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Adrian Alexander Veidt (1939 - ), a.k.a. Ozymandias is a main character in Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, published by DC Comics. Named Ozymandias in the manner of Ramesses II, his name recalls the famous poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley, which takes as its theme the fleeting nature of empire.

Biography

Born in 1939, the son of rich German immigrant parents Friedrich Werner Veidt and Ingrid Renata Veidt[1], Adrian was found to be incredibly intelligent. After his teachers and parents became suspicious of his consistent academic prowess, he hid his intelligence by deliberately achieving average grades.[2] He was bullied by another boy and after several month's of martial arts training he crippled the boy by damaging his leg; to avoid expulsion, his father bribed the school principal. Disgusted he stopped hiding his intelligence and graduated high school cum laude at age 14.

After his parents' deaths, he inherited their substantial fortune at age 17, but chose to give it all to charity.[3] Veidt then embarked on a vision quest, following the route of Alexander the Great - a childhood idol of he and his father - throughout the Mediterranean, Asia Minor along the Black Sea north toward Gordium. He entered Egypt through Memphis, then Alexandria, Kabul, Samarkhand, down the Indus to Tibet where he gathered martial knowledge and got a ball of hashish. He stopped to Babylon where Alexander had died and pondered to his failings.[2]

He then returned to Alexandria were Alexander's body was buried. It was during a journey in the desert that he consumed a ball of hashish and saw a vision. He decided to conquer the evils of men by becoming a superhero .[2]

Crimefighting

Young oz

Ozymandias fighting the gambling scene.

Returning to America, he named himself "Ozymandias" and became a costumed vigilante adopting the name of Rameses II and Alexander's free-booting style. Initially he tried ending injustice by demolishing crime syndicates and focused particularly on organized crime.[4][2] In late '58 he busted a major opium and heroin smuggling racket.[5] He earned a reputation as "the smartest man on the planet"[4] along with his athletic prowess.

His second case was the investigation of Hooded Justice's disappearance. Government sources led him to another operative who failed locating H.J. Ozymandias tracked him to dockland and found that it was no other than the Comedian, who attacked Ozymandias "mistaking him for a criminal" and won him. It was then when he realized that evil was not monopolized by criminals. Ozymandias and the Comedian despised each other immediately, but Ozymandias observed Blake over the years.[2]

A few years later, he along former Minutemen and newer customed adventurers, participated to a Red Cross charity event for the India famine.[5] It was the second time Veidt met Blake but chose to avoide him and and concentrated on Dr. Manhattan whom he found fascinating.[2] In turn, Veidt was the only person the Dr. found interesting.[6]

While everyone saw Dr. Manhattan as a superweapon, Veidt saw him as a symbol of mankind's problems and he was one of those who believed that he worsened the instability of the Cold War. He also foresaw that Jon, being the elevation of the costumed heroes, would eventually become their descent, and he correctly foresaw that the fad would end by the late seventies.[2]

During the '60s he busted drug rings and frequently was criticized for being an establishment pawn. He uncovered breakaway extremist factions who conspired within the Pentagon, such as inflicting Africa with diseases. The right-wing paper New Frontiersman criticized him, and because of his old travels to the east, they called him "Puppet of Peking".[3]

In one possible "quantum reality", Ozymandias acted as an advisor during the Cuban Missile Crisis; he suggested to move the Jupiter missiles out of Turkey, resolving the stalemate.[7]

By early 1960's he started watching world events from a set of multiple TV's (which would evolve to a huge video wall). He watched the assassination of JFK there. The world realized how really bad things were. He continued adventuring, including storming in Dante's and confronting Moloch, but his own cases robbed him of the idealistic belief that battling crime (which was only a symptom to the real problem) would truly lessen evil and suffering in the world.[2]

In 1966, Ozymandias was summoned by Captain Metropolis made an abortive attept to organize a new superhero team, the Crimebusters; this was disrupted by The Comedian who noted in his brutally apt way exactly how petty the doings of the costumed heroes were. Veidt tried to explain that everything can be achieved with proper planning and leadership, but the Comedian referred to the threat of nuclear war that hung overhead, and how powerless the crimefighters were before it.[4] This, along with Nelson's coda that "someone must save the world" brought to a head Veidt's doubts, and he was inspired to do just that. When everyone left, he consoled Nelson. Outside the ansion he saw the Comedian arguing with Sally Jupiter; he vowed to himself to deny the Comedian and his likes the last laugh.[2]

He developed spark hydrants and with the proceeds he financed Dimensional Developments.[2] Starting from 1968 Veidt wanted to get rid of Dr. Manhattan; Dimensional Developments started hiring people associated with Dr. Manhattan and secretly exposed them to radiation to induce terminal cancer in them, then engineered a rumor that he was responsible.[8][9]

It seems that Veidt had enough fortune by 1970 and he bought a small island where he staged his plans.[2] His scheme was to create a catastrophic event and deceive the world into uniting against a common enemy. Upon completion, he would arrange the murder of everyone involved to maintain the illusion.

Retirement

Veidt correctly foresaw that the costumed hero fad would end soon, and decided to leave the scene buidling a fortune and reputation to sustain his power.[2] In 1975, two years before vigilante crime fighters (superheroes) are banned by the "Keene Act", he retires from super heroism. He marketed his image, in the form of Action Figures among other products, for money, thus creating the Veidt Enterprises megacorporation.[10][6]

He built an antartic retreat named Karnak manned with Vietnamese servants.[3] Dr. Manhattan and Laurie Juspeczyk visited him and he showed them his genetically engineered pet, Bubastis.[6] Meanwhile he built tachyon generators in antartica and orbiting satellites so that Dr. Manhattan could not foresee his plans.[11]

Wanting to bring Moloch into his plans, he helped his parole so that he exited prison, and he waited for him at the gates. Veidt presented Jacobi a chance to atone himself from his past life and offered him a very important job at Veidt Enterprises. He had prepared for him a small enclosed office where he was supposed to compare and cross-check the results from his teams researching a new energy source. Veidt ensured Jacobi that his job required his power of concentration he had displayed as Moloch the Mystic, and that his task was so important that it would better the world; he also asked him to keep the arrangement between themselves.[12]

Veidt introduced some errors himself to check if Moloch could detect them. He also had hid a radioactive source in his office in order to cause cancer to him. He was part of a plan by Veidt to get rid of Dr. Manhattan. Veidt frequently mentioned how much he trusted Edgar, who in turn saw him as a kind, generous saviour.[12]

Molochveidt

In the 1980s Veidt doubled Jacobi's salary and tasked him to deliver a package of "medicinal" cigarettes to Janey Slater (another of Dr. Manhattan's associates who once worked for DD), which however were carcinogenic. Eventually his health started to deteriorate, vomiting, feeling tired and suffering from insomnia, headaches and diarrhea. His condition was monitored by a the company's private doctor (whose license had been revoked and was given this task by Veidt) who revealed to him that he had prostate cancer. Veidt (always presenting himself as his saviour) offered him a leave, and to cover all his medical costs.[12]

In 1983 Veidt the disappearance of several scientific and creative figures who were transported to his secret island, as well as the stolen brain of Robert Deschaines that was cloned. Their task was to create an alien monster and program it with such information to convince the populace that an alien attack was imminent and thus end the Cold War, albeit at a great cost of lives.[13][2]

When Eddie Blake discovered Veidt's plan, he found the island as well as a list of infected people and realised that Jacobi was one of the few people he could be certain was not a part of Veidt's plan. Drunk and hysterical, Blake broke into Jacobi's home at night and told him about the list, knowing that Jacobi would not understand.[12][4] Jacobi's house was already bugged and Veidt knew everything.[2] The next day Jacobi reported it to Veidt, who ensured him that the Comedian was just becoming delusional, and provided Jacobi with guards to keep his place safe. It was this that prompted Veidt to kill the Comedian.[12][14][2] The real story begins several hours after the killing, with police detectives investigating the crime.

Events of Watchmen

Watchmen-12-27

Jon and Veidt discuss whether he did the right thing

The death of the Comedian caught the attention of Rorschach, who investigated the crime and mistakenly theorized that there existed a conspiracy to murder masked adventurers and even climbed to the Veidt tower to warn Adrian.[10] The other day, he attended the Comedian's funeral.[4] In addition, Veidt started the accusations against Doctor Manhattan to drive him off the planet and set off a chain of events that threaten to start a global war.

Rorschach visited Moloch's house and he told him about the Comedian's visit. This was witnessed by one of the guards working for Veidt[12] so he decided to dispose Rorschach as well by framing him on a murder charge to get him out of the way.[2] Veidt arranged an assassination attempt on himself to throw off suspicion. While Jacobi he was expecting Rorschach in his house, he saw in television that Dr. Manhattan was accused for causing cancer to Wally Weaver, Slater and Moloch and realised that the cigarettes were the real cause. That moment Veidt came to his house and explained him his plan to save the world; he then offered him the chance to save the world with his death, like Jesus did, and Jacobi accepted by shooting him on the head.[12] Thus when Rorschach broke into his house, he found Jacobi dead, and was framed for the murder.[15]

Unknown to him, Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre grew to believe that Rorschach's investigation had merit and sprung him from prison to investigate the matter. In addition, Manhattan took Silk Spectre to Mars where she convinced him to return to Earth.

However, the superheroes were unable to stop the fulfillment of Veidt's scheme, which led to the deaths of over three million people in New York City. The world governments fell for this ruse, and agreed to a union to oppose this new alien menace. Seeing how Veidt's plot had the desired effect of uniting the nations of the world and averting a possible nuclear war, Doctor Manhattan, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre agree to keep silent about what they know, as it would only plunge the world back to the brink of disaster. Rorschach alone refuses to keep silent, telling Doctor Manhattan that he will never compromise, not even in the face of Armageddon – Jon must kill Rorschach before he can tell anybody what he knows, and does so. When Veidt asks the precognitive Doctor Manhattan for verification that he did "the right thing" and that his plans "worked out in the end", Jon can only reply that nothing ever ends, leaving Veidt once again in doubt as to whether or not his plan was successful.


Powers and abilities

Adrian Veidt has been deemed the "smartest man in the world" by many, mainly the media, though this title is deserved. Veidt deftly built both a legitimate and criminal empire large enough to become a global threat through his exploitation of advanced technology and genetics. In one scene, he is shown viewing a wall filled floor to ceiling with television screens, each showing a different image, in order to demonstrate his ability to pay attention to each one simultaneously. From the juxtaposition of these numerous images, he is able to deftly paint a picture of the current political and social climate, from which he can predict future trends and make plans accordingly.

He has ambition matching his intelligence, evidenced by his successful execution of a plan to help Earth towards utopia by ending international hostilities. He is shown to be a ruthless master strategist, swiftly eliminating anybody who dares to get in the way of his plans, while maintaining total secrecy.

Additionally, Veidt is depicted at the pinnacle of human physical ability, to the point of being able to mentally calculate physical reaction times, anticipate the pull of a trigger, and reflexively catch a bullet (though he himself was surprised that worked). He is a superb fighter and martial artist, almost a superhuman unarmed combatant, able to subdue Rorschach and Nite Owl with little effort. His only defeat came early in his career at the hands of the Comedian, something he never got over.

A world-class athlete, he does acrobatic performances in aid of charity events, performing excellently despite being in his mid-forties. With the sole exceptions of Doctor Manhattan and the Comedian, Ozymandias was easily the most dangerous of the crime fighters in that era.

With most superheroes being depicted to having superhuman strength and fighting abilities, he is portrayed as the most physically powerful out of all normal heroes. He is able to effortlessly lift men as large as the Comedian above his head with both hands before throwing them through the air, smash through stone and solid wood with one hit, send people flying through the air several feet with his attacks. Being attacked by him is almost like being struck by a vehicle, to the point where it may be fatal. This causes his attacks to be heavily weakening and debilitating to anyone he fought, including the Comedian, Nite Owl II, and Rorschach, all of whom are also portrayed with similar strength and physical prowess. He was also barely fazed when repeatedly punched by Nite Owl II, showing no pain or discomfort, as it he did not even feel the attacks. He also showed no pain when he had a bullet lodged into his hand when he caught it as it was being shot at him. He also had great speed, enough to effortlessly catch a butcher knife at point blank range, dodge gunfire by running and with acrobatics, and move his hand into the path of a bullet at point blank range, lodging it in his palm.

Physical Appearance

Adrian has short blond hair that is always neatly kept, bright blue eyes, fair skin, and a muscular yet lean body. In his civilian life, Adrian normally wears nice business suits, sporting the colors purple and yellow. Alex Ross described his standing as almost divine, and his smile as something between Jackie Coogan and JFK.[3]

His Ozymandias costume is gold body suit, slightly covered in purple robes. He has purple shoes, a gold headband, a gold belt, and a long purple cape that connects to his robes. He used to wear a purple mask, but after his retirement, he decided to go without because everyone knew his true identity.

Character

Veidt had the reputation of being caring, conscentious and a pacifist, who was a vegetarian and never resolved to killing during his cases, although he had to change his stance by killing innocent people so as to not leave any traces of his plan.[2] He was one of the most respectful and consistently left-leaning of the superheroes[3] and as a mogul, he was known as a benevolent philanthropist.[15] Critics included the right-wing New Frontiersman, while the Comedian called him "an intellectual diettante that dabs in national affairs that shouldnt concern him".[3]

He studied science, art, religion and philosophies. Futurology is one of the most interesting to him subjects. He likes avant-garde music like Cage, Stokchausen, Penderecki, Andrew Lang, Pierre Henry, Terry Riley. He also likes electronic music, like Jamaican dub.[3]

Film version

Matthew Goode plays Veidt in the film. During earlier pre-production and attempts to make the film, Tom Cruise and Jude Law (a fan of the comic) both expressed interest in playing the role, but they left the project after several delays and budget cost issues. Goode was not familiar with the comic when he was cast, and read it at the urging of his friends. He joined the critical consensus, saying "it's the best graphic novel out there". He had his own interpretation of Veidt's backstory, in that he gave up his family's wealth and travelled the world, becoming a self-made man because he was ashamed of his parents' Nazi past. Notably, Veidt seems disturbed when, confronted about the Comedian's death, he says the man was a right-wing fanatic and practically a Nazi (not a label Veidt would give lightly). Goode suggested Veidt disguised his German accent to highlight the themes of the American Dream and the difference between one's public and private personas. When Dan gains access to Veidt's computer by finding the correct password, one can see a file named "Boys", a possible reference to Veidt's supposed homosexuality (briefly mentioned by Rorschach in the comics).

During the final confrontation with the other heroes, Dan condemns Veidt's plans by proclaiming that he has defiled mankind with his actions, his plan in the film focusing on framing Doctor Manhattan as the cause of the attack rather than the alien invasion of the comic. However, the project is referred to as S.Q.U.I.D. on one of the computer terminals, which alludes to the squid like mutation that was teleported to New York in the nove.

In a tongue-in-cheek, during the final confrontation with Rorschach and Nite Owl II (before Silk Spectre II and Doctor Manhattan arrive), just before Ozymandias reveals that his ultimate plan is already in action, he remarks that he is "not a comic book villain," to which Rorschach tilts his head at (the original line in the comics is "not a Republic serial villain", the old pulp films of the 1930s, but the reference might have been lost on a modern audience).

In the film, Veidt's costume is a parody of the Batman costume worn by Goerge Clooney in the 1997 film Batman & Robin.

With most superheroes being depicted to having superhuman strength and fighting abilities, he is portrayed as the most physically powerful out of all normal heroes. He is able to effortlessly lift men as large as the Comedian above his head with both hands before throwing them through the air, smash through stone and solid wood with one hit, send people flying through the air several feet with his attacks. Being attacked by him is almost like being struck by a vehicle, to the point where it may be fatal. This causes his attacks to be heavily weakening and debilitating to anyone he fought, including the Comedian, Nite Owl II, and Rorschach, all of whom are also portrayed with similar strength and physical prowess. He was also barely fazed when repeatedly punched by Nite Owl II, showing no pain or discomfort, as it he did not even feel the attacks. He also showed no pain when he had a bullet lodged into his hand when he caught it as it was being shot at him. He also had great speed, enough to effortlessly catch a butcher knife at point blank range, dodge gunfire by running and with acrobatics, and move his hand into the path of a bullet at point blank range, lodging it in his palm.

Trivia

He is a modified version of the character Thunderbolt from Charlton Comics.

Gallery

DC Universe Rebirth

During DC Universe Rebirth a character known as Mr. Oz, who had appeared in the DC Universe prior to the official induction of Watchmen, is heavily implied to be Ozymandias. While never explicitly identified as such, he is shown to share many of the same characteristics; he is blue-eyed and fair-skinned, roughly the same height, with a handsome appearance. In addition, he possesses much of the same mental faculties, showing a keen interest in strategy, practicality, and long-term planning. He is also shown to monitor a multitude of large visual screens in much the same way as Veidt did and appears to have agents in his employ, each of which have a tattoo resembling the Nostalgia perfume logo.

During his first appearance, he is shown to be monitoring the New 52 Superman. The two appear to have had past contact as he states that he taught him previously and that he is proud to see what he has become. He then sends a package to Clark Kent, Superman's public identity, through an agent. After successfully delivering the package, he commends the agent and tells her a hot meal will be waiting for her at home. The package is revealed to be a blank book. He is shown to wonder aloud whether or not Superman is capable of losing hope before turning his attention to a locked door within his base. He states to an unseen prisoner that if he were to let them out, he is sure they would offer an opinion.

Some time later, following the death of the New 52 Superman, Mr. Oz visits the Post-Crisis Superman (displaced in reality due to an unrelated incident) in person. When asked about his identity, Oz states that his true identity does not currently matter, though it will become relevant in the future. After commenting on the continued growth of Superman's son, he declares he came to tell them that they are not what they believe themselves to be and neither was his deceased counterpart. He does not elaborate further and disappears. When Post-Crisis Superman visits his counterpart's grave site, his interaction with it triggers a glowing blue handprint to appear in the ground.

Shortly after Post-Crisis Superman is forced to go public after his arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor, declares his intention to replace the fallen hero. The two engage in a brief battle for the legacy of Superman, only to be interrupted when the monster known as Doomsday appears and goes on a rampage. Oz observes events from his base, seemingly satisfied as the pieces of his plans fall into place. As the battle rages on, Oz states that Superman must finish off Doomsday so that he may move forward with his own plans.

References

  1. Watchmen: The Film Companion
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named eleven
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Nova Express interview
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Chapter II
  5. 5.0 5.1 Under the Hood: Chapter V
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Chapter IV
  7. Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #02
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named three
  9. Chapter VIII
  10. 10.0 10.1 Chapter I
  11. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named twelve
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named mol2
  13. New Frontiersman draft
  14. Chapter I
  15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named five
Watchmen Heroes
Minutemen
Captain MetropolisHooded JusticeNite Owl IThe ComedianSilk Spectre IDollar BillMothmanSilhouette
Crimebusters
Captain MetropolisDoctor ManhattanRorschachThe ComedianOzymandiasNite Owl IISilk Spectre II

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