"I don't mind being the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one."
If you want my honest opinion, I'm torn between flattery and the slightest hint of concern that I was chosen as part of the same dubious ranks as a deranged personification of chaos
, a sociopathic clown
, and a brutal dictator
, but I'm not one to take easy offense.
I am Adrian Veidt, president and CEO of Veidt Enterprises, but more famously known by my onetime alias as a costumed adventurer
, Ozymandias. I was first introduced to the reading public in 1986, thanks to Alan Moore
and his graphic novel Watchmen
, though he was drawing quite heavily on my predecessor Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt
. In fact, if Cannon weren't declared unavailable by the top men at DC Comics
while Moore was writing, he
would have featured in the story instead! But without Cannon at his disposal, well, that was where I
The essentials of my life are easily available to the curious, but, seeing as you've taken the trouble to come here in the first place, I don't mind going over them again. I was born in 1939, to parents who had only recently arrived in the United States. (You may assume on your own what motives they had for fleeing Europe so quickly
.) I grew up much the same as any other American boy of the postwar days
, except for my rapidly expanding intellect
. After my high test scores were mistaken for cheating, my parents encouraged me to conceal my abilities by deliberately achieving average grades
, but this did not fully solve the deeper trouble I was experiencing. Unable to relate to my peers
, I took comfort in reading anything I could find on the subject of Alexander the Great
Alexander became my idol. After my parents' untimely death
when I was seventeen, I set out to walk in his footsteps across the Middle East and Egypt. While I was in the Egyptian desert, I took a ball of hashish and experienced a remarkable vision
of the pharaoh Ramesses II
which inspired me to return to the United States and take up the mantle of Ozymandias.
My superhero career had a somewhat rocky start. I fought the late lamented
adventurer who (rather ironically, I must say) called himself the Comedian, and I'll admit that he bested me. I was still a young man, after all, and had not yet reached the peak of my abilities. But it wasn't entirely
a loss on my part, for it was in Blake's person that I first recognized not only an equal and opposite rival, but also a human emblem of what was truly
wrong with the world. Sure, I continued wearing a mask and bringing drug lords, gangsters, sex traffickers, and numerous other unsavory types to justice for a while, but after meeting Dr. Manhattan
, I realized that there was far more to be done than simply stopping crime itself. In my civilian identity, I began to build up the philanthropic and liberal-minded business empire I still run to this day, which became a highly
useful resource to have at hand when I realized how
I could achieve my dream of a world united in peace.
In 1975, I retired my mask and announced to the world that I and Ozymandias were one and the same, a move which spared me the ire that costumed adventurers as a whole were beginning to draw from the public and gave me more time to focus on my great work (not to mention merchandizing my own brand- and after their illegalization in 1977, those of my former colleagues). With the threat of nuclear war looming larger and larger every day, sometimes I even feared that I would be too late.
But in 1985, I did it. Yes, it necessitated quite a bit of blood on my hands, including that of the Comedian, several of Dr. Manhattan's former colleagues, and- indirectly- that stalwart, self-deluded sociopath, Rorschach, and that's not even counting the millions of New Yorkers who died in a staged attack by a monstrous faux alien I brought into existence in order to frighten the US and USSR out of nuclear war. But every great leader- even those of us who lead behind the scenes- is forced to make terrible sacrifices in the name of peace, and I'm sure I acted rightly.
...You think I did the right thing, don't you?
In 2009, I was portrayed onscreen in Zack Snyder
's film version of Watchmen
by Matthew Goode, and from 2011-2012 I had my own miniseries, written by Len Wein, in the Before Watchmen
line, which contains his impressions of my early days as a superhero. You are free to take or leave whatever you'd like from either of these sources.
Tropes that have been associated with me:
- Affably Evil: This is how many readers see me, but I am uncertain evil is the right word.
- Ambiguously Bi: Another favorite theory among readers (as well as the aforementioned Snyder, Goode, and Wein). I don't see how it matters outside of my private life, to be frank with you.
- Ambiguously Jewish: My parents certainly wasted no time in leaving Europe in 1939, even though my mother was pregnant with me at the time, though in an ironic twist I will admit that I physically fit the ideals of the Jews' greatest oppressors.
- Anti-Villain: Or am I, in fact, an Anti-Hero?
- Ascended Fanboy: To Alexander, in a way.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: A designer wardrobe is no trouble when it comes to my ability to fight off would-be assassins.
- Bullet Catch: Luckily, I wasn't overestimating myself after all when I said that I could perform this, unlike some people I could name. (Though I wasn't sure it would work, to tell you the truth.)
- Charles Atlas Superpower: And following Mr. Atlas's own example, I have marketed my methods of achieving these. All it takes is a little dedication and willpower.
- The Chessmaster: Both literally and figuratively. [paternal chuckle]
- Dangerously Genre Savvy
- Deadpan Snarker: On occasion, I will admit.
- Enfant Terrible: Len Wein chose to depict me this way as a child.
- Expy: I was created as a capable replacement for Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, and was myself the inspiration for Erwin Smith and Oswald Mandus. (The latter's a pretty clever reference, wouldn't you say?)
- Expansion Pack Past: My Before Watchmen miniseries.
- Genius Bruiser: See my comments on "World's Strongest Man", below.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Trust me, the abyss is looking back at me every night.
- Honest Corporate Executive: For all my other faults, I have striven to be this trope and not the opposite. My business dealings have always been above ground and ethical, even if some of my other, more personal actions are... morally gray.
- I Did What I Had to Do
- Improbable Weapon User: Please don't interrupt me while I'm eating. I'm very skilled with platters.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice
- Launcher of a Thousand Ships: There are some very vocal Internet users who seem to enjoy pairing me off with virtually everyone else in the cast (and beyond).
- Magnificent Bastard: I presume this is meant as a compliment.
- Meaningful Name: In my defense, Ozymandias was the Greek name for Ramesses II. I suppose the real danger now is that the name will become dissociated from me in common thought now that it's been so conspicuously reapplied to a petty drug lord from New Mexico.
- Non-Specifically Foreign: I am the son of immigrant parents. I see no need to clarify things any more than that.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: 'Stupidity' is a cruel exaggeration, but I did spend my youth pretending to be vastly less intellectually skilled than I am.
- Older Than I Look: If I may say so myself, especially when played by the then-28-year-old Matthew Goode. But even in the graphic novel, I hardly change between my late twenties and my mid-forties. What good is running a self-care empire if you don't use it on yourself?
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: I had to be, to create my monster.
- Pet the Dog: I once had a young secretary whom I was quite fond of and enjoyed talking to on a more personal level than I often have the chance to talk to anyone anymore. She was an unexpected casualty of the hit I hired on myself. I knew that there would be many people who had to die if I were to succeed, but I hadn't meant for her to be one of them.
- Pyrrhic Victory: On the one hand, I won; on the other, it cost me what few friendships I still held and the lives of millions of people I would have preferred saved. But all of this was, unfortunately, necessary.
- Symbol Motif Clothing: I'm partial to purple and gold, along with pyramids and other Egyptian motifs.
- Take a Third Option: One of my best-honed skills is finding the means by which to do this.
- The Needs of the Many: Or, as the film version put it, "killing millions to save billions."
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: But really, what would you have done?
- World's Strongest Man: Reputedly, and the world's smartest... though I've never personally claimed that. I just have some very enthusiastic PR men.
- Worthy Opponent: The Comedian was this to me, in his own brutal way. May he rest in peace.
- Would Hit a Girl: The woman in question shot at me, and I do consider myself a feminist, after all.
- Utopia Justifies the Means
- You Are Too Late: I was once the trope namer for this page, but I agree that "thirty-five minutes ago" is a rather opaque reference. And one I would prefer to stay that way.