Study Guide

Watchmen Chapter XI

By Alan Moore

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Chapter XI

Look on My Works, Ye Mighty…

  • Veidt records his brainiac thoughts on the future of the future. He has time to kill until Nite Owl and Rorschach arrive in from the cold.
  • Speaking of those two, they aren’t sure why or even if Veidt wants to destroy the world.
  • Inside Karnak, Veidt summons his three most loyal servants.
  • Cut to the newsstand, where the T.B.F. sailor enters his former home, and, mistaking his wife for an undead pirate, bludgeons her to death in front of their children.
  • There’s no turning back now.
  • Realizing the true nature of his curse, the sailor runs away screaming.
  • Back in Karnak, Veidt pours glasses of wine for his servants. He marvels at the tropical climate beneath the glass dome and all he has created.
  • Flashing to his childhood, Veidt shares his origin story. For more details, check out his “Character” page.
  • Veidt’s ultimate quest? To bring enlightenment to the world, by any means necessary. He seeks to one-up Alexander the Great as well as the pharaohs of Egypt.
  • Back at the newsstand, two lovers, one the taxi driver from Chapter V, the other a knot-top who works at a magazine, are in the middle of a messy and public breakup.
  • To Karnak we go, where Veidt quenches his thirst with knowledge and power. Not so lucky are his three servants, who wet their whistles with poisoned wine.
  • Veidt presses the self-destruct button and blows up the dome.
  • Speaking of bad luck, the marooned sailor has it even worse than Veidt’s servants. With a lynch mob on his trail, he heads to the shore. The Black Freighter lurks just off the coast, but will never attack Davidstown, he knows that now.
  • The ship is waiting for him to swim aboard and join the crew.
  • At the newsstand, Dr. Long’s wife Gloria walks up to the older half of the Odd Couple, looking for her husband.
  • Nite Owl and Rorschach enter Karnak. They sneak up on Veidt in the middle of dinner, and try to take him down. Womp womp, that’s the sound of failure.
  • But why Veidt, why? Pull up a chair, everyone, it’s creepy-villain monologue time.
  • After some early success as Ozymandias, Veidt discovers that governments are no different from crime syndicates. He learns it was Blake who took out Hooded Justice, and maybe even President Kennedy.
  • At the first and only Crimebusters meeting, the Comedian opens Veidt’s eyes to a future filled with conflict and nuclear war.
  • That is… dun dun dun… unless Veidt does something radical to save the world.
  • Back in NYC at the newsstand, Gloria and Dr. Long attempt to talk it out and save their marriage. She wants him to find a new line of work.
  • Down the street, the lesbian couple starts fighting, and Gloria begs Dr. Long not to intervene, but he says has no choice.
  • Karnakside, Veidt reveals how Dr. Manhattan created problems between the Soviets and the US. At the newsstand, now that the marooned sailor has reached the Black Freighter, this sweet little tale reaches its happily-ever-after end.
  • Sarcasm much?
  • For the first time, the Odd Couple acknowledges each other. They find out they have the same name: Bernard.
  • Maybe people can connect with people after all. The two detectives show up on the scene. One (Steve) wants to break up the fight between the lesbian couple, the other (Joe) wants to drive on by. They get out. The crowd swells.
  • Veidt continues to reveal his grand plan. First, get rid of Jon (Dr. Manhattan). Second, force the world to unite through “history’s greatest practical joke” (XI.24.4).
  • Between his knowledge of genetics and teleportation, and thanks to a small army of writers, artists, and scientists (the ones who died on the cruise to nowhere), Veidt is about to hoodwink the entire world with a fake alien invasion.
  • The death of Veidt’s monster will decimate half the city of New York. No, it’s not going to happen, it is happening, right this very moment.
  • Goodbye detectives, quarrelling lovers, Odd Couples. Goodbye.
  • Chapter Postscript: My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair! –Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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