The Extra-Dimensional Biological Entity, usually shortened to E.D.B.E. and commonly referred to as the Alien Monster and the Squid, was a giant, genetically enhanced, psychic monster that resembled a humongous, mutated squid. It was created by Adrian Veidt to prevent nuclear fallout from a potential third world war, by teleporting it into New York City, killing three million people, and traumatizing millions more. This event, known as the 11/2 Psychic Shockwave, successfully united the planet against a false alien threat and drew their attention away from each other, a lie believed even thirty-five years later by most of the population.
The origins of the monster trace back to the first meeting of the Crimebusters in 1966 where Adrian Veidt participated, already disillusioned of his former belief that he could save the world by merely trying to deal with its negative symptoms, namely crime. The hard truth is further revealed to him by the Comedian, who mercilessly demonstrates to the would-be team how hopelessly obsolete the methods of superheroes are in trying to help the world when the threat of nuclear annihilation looms over their heads. Reflecting on this, Veidt decides to attempt to save the world in a different way: by uniting humanity against a new threat.
In 1975, Veidt retires from superheroism – two years before the Keene Act would have made this mandatory - and reveals his true identity to the world, simultaneously creating Veidt Enterprises to make enough money to finance his plan by marketing his image as well as selling other products, such as Nostalgia and patented electrical hydrants. In secret, he also founds Pyramid Deliveries, which in turn funds Dimensional Developments, with Veidt Enterprises as the parent company; both of these companies would play key roles in Veidt's plan.
With various products, Veidt Enterprises prepared subliminal messages to the people using subconscious imageries. Nostalgia was a part of it. Utopia cinema, also owned by Veidt, displayed mostly retro sci-fi alien invasion-themed movies while subconsciously preparing peoples' minds for the alien monster, and eventually, Veidt's utopia.
With the direct and indirect scientific assistance of Doctor Manhattan, Veidt pours the vast resources at his disposal into the study of genetic engineering (an early success of which was Bubastis). Meanwhile, through Dimensional Developments, he puts an equal amount of work into discovering how to replicate Jon's power of teleportation, though it is notable that the teleportation method created by Veidt is too imprecise to prevent the teleported object from reappearing in the same space as another object, resulting in an explosion; still, this only further suits Veidt's intentions. Both of these studies take nearly a decade to perfect. He also has a number of tachyon generators constructed in locations around the world to obscure Doctor Manhattan’s vision of the future in order to prevent him from taking any action against Veidt.
Once the research is completed to Veidt's satisfaction, he uses Pyramid Deliveries to transport science fiction writer Max Shea, surrealist artist Hira Manish, as well as a large number of other writers (such as James Trafford March), artists (such as Linette Paley), and scientists (all of whom believe they are being employed as part of a top-secret movie production) to a privately owned island for a period of several months, during which time they conceptualize and engineer the monster.
The brain was created by stealing that of deceased psychic, Robert Deschaines, and cloning it, augmenting it considerably in the process as a psychic resonant device. The monster was engineered and bred with nightmarish imageries from the creations of the abovementioned scholars (Paley's sounds, Shea's descriptions, Manish's images), which derived from its supposedly alien world. Both the disappearances and the theft of the brain are reported by the New Frontiersman, correctly insisting that it is part of an elaborate conspiracy, but for the wrong reasons.
While on a plane returning from Nicaragua in 1985, the Comedian spots the uncharted island and, suspecting Sandinista bases, infiltrates it and discovers Veidt's conspiracy, the resulting "professional jealousy" of which deeply traumatizes him. Upon returning to New York City he breaks into the apartment of Edgar Jacobi (formerly the supervillain Moloch) and drunkenly rambles about what he saw before departing. Veidt, who had Moloch's house bugged, discovers that the Comedian has found out about his plan and subsequently murders him by throwing him out of his apartment window, thereby prompting investigation by Rorschach.
Afterward all of the monster's creators are killed when the Pyramid Deliveries ship taking them home is blown up in order to erase all evidence of Veidt’s plan.
At midnight on November 2, 1985, Veidt teleports his monster into the heart of New York City. As predicted, large sections of its body (namely its tentacles) explode upon arrival, causing considerable collateral damage and killing the creature instantly. Its death generates a massive psychic shockwave from within its brain, killing half the population of New York City and a smaller number in New Jersey across the Hudson River.
Its appearance and devastation in New York City frightens the governments of the world - believing the monster to be an alien from another dimension or planet, a sign of a possible future invasion from space. They decided to work together against the new threat, thus ending the Cold War and creating worldwide peace, thereby removing the inevitable threat of mankind’s destruction by nuclear war.
Most of the former Crimebusters, having uncovered Veidt’s plot in Karnak, are shocked by its severity and cost of lives, but agree that it is necessary to keep the truth of the monster a secret to continue to prevent the nuclear holocaust that so nearly endangered humanity before. Rorschach, however, moved by his sentimentality of absolute justice, refuses to compromise and attempts to return to civilization and spread the word of Veidt’s doings. He is confronted by Doctor Manhattan, who tells him that he cannot allow the truth to get out. Jon attempts to reason Rorschach a final time, but Rorschach insists that there is only one way to ensure his silence, and so Doctor Manhattan disintegrates him.
As the world rebuilds itself, fashions and mentalities adapt to the new era with new interest towards space, which is mirrored in fashion and commercial trends, still fueled anew by Veidt Enterprises, which continues with propaganda to perpetuate all this: One popular show is The Outer Limits, and the Cold War-themed candies "Mmeltdowns" are renamed "Sunbursts". The perfume "Nostalgia" is renamed "Millennium," mirroring a new era of hope. "Utopia" is renamed "New Utopia"; one of the theater's first movies is Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice (about an upcoming holocaust and peoples' reactions to it). Also, graffitis with mottos such as "Watch the skies" (in place of the popular slogan "Who Watches the Watchmen?") and "Quantum Jump" can be seen in the streets. The attack on New York would come to be known as the Dimensional Incursion Event or 11/2.
To continue the looming fear of alien invasion Veidt arranged periodical squid drops to rain from the atmosphere around the world using teleportation. This allowed the general populace to assume that they are still invaders from the same dimension as the monster.
Adrian Veidt's new world lasted for seven years and is initially unaffected by the publication of Rorschach's journal by the New Frontiersman the year following the attack. In accordance with Veidt's prediction, Walter Kovacs is not taken as a credible source. However, unexpected developments resulted in President Redford opening an investigation into Veidt codenamed Operation: Commodus, which implicates the former hero and secures the president's reelection. Veidt goes into hiding as the world disintegrates around him.
Appearance and Attributes
The alien monster is an enormous and hideous artificial creature, with a probable height of at least one hundred feet. With its dozens of long, muscular tentacles, the topsides of which are covered with boil-like contusions, it most closely resembles a gargantuan squid (hence the fan nickname). Its face possesses one large eye and a horny, eight-pronged beak. Most of its head is taken up by its enormous brain, which lies openly exposed. Its tentacles are all either a mottled yellow or a sickly blue color with a grey underside, while its head is mostly a fleshy pink. Its blood is dark green. Its face is exactly like a grotesque sketch of a Vagina Dentata featured earlier in the story (the GWAR symbol).
As mentioned earlier, the psychic shockwave produced by the monster’s death is of sufficient power to make half of New York City's citizens die with blood pouring from their ears. Its brain is programmed with gruesome images (such as infants of its species chewing their way out of their mother's womb), devised by Max Shea and illustrated by Hira Manish, and sounds, created with the composing expertise of Linette Paley, from its supposed homeworld; these images and sounds caused many of the survivors of the monster's death to go insane, and Veidt mentions that psychics around the world will have nightmares for years after the event.
It is worthy of mention that, even if the alien monster had not largely exploded upon arrival, it is likely that it would not have survived for very long anyway. As it was designed to die immediately, it is unlikely that it was created in such a fashion as to be able to keep itself alive for any period of time. For example, it is clearly a very heavy creature and it does not appear to have any sort of skeletal framework, meaning that its body would have collapsed under its own weight in short order. Another, more speculative example is that its creators may not have bothered ensuring that its internal body systems, such as its circulatory or digestive system, were functioning properly. Of course, in order for the hoax to work, the creature's physiology would have to look as though it could survive in some environment, though not necessarily Earth's.
- The monster's psychic image of infant members of its species chewing out of their mother's womb calls to mind the Egyptian god Set who did exactly that. Veidt is a fan of Egyptian mythology so it is probable he had set such an idea in mind when the monster was genetically programmed.
- Physically, the monster resembles the Sarlacc from Star Wars which was also an immense, monstrous creature with a beak, multiple tentacles and a Vagina Dentata-like appearance as well as the ability to induce madness.
- The monster was probably inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos which featured numerous huge, grotesque alien beings whose very sight would drive people insane. Unsurprisingly Alan Moore utilized elements of Lovecraft most of his works and themes of Lovecraft are subtly spread throughout Watchmen.