Saturday, May 11, 2013

Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair by Len Wein - Book Review

From the publisher: Discover what happened before WATCHMEN. The team of legendary writer Len Wein and acclaimed artist Jae Lee--in his first DC Comics' work in nearly a decade--delve into the mind of the smartest man in the world: Ozymandias. How does one go from the son of immigrant parents to becoming the world's smartest man? Adrian Veidt begins his journey, both spiritual and physical, that will one day make him one of the most pivotal players in the world-changing events of WATCHMEN.

Collects BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS #1-6, "Curse of the Crimson Corsair."

This book contains two stories: Ozymandias and Curse of the Crimson Corsair.

Ozymandias was fantastic.  As the prinicpal force behind the events in the original Watchmen, we don't learn much about Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) other than that he is the "smartest man in the world" and he has a plan to save civilization from nuclear annihilation (from ourselves). This story changes all that.  We are taken back to Adrian's childhood and shown how he grew up as a prodigy.  Interspersed with this is his growin concern for humanity, particularly in the face of Dr. Manhattan and nuclear weapons.  I found Veidt's life and plans fascinating, as he becomes a somewhat sympathetic character, as opposed to the egotistical near-villain he is presented as in the original series.  Discovering the plan weaving through Watchmen was pretty cool.  Len Wein did an amazing job placing his story with the framework of the original, and also tying in to the various other prequels, particularly The Comedian and Dr. Manhattan. Jae Lee's artwork fit the tone and subject wonderfully.

The second story, Curse of the Crimson Corsair, was a link to the Tales of the Black Freighter in the original series.  I believe this particular story was a 2-3 page back-up in each of the prequel comics.  I was not interested at all in this story.  Nothing about it really captured my attention.

As a collection, this was a little disappointing.  However, the Ozymandias story was fantastic.  If you are a Watchmen fan, it is nearly required reading.

I received a review copy of this book from Netgalley and DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

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