Off My Head: Is Ozymandias a hero or a villain?

When I hosted Comic Vine's 2011 top 100 Superhero and Super-villain Lists, me and another user noted that there was a character who was nominated for both lists. Ozymandias, as anyone who has read Watchmen knows, is a character who planned out and initiated a plot to trick the nations of the world into working together. To do this, he killed millions with a false alien invasion.

In taking all the nominations for both community project lists, I asked the nominators to write a little something to show why they thought their characters were a hero or a villain. For the hero list, I believe it was Jekylhyde14 who wrote:

You don’t often get a character who is both the ultimate hero and villain of his piece. Ozymandias saves his world but, in doing so, becomes a terrible monster. In many ways this makes him the perfect statement about superheroes in the Post-Modern world. We don’t believe you can save the day without doing something horrible. Some will argue that the man has no personality, but his superiority complex, arrogance, and the weight he carries his decision with make him very real to me. Like Alexander the Great, he tries to unite the world with violence.

In contrast, chalkshark nominated Adrian Veidt and wrote:

He kept the world from nuclear annihilation, & he only had to kill millions of innocent civilians to do it. If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, than surely Adrian Veidt has come to the end of it. Saving the world may have been his agenda, but his methods are horrific, & in the ambiguous world of the Watchmen, his "success" is by no means absolute, or even certain. In his hubris, Veidt has not accounted for all factors, one of which, teased at the end of the novel, has the potential to undo all his "good deeds". Despite the nobility of his goal, for who can argue against stopping a nuclear war, Veidt plays the villain to the hilt in achieving it. He murders anyone who could reveal his scheme, whether it's the Comedian, who just stumbled onto what was happening, or trusted aides, who helped him in carrying out his plan. Still, it's hard to distinguish a few drops in an ocean of blood. While he may have aspired to be the hero the world needed, he had to be the villain to get there.

I always love seeing different perspectives on topics. He is #53 on the Villain list and #11 on the Hero list, but this doesn't mean too much as the system of collecting and counting votes changed between the two lists.

Adrian was once considered a hero earlier in his life, so is he still considered a hero even though he killed millions? or is he a villain because of what he did? What do you think?

34 Comments
34 Comments
Posted by The Poet

kick! anyone have any opinions?

Moderator
Posted by InnerVenom123

He thinks he's a hero but he's a villain.

Posted by The Poet

@InnerVenom123 said:

He thinks he's a hero but he's a villain.

cool

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Posted by TheBane2890

The readers believe him to be the villain when in fact he is the Hero!

Posted by The Poet

@TheBane2890 said:

The readers believe him to be the villain when in fact he is the Hero!

hmm...that's interesting...

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Posted by ReVamp

None.

Posted by The Poet

@ReVamp said:

None.

so you're taking the middle road? interesting...

Moderator
Posted by ReVamp

@The Poet said:

@ReVamp said:

None.

so you're taking the middle road? interesting...

Its the "doing a good thing in a bad way". Kinda like Huntress, or Todd.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

One simply cannot justify the killing of millions in order to save billions. Even just the taking of one life to make for a greater good perverts the very mission of what its intended outcome was. Yes, he halted the Cold War, but by his philosophy the same was uttered once during the Vietnam War when an Army captain said "We had to destroy the village in order to save it." No, he's a villain no matter how one looks at it, for it was still wrong what he did, even if in the end it did bring peace for the whole world, a faulty peace that, when left to our interpretation, can be shaken at any moment anyone finds out the truth of what Veidt did.

Posted by The Poet

@RedheadedAtrocitus said:

One simply cannot justify the killing of millions in order to save billions. Even just the taking of one life to make for a greater good perverts the very mission of what its intended outcome was. Yes, he halted the Cold War, but by his philosophy the same was uttered once during the Vietnam War when an Army captain said "We had to destroy the village in order to save it." No, he's a villain no matter how one looks at it, for it was still wrong what he did, even if in the end it did bring peace for the whole world, a faulty peace that, when left to our interpretation, can be shaken at any moment anyone finds out the truth of what Veidt did.

might I say...I love seeing perspectives like this...

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Posted by OmegaTheDestroyer

Anti-Villian.

Posted by Kal'smahboi

He's a villain. An explanation of his actions do not make them right.

Posted by The Poet

@Kal'smahboi said:

He's a villain. An explanation of his actions do not make them right.

@OmegaTheDestroyer said:

Anti-Villian.

iinteresting indeed!

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Posted by Mutant God

Villian

Posted by The Poet

I would love to see what the general opinions of this character lie, so I'll keep track...

Villain: 4

Hero: 1

Anti-hero: 2

Moderator
Posted by kingjoeg

He had to be a villain in order to save the world.

Edited by BlackArmor
He's a hero
Posted by OmegaTheDestroyer

he's an anti-Villian much like Magneto.

Posted by Galathanos
What he did was terrible, villain for sure
Posted by SC

Villain. 
 
Guilty of wickedness and of many crimes, not that he doesn't have many heroic qualities or proved more effective of saving a lot of lives in one quantifiable, demonstrated way, more than a lot of heroes, people who claim to be heroes, or people who just aren't villains, but I can't dismiss the notion that there were alternatives to his actions as far as avoiding a nuclear war, and for someone who demonstrated the cunning and planning as him, not out of the realms of his capabilities unless you factor in all his personal flaws and idiosyncrasies. Not to mention you can't really save the world, you can just prevent its destruction and that destruction itself can come in many forms, sizes and variables and its setbacks, catalysts can carve the ways for new problems, and new solutions. So essentially I view him as a villain because he was smart, but not smart enough to overcome his own personality and ego issues and collaborate a more foolproof and superior plan, his reasoning had too many holes, he's like a more realistic version of Dr Doom (or at least set in a more limited fictional universe designed to imitate reality a bit more) 

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Posted by The Poet

Villain: 6

Hero: 2

Anti-hero/Anti-villain:4

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Posted by kfhrfdu_89_76k
Posted by Nerx

Winners make the rules and he does have enough power to make the government influence people to 'see' him as a messiah so no.

Posted by hectorsquall

He is evil incarnate !!!

Greatest Villain Of All Time!
Posted by Gambit1024

Anti-Hero.

Murdering all those people was awful, but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. What he did was eerily heroic.

Posted by The Poet

Villain: 7

Hero: 2

Anti-hero/Anti-villain:6

Moderator
Posted by The Poet

@Nerx said:

Winners make the rules and he does have enough power to make the government influence people to 'see' him as a messiah so no.

would you say he is a villain or a hero? or an anti-hero?

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Posted by Nerx

@The Poet: Anti-Villain

Posted by The Poet

@Nerx said:

@The Poet: Anti-Villain

ah! cool...

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Posted by The Poet

Total voters: 16

  • Villain: 7
  • Hero: 2
  • Anti-hero/Anti-villain:7
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Posted by Nerx

@The Poet: As in a politician would act like a nice dude then actually turn out to bea d!ck

Posted by The Poet

oh boy! I got a vote outside of this blog! cool! (tells who is actually watching...)

Total voters: 16

  • Villain: 8
  • Hero: 2
  • Anti-hero/Anti-villain:7
Moderator
Posted by VinoVash1234

Hero, ends justify the means, he had the balls to do something no hero has, put an end to a world of evil through sacrifice....and thats what being a hero means, making the necessary sacrifice for the greater good, sure he killed millions, but it resulted with saving billions, and the world. A Hero at its finest

Posted by VinoVash1234

Hero, ends justify the means, he had the balls to do something no hero has, put an end to a world of evil through sacrifice....and thats what being a hero means, making the necessary sacrifice for the greater good, sure he killed millions, but it resulted with saving billions, and the world. A Hero at its finest