"Look On My Works, Ye Mighty...": Rorschach and Nite-Owl approach Karnak as they discuss Adrian Veidt's agenda and his unexplained reasons for wanting to destroy the world.
- Do it? Dan, I'm not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.
Appearing in "Look On My Works, Ye Mighty..."
- Aline (Dies)
- Bernard (Dies)
- Bernie (Dies)
- Gloria Long (Dies)
- Joey (Dies)
- Malcolm Long (Dies)
- New York City Police Department
- Detective Steven Fine (Dies)
- Detective Joe Bourquin (Dies)
Synopsis for "Look On My Works, Ye Mighty..."
Rorschach and Nite-Owl approach Karnak as they discuss Adrian Veidt's agenda and his unexplained reasons for wanting to destroy the world.
Inside the retreat, Veidt gets up from his bank of television monitors and heads into a control room. He then pushes a button on the console next to a time gauge that reads "Eastern Standard Time: 11:25" before communicating to his associates that his work is done and to meet him in his vivarium to celebrate.
Veidt then recounts to his friends his life story. He was born in 1939, the same year his parents immigrated to America. He was a very intelligent young man, but he hid his intelligence from his teachers and parents by deliberately achieving average grades. By age seventeen, his parents died and he inherited their vast fortune. However, he chose to give it all to charity to prove what someone could accomplish from nothing. He idolized Alexander the Great and decided to measure his greatness against him by retracing the steps of his hero in which he traveled throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia. On his return, he adopts the name Ozymandias, the Greek name for Pharaoh Ramses II, and starts his career as a costumed hero to fight all the evils of the world. As Veidt finishes his story, he turns to his associates, which he has apparently poisoned, then opens the vivarium dome letting a blizzard of snow into its tropical enclosure.
Rorschach and Nite-Owl finally arrive at Karnak and eventually confront Veidt. A brief melee ensues, but Veidt subdues both of his attackers with precision. Nite-Owl asks Veidt what he's trying to do. He explains that he realized fighting crime could never rid the world of evil, as he had been fighting only the "symptoms, leaving the disease itself unchecked." Then at the ill-fated Crimebusters meeting, he realized that The Comedian was right when he said it was pointless to form a crime-fighting team when nuclear war was inevitable. With the Cold War escalating and the proliferation of more arms - all of which are exacerbated by Dr. Manhattan's existence, he realized the military deadlock would eventually lead to one final conflict. For the last ten years, Veidt formulated his plan to solve this dilemma by tricking the world; frightening humanity into salvation with "history's greatest practical joke."
Veidt knew that Manhattan has to be out of the way of his plan first. He gave all of Jon Osterman's associates cancer which forced him into his exile. With the new technology that Manhattan had brought to the world, Veidt began to research advancements in the fields of genetics and teleportation on his private island. The Comedian discovered his island by accident while returning from Nicaragua. Initially believing to be a Sandinista base, Blake went to investigate and found a collection of artists and scientists working on a "monstrous new life form." Upon learning the creature's intended purpose, Blake was severely traumatized. But he was too afraid to expose the plot, and Blake only told Moloch, who he knew wouldn't understand. Since Veidt had Moloch's apartment bugged, he personally killed Blake before he could tell anyone else of Veidt's master plan: to frighten the world's governments into cooperation against a false alien threat designed by Veidt.
After killing Blake and ridding Manhattan, Veidt orchestrated his own assassination attempt in order to throw Rorschach's suspicion off of himself. He was also responsible for pushing a cyanide capsule into Roy Chess's mouth after subduing him to prevent him from talking as well. Veidt would finally teleport his life form, whose brain was cloned from a powerful psychic, into New York City. Since teleporting technology was limited, anything living that is transported would die of shock and explode. The ensuing psychic shockwave would kill half of the city's populace.
Nite-Owl is left deeply skeptical of Veidt's plans and asking him when he had planned on perpetrating this outlandish scheme while under the belief that he and Rorschach are here to prevent what he is about to do. Veidt replies that he didn't "do it." He already did it "thirty-five minutes ago."
In New York, the news vendor complains about the loud music being played by the Pale Horse band coming from Madison Square Garden that is being attended by knot-tops. He soon stops his rant when he sees Aline, Joey's ex-girlfriend. Aline ask him if he saw Joey, which he haven't. So she decide to wait outside the Promethean where Joey works. Joey soon steps out and is not thrilled to see Aline, whose middle-class lifestyle and mannerism clashes with Joey's. The former couple attempt to salvage their relationship, but only to fall apart; Aline attempts to give her a book about relationships to help Joey understand what happened to them, and Joey complains that she just wanted to go to bed with her one time. Joey angrily tears the book apart and begins to fight Aline.
Meanwhile, Gloria Long meets Malcolm and tries to make amends with him. She admits she misses him, but cannot live with someone who fell driven to help hopeless cases that affect their marriage. But Malcolm then notice Joey's fight and tries to stop what she's doing against his wife's wishes.
The vendor talks to the kid reading Tales of the Black Freighter and is surprised to learn the kid's name is "Bernie", short for Bernard which is also the vendor's real name. But Bernie doesn't care too much since it's a common name. Bernard then notices Joey's fight with Aline. This is also seen by Detectives Steven Fine and Joe Bourquin, who are just passing by in their car. Fine, who has been suspended, stops the car and interferes with the fight over Bourquin's objections. The scene also attracts Joey's boss and his brother, the Gordian Knot technician who fixed Dan Dreiberg's lock.
Just as everyone tries to break up Joey from Aline, they pause in stunned horror when they see a large bright, blinding light emerge from the Institute for Extraspatial Studies building. Bernard and Bernie are closer to the building and the vendor attempts to shield the boy from harm as the light engulfs them and everyone nearby.
Tales of the Black Freighter
The mariner rides into Davidstown and enters his own home, expecting to find pirates occupying it. In the darkness, he attacks a woken figure to be a pirate. But he stops when he is discover by his own children and the figure he was beating is his wife. The mariner reel in horror of what he just done before fleeing from his house and the town. He runs back to the beach as he wonder how he could have mistaken the black freighter's nonexistence arrival. The revelation soon unfolds which he sees the very ship waiting out in the water. The mariner then realizes that the black freighter didn't came for Davidstown at all, but for the mariner himself. He then willingly swims towards the massive ship and joins her crew.
Appearing in "After the Masquerade"
- Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt)
- Doug Roth
Synopsis for "After the Masquerade"
In 1975, Doug Roth, a reporter for the Nova Express, conduct an interview with Adrian Veidt at his Antarctic retreat Karnak. Throughout the interview, Veidt recounts his life story from his humble beginnings as a costumed hero to his retirement, his interest in subjects such as futurology and electronic music, and his views on his fellow costumed adventurers. Veidt finish his interview by saying that the public may see him as the smartest man in the world, he "wish it wasn't this one."
- The title of this issue is from Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Ozymandias. A passage appears at the end of the issue: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
- On the cover of the issue, the clear patch on the side of Veidt's vivarium is a perfect replica of the shape of the blood spatter on The Comedian's smiley face badge.
- On page 16, panel 3, the smiley face can be seen in Veidt's plate. Morsels of food make the eyes, with Adrian's fork representing the blood splatter.
- On page 28, when the "alien" is teleported to New York, and the world turns to white, Bernard and Bernie incinerate together, and their silhouettes meld together to form the blood stain.
- Rorschach is seen unpeeling a sugar cube (11:3:3) that he took from Dan when he visited to warn him of the mask killer in issue #1.
- Joey derogatorily refers Aline's workplace "with a bunch of guppies." The term "guppie" is slang for "gay urban professional," an analogue to "yuppie."
- The book Joey is tearing is Knots, a 1970 book of poetry by R. D. Laing.
- Veidt's recalling of his first encounter with The Comedian and their ensuing fight in which the latter "mistaking (Veidt) for a criminal" is based on the older cliches of comic books in which heroes fight each other on mistaken pretenses.
- The Comedian's presence at Dallas when John F. Kennedy was assassinated according to Veidt seem to confirm that he was integral in the JFK assassination.
- Veidt's remark of not being a "Republic serial villain" is a reference to how villains in 1940's movie serials were infamous for explaining their schemes to the heroes, allowing the heroes to foil them. "Republic" is a reference to Republic Pictures Corporation, an American film production company that was famous for its Westerns, B-movies, and serials.
- The C.R.E.E.P. acronym mentioned in Veidt's opening statement of "After the Masquerade" was, in reality, the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, abbreviated as CRP by Nixon's campaign but circumvented by his adversaries through the CREEP moniker. It was a fundraising organization for Nixon's second term as President. C.R.E.E.P. was directly involved with the Watergate scandal that eventually brought President Nixon down, in our reality.
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