In the latest of Digital Spy's comprehensive series of reviews of DC Comics' Before Watchmen prequels, we take a look at Ozymandias #4.
Who's it by?
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #4 is written by Len Wein and illustrated by Jae Lee. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair back-up is written and drawn by original series colourist John Higgins.
We enter the 1960s era of the Watchmen universe and Adrian Veidt offers a running commentary on historic events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis as well as the rise of a new generation of crimefighters. Writer Len Wein revisits events from the original Watchmen series, such as an infamous Crimebusters meeting where the Comedian causes a stir, and examines them from an alternate perspective.
What's the verdict?
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias has shown flashes of promise, but feels like it's been treading water for a couple of issues now. Adrian Veidt's role in issue #4 is largely a passive one as he provides an insightful commentary on everything from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the assassination of President Kennedy.
The series is growing increasingly brooding in tone and Veidt's narrative is compelling at times, even though he spends a sizeable portion of the issue mulling over events fans of the original Watchmen are already familiar with.
We felt a sense of anticipation when Veidt began commentating on the Kennedy assassination. Who wouldn't be interested in the smartest man in the world's interpretation of one of the most discussed conspiracy theories of all time? But his conclusion is somewhat anti-climactic.
As mentioned previously, Veidt is more of an observer throughout the fourth chapter, but Wein felt the need to open with a fight scene that adds little to the overall story. That said, we can hardly blame him for attempting to up the pace of an otherwise sedate entry in the series.
Disappointingly, the closing scene of the comic is a complete rehash of the Crimebusters meeting from the original series, with almost word-for-world dialogue. Although the reader is given a little more insight into Veidt's feeling here, this sense of deja vu has been all too prevalent in Before Watchmen.
Jae Lee's artwork remains the book's selling point. There were few opportunities for him to really shine in this issue given Veidt's passive role, but his moody character designs lend the series a sense of solemnity that is lacking in other Before Watchmen titles.
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #4 does little to pull the series out of its lull, but it has its redeeming features. Lee remains in solid form and Wein's writing is certainly atmospheric, even though the overarching story could have been more compelling.
> Buy the digital version of Before Watchmen: Ozmandias #4
> Read our Before Watchmen interview with Dan DiDio
Watch a trailer for Before Watchmen below: