- The only human being with whom I felt any kinship died three hundred years before the birth of Christ. Alexander of Macedonia.
- -- Adrian Veidt src
Adrian Veidt, also known as "Ozymandias" is the smartest man alive and former costumed crime fighter. After vigilantism had been outlawed, Veidt retired from heroics and became a businessman.
Veidt was born in 1939, the son of rich immigrant parents, he was found to be incredibly intelligent. After his parents and his teachers became suspicious of his grades, he successfully hid his intelligence by deliberately achieving average grades. After his parents' deaths, he inherited their substantial fortune at age 17, but chose to give it all to charity. Veidt then embarked on a vision quest, following the route of Alexander the Great - a childhood idol - throughout the Mediterranean, Asia Minor, and former ancient Persia.
It was during this journey that he consumed a ball of hashish and decided to become a superhero. Returning to America, he named himself "Ozymandias" and became a costumed vigilante, focusing particularly on organized crime and earning a reputation as "the smartest man on the planet." However, his own cases robbed him of the idealistic belief that battling crime would truly lessen evil and suffering in the world. This was brought to a head when an abortive attempt to organize a new superhero team was disrupted by the Comedian, who noted in his brutally apt way exactly how petty the doings of the costumed heroes were in a world where the threat of nuclear war hung overhead, and how powerless they were to stop it. Veidt was inspired to do just that.
Retirement and Comedian's Murder
In 1975, two years before vigilante crime fighters (superheroes) are banned by the "Keene Act," Veidt retired from super heroism, marketing his image for money. This helps bankroll his scheme of creating a catastrophic event and deceive the world into uniting against a common enemy, in Veidt's case, a horrific alien invasion. To that end, he employed geneticists to clone the stolen brain of a murdered psychic and use it to create such a creature with a group of artists and creative personnel to help create the illusion. He also invents a limited form of teleportation based in part on the studies of (and studies by) Dr. Manhattan. Upon completion, he arranged the murder of all of his accomplices to maintain the illusion.
To prevent Dr. Manhattan from interfering, he hired old associates of the superhero and secretly exposed them to radiation to induce terminal cancer in them, then engineered a rumor that Manhattan was responsible, causing Dr. Manhattan to exile himself to Mars and thereby setting off a chain of events that threaten to start a global war. When the Comedian inadvertently learned of Veidt's plans, Veidt personally murdered him as well. 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. Although Veidt arranged an assassination attempt on himself to throw off suspicion, he framed Rorschach on a murder charge to get him out of the way.
Unknown to him, the current Nite Owl and Silk Spectre grew to believe that Rorschach's investigation had merit and sprung him from prison to investigate the matter. In addition, Dr. 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 as 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 Dr. Manhattan that he will never compromise, not even in the face of Armageddon, Dr. Manhattan must kill Rorschach before he can tell anybody what he knows, and does so. When Veidt asks the precognitive Dr. Manhattan for verification that he did "the right thing" and that his plans "worked out in the end," Dr. Manhattan can only reply that nothing ever ends, leaving Veidt once again in doubt as to whether or not his plan was successful.
When Veidt's plan to unite the world failed after Rorshachs' journal was published, he went underground. He allied with Rorshach's successor to save the world, which had become chaotic after the departure of Doctor Manhattan. To that end, he had been trying to seek out Manhattan, who he believed could restore order in the world. Veidt discovered he was able to track Manhattan by following his electron trail. After rebuilding the Owl Ship to withstand quantum tunneling, Veidt was able to transport himself to the universe Manhattan had traveled to. After arriving in this mysterious new world both alike and unlike his own, Veidt sought out Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne, the two smartest men in this world, to aid him in his journey of finding Doctor Manhattan. He then informs Luthor of his attempt to unite the world before The Comedian, somehow back from the dead and on Prime Earth, to kill Veidt.
- Genius Level Intellect: Veidt is referred to as the smartest man alive. His mental performance allows his mind to operate in the most efficient and rapid manner possible. One manifestation of this is his tactical genius; the ability to quickly process multiple information streams and rapidly respond to changing tactical situations. He is capable of creating numerous technologies to counter Dr. Manhattan. Veidt is able to view a wall filled floor to ceiling with television screens, each showing a different image he is able to pay attention to each one simultaneously.
- Eidetic Memory: Veidt also possesses an eidetic memory, meaning that he never forgets anything and has perfect recall.
- Mechanical Engineering
- Multilingualism: Veidt is fluent in English, Turkish, German, Russian and various other languages not shown.
- Tactical Analysis: He had been widely considered one of, if not the greatest, tacticians on the planet. He is able to create a vast billion dollar International corporation with links to legitimate and criminal organization, all with the single purpose to bring world peace via the threat of a fake alien invasion.
- Martial Arts: Veidt is an expert in hand-to-hand combat being very skilled in multiple martial arts. Fighting skills sufficient to hold off both Nite-Owl and Rorschach at the same time.
- Acrobatics: His years of training and experience even at age 40 have made him an expert acrobat.
- Peak Human Condition: Veidt is at the peak of physical ability in strength, speed, agility, reflexes and durability. His condition has allowed him to easily defeat Rorschach, Nite Owl and The Comedian in hand to hand combat, engage in acrobatics competitions in middle age and even catch a bullet fired at him, a feat that even he seemed surprised by. His abilities are such that even Rorschach is wary of facing him in combat.
- Ozymandias is based on the Charlton Comics character Peter Cannon. Alan Moore had liked the idea of a character who "us[ed] the full 100% of his brain" and "[had] complete physical and mental control."
- Ozymandias' name is a reference to the Greek name of Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II.
In the film adaptation, Ozymandias/Adrian Veidt was portrayed by Matthew Goode. In the film, Ozymandias filled out Captain Metropolis's role in forming the Watchmen (instead of the Crimebusters), and, rather than dispatching an "alien" attack on New York, was instrumental in devastating the world's major cities with exploding energy reactors he helped Doctor Manhattan create; therefore framing Manhattan as being responsible and serving as a common enemy of a more united humanity.
- 30 Appearances of Adrian Veidt (Watchmen)
- 13 Images featuring Adrian Veidt (Watchmen)
- 7 Quotations by or about Adrian Veidt (Watchmen)
- Character Gallery: Adrian Veidt (Watchmen)