Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1 of 6
Wein & Lee
Ozymandias has the luxury of being the character that I was the least interested in when I first read Watchmen. I couldn’t reconcile why he had super powers or if he was just really strong and fast or how he turned bad or if he was always that way then how did he dupe everyone. In essence, I wanted to know more about the character and this prequel could perhaps fill in some of those blanks. I found this opening issue to be as straight-forward an origin story as you could possibly get. If you remove the fact that it is tied to a classic story then the issue is extremely average and is something you probably feel like you have read a thousand times before. If this comic book is to appeal to anyone that hasn’t read Watchmen I would think this issue needed to give more of a story rather than an information dump.
The comic’s setup is that basically Ozymandias pouring out his life’s story as his master plan is about to come to a head. He is leaving some sort of record in case it doesn’t go well for him. This is really odd seeing as how he covered his tracks so well throughout Watchmen. Why would he leave a recording of his life’s story unless he decides to leave out the gruesome details about how he planned the culminating attack on New York and the all the related murders he committed. This was an odd point.
From there the book goes through his childhood. The character is virtually unfeeling which makes his reaction towards his parent’s death a little out of character. He grows up getting beaten on by other kids which forces him into self-defense classes. There he masters his skills and becomes a deadly fighter.
Later on, he amasses a fortune and finds a girl. He presumably cares for her, but the actions in the book point towards indifference. He uses her as the basis to push him into super hero-hood. This doesn’t really add up but we aren’t exactly dealing with a normal character here.
The aspect of the book that I wish Wein would have branched out into was that of Alexander. The story spends a lot of time telling us what Alexander did, but I think the story would have been helped if the comic launched into a flashback of Alexander in action. Perhaps if we got to know Alexander in a story rather than as told from someone else, I would have been able to understand Ozymandias a little better.
Lee’s art is strange here. Ozymandias looks like a porcelain doll. This may be in character with how unfeeling he is or is he unfeeling because how he is drawn? I’m not sure. The book is detailed and that’s something but because the book is basically a story with a few pictures, Lee can’t possibly stretch his legs at all. The artwork just isn’t very inspiring in this opening issue.
If you like character background then this is the issue for you. I’m not sure we get to know why Ozymandias turned bad, but this issue at least lets the reader understand why he put on tights. This is a very average origin story about a character that probably deserves something more special to be written about them.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles