Superman, Dr. Manhattan y la superhumanidad

Ilustración por Andrés Alba Bajatta

ANDRÉS ALBA BAJATTA |

Superman es como un dios en la tierra, un ser omnipotente que vigila desde los cielos y cuida que se mantengan la paz y el orden. Si se piensa detenidamente es una idea particularmente aterradora pero que se atenúa ante la certeza de que el hombre de acero es noble y confiable: todas sus acciones buscan el bien de la humanidad. El problema es que Superman, sin importar cuánto lo desee, jamás será parte de la humanidad. Puede ser protector, vigilante y guardián; ser humano, nunca.

Desde esta perspectiva podríamos hablar de la existencia de un conflicto emocional de personalidad y necesidad de pertenencia. No es así para Superman, pues a través de su voluntad y convicción se apega a un ideal bondadoso en pro de la raza humana; y si nota alguna diferencia entre él y los millones a los que protege, no parece provocarle molestia alguna. Sin embargo otros han notado esta discrepancia fundamental, tal es el caso de la historieta de Brian Azzarello y Lee Bermejo: Lex Luthor: Man of Steel (2005).

En la serie de cinco entregas, Lex Luthor aparece como el protagonista y expone al lector sus razones —en cierto grado, justificaciones— para declararle la guerra al superhéroe. Para Luthor, Superman representa una amenaza no tanto por sus habilidades especiales, sino porque su presencia como gran protector del planeta reduce a los humanos a patéticas criaturas sin posibilidad de decisión que viven a expensas de los favores del superhombre.

El villano expone la necesidad de que el ser humano recobre el control de su destino, así como crear consciencia de que Superman es al final un extraterrestre, una criatura que no puede entender realmente lo que significa ser humano, y cuya convicción de defender la verdad y la justicia es completamente artificial, pues se trata de valores relativos que en caso de transformarse podrían causar conflicto en la mente del kriptoniano, quien sólo entiende el universo en términos de absolutos. Y de ser así, la humanidad se vería sometida por la visión impuesta de un ser con el poder para hacer caer a todos de rodillas.

Y en esencia la versión de Lex Luthor es acertada. ¿Cómo confiar la humanidad a un ser que no pertenece a ella, a una criatura que no conoce el miedo y la debilidad como el resto de los mortales? La respuesta es la confianza, se puede confiar en Superman; más allá de cualquier duda, no defraudará al planeta Tierra, es parte de su naturaleza, es poseedor de una superhumanidad. ¿Pero qué ocurriría de cambiar de opinión, de notar la diferencia fundamental entre él y los que ha jurado defender?

Evidentemente Superman no puede permitirse esas revelaciones, pero la idea del superhombre y su relación frente a la humanidad ha sido explorada en otros mundos narrativos con otros personajes. Uno de los más complejos e interesantes es en definitiva el Dr. Manhattan, el superhombre creado por Allan Moore y dibujado por Dave Gibbons en su aclamada novela gráfica Watchmen (1986).

Dr. Manhattan por Dave Gibbons

Dr. Manhattan

Tras un accidente en una cámara de descomposición atómica, el Dr. Jonathan Osterman es transformado en un ser capaz de manipular a su antojo la energía y la materia, lo que le permite lograr prácticamente cualquier cosa. Jon deja de ser un simple físico para convertirse en una entidad omnipotente bautizada con el nombre de Dr. Manhattan, el único héroe con superpoderes en el universo de Watchmen.

En Watchmen el proceso de la transformación —podríamos llamarlo trascendencia— de un ser humano común a un ser con habilidades sorprendentes marca un camino hacia una deshumanización paulatina provocada por la indiferencia.

Mientras Superman se convierte en protector de la Tierra voluntariamente a causa de sus valores y concepción de lo que significa ser humano, Dr. Manhattan es arrastrado a las filas de los héroes por razones más mundanas. El gobierno recluta a Jon Osterman como un arma, incluso le dan su nombre y lo convierten en el defensor oficial, no de la verdad y la justicia, sino de los intereses de una nación. Y en un principio el Dr. Manhattan acepta cordialmente, guiado por los sentidos de su ser pasado, nociones tan humanas como la bondad, el deber y la patria.

Pero dicha concepción de la existencia se va desvaneciendo lentamente mientras cobra consciencia de sí mismo. La primera parte de la obra, muestra a un Dr. Manhattan obsesionado con su trabajo, dedicado a crear nueva tecnología por el bien de la humanidad, sin embargo su dedicación no está ligada a ningún interés verdadero, es más, lo que Allan Moore plantea es el desapego que ocasiona la trascendencia.

El Dr. Manhattan vive atado por los cánones sociales de la humanidad, pero esa humanidad ya no tiene sentido para él, incluso su relación romántica con Laurie Jupiter —otro de los personajes centrales de Watchmen— se torna fría y distante, y no a causa de desdeño o hartazgo, simplemente indiferencia, pues para el ser-que-lo-puede-todo las acciones de la humanidad, por maravillosas que puedan ser, siempre estarán limitadas. Son insignificantes ante la totalidad del cosmos.

Por otro lado, la presencia del Dr. Manhattan tiene una función limitadora en el universo de Watchmen, al estilo del Superman en la miniserie de Azzarello. Como ser todopoderoso, el Dr. Manhattan sirve como un arma de disuasión, metáfora intencionada de Moore sobre la guerra fría. Su existencia no sólo limita los conflictos bélicos, también se convierte en mediador del desarrollo de la raza humana; el progreso viene a partir de él, la humanidad no está a la altura de la tarea, ésta sólo debe observar y disfrutar los beneficios de la ciencia del dios que vela por ellos. Y tanto poder es una amenaza, un hombre de doble filo, o como expresara el personaje de Ozymandias en su monólogo final: “Jon era demasiado poderoso e impredecible como para dejarlo en el tablero de juego”. Una impredecibilidad que viene de una consciencia más allá del ser humano, y que, por tanto, es imposible de prever porque no se puede entender a un dios.

Dentro del relato, Dr. Manhattan es obligado a exiliarse de la tierra, a causa de una estratagema que despierta sus últimos reductos de miedo y culpa, y podría decirse incluso que sus últimas reservas de humanidad. Jon se muda entonces a Marte, donde comienza un viaje de autodescubrimiento. Repasa cada uno de los eventos importantes en su vida como humano y concluye que él se ha convertido en otra cosa, ha ido un paso más allá. No se asume como un héroe ni como un villano, esos términos carecen de sentido para una criatura como él. A diferencia de Superman, Dr. Manhattan acepta su diferencia y decide tomar un camino propio, incluso opta por dejar a la Tierra a su suerte. No por rencor, por desapego.

Es entonces que la humanidad, personificada en Laurie Jupiter debe acudir al dios para pedir su intervención y su ayuda. Dr. Manhattan se niega, explicando cómo su sentido está ahora más allá: la humanidad no significa para él más que cualquier otra cosa que pueda existir en el universo. Sin embargo, Laurie consigue convencerlo demostrándole que sí hay valor en la humanidad, no por lo que ésta ha construido sino por el simple hecho de existir. Porque el desarrollo de algo como la vida humana en el universo constituye una probabilidad tan pequeña que bien podría tratarse de un milagro, y algo así merece ser protegido. Este argumento tiene sentido para el nuevo Dr. Manhattan quien decide tener una última intervención en asuntos humanos.

Tras la resolución del conflicto principal en Watchmen, el Dr. Manhattan tiene una última revelación. Comprende por primera vez el daño que su presencia ha hecho a la humanidad al limitar su desarrollo natural. Una epifanía que halla coincidencia con el argumento de Lex Luthor sobre Superman en la historieta de Azzarello. Entonces, por respeto a ese milagro que constituye la vida en la Tierra, el Dr. Manhattan decide abandonarla para siempre, regresa a los hombres su destino y los libra de su sombra. A diferencia del hombre de acero que decide quedarse y proteger, a la manera en que un adulto protege a un grupo de niños indefensos a los que no considera capaces de defenderse con sus propias manos, el Dr. Manhattan parte y los libera, y tal vez ese sea el acto más humano para un ser que está más cerca del mundo de los dioses.

| RMM | AA | Arte Secuencia | @Andres_BMs |

________________

Andrés Alba Bajatta se graduó de la carrera en Ciencias de la Comunicación en la Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales de la UNAM, donde imparte cases sobre producción sonora y metodología de investigación en medios audiovisuales. Su rama de investigación actual es la construcción narrativa en el cómic y en los productos audiovisuales en medios digitales. Es miembro fundador del proyecto web audiovisual de entretenimiento y difusión histórica BullyMagnets.

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