In the 2009 adaptation of Watchmen, Rorschach narrates about Adrian Veidt:

I cannot imagine a more dangerous opponent. Used to joke he was fast enough to catch a bullet. He could kill us both alone in the snow.

Rorshach believes this so much that he finishes and posts his journal to The New Frontiersman before leaving for Karnak, despite the fact that - in the movie at least - Rorschach is the most capable hand-to-hand fighter that we've seen fight.

We see Ozymandias outflank an assassin while dodging his bullets, and make it look effortless in the process.

And then we learn that:

...it was Veidt who hammered the Comedian in the opening scene and threw him out of the window to his death.

Ozymandias is consistently called the smartest man in the world, but from the above you would also be forgiven for thinking he was also the most superhuman (if we're no longer considering Dr. Manhattan human, which he himself obviously doesn't).

Where exactly does Ozymandias get this strength from?


According to Alan Moore, Ozymandias is the only person in the world who is capable of using 100% of his brain. This gives him unparalleled control over not just his mind, but also his body.

Adrian Veidt was Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt; I always quite liked Pete Morisi's Thunderbolt strip... there was something about the art style, almost bordering on kind of Alex Toth style, though it was never as good as Toth, but it sometimes had a pleasing sensibility and a nice design sense about it that I was quite taken by. And I quite like the idea of this character using the full 100% of his brain and sort of having complete physical and mental control. Adrian Veidt did grow directly out of the Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt character.

Alan Moore discusses the Charlton-Watchmen Connection



Peter Cannon [AKA Veidt] is about thirty-seven, but he also looks younger. In Captain Atom’s case this lack of age was due to his complete control over his body’s atomic structure, which would prevent any decay. In Cannon’s case, it’s simply because he’s a superb paragon of humanity in every detail, he has a flawless physique and is in peak condition all the time, and because he is able to use the full one hundred percent of his brain power, which gives him a certain amount of Fakir-like control over his bodily processes. Captain Atom is immortal. Peter Cannon, barring accident, might live to be about a hundred and fifty.

Watchmen - Absolute Edition

In-universe, Veidt trains relentlessly as a boy, becoming a superb fighter in response to being bullied and regularly beaten by his peers.

Veidt stands defiant in front of Chinese writing on a wall of the Dojo with a man looking at him through a window; the sides of the image contain other depictions of Veidt but they have been cropepd out
Before Watchmen - Ozymandias

  • 7
    More or less, he's a more amoral Batman (although he was really designed after Charlton Comics's Thunderbolt).
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jul 28 '20 at 16:41
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    @FuzzyBoots He's not amoral. He may have a moral code that differs from yours, but that's quite different. He expended significant resources pursuing what he considered the greater good. And he's more than batman. Jul 29 '20 at 3:48
  • 5
    @Acccumulation - Nite Owl is your Batman analogue, a wealthy adventurer who trains himself in the martial arts and uses his vast wealth to make gadgets, etc.
    – Valorum
    Jul 29 '20 at 7:31
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    I wouldn't fear his speed or strength as much as the fact that he knows what his opponents would do before they do it. He may not be fast enough to catch a bullet but he knows exactly where it's going and can catch it in a metal tube anyway. In addition he has zero reaction time as opposed to 100-300 ms among normal people, plus he can calculate the impetus of his and his opponent's body and perform feats that seem supernatural but aren't (cf. one inch punch). He can also use his surroundings far more efficiently than his opponents as he remembers every object on the scene. Jul 29 '20 at 12:03
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    @FuzzyBoots Amoral ≠ immoral. The former is the complete (objective) lack of operating by a moral code, the latter is a (subjective) value judgement on the morals being operated by. Ozymandias has a definite moral code, just not as palatable a one as we might like.
    – Prometheus
    Jul 29 '20 at 15:26

In the original books, Adrian Veidt attributes his own powers to training and discipline. An interview Veidt gave to Nova Express is included at the end of Chapter XI:

NOVA: So, how do you get to be a superhero? ...

VEIDT: ... To answer your question, you get to be a superhero by believing in the hero within you and summoning him or her forth by an active will. Believing in yourself in your own potential is the first step to realizing that potential. ...

NOVA: You'll forgive me for saying so, but isn't that philosophy a little bit Norman Vincent Peale? That self-realization stuff? How exactly do you exploit the potential to the degree that you obviously have?

VEIDT: The disciplines of physical exercise, meditation and study aren't terribly esoteric. The means to attain a capability far beyond that of the so-called ordinary person are within reach of everyone, if their desire and will are strong enough. I have studied science, art, religion and a hundred different philosophies. Anyone could do as much. By applying what you learn and ordering your thoughts in an intelligent manner it is possible to accomplish almost anything. Possible for the "ordinary person." There's a notion I'd like to see buried: the ordinary person. Ridiculous. There is no ordinary person.

In addition, some introductory text for a self-improvement book sold by Veidt, on the "Veidt Method", is included at the end of Chapter X. It also claims that discipline and study can turn anyone into a superhero:

Our third and longest chapter presents a carefully coordinated series of physical and intellectual exercise systems which, if followed correctly, can turn YOU into a superhuman, fully in charge of your own destiny. All that is required is the desire for perfection and the will to achieve it. No special equipment or other hidden cash extras are necessary. The Veidt Method paves the way for a bright and hopeful future in which anyone can be a hero.

As pointed out in the comments, it is entirely possible that these statements are not generally true. They could be puffery à la Charles Atlas, they could be an attempt at social engineering, or they could just not be generalizable (even if Veidt believes they are.) Given that Watchmen is something of a commentary on classic comic books, the implicit connection to Charles Atlas may well be intentional.

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    The Veidt Method is, of course, complete nonsense. It's like the Charles Atlas books you used to be able to buy in comicbooks.
    – Valorum
    Jul 29 '20 at 15:17
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    Note that Veidt's claims do not necessarily reflect reality. And it doesn't have to be malevolent. Picture a scenario where Superman agrees to claim his powers come from eating your vegetables and listening to your parents. Not the truth, but you can understand how the claim can have a positive effect on those who believe it nonetheless. Veidt may be claiming that people can achieve his level of competence purely as an attempt to get people to educate/improve themselves - even if they can't actually achieve his level of competence. Veidt very much knows the power of belief, as per the plot.
    – Flater
    Jul 29 '20 at 15:38
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    @Flater: "100 Push-Ups, 100 Sit-Ups, 100 Squats, and 10KM. Every day!!!"
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jul 29 '20 at 15:45
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    @Valorum The "I will give you bodies beyond your wildest imagining" claim is perfectly true.
    – richardb
    Jul 29 '20 at 15:47
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    @Flater Also, Veidt could simply be wrong. Not that his method didn't work to unlock his potential, but he could be one in a million who even has that potential. Becoming, say, a world-class basketball player takes a lot of hard work, and that hard work can be quantified and would probably do anyone some good, but if you're five feet tall you won't make the NBA no matter how hard you train. Maybe Veidt hasn't realized yet that he's mentally eight feet tall. Or he just figures that the best way to reach everyone who does have that potential is to reach everyone, full stop... Jul 29 '20 at 19:42

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