Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 8/10

Before Watchmen: Ozymandias

Before Watchmen: Crimson Corsair

Comic Info

Comic Name:  DC Comics

Publisher:  Before Watchmen:  Ozymandias/Before Watchmen: Dollar Bill/Before Watchmen:  Minutemen/Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre/Before Watchmen: Comedian/Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Before Watchmen: Rorschach/Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan/Before Watchmen: Moloch

Writer:  Len Wein/John Higgins

Artist:  Jae Lee/John Higgins/Steve Rude

# of Issues:  31

Release Date:  2013


Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #4

Reprints Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1-6, Before Watchmen: Dollar Bill #1, Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1-5, Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #1-4, Before Watchmen: Comedian #1-4, Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #1-3, Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1-3, Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #1-3, and Before Watchmen: Moloch #1-2 (September 2012-March 2013).  Adrian Veidt begins his quest to save the world from itself…and nothing will stand in the way.  Dollar Bill goes from normal life to superhero among the Minutemen.  Gordon McClachlan finds himself trapped upon the Flying Dutchman and in a quest to escape the Crimson Corsair.

Written by Len Wein (with help from John Higgins on Before Watchmen:  Crimson Corsair), Before Watchmen:  Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair was part of a prequel to Alan Moore’s 1986-1987 classic WatchmenBefore Watchmen:  Ozymandias was illustrated by Jae Lee, Before Watchmen:  Dollar Bill was illustrated by Steve Rude, and Before Watchmen:  Crimson Corsair collected the back-up stories which ran as back-up within many of the series.  The rest of the issues were collected in Before Watchmen:  Comedian/Rorschach, Before Watchmen:  Minutemen/Silk Spectre, and Before Watchmen:  Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan.

I love Watchmen and much like many fans, was real worried when the plans for the Alan Moore-less Before Watchmen series were released.  Watchmen was such a classic and solid piece of work that it didn’t really need expanding.  Before Watchmen has its moments, but most of the series could have been shelved.

The best story in this volume (and one of the best of the Before Watchmen series) is Before Watchmen: Ozymandias.  The series has great art by Jae Lee and does a decent job filling in the gaps which led Ozymandias to save the world.  Ozymandias is a fun odd character and he was worth exploring.


Before Watchmen: Dollar Bill #1

The second collection in the book is the Crimson Corsair which was a back-up in the stories.  The story ties in to the back-up in Watchmen which tells the story of the Tales of the Black Freighter.  The story is broken into three parts and each part contains a number of smaller chapters.  With the divided tale, it would be difficult for the readers to follow it unless they picked up every issue of Before Watchmen, but here, the repetition and pacing of the story is also screwed up due to the original division.  It isn’t a fun story and tries to be deep.

Before Watchmen:  Dollar Bill is a fun stand-alone story which expands on the Minutemen character.  The story is rather typical, and feels like an Astro City story in its pacing and story subject.  Steve Rude’s illustration is good and it would have been nice to see more stories about the individual Minutemen.

Before Watchmen wasn’t perfect and Before Watchmen:  Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair shows the strengths of the idea and weaknesses.   While it is nice to have some background on the story (like Before Watchmen:  Ozymandias), it isn’t very necessary (like Before Watchmen:  Dollar Bill) and even tedious (like Before Watchmen:  Crimson Corsair).  If you are a fan of the original Watchmen, it is worth checking out for curiosity, but don’t expect to find the magic of Watchmen again.

Related Links:


Watchmen (2009)

Watchmen:  The End Is Nigh

Before Watchmen:  Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan

Before Watchmen:  Comedian/Rorschach

Before Watchmen:  Minutemen/Silk Spectre


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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