Optimous Douche Gets (a lil) Smarter BEFORE WATCHMEN OZYMANDIAS 2 Review


before watchmen ozymandias 2 review


Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Jae Lee
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Optimous Douche (email me, I’m lonely)

Now the real war begins. We fought the broad battle of the BEFORE WATCHMEN “haters” versus the “let’s see how it goes” factions in concept alone. It seems to have split the comic populace down a 50/50 divide. I chose my “let’s see” loyalties early, vowing never to shit on any comic before reading it.

So while I don’t know what’s going on in the hater camp except the ineffective SCUD missile volleys at us “lets’ see” folks of FUCK BEFORE WATCHMEN with no follow-up; I can say with certainty that the “let’s see” camp is now hearing the sound of war drums from within our own ranks as we begin infighting based on the merits of each individual title.

As we sit around the campfire at night, regaling one another with our adventures in each book, clear patterns are starting to form. SILK SPECTRE seems to be overwhelmingly doing no wrong; it’s our common denominator of comic goodness. Other titles like NITE OWL, MINUTEMEN and COMEDIAN seem to be leaving us all in fifty shades of emotional gray eliciting neither undying admiration nor vehement hatred, a plethora of “meh’s” seem to sing out in chorus at the mention of these books. OZYMANDIAS though, has made us more polarized then a pair of your Grandmother’s gigantic Blue Blockers. Love or loathe seems to be the only options when it comes to OZYMANDIAS’ back story.

Sadly, it took me until this issue to gain clarity on why my comrades in arms are either spitting on this book or wanting to give it the proverbial “moosh moosh” before bed at night. OZYMANDIAS breaks the fundamental rule of good storytelling; it tells much more than it shows.

Personally, I like illustrated novels, so heavy narrative doesn’t really “bug” me. However, I fully understand that comics are their own medium and as art has improved over the years narrative boxes have become less and less important. I don’t fault my fellow camp mates for this type of presentation bristling their comic sensibilities. I was giving OZYMANDIAS leeway with issue one, exposition issues tend to be narrative heavy to pack in the character’s back story and moment before (or in this case, forward story, and moment after in WATCHMEN) and to set-up the action for subsequent issues. But when Issue 2 followed in suit as OZYMANDIAS officially dons his purple and gold to strike fear in the hearts of the rapscallions who fed his girlfriend’s taste for the white powder, I started to realize the narrative could be a conscious and insightful choice on the part of Wein.

Where would the smartest man in the world choose to live? He would be a man who lived in his own thoughts, even when directly interacting with other people. Why? Because he is Jane Goodall, and humans are the apes he must live with.  As an only child, I relate to OZYMANDIAS. Growing up, I often found myself lost amongst my peers pining for more adult interactions every day at school. I’m no OZYMANDIAS, but I lived in my head on a daily basis, using my imagination as an escape from the perceived lesser minds around me. I lived my life as a narrative, because the cacophony of child chatter around me was uninspired and uninteresting.

Maybe this isn’t a conscious choice on the part of Wein, but I know matter-of-factly that each creator put a lot of thought into this project because any missteps would be met with exponentially harsher scrutiny given how people covet the source material versus other books.

Despite being short on dialog bubbles, Jae Lee keeps the issue moving at a rapid pace. As OZYMANDIAS’ mind races Lee breaks panel boundaries to present encompassing scene-scapes as broad as OZYMANDIUS’ thought. In one brilliant panel, Lee makes thought kinetic bombarding OZYMANDIAS’ eye with formulas and symbology as he sizes up his next attack. One small panel, a perfect embodiment of what makes OZYMANDIAS the king of WATCHMEN kings.


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