He is a billionaire industrialist, political activist, and a former member of the Crimebusters endowed with extraordinary levels of intelligence, which made him the team's smartest member.
Born in August 25, 1939, the son of rich German immigrant parents Friedrich Werner Veidt and Ingrid Renata Veidt, 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. He was bullied by another boy, and after several months of martial arts training, he crippled the boy by damaging his leg; to prevent his 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. Veidt then embarked on a vision quest, following the route of Alexander the Great - a childhood idol of his and his father's - throughout the Mediterranean, Asia Minor along the Black Sea north toward Gordium. He entered Egypt through Memphis, then Alexandria, Kabul, Samarkhand, and went down the Indus to Tibet, where he gathered martial knowledge and got a ball of hashish. He stopped in Babylon where Alexander had died and pondered his failings.
He then returned to Alexandria where 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.
Returning in 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. In late '58 he busted a major opium and heroin smuggling racket. He earned a reputation as "the smartest man on the planet" 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 at locating H.J. Ozymandias tracked him to the dockland and found that it was no other than the Comedian, who attacked Ozymandias, "mistaking him for a criminal" and won. 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.
A few years later, he along with former Minutemen and newer costumed adventurers, participated to a Red Cross charity event for the India famine. It was the second time Veidt met Blake, but he chose to avoid him and concentrated on Dr. Manhattan whom he found fascinating. In turn, Veidt was the only person the Dr. found interesting.
While everyone saw Dr. Manhattan as a superweapon, Veidt saw him as a symbol of mankind's problems and was one of those who believed that Manhattan 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.
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 diseases on Africa. The right-wing paper New Frontiersman criticized him, and because of his old travels to the east, they called him "Puppet of Peking".
By the early 1960s, he started watching world events from a set of multiple TVs (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.
In 1966, Ozymandias was summoned by Captain Metropolis, who made an abortive attempt 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. 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 mansion he saw the Comedian arguing with Sally Jupiter; he vowed to himself to deny the Comedian and his likes the last laugh.
He developed spark hydrants and with the proceeds he financed Dimensional Developments. 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.
It seems that Veidt had enough fortune by 1970 and he bought a small island where he staged his plans. 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.
Veidt correctly foresaw that the costumed hero fad would end soon. He decided to leave the scene and build a fortune and reputation to sustain his power. In 1975, two years before vigilante crime fighters (superheroes) were banned by the "Keene Act", he retires from superheroism. He marketed his image, in the form of Action Figures among other products, for money, thus creating the Veidt Enterprises megacorporation.
He built an Antarctic retreat named Karnak manned with Vietnamese servants. In summer of 1975 he gave an interview to Doug Roth. Dr. Manhattan and Laurie Juspeczyk visited him and he showed them his genetically engineered pet, Bubastis. Meanwhile he built tachyon generators in Antarctica and orbiting satellites so that Dr. Manhattan could not foresee his plans.
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 for 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 assured 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.
Veidt introduced some errors himself to check if Moloch could detect them. He also had hidden 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 savior.
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 were actually carcinogenic. Eventually his health started to deteriorate, vomiting, feeling tired and suffering from insomnia, headaches and diarrhea. His condition was monitored by 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.
In 1983 Veidt engineered 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.
When Eddie Blake discovered Veidt's plan, he found the island as well as a list of infected people and realized 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. Jacobi's house was already bugged and Veidt knew everything. The next day Jacobi reported it to Veidt, who assured 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. The real story begins several hours after the killing, with police detectives investigating the crime.
Events of WatchmenEdit
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. The other day, he attended the Comedian's funeral. 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 so he decided to dispose of Rorschach as well by framing him on a murder charge to get him out of the way. Veidt arranged an assassination attempt on himself to throw off suspicion. While Jacobi was expecting Rorschach in his house, he saw on television that Dr. Manhattan was accused of causing cancer in Wally Weaver, Slater and Moloch and realized 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, as Jesus did, and Jacobi accepted by shooting him in the head. Thus when Rorschach broke into his house, he found Jacobi dead, and was framed for the murder.
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.
Doomsday Clock Edit
Ozymandias spent the next seven years campaigning for lasting world peace and the long-term survival of humanity. In 1988, he organized an international accord for nuclear disarmament, the NTA, with the support of newly elected President Redford. With some difficulty, he managed to convince all nuclear-armed nations to join the accord. He also created the Global Data Exchange Program to assist in this effort, which allowed for the free flow of information between each signatory nation. They agreed on a timetable for total nuclear disarmament within twenty years.
Trouble began when the contents of Rorschach's journal was published by Seymour at the New Frontiersman shortly after the New York City Massacre, implicating Veidt in the Comedian's murder. At first, the international community ignored the information as tabloid gossip and rumor; however, pressure began to build when a series of suspicious events led to increased scrutiny against Veidt. Accusations against him mounted, culminating in 1992 when President Redford, running behind in the polls, ordered a highly secretive investigation into the events of the New York City Massacre known as Operation: Commodus. Rorschach's account of events was verified, and the investigators implicated Veidt. The announcement of this ensured Redford's reelection on the campaign promise of capturing Ozymandias.
In a matter of weeks, everything Veidt had worked on in the past seven years had fallen apart as he became the most wanted man in the world. The NTA disbanded, the European Union dissolved, and relations between the United States of America and the Russian Federation deteriorated dramatically. The Russians accused the United States of collaborating with Veidt, something the United States vehemently denied. The situation quickly became direr than the Cold War had ever been. At the same time, Veidt discovered he had terminal brain cancer.
Veidt, working quickly, tried to draw his surviving former teammates out of retirement. Instead, however, he found himself working with the second Rorschach, who joined forces with him to locate Doctor Manhattan. On November 22nd, 1992, the Russian Federation invaded Poland, and the United States threatened a retaliatory nuclear strike if the Russians did not withdraw in four hours. He sent Rorschach II to breach Sing Sing prison and liberate Erika Manson, the former costumed villain Marionette. He succeeded but was forced to also release her husband Marco Maez, the Mime. Ozymandias was disappointed by this, but not surprised. The group met up beneath Nite Owl's old apartment, where Ozymandias explained the situation to Manson and Maez.
Ozymandias and Rorschach reviewed security camera footage from Marionette and Mime's last heist while the duo donned their old gear. Both men recognize it as a most unusual incident in the career of Doctor Manhattan; when Marionette confronted him to protect her husband, he withdrew in silence and allowed the authorities to handle the situation. Ozymandias believes he can use Marionette to remind Doctor Manhattan of his humanity and help bring him home. When the footage cuts out abruptly, Ozymandias realizes that their four hours are up. He has the team board the Owlship, which he has reconfigured for quantum tunneling, and they depart as a nuclear missile destroys New York City.
Having narrowly escaped the blast, the ship crashes in Gotham City. He rouses the unconscious Rorschach, who briefly tries to attack him before remembering their agreement to work with one another. They cuff Mime and Marionette, believing them to be too dangerous to be allowed to roam free. Ozymandias politely asks they wait patiently until they ascertain Doctor Manhattan's location, at which point they will release them and they can accompany them again. The two costumed adventurers then leave to gather intelligence at a nearby public library, where Ozymandias is fascinated to learn about the great preponderance of superheroes in this world, some of whom were fictional characters in theirs. Ozymandias wonders if Doctor Manhattan created them, perhaps even disguising himself like one of these superheroes. He decides to seek out the smartest men in the world to assist them: Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor. He sends Rorschach to Wayne Manor, while he himself goes to meet Lex Luthor at LexCorp.
Veidt gains access to Luthor's private office, where Lex finds him admiring a painting. Veidt and Luthor rhetorically spar with one another as Veidt explains the situation. Their meeting is cut short, however, when a concealed figure in the back of the room takes a shot at Ozymandias. He dodges it, and it instead hits Luthor in the chest. Ozymandias turns to face his attacker and is shocked to find a resurrected Comedian, eager for a rematch.
He narrowly escapes the Comedian and is severely injured. He is taken to the hospital and is mistaken for Lex's attacker. He manages to escape the hospital.
Veidt was declared missing in 2012 after Trieu Industries purchased of Veidt’s companies.
In 2017, Ronnie Ngo Dinh, then the governor of Vietnam, caused an international incident by claiming that the Vietnamese Liberation Front had assassinated Mr. Veidt as an act of terror against the United States.
On September 9, 2019, Veidt was officially declared dead in three continents.
- Genius Level Intelligence: 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 such as managing to accurately predict Robert Redford winning the presidency. Veidt's intelligence is so great, Doctor Manhattan, a being of nigh-omniscience, acknowledged his intelligence.
- Master Tactician: An excellent schemer and manipulator, with an ambition matching his intelligence, Veidt managed to successfully execute a plan to help Earth towards utopia by ending international hostilities between the United States and the Soviet Union and maintained secrecy about it for several years. He is shown to be a ruthless master strategist, swiftly eliminating anybody who dares to get in the way of his plans, while maintaining a facade of a billionaire philanthropist.
- Master Scientist: Veidt is a master scientist, well versed in genetic engineering and quantum physics. His mastery of genetic engineering is so great, he was able to create his pet, Bubastis, along with cloning the psychic brain of Robert Deschaines, mutating it into a giant alien-looking squid creature.
- Master Engineer: Veidt is well versed in mechanical engineering as demonstrated through his creation of a variety of inventions such as energy hydrants, created designs that utilized Doctor Manhattan's energy, and his creation of Karnak in Antarctica. He was also able to successfully repair Nite Owl II damaged Owlship.
- Multilingualism: Veidt is fluent in English, Turkish, German, Russian and various other unspecified languages.
- Peak Physical Condition: 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. While not technically superhuman, Veidt's extremely muscular and athletic physique (and resulting nigh-superhuman physical prowess) makes him immensely physically powerful by normal human standards.
- Peak Human Strength: Veidt has and can, by properly utilizing physical forces, momentum, and leverage (as well as his knowledge of anatomical weaknesses and undergoing frequent extremely intense strength-and-endurance-based exercises), easily generate low-level superhuman strength. Veidt has been able to effortlessly lift men as large as the Comedian above his head with both hands before throwing them through the air, smashed 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.
- Peak Human Durability: Veidt is also exceptionally durable by human standards due to his intense training during his travels and the years before becoming Ozymandias having made his skin, bones, and muscles far denser than an average human. Veidt is barely fazed when repeatedly punched, showing no pain or discomfort, as if 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.
- Peak Human Speed and Agility: Ozymandias is incredibly fast and agile, and has demonstrated an almost superhuman nimbleness and agility 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.
- Peak Human Reflexes: Veidt has incredibly fast reflexes as demonstrated when he reflexively caught a bullet with his bare hand (though he himself was surprised that worked). He demonstrated this ability again in his old age when the Game Warden of Europa shot him at point blank range.
- Master Acrobat: A world-class athlete, Veidt does acrobatic performances in aid of charity events, performing excellently despite being in his mid-forties.
- Master Martial Artist: Veidt is a superb fighter, martial artist, and almost superhuman unarmed combatant, able to subdue Rorschach and Nite Owl II with little effort. His only defeat came early in his career at the hands of the Comedian, something he never got over. With the sole exceptions of Doctor Manhattan and the Comedian, Ozymandias was easily the most dangerous of the crime fighters of the 20th century due to his fighting skills alone. His fighting abilities are such that even Rorschach was wary of facing him in combat.
- Master Businessman: Veidt is a remarkably gifted businessman and financial analyst. Veidt deftly built both a legitimate and criminal billion dollar empire from nothing and it became large enough to become a global threat through his exploitation of advanced technology and genetics. He came to found his own shell companies, like Pyramid Deliveries and Dimensional Developments for his illegal activity.
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.
His Ozymandias costume is a golden bodysuit, 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.
Adrian Veidt had an extremely colorful personality which gave him the large reputation of being caring, conscientious and a pacifist, who was a vegetarian and never resulted in 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. He was one of the most respectful and consistently left-leaning of the superheroes and as a mogul, he was known as a benevolent philanthropist. Critics included the right-wing New Frontiersman, while the Comedian called him "an intellectual dilettante that dabs in national affairs that shouldn't concern him".
He studied science, art, religion, and philosophies. Futurology is one of the most interesting subjects for him. He likes avant-garde music like Cage, Stockhausen, Penderecki, Andrew Lang, Pierre Henry, Terry Riley. He also likes electronic music, like Jamaican dub.
Despite his caring, pacifistic and conscientious demeanor, Veidt actually kept his true colors hidden from anyone else, and it came out to light when he confronted with his former friends at his house.
Veidt's true nature was revealed to be that of an extremely arrogant, egotistical and cold individual which appeared to be the ultimate personification of destruction following the reason that his plan is known to be destructive, and that is Veidt's best-known feature which is that his destructive personality knows no limits, and even if he is aware to the dangerous consequences of his plan, he doesn't show even a little bit of compassion, mercy or even thought about the innocent lives which his plan is taking part of, which means that he is truly sinister and psychotic individual. However, it is important to remember that Veidt is not a sadist because that even if he doesn't show any compassion or mercy towards the innocent people that he wipes out in the path, he is not enjoying their deaths or their pain, but he indeed enjoys seeing that his plan succeeds, and this is what he likes; success.
In addition, he indeed showed to be an extremely megalomaniacal individual sharing crazy god complex, seeing himself as a real god, maybe the god of wisdom, and this is his greatest weakness; his amazing intelligence, following the reason that if other individuals which are superheroes like he was, for example, Batman, reveal his intelligence levels to be extraordinary and that he is counting on his intelligence all the time, enemies can ulitize it for good in order to defeat him. His second weakness is his overconfidence and arrogance, which he is showing it the most, and this thing can be a really sharp tool for enemies in order to defeat him.
Matthew Goode plays Veidt in the film, in which, much like in the comics, he is the main antagonist. 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 traveled 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 novel.
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 George 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 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.
“You get to be a superhero by believing in the hero within you and summoning him or her forth by an act of will.” —Adrian Veidt
Known Victims Edit
- Eddie Blake
- Roy Victor Chess
- Edgar Jacobi
- 10 Unnamed scientist (Film)
- 3 million New York City civilians
- 15 Phillips
- 10 Crookshanks
- Game Warden (TV series)
- Lady Trieu (TV series)
- Unknown number of Tulsa PD officers (TV series)
- "It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice"
- "Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship"
- "She Was Killed by Space Junk"
- "If You Don't Like My Story, Write Your Own"
- "Little Fear of Lightning"
- "An Almost Religious Awe"
- "A God Walks into Abar"
- "See How They Fly"
- He is a modified version of the character Thunderbolt from Charlton Comics. Both are trained to mental and bodily perfection in the East.
- His name recalls the famous poem by Percy Bryce Shelley, which takes as its theme the fleeting nature of empire.