Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair
ISBN: 9781401245153 Global Overview for this book
1 journaler for this copy...
Later: I enjoyed this very much - and even if the backstories aren't official canon, they do seem to meld pretty well with the known "Watchmen" world, especially Ozymandias' section. The events in his background that led to his attempts to make the world a better place - at any cost, even perhaps too great a cost - made some sense, as did the ways in which he used his innate genius to make himself physically perfect and fabulously wealthy. His story does feature some missteps and some examples of callous treatment of others - he sees things in the large view and has no issue with collateral damage, or with taking out anyone who's likely to interfere with his plans. His story ends just before the incidents of Watchmen kick in; whether it's more fun to read this story without knowing what happens next or after seeing it all play out is an interesting question, and I regret not being able to try it both ways!
The "Crimson Corsair" was a backup story that was cut short - rather a pity, as the setup's very, very dark and grisly, and could have led to some intriguing storylines. Effectively, a naive young man boards a ship, finds himself at odds with a cruel captain, and is flogged for attempting mutiny - just in time for an attack by a Spanish ship to send him and his ship to the bottom. He finds himself alive but on the deck of an eerie, spectre-haunted ship - the Flying Dutchman, as it happens - with his soul taken hostage, and with a bizarre set of tasks to fulfill if he wants to regain his soul. The quest takes him on board a slaver, where his lot lies with the captives - but his failure to save them sends him farther into despair, even as it gains him one of the necessary items for his quest. Another tale sets him in a Mayan-type civilization where the priests are ripping the hearts from the surviving crew - this gets even grislier when the worst of the crew is skinned alive. There's the pit with the giant snakes, the cells where victims are covered in molten gold, the ongoing vengeance of the flayed man and the bereft slave woman... our poor protagonist has a lot to deal with... The culmination of this one wasn't all that surprising, though the wrapup did feel a bit hasty. Very dark artwork here, doom-laden and creepy.
As contrast for all that horror, the final story deals with "Dollar Bill", a good-looking former athlete and failed actor who gets a gig as a costumed advertising icon - and becomes so popular that the "Minute Men", the first group of heroes from "Watchmen", ask him to join them. Things go well for a while, with him actually learning some hero-skills - and then his cape gets caught in that pesky revolving door... (I swear I'm not making this up.) It's oddly touching, in-story, though also rather amusing.
[There's a TV Tropes page on the series, with some entertaining tidbits.]
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
I left this book in the Little Free Library beside City Hall; hope someone enjoys it!
[See other recent releases in NH here.]
*** Released for the 2020 Talk Like a Pirate challenge, in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19. Arrghh! ***