Adrian Veidt: 1939 - 1983
Born in 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, Adrian stopped hiding his intelligence and graduated high school cum laude at fourteen.
After his parents' deaths, he inherited their substantial fortune at seventeen 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, Samarkand, and went down the Indus to Tibet, where he gathered martial knowledge and got a ball of hashish. He stopped at Babylon where Alexander had died and pondered his failings. It was during a journey in the desert that he consumed that ball of hashish and saw a vision. Adrian decided to conquer the evils of men by becoming a superhero, making such a pledge in Alexandria where Alexander the Great was buried.
Returning to America, he named himself "Ozymandias." 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 gaining the attention of the press and quickly earned a reputation as "the smartest man on the planet." Ozymandias' second case was the investigation of Hooded Justice's disappearance. Government sources led him to another operative who had also failed at locating Hooded Justice, the Comedian. Confronting him at the docks, the two immediately despised each other. When Comedian became agitated by this youngster's interrogation, he attempted to leave. Ozymandias tried to stop him and to his surprise, the Comedian beat him down. It was a humbling experience for Adrian.
A few years later, Ozymandias would join forces with former Minutemen and newer costumed adventurers, participating in a Red Cross charity event for the India famine. It was the second time Ozymandias met Comedian, but he chose to avoid him and concentrated on Dr. Manhattan whom he found fascinating. While everyone else saw Dr. Manhattan as a super-weapon, 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 soon end.
During the '60s, Ozymandias 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." Despite the right wing criticism, Ozymandias acted as an adviser to President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis; he suggested to move the Jupiter missiles out of Turkey, resolving the stalemate.
By early 1960's, 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. Adrian continued adventuring, including storming in Dante's and confronting Moloch, but his own cases robbed him of the idealistic belief that battling crime, which he believed 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 organized a new superhero team, the Crimebusters. This meeting 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. During his stint with the Crimebusters, Ozymandias usually worked with Nite-Owl, Dr. Manhattan, Captain Metropolis, or Silk Spectre, rarely associating with others.
Adrian would soon develop "spark hydrants" and with the proceeds of this creation, he financed Dimensional Developments.
Dimensional Developments became profitable enough that by 1970 he was able to build a private research sanctuary in Antarctica with the help of Dr. Manhattan. The two would often retire to this location for weeks at a time, conspiring in their in-depth research together. Adrian soon left the crimefighting scene to focus on building his fortune and reputation to sustain his research. In 1975, two years before vigilante crime fighters were banned by the "Keene Act," Adrian retired from super heroism completely. He marketed his image, in the form of action figures among other products, for money, thus creating the Veidt Enterprises mega-corporation. In summer of 1975 he gave an interview to Doug Roth in which he came out with his secret identity and showed off his genetically engineered pet lynx Bubastis.
Veidt helped Edgar Jacobi, aka: Moloch gain parole, even gave him a ride on the day of his release. Veidt presented Jacobi a chance to atone for his past life and offered him a very important job at Veidt Enterprises, giving him an 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, citing he was doing this for altruistic purpose and not mere publicity. In the 1980's, Veidt doubled Jacobi's salary and tasked him with other duties. When Jacobi developed prostate cancer, Adrian had his condition monitored by the company's private doctor. When the illness worsened, Adrian offered Jacobi paid leave and also covered all of Jacobi's medical costs.
Ozymandias: 1983 - 1987
Veidt tasked Jacobi to deliver a package of medicine to Janey Slater (Jon Osterman's former lover and a newly hired lead researcher at Dimensional Developments), the "medicine" was actually carcinogenic. Eventually both Slater and Jacobi's health started to deteriorate, vomiting, feeling tired and suffering from insomnia, headaches and diarrhea.
Starting in 1983, Veidt had also engineered the recruitment of many of the world's leading physicists and engineers to focus on the development of intrinsic engines at Karnak. The first of these prototypes were installed in twenty-seven of the world's major cities as part of the spark hydrant pilot program.
Due to the scale of Veidt's recruitment, Eddie Blake was sent to investigate Adrian's work at Karnak. Blake discovered the part of Veidt's plan that the world's brightest minds did not realize. To confirm his suspicions, he copied a list of names he found at Karnak and returned to New York to investigate. Blake found that everyone on this list was dead or dying from what they believed to be cancer. Jacobi was one of the few people Blake 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, Jacobi did not understand.
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. When Veidt discovered his dear friend Perry White was coming to New York to interview Blake, he came to the realization that he needed to kill the Comedian.
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 top of Veidt Tower to warn Adrian.
Appearing to mourn the loss, Veidt attended the Comedian's funeral and insisted that Jon and he continue in their research, even persuading Jon not to cancel his press interview which Adrian had arranged even after an attempt on Adrian's life and the Comedian's funeral being held on the same day. The press event was an ambush for Jon, where he learned of many persons close to him having been diagnosed with cancer.
When Rorschach visited Moloch's house, Veidt decided that both Moloch and Rorschach needed to be dealt with. Adrian decided to kill two birds with one stone by framing Rorschach for the murder of Moloch. While Moloch was watching the press coverage on Manhattan's disappearance after being accused of causing cancer in Wally Weaver, Slater and Moloch, Moloch realized that Adrian was the one behind it. As he pieced it together, Veidt appeared in his house to explain his plan to save the world; he then offered him the chance to save the world in a final act of redemption. Moloch agreed and Veidt shot him in the head. The gunshot alerted Rorschach who Veidt knew was outside the house waiting for Jacobi to retire. As Rorschach broke into his house, he found Jacobi dead just moments before a full SWAT division (who were in the neighborhood on a false alarm secretly arranged by Adrian) raided the apartment. In the confusion, Adrian was able to step out of the closet and discreetly slip away, witnessing Rorschach being pinned to the sidewalk and publicly unmasked during his arrest.
Unanticipated by Adrian, Dan and Laurie began a relationship and returned to their heroic identities as the second Nite Owl and second Silk Spectre. The two also grew to believe that Rorschach's investigation had merit and decided to spring him from prison to investigate the matter. In addition, Manhattan took Silk Spectre to the Moon where she convinced him to return to Earth.
However, the four remaining Watchmen were unable to stop the fulfillment of Veidt's scheme, which led to the deaths of fifty-two million people in twenty-seven major cities. The world governments fell for this ruse, and agreed to a union to oppose Manhattan who Veidt had also framed by using his energy signature in the explosions at the spark hydrant plants.
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 agreed to keep silent about what they knew, as it would only plunge the world back to the brink of disaster. Rorschach alone refused to keep silent, telling Doctor Manhattan that he will "never compromise, not even in the face of Armageddon." Thinking quickly, Veidt used logic to convince Jon he must kill Rorschach before he can tell anybody. When Jon returned, Adrian tried to assure him he did "the right thing" and that this way everything would "work out in the end," Jon could only reply that nothing ever ends, leaving Veidt in doubt as Jon then left the world.
Adrian Veidt: 1987 - Present
- Genius Level Intellect: Veidt is referred to as the smartest man alive. His mental performance allows his mind to operate in the most efficient and rapid manner possible. One manifestation of this is his tactical genius; the ability to quickly process multiple information streams and rapidly respond to changing tactical situations. Veidt is able to view a wall filled floor-to-ceiling with television screens, each showing a different image he is able to pay attention to each one simultaneously.
- Eidetic Memory: Veidt also possesses an eidetic memory, meaning that he never forgets anything and has perfect recall.
- Historiography: Adrian is a world-class scholar of history.
- Mechanical Engineering: Adrian is an inventor and magnificent technological genius.
- Multilingualism: Veidt is fluent in English, Turkish, German, Russian and various other languages.
- Physics: Adrian is capable of creating numerous technologies to counter Dr. Manhattan's own abilities.
- Tactical Analysis: He had been widely considered one of, if not the, greatest tacticians on the planet.
- Martial Arts: Veidt is an expert in hand-to-hand combat being very skilled in multiple martial arts. Fighting skills sufficient to hold off both Nite-Owl and Rorschach at the same time.
- Acrobatics: His years of training and experience even at age 40 have made him an expert acrobat.
- Peak Human Condition: Veidt is at the peak of physical ability in strength, speed, agility, reflexes and durability. His abilities are such that even Rorschach is wary of facing him in combat.
Trivia and Notes
- Adrian spent considerable effort at ridding himself of his German accent after the death of his parents as he felt it compromised his future efforts in a post-World War II America.
- Adrian suspected that Eddie Blake had found and killed Hooded Justice, but reported failure to his superiors, although he admitted that he could not prove this. Veidt later suspected that Blake killed Rolf Müller in 1952 and may have posed as Hooded Justice himself a number of times, thus accounting for the discrepancies between the sightings of Hooded Justice in 1953 - 1955 and the proposed murder of Müller in 1952.
- Adrian Veidt is a character from the Watchmen comic.
- The nipples on his suit are a nod to the Watchmen movie.
- His pose in the Ozymandias portrait is a nod to Jim Lee's variant cover to Before Watchmen: Ozymandias.
- In the comic his plan involved creating an alien monster from a brain of a psychic with help of kidnapped scientists and artists. Among them was Max Shea. Byron Lewis' NFX File menitons his disappearance, but it's unknown whether it's connected to Veidt's plan.