Adrian Veidt (b. 1939), part of the second generation of American vigilantes, is Ozymandias, the "Smartest Man in the World," a self-made tycoon, and a supreme master of martial, acrobatic, and metaphysical arts.

Veidt's parents immigrated to America the same year he was born. As a child, he proved "too bright" in school, rousing suspicion, and "decided" to "play" at being average. His parents were fabulously successful, and, when Veidt was 17, they bequeathed him an impressive fortune which he literally gave away "to demonstrate the possibility of achieving anything from nothing."

In the first phase of his heroic quest, Veidt then traveled the path of the exploits of Alexander the Great, whom he idolized. During this "adventurer" phase, he spent time in Tibet. He had a hashish-induced vision of Pharaoh Rameses II [the historic Ozymandias] in Alexandria, Egypt, that inspired the second phase of his heroic quest. This phase led him first to a career of crimefighting and later inspired his role as the world's savior/conqueror. His aim was "to apply antiquity's teachings to today's world."

Ozymandias, 1966

Adrian Veidt, 1985

Ozymandias retired from vigilantism before passage of the Keene Act of 1977 and went public with his true identity. He presented himself then as a master showman and wealthy philanthropist. He owns multiple businesses through his corporation, capitalizing on everything from children's toys to designer fragrances to self-help programs to scientific research to arts programs.

Determining that the true evils of the world--the arms race, the ecological crisis, and rampant world poverty--would never be solved merely through vigilantism, he "secretly" owns and manipulates media outlets, a scientific/artistic "think tank," and an international delivery business. Each of these covert, seemingly unrelated enterprises further his true ambition and master scheme: saving the world from itself. His elaborate scheme ultimately involves the murder of the Comedian (Edward Blake), the exile of Dr. Manhattan (Jon Osterman), the imprisonment and eventual death of Rorschach (Walter Kovacs), and mass murder.

In the end, he ostensibly succeeds in promoting world peace and prosperity through his personal "vision of a united world"--a goal so many, including Alexander, had always failed to achieve.

QUOTATION: "I don't mind being the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one"