Before Watchmen: Ozymandias Comic Book Review

2012-02-01-ozymandias by jae lee

The story unfolds with Veidt reflecting on his long road to “savior of the world” as he sits in front of his TV monitors. It’s before the arrival of the other Watchmen to stop him from “saving” the human race from themselves by tearing civilization down to rebuild it. He flashes back to his troubled youth, gives us insight into his training in martial arts, introduces us to his one and only love, and expands on how he built an empire among other things. 

Write Len Wein accomplishes all the different views of Ozymandias’s life listed above in just 23 pages. Believe it or not, it doesn’t feel rushed at all. Wein does in this one issue what Alan Moore failed to do for me in a 276+ page graphic novel: gain my interest in the character. He captures the grand and egotistical attitude you imagine a man like Veidt would have excellently. 

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Artist Jae Lee’s illustrations are nothing short of breathtaking and immediately classic. They reminded me of what Norman Rockwell’s works might have looked like if he were here today. His art reflects the historical era he’s working in and brings it to life. This might be my favorite art of the Before Watchmen books so far. 

Len Wein and John Higgins continue their captivating two-page backup story with part five of The Curse of the Crimson Corsair in this issue. I remain amazed at what these two manage to do within a couple of pages. The art by Higgins is graphic and perfectly captures Wein’s classic narrative. 

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Before Watchmen: Ozymandias Issue #1 continues the high quality streak DC is on with these prequels to the original graphic novel. If you haven’t given the different books a chance by now, I don’t know what more anyone can say to convince you to let down your guard. Maybe a glance inside this first entry into the Ozymandias story will change your mind. Next time you’re in the comic book store pick it up, flip through it, and give it a chance.