Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair

We begin with Ozymandias describing his accomplishments and how history has the final word of whether something is right or wrong. We are given brief description of the reason his parents decided to emigrate to America and the timeline thereof. Then Adrian describes his exceptional acumen from an early age. When his intelligence begins to draw attention, like The Incredibles, his father had to teach his son to “slow down” so as not to draw attention to himself, teaching him the lesson of life not being fair. Adrian gets further lessons with the helpful hands of bullies. His father wanted to deal with it for him, but Adrian had a different plan to take care of it himself. Adrian requested patience from his parents who were worried about his daily beatings, assuring them it would end soon; Adrian doesn’t disappoint. Only it didn’t quite end as he’d hoped. After graduating high school early and studying at Harvard, Adrian gets terrible news regarding his parents. Adrian goes on a journey to discover everything he can about his namesake, Alexander of Macedonia. Adrian then decides to give away his inheritance so he could prove his worthiness to match his idol’s accomplishments. He follows his route from Turkey onwards. After completing his trek, he goes to New York to build upon his savings through the stock market when he meets Miranda St. John. His focus on building his empire though, helps crumble his relationship. He’s wracked with guilt and is about to report the accident which comes from his neglect when ideas of how Alexander would have handled the situation circles his mind, deciding it better to deal with himself. He takes a lesson from other masked vigilantes in the papers and throws together a costume. Then he makes a promise to the drug dealer who supplied Miranda with the drug which ended her: he would regret his role in her death; promising start, I like it.

After four days, Adrian gets a lead and which gives him a run for his money; for a moment, anyways. Adrian gets the information he’s after without much resistance and he heads to the restaurant given and follows his lead out. He gets to the seemingly “abandoned” warehouse and sneaks to a spot to confirm his suspicions, zeroing in on the boss. Adrian makes his move with careful calculation. He gets everyone in the warehouse including the boss with grace and enough time for some disdainful comebacks then he waits for the authorities and comes up with his alias. Adrian continues his crime-fighting rampage after his success. After his continuing good luck, Adrian decides to research the fates of masked crime-fighters who came before him so he could avoid mistakes if possible. He comes across the mystery of Hooded Justice and begins to set his sight on perhaps tracking him down. It takes him pretty close to the truth when another mask confronts him violently. they are evenly matched until his opponent cheats. Adrian uses his planned defeat (so he says) to gather information on the mask. He lets his search take a backseat when he hears of Dr. Manhattan, though. He starts plans to construct a shelter for himself in Antarctica and the renting and construction of fallout shelters in general. Whilst his plans were underway, he’d take down more crime-gangs at night. After completing said mission, a police officer gives him an invitation to which Adrian had no interest in attending until being told Dr. Manhattan would be there, as well. He ends up playing to the crowd with Comedian for the event. After a couple other greetings from masks, he sees Dr. Manhattan, introduces himself and proceeds to listen in on a conversation between him and Nite Owl, discovering an interesting phenomenon. Before Dr. Manhattan leaves with Janey, he addresses Adrian whilst he was still hidden, unnerving him again.

Adrian’s fortress is completed and he begins to shed his former identity to start afresh what he’s become. He begins his study of Dr. Manhattan and his continued research brings one video of him which concerns him. In the meantime he also sees the ad for Hollis’ retirement and is soon summoned by the President, which he expected. Proceeding forward, Adrian sees the new masks replacing the old, seemingly more odd than before. During this time he’s also begun producing a perfume for mass marketing. Then, years after not hearing from Captain Metropolis, he gets invited to the first meeting of the Crime-busters. The group fell apart when Comedian started being difficult, making Adrian realize he’d have to save the world himself. He begun researching everything science fiction to discover an idea, finally discovering it after a second round of viewings. After genetically engineering Bubastis, Adrian goes to England and is met up by Dr. Manhattan, which he had an enlightening conversation with, which we don’t get details of.

After Adrian acquires his small island, he has work started and also has his personal assistant, Marla make the island disappear from public records. Once Nixon lets Dr. Manhattan loose on Vietnam, Adrian calls a press conference, making a big reveal to the public whilst other masks continue on, maintaining violence for violence. It escalates when the police strike after being denied their raise, giving rise to a riot, which Adrian helps quell. He gets a visit from Dr. Manhattan after, seeming to know what Adrian has in mind and doesn’t care. Adrian undertakes making a science fiction film with the best scientists, writers, artists and filmmaker he can hire and takes them to his island to work on it. Adrian’s plans continue to thicken as he enlists the help of Moloch upon his parole. Comedian discovers Adrian’s island and plans to detect what is actually there, not knowing it isn’t what he thinks. He discovers more than he bargains for and Adrian overhears him go to Moloch to vent, from having Moloch’s apartment bugged. The conclusion to Ozymandias is dramatic and entertaining making me yearn for more, but now I’m on to the Crimson Corsair.

This one also has a good start, giving us where the Crimson Corsair, who first was Gordon, begins his journey and what begins as carefree plans, until witnessing the length the captain of the ship he’s on will go to punish his crew, especially in the way of stealing. Gordon takes it so badly, he threatens the captain to step down from his position, thinking the crew would unite with him; what a terrible miscalculation on his part. He’s been sentenced to a whipping as punishment, even though he was trying to start a mutiny, a crime seemingly worse than stealing. Before having the whipping finished, another ship opens fire on them and, well, it’s quite exciting. Gordon gets dragged underwater, still bound to the cannon for his punishment. He luckily breaks free and swims for an interminable amount of hours, notices a flowing piece of “flotsam” from the ship to rest upon where someone before him didn’t survive, which brings a hungry shark along, scaring him, but switches to survival-mode to keep the creature at bay. He goes into unconsciousness until being found and brought upon another ship, staying asleep until being woken by one calling himself the Crimson Corsair. He soon realizes what ship he’s boarded and the curse he’s acquired for his ignorant mutiny. Gordon tries to come up with a way to be freed and is told of the only way known, which seems impossible. When Gordon wrongly inquires what would happen if he were to leave, the Crimson Corsair takes a valuable bit of Gordon and chucks him overboard, in a way giving him what he wanted.

He floats to a shore, after another unknown amount of time and realizes everything he’s been through thus far was true by the mark left on his chest. Gordon is soon happened upon by slavers after a group of would-be slaves run past him, when he is hit by a stray bullet and supposedly killed by the slavers in pursuit. He is transported back aboard the mythical ship temporarily until being thrust again out into the world, afraid of what he’ll uncover next. He learns he’s on a Spanish slavers ship and is cared for by one of the slaves. In return, Gordon tries to protect her from the Spaniard. He witnesses more cruelty to the slaves after and with the coming birth on-board, he sees the first of the items needed to free his damned soul. Gordon senses his moment to avenge the slaves aboard with the crashing of the ship upon rocks. They slip beneath the water and Gordon is only able to save one. He realizes he’s upon shore and more madness involving the mother of the child ensues. After which Gordon runs away, but towards his captors, from fear. He realizes his mistake and heads deep into the jungle, only to discover it’s inhabited. He is drugged and brought to a place similar to El Dorado or Mayan in nature.

Gordon sees a ritual sacrifice of the people, thinking they’re demons and realizing he’s next in line. The slavers had followed, though, stopping his certain death, for the moment and consigning their own. Then Gordon is again targeted for death until they notice the scar on his chest. They sacrifice another and seem to be putting Gordon through a test, making him drink from the sacrificed man and cast him down among bones. He is spoken to by the witch woman aboard the same slave ship and before having to fight a snake, the witch woman gets Gordon brought back up from the pit of death. he is given the second token for his freedom from the curse and she gives him the second only so he can kill the Crimson Corsair. He’s chained in another room to await sunrise and apparently death. More horror is shown during his wait; this selection is stronger of the four series, thus far. We also discover what the third token is, right near the end, giving a bit of a twist if one isn’t already used to the possible outcome. I can understand how this one could seem a bit confusing by the end, though, leaving one unsure of how Gordon becomes the Crimson Corsair, but one can assume what happened. Still, quite a journey. The last story is about the beginning of Dollar Bill, which I read up to the point of his trying to get into show business, then stopped because I don’t know much about him and didn’t care for the older style of comic illustration. Otherwise a strong collection, which I’ll be moving on to Comedian/Rorschach next.


2 thoughts on “Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair

  1. Pingback: Before Watchmen – Minutemen/Silk Spectre | Book Fiend

  2. Pingback: Before Watchmen – Comedian/Rorschach | Book Fiend

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