Adrian Alexander Veidt is a former costumed adventurer and billionaire industrialist who draws inspiration from his hero Alexander the Great and the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II, from whom he took his name, Ozymandias. He used his company to create a giant monster, which he used to unite the human race through fear, thus ending nuclear war.
Adrian Alexander Veidt was born to German immigrants Friedrich Werner and Ingrid Renata Veidt. Growing up, 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.
Death of Parents
Following the death of his parents, Veidt inherited their substantial fortune at age 17, but chose to give it all to charity, so that he can demonstrate the possibility of achieving anything starting from nothing.
Veidt decided to embark on a pilgrimage of physical, mental, and spiritual discovery, following the route of Alexander the Great - his childhood idol and namesake - that would take him throughout the Mediterranean, Asia Minor, and former ancient Persia.
Veidt departed for Northern Turkey to retrace his idol's path to rulership with the desire to match his accomplishments and bring an age of illumination to a benighted world. He traveled along the Black Sea Coast, imagining Alexander's armies taking port after port through bloody warfare. He traveled north towards Gordium, reminded of Alexander's success at solving the unsolvable Gordian Knot by cutting it in two with his sword, a feat said to await the future "king of Asia".
He then headed south to Egypt through Memphis. He gazed in the awe of the ruins that were once ruled by the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt such as Ramesses II. Veidt continued his trek through Babylon, up through Kabul to Samarkand, then down the Indus. He travelled on through China and Tibet. In Tibet he met with a group of monks and from them he learned how to use the full 100% capacity of his brain and was even given a ball of hashish. He then returned to Babylon to the site of Alexander's death. It was there Veidt had realized the failings of Alexander, seeing that he didn't succeed in uniting the world, nor did he build a unity that would survive him.
Disillusioned but determined to finish his odyssey, Veidt followed Alexander's corpse to its resting place at Alexandria. On the final night of his journey before returning to America, Veidt wandered into the desert and consumed the ball of hashish he received from Tibet. Through the effects of the drug, he underwent a transformative psychedelic experience. Through this experience, he came to understand Alexander's legacy and the wisdom of the ancient pharaohs, all of which would inspire him to become a savior of mankind.
Costumed Adventurer Career
"In the closing months of 1958, the papers mentioned that a major opium and heroin smuggling racket had been busted by a young adventurer named Ozymandias, who seemed to have quickly gained a reputation amongst the criminal fraternity for his boundless and implacable intelligence and a large degree of athletic prowess."
—Hollis Mason on Adrian Veidt
In late 1958, Veidt adopted Alexander the Great's free-booting style and the Greek name of Ramesses II to become the costumed adventurer known as Ozymandias. Ozymandias made his debut busting up a major opium and heroin smuggling racket. He focused particularly on taking down organized crime syndicates led by Moloch the Mystic. His crimefighting exploits earned him a reputation amongst the criminal underground for his athletic prowess and high intellect, the latter which earned him the title of "the smartest man in the world".
Confronting the Comedian
Researching his mask predecessors, Veidt investigated the 1955 disappearance of Hooded Justice. He learned that a government operative had tried unearthing him back then, but reported failure. He tracked the operative to New York Harbor and met with Edward Blake, the government operative in question. Although the Comedian recognized Ozymandias, he attacked him anyway, believing him to be a criminal. During the fight, Veidt took the time to study Blake's skills and limitations. However, he was beaten by Blake with a brutal uppercut. Following the fight, Veidt closed the case on Hooded Justice, believing that Blake had murdered him and reported failure to his government superiors to hide his involvement, though he himself couldn't prove this.
Meeting Doctor Manhattan
In 1960, Veidt attended a Red Cross Charity Event. During the event, Veidt noticed the Comedian was in attendance, so he avoided him throughout the night. He would later meet the superpowered being known as Doctor Manhattan who he found fascinating.
Veidt's own cases began to rob 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 Master Plan
"You get to be a superhero by believing in the hero within you and summoning him or her forth by an act of will."
In 1975, two years before vigilante crime fighters were banned by the Keene Act, Veidt retired from superheroism, marketing his image for money. This helped 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 named Robert Deschaines 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) Doctor Manhattan. Upon completion, he arranged the murder of all of his accomplices to maintain the illusion.
To prevent Doctor Manhattan from interfering and ensure the safety and success of his plans, 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, which would ultimately cause him to exile himself and thereby setting off a chain of events that threaten to start a global war. Veidt also prepared to incapacitate Doctor Manhattan by creating his own intrinsic field subtractor, the machine whose accident created Manhattan years ago.
Assassination of the Comedian
When the Comedian inadvertently learned of Veidt's plans, Veidt learned of Blake's discovery through a bug he placed in Edgar Jacobi's apartment on the night that Blake confessed to Jacobi about what he had discovered on the island. To maintain the secrecy of his master plan, Veidt went over to Blake's apartment and personally murdered him by throwing him out the window. The death of the Comedian caught the attention of Rorschach, who investigated the crime and mistakenly theorized that there existed a conspiracy to murder costumed adventurers.
Assassination of Adrian Veidt
In an attempt to throw off suspicion, Veidt used an employee at his subsidiary business, Pyramid Deliveries, to unknowingly hire a contract killer named Roy Victor Chess to assassinate him in order to throw off Rorschach's investigation in his involvement in Eddie Blake's death. While discussing his business schedule with his secretary, Chess enters the building and open fires at Veidt, but ends up killing his secretary. Chess attempts to finish the job, but he is disarmed by Veidt. He goes over to him and feeds him a cyanide capsule. To maintain the ruse, Veidt attempted to interrogate him in front the witnesses, but he forces Chess to bite down on the poison capsule, killing the assassin.
Although Veidt arranged an assassination attempt on his life, he killed Edgar Jacobi and framed Rorschach on murder charges 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.
Preventing Nuclear Holocaust
Finally, Veidt was prepared to drive the old world into a "utopia" of his own making. On November 2, 1985, Veidt teleported his monster into New York City resulting in the deaths of three million people. Nite Owl II and Rorschach arrived to stop him, but they were too late. When Doctor Manhattan and Silk Spectre II arrived to confront him as well, Veidt vaporized Manhattan by luring him into the intrinsic field subtractor along with his pet lynx, Bubastis. Manhattan quickly reconstructed his body and materialized outside Karnak as a giant. Just as he predicted, the governments of the world 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.
Nothing Ever Ends
While mediating in his sanctuary, Veidt is visited by Doctor Manhattan to inform him that he is leaving Earth. Veidt is confused, as Osterman had just regained a newfound appreciation for humanity. Osterman responded stating that he is seeking out a new world less complicated than Earth and that he may create life of his own. Before leaving, Veidt asked the precognitive being if his plans for utopia would come to be, and if it was all worth it in the end. Osterman cryptically responded by saying "nothing ever ends", and teleported away leaving Veidt once again in doubt as to whether or not his plan was successful.
- Genius Level Intelligence: Veidt is known as the "smartest man in the world" by many, mainly the media, though this title is well deserved. Veidt deftly built both a legitimate and criminal empire from nothing and made it large enough to become a global threat through his exploitation of advanced technology and genetics. His high intellect enabled him to retain information and facts of a variety of disciplines including science, art, religion, and philosophy. Veidt is also capable of focusing and retaining several sources of information simultaneously through extensive use of the cut-up technique, a skill he acquired from William S. Burroughs. Veidt uses this technique when viewing several television screens at once, each showing a different channel. From the juxtaposition of these numerous screens, 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. 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. 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 façade 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 spark hydrants, as well as designs that utilized Doctor Manhattan's energy. Veidt even successfully built his own private residence in the frigid climate of Antarctica.
- 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).
- Master Acrobat: A world-class athlete, Veidt does acrobatic performances in aid of charity events, and continued to perform 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. Through Veidt Enterprises, he established several subsidiaries including Pyramid Deliveries and Dimensional Developments to help further his illegal activities.
Adrian Veidt 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. Doug Roth 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 career, although he had to change his stance by killing innocent people, as well as his own associates as to not leave any traces of his nefarious plan. Veidt was one of the most respectful and consistently liberal-leaning of the superheroes and as a mogul, he was known as a benevolent philanthropist. Due to his political leanings, Veidt faced several critics including the right-wing newspaper New Frontiersman, and the Comedian, who called him "an intellectual dilettante that dabs in national affairs that shouldn't concern him".
Veidt was a polymath who possessed great and detailed knowledge and facts from a variety of disciplines including science, art, religion, and philosophy. Futurology is one of the most interesting subjects for him. Veidt has also shown a strong liking towards classical, electronic, and avant-garde music artists like John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bernhard Lang, Pierre Henry, and Terry Riley; he has even shown interest in dub music.
Despite his caring, pacifistic and conscientious demeanor, Veidt actually kept his true colors hidden from anyone else. His true nature was revealed to be that of an extremely arrogant, egotistical and cold individual with a god complex 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 consideration about the innocent lives which his plan is taking part of, which means that he is a truly sinister and psychotic individual. Although 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.
- Ozymandias is a modified version of the character Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt from Charlton Comics. Both were trained to physical and mental perfection in the East.
- The name "Ozymandias" recalls the poem Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley, which takes as its theme the fleeting nature of empire building.