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.

No Caption Provided

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?

39 Comments