- To answer your question, you get to be a superhero by believing in the hero within you and summoning him or her forth by an act of will.
- — Ozymandias src
Adrian Alexander Veidt, also known as Ozymandias, is the smartest man alive and former costumed crime-fighter. After vigilantism had been outlawed, Veidt retired from heroics and became a businessman, but his ambitions were always greater. He saved the world from nuclear armageddon by slaughtering millions and claiming it to be an alien invasion, but when it was revealed to be a hoax and war began, Veidt traveled to Prime Earth to find Doctor Manhattan, the only one who could save their world. He succeeded, and saved the world once more, but was imprisoned for his actions.
Adrian Veidt was born in 1939, the son of rich immigrant parents, he was found to be incredibly intelligent. After his parents and his teachers became suspicious of his grades, he successfully hid his intelligence by deliberately achieving average grades. After his parents' deaths, he inherited their substantial fortune at age 17, but chose to give it all to charity. Veidt then embarked on a vision quest, following the route of Alexander the Great - a childhood idol - throughout the Mediterranean, Asia Minor, and former ancient Persia.
It was during this journey that he consumed a ball of hashish and decided to become a superhero. Returning to America, he named himself "Ozymandias" and became a costumed vigilante, focusing particularly on organized crime and earning a reputation as "the smartest man on the planet." However, his own cases robbed him of the idealistic belief that battling crime would truly lessen evil and suffering in the world. This was brought to a head when an abortive attempt to organize a new superhero team was disrupted by the Comedian, who noted in his brutally apt way exactly how petty the doings of the costumed heroes were in a world where the threat of nuclear war hung overhead, and how powerless they were to stop it. Veidt was inspired to do just that.
Retirement and Comedian's Murder
In 1975, two years before vigilante crime fighters were banned by the "Keene Act," Veidt retired from superheroism, marketing his image for money. This helps bankroll his scheme of creating a catastrophic event and deceive the world into uniting against a common enemy, in Veidt's case, a horrific alien invasion. To that end, he employed geneticists to clone the stolen brain of a murdered psychic and use it to create such a creature with a group of artists and creative personnel to help create the illusion. He also invents a limited form of teleportation based in part on the studies of (and studies by) Doctor Manhattan. Upon completion, he arranged the murder of all of his accomplices to maintain the illusion.
To prevent Doctor Manhattan from interfering, he hired old associates of the superhero and secretly exposed them to radiation to induce terminal cancer in them, then engineered a rumor that Manhattan was responsible, causing Doctor Manhattan to exile himself to Mars and thereby setting off a chain of events that threaten to start a global war. When the Comedian inadvertently learned of Veidt's plans, Veidt personally murdered him as well. The death of the Comedian caught the attention of Rorschach, who investigated the crime and mistakenly theorized that there existed a conspiracy to murder masked adventurers. Although Veidt arranged an assassination attempt on himself to throw off suspicion, he framed Rorschach on a murder charge to get him out of the way.
Unknown to him, the current Nite-Owl and Silk Spectre grew to believe that Rorschach's investigation had merit and sprung him from prison to investigate the matter. In addition, Dr. Manhattan took Silk Spectre to Mars where she convinced him to return to Earth.
However, the superheroes were unable to stop the fulfillment of Veidt's scheme, which led to the deaths of over three million people in New York City. The world governments fell for this ruse and agreed to a union to oppose this new alien menace. Seeing as how Veidt's plot had the desired effect of uniting the nations of the world and averting a possible nuclear war, Doctor Manhattan, Nite-Owl and Silk Spectre agree to keep silent about what they know, as it would only plunge the world back to the brink of disaster. Rorschach alone refuses to keep silent, telling Doctor Manhattan that he will never compromise, not even in the face of Armageddon, Doctor Manhattan must kill Rorschach before he can tell anybody what he knows, and does so. When Veidt asks the precognitive Doctor Manhattan for verification that he did "the right thing" and that his plans "worked out in the end," Doctor Manhattan can only reply that nothing ever ends, leaving Veidt once again in doubt as to whether or not his plan was successful.
When Veidt's plan to unite the world failed after Rorshachs' journal was published, he went underground. He allied with Rorshach's successor Reginald Long to save the world, which had become chaotic after the departure of Doctor Manhattan. To that end, he had been trying to seek out Manhattan, who he believed could restore order in the world. Veidt discovered he was able to track Manhattan by following his electron trail. After rebuilding the Owl Ship to withstand quantum tunneling, Veidt was able to transport himself to the universe Manhattan had traveled to. After arriving in this mysterious new world both alike and unlike his own, Veidt sought out Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne, the two smartest men in this world, to aid him in his journey of finding Doctor Manhattan. He then informs Luthor of his attempt to unite the world before The Comedian, somehow back from the dead and on Prime Earth, attempts to kill Veidt. Veidt and The Comedian fought, and eventually Veidt jumped out the window and collapsed on top of a car. The Comedian escaped and Veidt was taken to the hospital, accused of being an assassin trying to purposely kill Lex Luthor.
He wakes up in the hospital, escapes, and returns to the Owl Ship after retrieving Bubastis and his costume. There, he meets Batman, who was waiting for him. He threw Batman out of the Owl Ship, onto a group of violent protesters. He picks up Johnny Thunder, Rorschach II, and Saturn Girl in the Owl Ship and uses the Green Lantern and Bubastis to summon Dr. Manhattan. Manhattan reveals that he never had cancer and Veidt confesses that he lied to recruit Reggie to his cause. He also reveals that Korvacs broke Reggie's father and that he and Reggie's mother separated. After Jon leaves, Reggie beats him up. Veidt then attacks Irma and Johnny and takes them hostage. Veidt reveals that he leaked Stein's involvement in the Superman theory to Pohzar to put strain on Firestorm and that he and Bubastis caused the explosion in Russia to frame Superman and Firestorm, all in a desperate attempt to save Prime Earth and the Watchmen earth.
After he realizes that Jon had undone his alterations to the timeline on Prime Earth, he remarks that he succeeded again. He also let Batman take the evidence on his ship to expose the truth of his involvement in Firestorm's explosion. Veidt is then teleported to Jon's location where he is shot by The Comedian. He is however saved from bleeding out by Long, who refuses to allow Adrian to become a martyr for his own ego and intends to see him punished for his crimes. Jon Takes him back to their universe, preventing the nuclear holocaust from ever happening. Veidt is then placed under arrest and imprisoned in the building that was once his own corporate headquarters. His past actions lead to an orphan named Cleopatra Pak becoming obsessed with his life and she adopts Bubastis II, calling herself "Nostalgia" when she becomes 16-year old.
Powers and Abilities
- Genius Level Intellect: Veidt is referred to as the smartest man alive. His mental performance allows his mind to operate in the most efficient and rapid manner possible. His mind also processes information quickly, giving him an accelerated learning aptitude.
- Eidetic Memory: Veidt also possesses an eidetic memory, meaning that he never forgets anything and has perfect recall.
- Historiography: Veidt is extremely well versed in history, especially the life of Alexander The Great who he regards as his idol and the works of Egyptian Pharaoh's.
- Mechanical Engineering: Veidt is an excellent engineer, able to design extremely advanced machinery.
- Multilingualism: Veidt is fluent in English, Turkish, German, Russian, and various other unspecified languages.
- Physics: Veidt is an expert in physics, even able to block Dr. Manhattan's ability to see the future.
- Tactical Analysis: He had been widely considered one of, if not the greatest, tacticians on the planet. One manifestation of this is his tactical genius; the ability to quickly process multiple information streams, rapidly respond to changing tactical situations, and calculate all possibilities, eliminating coincidence from the equation. When viewing a wall filled floor to ceiling with television screens, each showing a different image, he can pay attention to each one simultaneously. From the juxtaposition of these numerous images, he can deftly paint a picture of the current political and social climate, from which he can predict future trends and make plans. 
- Body Reading Ability: Can read body language to the point of being able to mentally calculate physical reaction times, anticipate the pull of a trigger, and reflexively catch a bullet. 
- Martial Arts: Veidt is an expert in hand-to-hand combat being very skilled in multiple martial arts. He is able to hold off both Nite-Owl and Rorschach at the same time and match The Comedian.
- Acrobatics: His years of training and experience have made him an expert acrobat, even in his late 40s.
- Peak Human Condition: Veidt is at the peak of physical ability in strength, speed, agility, reflexes, and durability. His condition has allowed him to easily defeat Rorschach, Nite Owl and The Comedian in hand to hand combat, engage in acrobatics competitions in middle age and even catch a bullet fired at him, a feat that even he seemed surprised by. His abilities are such that even Rorschach is wary of facing him in combat.
- Throwing: Veidt can throw stilettos with unerring accuracy and power, able to block The Comedian's gun barrel before he could shoot.
- Business Management: Veidt is a remarkably gifted businessman and financial analyst. He created a vast billion-dollar International corporation.
- Indomitable Will: Veidt is extremely determined and focused on his goals and will pursue them at any cost. He has cited this above all else as the main reason his remarkable success and physical gifts.
- Stilettos - Ozymandias carries around golden stilettos concealed in sheaths on his gauntlets.
- Ozymandias is based on the Charlton Comics character Thunderbolt. Alan Moore had liked the idea of a character who "us[ed] the full 100% of his brain" and "[had] complete physical and mental control."
- Ozymandias' name is a reference to the Greek name of Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II.
- The original Watchmen comic implied a few times that Veidt was homosexual, but Before Watchmen disputed this and instead revealed him to be bisexual.
- 37 Appearances of Adrian Veidt (Watchmen)
- 18 Images featuring Adrian Veidt (Watchmen)
- 9 Quotations by or about Adrian Veidt (Watchmen)
- Character Gallery: Adrian Veidt (Watchmen)
- Watchmen #2
- Watchmen #3
- Watchmen #12
- Doomsday Clock #1
- Doomsday Clock #2
- Doomsday Clock #3
- Doomsday Clock #5
- Doomsday Clock #7
- Doomsday Clock #11
- Doomsday Clock #12
- Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #2
- Watchmen #10
- Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #3
- Cooke, Jon B. "Alan Moore discusses the Charlton-Watchmen Connection". Comic Book Artist #9