts. On the other hand, the Justice League has my three favorite characters, not just in comics, but in fiction: Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern. My bias leans to the JLA.
Ground Rules: Neither party in this fight wants to harm innocents, so the fight will take place in an abandoned Metropolis. All characters will have the tools and weapons generally carried on their person. As Manhattan doesn’t have pockets…or pants…this applies mostly to the Justice League.
Fight! The Flash immediately takes off to run a perimeter around the city. Superman scans the area with x-ray and telescopic vision. Martian Manhunter turns invisible and takes to the sky. The Flash and Superman convey to Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern their recon intelligence via Martian Manhunter’s telepathic link. They learn that Dr. Manhattan is walking at a steady pace in their direction from about a block away. Green Lantern’s ring determines Dr. Manhattan power level to be “above the readable level.” Superman and Wonder Woman fly to Manhattan’s position with the rest of the team watching concealed.
Dr. Manhattan sees how this conflict will end and acts accordingly. Manhattan raises his hand and Superman is teleported to the moon. The Flash bolts to the scene with Wonder Woman’s unbreakable lasso and does donuts around Manhattan. Green Lantern encases the now tied foe in an emerald tomb. Manhattan grows, increasing his size ten fold and shattering GL’s construct. The lasso holds, but it is stretched to capacity. Noticing, the lasso’s limitations, Manhattan dematerializes and rematerializes directly in front of Wonder Woman. She roundhouse kicks Manhattan with all her might, causing him to fumble backward and her leg to burn. A green dinosaur appears to take advantage of Manhattan’s unstable state and eats him whole. Green Lantern smiles with this apparent victory.
It is short lived as the green dinosaur turns blue just before Manhattan blows it apart. Manhattan glances at the source of the beast and turns Lantern’s power ring into harmless steel. Green Lantern falls from the sky and is caught in an air pocket formed by a vortex of Flash’s creation.
Batman informs the team telepathically that Manhattan is too powerful and they need to break off the assault and come up with a viable plan. The League begins to fall back when Green Lantern and the Flash are vaporized. Wonder Woman lashes out in anger and charges Manhattan. She is also vaporized. Batman, now forced to commit to battle, suggests a psychic attack to Martian Manhunter.
Dr. Manhattan looks to Batman, then pauses as his mind is infiltrated. Manhattan fights to alter his own brain waves to a frequency immune to the Martian’s attack. Just then Superman returns from space and rams into Manhattan at Mach 10, knocking him deep within the Earth’s crust. Superman and Martian Manhunter use their heat vision to melt the stone around him. The one Manhattan struggles to free himself from the molten rock while three more Dr. Manhattans appear, each facing one of the remaining leaguers..
Superman punches and swipes the closest Manhattan at such speeds that Manhattan dissipates from the vibration. Martian Manhunter phase shifts to avoid an attack of the second Manhattan, but that Manhattan matches the shift and connects with his second attempt and vaporizes his target.
Watching Superman’s success, Batman employs a sonic gun from his belt in hopes of vibrating away the approaching Manhattan. Before he fires, the weapon becomes inert and Batman vaporizes.
The remaining Manhattans unify into one being to stand against Superman. With a wave of a hand, Superman disappears.
Results: Dr. Manahattan wins.