Ozymandias has been one of the stronger books in the Before Watchmen stable, with particularly good art by Jae Lee. The miniseries hits the halfway point with issue three. Here’s the official description from DC:
“If a man has the opportunity to do good, he’s obliged to take it.” Plus: The latest chapter in the CRIMSON CORSAIR backup adventure from writer and artist JOHN HIGGINS!
Ozymandias has been heavy on text from the start, and that’s also the case here. The difference is that it feels needlessly text heavy, without serving the story or the character. There’s also quite a bit of telling when there should be showing, such as when Adrian loses his fight with the Comedian, only to tell us afterward that he lost intentionally. While it’s a believable tactic, the way Adrian reveals it is not.
Luckily, Len Wein‘s writing improves over the course of the issue. While some of the plotting is clunky right ’til the end, Adrian’s wearily arrogant behavior and the hints of his increasingly sinister nature are excellent. His exchanges with his assistant, Marla, are also great. The character is very much a female Alfred Pennyworth to Adrian’s Bruce Wayne. And let’s face it: everyone loves Alfred.
Jae Lee’s artwork is sublime, as usual. The action scenes are still stiff and the layouts are growing repetitive, but the inking is absolutely masterful. The feathery borders between the lighted and shadowed portions of the figures are amazing. (Check out the stack of newspapers Marla is holding in her first appearance – lovely.) He also lends some of the figures an Art Deco feel that suits not only Ozymandias’ character, but also the time period in which the book is set (more or less).
Ozymandias #3 may not be on the same level as the series’ stellar second issue, but it’s very good nonetheless, and Jae Lee remains an inspired choice for the series’ artist.