This week marks the debut of the first part of the six-issue BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS mini-series. Arguably the most difficult character to tap from the original series, Ozymandias can undoubtedly straddle the fence between stock-characterization and reader indifference, yet writer Len Wein and artist Jae Lee skillful undertake the task of guiding the reader through the titular character’s dark journey of supposed self-discovery.
Deconstructing this issue in conjunction and within the context of Alan Moore’s WATCHMEN, we’re introduced to Ozymandias (Adrian Alexander Veidt) as he reflects on the path he took in life. The journey that Ozymandias narrates himself is a fascinating portrayal of a classic Lovecraftian character – an educated, gentlemen who either attempts to hold onto his sanity or fails to see that he is indeed mad, all while falling deeper into an abyss of darkness, death, decay and/or destruction.
Under this lens, Moore’s Ozymandias, the one that convinces himself that the world needs to be “saved” by unleashing a giant monster, of the squid variety, upon the population of New York City, works well with Wein’s story and Lee’s art to subtly foreshadow the future to come.
Lee works off of Wein’s script brilliantly by rendering breath taking imagery. Lee phenomenally displays uncanny visual storytelling sensibilities by evoking emotions and ideas while capturing the essence and voice of the story being told. It is internal tale that is expertly externalized in hands of this capable creator.
BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIAS is a deeply personal story. It deals with the trappings and failings of an intelligent albeit madman. There is a rhyme and reason to this book stylistically. It is motivated my story and character. In short, this book is poised to surprise.