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Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair (Beyond Watchmen) Hardcover – July 2, 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Q&A with Before Watchmen Creators Darwyn Cooke and Len Wein

Before Watchmen

In an exclusive Q&A, Before Watchmen creators Darwyn Cooke and Len Wein share their thoughts with Kindle.

Q: Before Watchmen is a controversial project, to say the least. Upon being approached to work on it, what was your first reaction?

Darwyn Cooke: My reaction was to politely decline. I didn't know I had anything to say that wasn't already there. It was a couple years before the story idea for Minutemen occurred to me, and that was when I committed to the project. Once I knew I had a story that excited me I got involved.

Len Wein: My first reaction was that the project sounded like a great deal of fun, especially the opportunity to play with a character like Ozymandias. The chance to flesh out Adrian Veidt's story was just something I couldn't resist.

Q: Following up on an iconic piece of art like Watchmen can be very daunting. Were you intimidated at all by the prospect of working on these classic characters?

D.C.: Yes. Very much so. Having gone through a similar experience with Will Eisner's Spirit I was very aware of how hard I'd have to work to live up to the source material Alan and Dave created.

L.W.: Not in the least. Having already written the Watchmen video game, WATCHMEN; THE END IS NIGH, I was more than comfortable writing in this world. Having been the original series' editor made it even easier.

Before Watchmen

Q: Darwyn, why did you select Nite Owl (Hollis Mason) as the narrative voice for the Minutemen series?

D.C: Hollis' autobiography, Under The Hood, seemed like the most logical foundation on which to build my story and when we pick up the story in 1962 he's writing said book. That put him in his late forties evaluating his life up until then. Being in my late forties it was a very comfortable fit from a narrative standpoint.

Q: Minutemen dives deep into the very flawed lives of a team that’s supposed to represent a Golden Age for heroes. Was it easy to take the story in such a dark direction or more difficult?

D.C.: Very difficult. Most of the darkness was built into the characters by Alan and Dave so to be true to that and be true to the period of the story, one has to be careful to avoid transposing one's own values or modern mores onto the characters. Staying true to the social conventions and prejudices of the time make for a darker and somewhat more heartless story.

Q: Silk Spectre has been labeled as a “coming of age” story. Would you agree with that? Why or why not?

D.C.: I suppose I can agree in general, but it feels more like a small vignette of Laurie's journey. We see what sets her on a certain path, but when we leave her, she's still a teenage girl and she's just met Jon. Alan and Dave's story is where we see Laurie fully come of age.

Q: Ozymandias is such a visually striking series, with the layouts and framing sequences especially standing out. Len, what type of relationship did you have with artist Jae Lee in creating such a distinct feel for this story?

L.W.: I really have to give the overwhelming credit for the look of the series to Jae. I gave him very detailed, page/panel breakdowns to work from. How Jae interpreted those breakdowns is entirely to his own credit. I was more impressed than anyone when I first saw what Jae did with my story.

Q: What do you think is the most compelling part about the Ozymandias character?

L.W.: Oh, the internal dichotomy, certainly. The concept of a man who so loves the world that he is willing to murder millions of people to save it. Part of the fun of writing the book in the first person was to show the reader the vast difference between what Adrian tells the reader he's doing and what he's actually doing.

Q: Dollar Bill was Steve Rude’s first DC work in years. What was the best or most unique aspect of working with one of comics’ great talents?

L.W.: Steve very much wanted to tell a story with a happy ending in some way. Since our hero is killed several pages before the end, that posed a challenge I was eager to tackle. Also, how often does one get to work with a talent like Steve Rude in one's lifetime?

From Publishers Weekly

The much-hyped Before Watchmen project attempts to tell new stories featuring characters from the landmark Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons graphic novel. Since pretty much all that needed to be said about these characters can be found in the original Watchmen, the result seems like a corporate-mandated product rather than a creative endeavor. The spotlight here is Ozymandias, aka Adrian Veidt, the world's smartest man. The bulk of the volume chronicles Veidt's life, from his years as a childhood prodigy through his pivotal role in Watchmen, ably scripted by comics veteran Len Wein and illustrated by Jae Lee (The Dark Tower), who turns in some impressively staged art, with every panel a striking tableau. The volume is rounded out with the Wein-scripted one-shot featuring 1940's hero Dollar Bill, with stunning art by Steve Rude (Nexus); and the entirety of a backup featuring the pirates who appeared in the original, also written by Wein and drawn by Watchmen colorist John Higgins. Art notwithstanding, the latter material is superfluous, but the main event is worth a read, even if it's not essential for one's collection. (June)
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Product Details

  • Series: Beyond Watchmen
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; First Edition edition (July 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401238955
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401238957
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.7 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was originally against the idea of buying and reading the Before Watchmen books, partly because I imagined Alan Moore's horror and partly because I thought it was a blatant money grab by DC.

I'll be brief:

(1) The two best stories in these collections are the Ozymandias story (in this volume) and the Minutemen (a different volume)
(2) The new interactions between Ozymandias and Dr. Manhattan are the most interesting and fun parts of these books (other than the Silhouette). I think that Watchmen is basically the story of Adrian trying to figure out how to save the world because/despite Dr. Manhattan while trying to keep Dr. Manhattan in the dark about it (yes, there are excellent character studies and stories, but the crux of Moore's masterpiece is how Ozymandias tries to save the world).
(3) Jae Lee's artwork is fantastic
(4) The story of the Crimson Corsair is terrible. 1 star.
(5) Wein does a great job expanding upon Moore's vision of Ozymandias -- some people would consider him a villain, while others would consider him a hero. He is multi-dimensional. The question to be asked is "how far should someone go in order to save the world?" Is anything off limits? If not, why not?
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Format: Hardcover
DC Comics releases what I consider to be the best of the controversial prequels to one of the most celebrated graphic novels of all time with "Before Watchmen: Ozymandias /Crimson Corsair Deluxe Edition." The hardcover collection contains issues 1 through 6 of Before Watchmen: Ozymandias, the entire run of Crimson Corsair stories, and the Dollar Bill one-shot. The Crimson Corsair storyline spread out across several of the different Before Watchmen titles.

The real highlight of the "Before Watchmen: Ozymandias /Crimson Corsair Deluxe Edition" is Adrian Veidt's backstory. "Watchmen" editor Len Wein takes a character I found to be the least interesting in the original graphic novel and completely change my mind about him. When the entire prequel event came to a close, Before Watchmen: Ozymandias reigned supreme as my favorite title. Wein digs so deep into the character's psyche and gives the reader an insight into how a man's ego can drive him to commit unspeakable acts while believing he is an agent of justice and morality.

Jae Lee's art for Before Watchmen: Ozymandias is definitely one of the winning factors of the book for me. His work is so distinctive and unique that one can't help but appreciate it. I've never seen such a bizarre mix of artistic styles. Imagine taking a classic Norman Rockwell painting and blending it with the precision and detail of Jim Lee. Words cannot describe how much I admire Jae's illustrations and talent.

Len Wein and John Higgins handle the writing for "The Curse of the Crimson Corsair." It's an interesting pirate tale which shows one man's descent into madness and his epic journey alongside some of the most ruthless buccaneers to sail the high seas. It's nice to have all the segments together in one book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The "Ozymandias" storyline is OK; not as good as some have said, but pretty good. It gives us more of a genuine origin story than any of the other "Before Watchmen" stories give. "Crimson Corsair" doesn't suit my tastes at all and I found it to be very uninteresting. The included Dollar Bill one-shot probably is the best thing in this compilation.
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By K. Pring on January 16, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was, in the series of Before Watchmen books my 3rd favorite, they are all good, expanding the story the depth of the characters from Watchmen. Except for the Story based on the Comic from the original, these horror, no one can ever win, terrible things happen no matter what and the main character is always screwed kind of stories just do not appeal to me and never have. It was hard enough getting through them in Watchmen and it's not that easy getting through the Before Watchmen version either. Ozymandias on the other hand was fantastic, this really flushed out his back story tell us where this "Hero turned Villain" came from and why he does what he does. Great read highly recommend it. Thanks for reading have a nice day!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ozy story is by far the best of all the prequels. The original graphic novel dove into the character to an okay extent, although considering his importance to the story, I wished it has gone deeper. And here it goes just as deep as anyone had ever wanted it. We finally get a more complete idea of Veidt and how he turned into the villian, as well as how he justifies killing so many in the name of peace. Stellar writing. Interesting layout. Great artwork.

The crimson corsair was good as well, but I felt the beginning moved a little slow for my taste but everything wrapped up perfectly in the end.

Dollar bill one shot was a fun read. He was the only character that didn't get developed in Minutemen or the original and It was interesting and darkly funny to see his back story.
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Format: Hardcover
Before Watchmen is a series of prequels to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's much-lauded book, Watchmen, with each character from the book given their own mini-series. This volume collects the Ozymandias and Crimson Corsair mini-series and the Dollar Bill one-shot.

Having a strong background in comics as the creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing, as well as editing the original Watchmen comics, writer Len Wein is a good fit for this series. For those who've read the original Watchmen (and why would you be reading these books if you haven't?) Ozymandias, aka Adrian Veidt, seemed like a pretty bland character. Labelled the World's Smartest Man and wearing a campy outfit, he never came across as a particularly interesting man. With this mini-series Wein has at least made him appear to be a richer character even if he doesn't present much to surprise the reader.

Narrating his story in the first person into a recording device for posterity (appropriate given his massive ego), Veidt details his biography and how he came to call himself Ozymandias and decide that it was up to him to save the world. This latter point is perhaps the aspect to Veidt's personality that Wein really nails. We see Veidt go from misunderstood bullied genius to a lethal fighting machine whose extraordinary intellect and ego pushes him further away from his humanity, symbolised in his isolated Antarctic retreat Karnak where he hatches his mad plan. Through his narration, his actions almost become understandable while he even seems sympathetic at times, which is really scary as he's the villain of the story.
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