After reading Before Watchmen Ozymandias #1, I was worried that the series was going to veer off into a generic super hero tale. Adrian Veidt deserved better than that. #2 becomes even more generic, but Jae Lee keeps penciling one hell of a comic.
The worst part of #1 was the way Veidt became Ozymandias. It was insanely forced and didn’t fit well with the character. #2 focuses more on this plot line, which was a huge mistake . It’s generic super hero story points that we have read countless times before. Ironically enough, this story is generic and stars one of the smartest superheroes in this world. The writing feels routed in the Silver Age, with many of the sentences ending in exclamation points. This works on paper, considering this story takes place in the early days of superheroes, but not in execution. The emphasis on each sentence makes the issue feel corny, and against the feel of every other Watchmen title. Veidt is almost unlikable, acting more like a douche bag than normal. Having him explain every little thing he is doing gets old very quick, and is a prime example of writers needing to let artists do what they do best. When finishing this issue, the only feeling that someone can have is “ok, so what now.” The inclusion of the Comedian at the end of the issue doesn’t do anything to make a reader hopeful for the remaining four issues.
I have said in past reviews of this event that writers can’t screw up chances like this. Not only does it make the reader feel like they have wasted their money, the writer is proving the countless fanboys right. Angry fanboys spent months complaining about how these miniseries shouldn’t be printed, and that they didn’t add anything to the universe. So far, Minutemen has been the only series to tell a story that needed to be told. The rest have played jump rope with that line. Ozymandias has taken a complicated character and made him absurdly simple. I want to see what Veidt thinks of these superheroes and why they don’t help society. He has the type of brain that would be incredibly interesting to pick through. I was one of the early supporters of Before Watchmen and the opportunities that it presented, but as the weeks have gone on, I’m second guessing my thoughts on that stance.
Jae Lee’s artwork continues to be the only good point for this series. The lack of backgrounds is still there, but it doesn’t take the focus away from the story. Most of the story takes place in back alleyways and warehouses, making the reader focus more on the battle. While having Veidt explain everything was annoying, these scenes were penciled perfectly. Having his head band guide the reader’s eyes along the fight was a great visual effect. With the plethora of bodies on the panel, it could have been very confusing. Veidt moves gracefully, conveying his almost super-human powers. The panel structure remains the same as #1, with circles breaking up the panels nicely. The story may be generic, but the art sets the book apart from the rest of the Before Watchmen books.
Ozymandias, and other series for that matter, are starting to falter. The writers need to find a focus and purpose fast, or these last few months will be a bitter memory.
Before Watchmen Ozymandias #2 gets 3/5.