Call me Adrian Veidt

Adrian Alexander Veidt is a fictional character in the acclaimed graphic novel miniseries Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, published by DC Comics. Brilliant and able to deal with almost every curve ball thrown his way, Adrian Veidt felt that the normal kind of physical super heroics he'd engaged in for years were not enough to truly change the world. No, he plotted to do something much more. He serves as both the protagonist and antagonist of the series. Named Ozymandias in the manner of Ramesses II. His name recalls the famous poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley, which takes as its theme the fleeting nature of empire and is excerpted as the epigraph of one of the chapters of Watchmen.


Early life

 

Adrian Alexander Veidt was born in 1939, and is the son of wealthy German immigrant parents. As a child, he received high grades in school, and it was noted that he was very intelligent. He then hid this information from his elders and peers by deliberately achieving average marks. After his parents' deaths, he inherited their substantial fortune at the young age of 17, but he chose to give it all to charity and embark on a vision quest, following the route of his childhood idol Alexander the Great. His rationale was that he wanted to be free from money and make something of himself on his own, from nothing. During an excursion into the Middle East, Veidt consumed a ball of hashish and developed visions of the past. At the conclusion of his travels, in Egypt, he realized that Alexander the Great was a pale imitation of Ramesses II who became Veidt's new hero.

 

Story

 

At the climax of Watchmen, Rorschach and Nite Owl deduce that Veidt is behind the whole plot after they discover that a shell company owned by Veidt's corporation employed all the people whose cancer was allegedly caused by contact with Doctor Manhattan. When Rorschach and Nite-Owl arrive at Karnak, Veidt's Antarctic retreat, Veidt easily overpowers both of them. He explains his plan to save humanity from itself: Inspired by Captain Metropolis' plea that somebody needed to save the world, he devised a scheme so that Dr. Manhattan is made out to be the culprit. The United States and the Soviet Union, on the brink of nuclear confrontation, would then end their feud and join forces against Dr. Manhattan. When Rorschach and Nite-Owl ask him when he planned to execute his scheme, Veidt reveals that it was completed before they arrived, saying, "I did it thirty-five minutes ago", which is then confirmed by news broadcasts.

 

Powers and abilities

 

Adrian Veidt has been deemed "the smartest man in the world" by many, mainly the media, though this title is regarded as well-deserved. Veidt deftly built both a legitimate and criminal empire large enough to become a global threat through his exploitation of advanced technology and genetics.

 

He has ambition matching his intelligence, evidenced by his successful execution of a plan to help Earth towards utopia by ending international hostilities. He is shown to be a ruthless and master strategist, swiftly eliminating anybody who dares to get in the way of his plans, while maintaining total secrecy. Veidt also possesses a photographic memory. Additionally, Veidt is depicted at the pinnacle of human physical ability, to the point of being able to reflexively catch a bullet. He is a superb fighter and martial artist, and an almost superhuman unarmed combatant who easily defeats both Rorschach and Nite Owl. His only defeat came early in his career at the hands of the Comedian, whom he later bested and killed.

 

A world-class athlete, he is extremely physically fit and performs acrobatics to aid charity events. He is exceptionally active despite his age (mid-forties). Included as a back-up feature to issue #11, a Veidt interview conducted by Doug Roth notes Veidt as resembling a man of 30 rather than one of the middle age.

 

Personality

 

Veidt believes that his vast intelligence obligates him to unite the warring modern world as Alexander the Great did in his time. When he comes to doubt the value of confronting street criminals in the face of greater crimes of the powerful and governments that go unpunished, he endeavors to study world politics, and concludes that nuclear war will bring the world to an end in just a few years, and plans to use such a catastrophe to save the world.

 

 

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