50. Dr. Manhattan
(Write-up by Dean McKnight, Bam Smack Pow Staff Writer)
Starting off our list at number 50 is the real American superman himself, Dr. Manhattan. When physicist Dr. Jon Osterman is accidentally caught in a radiation chamber, he loses his human body but gains god-like knowledge and the ability to see and manipulate the smallest components of matter itself. He can also grow or shrink to any size and multiply himself to multitask on anything he needs to do.
With his new skills, Manhattan aids in the invention of countless new technologies (including the atom bomb), assists in the U.S. victory in Vietnam, and serves as a perpetual warning against the actions of the Soviet Union in the Cold War. But these are not the reasons he deserves a spot on this list. Dr. Manhattan earns his position in the 50 Greatest Heroes because, although he has lost his ability to understand humankind and its emotions, he goes against his own infallible logic by willingly taking the fall for inhuman crimes that he did not commit, ultimately ending the nuclear arms race and uniting the world in peace.
By challenging everything that the comic book world knew about power and responsibility, this blue-skinned hero with a hydrogen head symbol helped to make Alan Moore’s Watchmen the only graphic novel on Time Magazine’s list of the “All-Time 100 Greatest Novels.”